Winter Solstice is one of my most favorite holidays in our family. We are still finding our rhythm with how we celebrate and are always bringing in new inspiration and ideas to help make the day meaningful. Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. We try to use as much candle light as possible to keep the light burning in our home. We tell stories about how the sun must go to bed early in night’s arms because he is very, very tired. But the next morning we will rejoice because he will be reborn and our days will get a little longer each day. Its a symbol that spring will be on its way and that is a very exciting time on our homestead. I think we are all about to die to get our hands in the dirt and to planting seeds so this celebration gives us a bit of hope and lifts our winter blues. We would usually do this the night of the solstice, but I had grown up plans for once with some friends on solstice night so we did our marshmallow roasting by candle light the night prior. If it was nicer out we would have done a bon fire, but the weather was not cooperating with us. The kids enjoyed this just as much!
On the morning of the solstice we talked about the animals outside that may need some extra food and love because it has been so cold. We made the birds a special treat by putting cheerios on some embroidery thread to hang outside. We put them on a tree close to our window so we can watch what birds come by for a snack.
After we hung our bird feeders, we went on a family hike through the woods by our cabin.
Once we returned home, my husband left to gather more firewood (can never have too much fire wood) and the kids and I wanted to clean up Mother Earth a bit. We walked around our property and the surrounding areas and filled up 2 trash bags of old broken toys and litter people driving over the ridge had tossed out. We went for another walk on our drive way and gathered decorations for our yule log centerpiece.
We came in for some downtime after spending most of the morning outdoors and I put together our centerpiece and then the kids made sun bread to serve with our dinner.
SUN BREAD RECIPE:
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey
Put your yeast in warm water (not hot or else you will kill your yeasty friends), stir until dissolved Stir in honey
Mix dry ingredients together
Add flour mixture to wet, start with 2 cups of flour and then gradually add more
Knead until you have a ball of dough that is smooth like a baby’s bottom or if you arent sure when that is, stretch your dough and if you can see light coming through you are done. We usually kneed for about 10 minutes or so. The kids like to take turns working the dough.
Put your dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let it rise in a warm, draft free place.
Once it is doubled in size then pinch the dough into pieces and make your sun shape.
Let it rise again.
About 15 minutes or so. Bake in a 375* oven for about 30-35 minutes.
While the rest of dinner simmered on the stove (bear chili this year! We always do some kind of soup or one pot meal), we did some of our outside chores and made sure to give our hens a special solstice treat. Afterall, the do give us mounds of eggs every day and we wanted to show our appreciation.
We talked more about the rebirth of the sun and discussed how we can work on our inner selves and in a sense, rebirth our spirit with some inspiration on how we can be better people to others or to ourselves. Its an out with the old, in with the new kind of thing. We wrote down our intentions (the kids drew photos) of what needs work, rolled up the list or photo, and set it on fire. We wanted to symbolize our intention and then release the energy out in to the universe. So now we we feel our self starting to fall back into our old habits that we want to change, we can remember this moment and and gain some strength and peace of mind and slowly rebirth our spirits to be the person we want to be. Marleigh drew a photo of wanted to not yell at her brother so much and Maddox wanted to work on listening more.
Dinner is served by candle light around our table and we enjoy our sun bread and a meal that was created by our own two hands. We try to choose something that didnt have to come from a store and that was sustained by Mother Earth. We saved vegetables and beans in our pantry for this meal from our garden and the meat was from a bear my husband harvested and thanked the Earth for by his own two hands. All meat we take from the Earth is always harvested with thankfulness and never leaves our farm. We work together to make sure we handle each part with care and that there is no waste.
I usually would like to try to stay up all night on solstice, but this year I had plans to go to a friends house for the evening and when I got home I was exhausted. We lit candles (in a bowl of water) to burn through out the night to keep our light burning for the sun. I meditate before bed, practice some simple yoga, and then hit the hay. On the next morning we usually rejoice and eat a yummy breakfast on the porch while the sun comes up, but of course on this morning, we got nothing but a very cloudy and foggy morning so we enjoyed some sun pancakes instead!
May the solstice and turning of the wheel bring you love, peace, and good fortune in the coming year!