Treaty 2 Territory- The winter solstice is an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to reconnect with Mother Earth to sharpen our senses and to get in touch with our most powerful selves. For us, it is a time to honour and acknowledge the patterns of the natural world.
On this day, the sun is at its lowest point in the sky, traveling across the sky world above us in a short stride, resulting in the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. For Indigenous people across the globe, the natural world is a source of teachings about natural and universal laws. In understanding the interconnectedness of all things, we recognize that the earth, sun, moon, stars affect us and connect us in undeniable ways.
The winter solstice is an event that has been observed since millennia by many of our Indigenous ancestors. While some Nations have traditionally held special ceremonies during celestial events like the winter and summer solstices, others may have simpler ways of observing these moments. Each community/nation may be different.
In its period of darkness, the winter solstice is an opportunity to go inward with deep intention, to care for our spiritual selves, our bodies and minds, our loved ones, and families, and to prepare for the longer days ahead.
In the spirit of self-care and wellness, there are many ways that one can acknowledge and deepen our spiritual connections during the winter solstice.
- Take the day to slow down, rest, spend time with family and unplug from technology
- Honour kinship by sharing space and time to cook, eat and nourish our bodies.
- Reflect on the past year, both the highs and the lows. Acknowledge and celebrate your growth, your resilience, and your strength in 2021.
- Share gratitude, recalling in your mind, in prayer or meditation your many blessings. Start with the small things like clean air, a warm home, your heath, your intelligence and creativity, as well as your many gifts.
- Show the people how much you appreciate and care for them. It can be as simple as a card, a text, a call or a home visit. Express your gratitude for the many ways that they have been an important part of your life. Be present and attentive.
- Channel your creative energy through arts, crafts and exercise. Creator gave us all many gifts to share, and one is creativity. Channel that creativity by using your hands and mind. The possibilities are endless.
- Drink natural and medicinal teas. Our ancestors knew the power of drinking medicinal teas, alone, or with loved ones. You may wish to pray to the root and plant nations, to ancestors and to the water to help activate the healing powers of the teas.
- Practice self-care for yourself and others. This may be a simple as making time for yourself to care for your physical or by spending quiet time outdoors.
- Go to ceremony and/or hold a personal moment of prayer in you home. This will look different for each person. Keep in mind that if we are going to be agents of change, then we need to be grounded and strong. Replenishing your spirit in a time of growing social unrest is also a revolutionary act. A reclamation of what has always been ours.
- Light a fire. Winter solstice and winter in general is a time of fires. Fires are comforting and mesmerizing. You can put medicines or offerings into the fire as you pray, sing, or share stories next to it.
- Set intentions for the longer days ahead. We all have the power to co-create the future that is ahead of us simply with the power of thoughts. Set and declare, to yourself or with others, your best intentions for the coming seasons and year. Believe that you can achieve.
We all have the power to create a world where we are better and more connected, and it all starts within—within self and within community—in carving out time and space to reflect, grow and always give back. Remember we must also show care and compassion to our relatives who are less fortunate, who are grieving or struggling with their most basic needs. Remember our Earth and our non-human relations. Remember those who are suffering injustice in different corners of the world. And remember the generations that have come before and those who will come after us. Let’s all be good ancestors.
On behalf of the Earth Lodge, Happy Holidays & Stay Safe!
Renée McGurry, Earth Lodge Development (lodge.fnt2t.com)