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  • Fran Braga Meininger

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

The winter solstice marks the beginning of winter, the longest night of the year. The pagans, drawing their wisdom from the natural world, celebrate it as a time for settling in, for introspection and rest. This year more than any in recent memory I am drawn to this tradition. It feels right. So, I am observing this as my winter holiday this year, adopting my own rituals in celebration.


I begin even before the sun rises, in quiet introspection, taking stock of what has come and gone this year, sending it all respectfully into the past as I let it go. Like the trees shedding their leaves, I leave behind all that burdens me - the hardships, the conflicts and the misfortune. I forgive any indiscretion, unintentional hurt feelings and offer sincere apologies to any I have offended, so I can move on into a new season unencumbered.


I write, taking advantage of the long, dark morning to bring forth ideas and inspirations about life as I recognize that I am approaching the winter of my life. There are changes occurring around me and within me, and I need time to sort through them one by one and decide how to adapt.


I will spend the day putting my house in order, shedding unnecessary belongings, passing them on to those who may need them. I will spend time clearing out clutter so my home is comfortable and inviting.


I will cook to satisfy the need for internal comfort. The cold and grey day begs for soup simmering on the stove, filling the house with its aroma.


I will spend time with close friends in intimate conversation filling my heart with memories.


Finally, as the longest night of year takes the world once again in its silent embrace, I will light candles, taking a moment to hold those I love in my thoughts and feel grateful for the life that has become mine. And then, I will settle in for a long, peaceful rest.

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