Let’s cozy around some candles and fresh pine greens as we celebrate the longest night of the year. Happy Winter Solstice to you!
Last year at this time, I found myself in the cozy, artsy Appalachian town of Thomas, West Virginia. My boyfriend, Dylan, and I were invited to a small winter solstice gathering by our host. We arrived at the fire, in the snowy yard, where we only knew one person.
In winter wear, Covid masks, and the darkness of the longest night, it was hard to distinguish faces, hard to start conversations, but steadily, we found threads to follow. We found connection points, had long, open conversations, lit luminaries in the snow, watched a Santa parade down the small, quiet street. We sledded down the snowy side yard, remembering the muscles of childhood, and laughed in a much-needed way.
With gloved hands, we wrote on snow-dampened paper. We wrote the pieces we wanted to leave behind, then we folded the papers, and tossed them into the communal fire. We killed our darlings.
I’ve had a growing curiosity about rituals and customs beyond my upbringing, and the solstice celebration left such a mark on me. I felt a significant change after that fire. I did leave the pieces behind me.
I want to maintain that meaning and sense of ritual, so this year, I’ll gather with one of my most magical friends. We’ll eat, drink, and laugh, then scribe our darlings. We’ll watch them singe, then burn over last year’s Yule log, and we’ll move forward. What do you wish to leave behind?
Treats for the Winter Solstice:
I’ll be sipping a warm mug of Commonplace Coffee’s Winter Blend from their Solstice Series, which they describe as “milk chocolate and fruitcake with a rounded body” and perhaps a very pretty Yule Log cake from one of my favorite Pittsburgh bakeries, La Gourmandine.
Happy Winter Solstice To You!