A belated winter solstice gift for you

Image: Jeremy Kovac

This post is late. It’s a gift. I should have shared it with you a few days ago on the Solstice, but I forgot. I’m late, and I’m sorry, but the gift is totally still good. Hear me out…

For the last few years, my family and I have hosted a Winter Solstice party (yes, Christmas is totally the Christianized version of the Pagan holiday, but that’s for another post). It’s usually pretty small with dinner, a fire — either outside or inside — some spirits, music, etc.

There’s one thing I have to tell you… Towards the end of the evening we do a sacrificial offering…

No, it doesn’t involve a farm animal or newborn child (yet). What it involves is me going around to each guest with a slip of paper and a pen. On said paper, I ask each guest to write down one thing they want to ‘sacrifice’ in the new year. To give up. To offer to the gods, if you will.

This thing can be a habit, a quality, an inner conflict, an outer conflict, a person (although we don’t condone murder, there’s only so much we can do), etc. When they’re done, I have them fold the paper in half to conceal their answer. I then take each folded slip of paper and tie it to a yule log. We then do a chant and I place the paper-laden log into the fire.

And there they all go. Up in flames. (One year, the papers weren’t attached to the log very well and a gust of wind sent the papers flying across our yard. Needless to say, there were a lot of nervous people trying to chase theirs down before anyone else could see what they wrote down.)

We seem to be a wish-based culture. Both physically and metaphysically, it’s all about getting what we don’t have. But this ritual is all about ridding ourselves of the thing(s) that weigh us down. It’s about shedding the baggage and dumping the trash that only burdens our souls.

What’s funny is, most of the things we strive for are, at their essence, only used to cover up these erroneous things. But when we get the stuff, we find that what we were trying to cover up still lies beneath the surface.

And that’s what we do. Keep adding and adding to our lot until we break.

With this solstice ritual (you may need more than one piece of paper and that’s totally fine), you cut straight to the chase.

So there you have it. From my family to yours. Christmas eve serves as a wonderful night to do this, by the way. May you gather around the fire with your loved ones and continue this sacrificial ceremony. And may your new year find you with a newfound lightness and inner fulness of Spirit.


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