When I needed a handmade project as a break from the routine of the working day, I turned to wreath making as both meditation and a means of honoring the winter solstice. Happily, found greenery is in abundance at this time of year; I snipped pine boughs from trees in a vacant lot, and pulled the ivy from evergreens that were just cut down at a construction site. These I wove into the circle along with other traditional greenery. Snowberries and rosemary from Anna’s garden added fragrance and the bright color emblematic of the season.
For me, this time of year represents showing love for one another and sharing kindness — my inner light. My midwinter tradition is to make fresh wreaths for my neighbors and mark the passing of the Winter Solstice.
“On the Solstice, we honor the Light, we remember the Light, we celebrate the Light.”
I referenced this quote in our blog on this past Summer Solstice; it applies to Winter Solstice as well. Especially this time of year in the PNW, when days are shorter and there is less light, we notice and appreciate it more when present.
In December, this celebration of light and Solstice ties into the various major holidays of many different faiths. To name a few: Buddhists' Bodhi Day, celebrating when Buddah gained enlightenment; the Jewish celebration of Chanukah and the miracle of their prolonged light during their darkest siege; the Christian observance of the birth of their savior, heralded by a bright guiding star; the Iranian festival of Shabe Yaldā, which celebrates the birth of the god of Mirthra and his victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil. They are all rejoicing over the same thing.
When pressed to find purpose in darkness, humanity has a universal response. That response is to search and find hope — to focus on the light.
This last year the world has felt especially heavy, and it has often seemed dark and hopeless. The fact that we are all searching (and aren’t we all?) is a grand thing. Let the Solstice remind us to never stop in our search. Even when the darkness is overpowering — just focus on light.