If there ever was a night to declare your dream vision for the future and set your dream journey in motion with a solstice ritual, then twice are year are your nights.
The winter solstice arrives each year between December 21 to 23 in the Northern Hemisphere, and the summer solstice happens between June 20 to 23 in the Southern Hemisphere.
You have two great opportunities to set an intention for your big dream as a way to reboot your life for the coming year. Symbolic rituals can mark a transition to the new by clearing the mind and allowing us to move forward into the new. Traditional rituals and celebration symbols to mark this time of year have long been fire and light.
Several research studies have found that there is a specific value to participants when they perform a ritual.
Kathleen Vohs and Yajin Wang of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, along with Francesa Gino and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School, conducted a series of studies looking at how ritual changed the experience of consuming a variety of foods. In one study, participants tasted chocolate, either ritualistically (i.e., with the instruction to break the bar in half without unwrapping it, unwrap half the bar and eat it, and then unwrap the other half and eat it), or as they normally would. Those who performed the ritual reported finding the chocolate more flavorful and enjoying it more. They also took more time to savor it and were willing to pay nearly twice as much for more of it. (Source: Harvard Business Review, 2013/12)
Solstices are rituals in their own right. They are events worth making meaningful with personal dream rituals–rather than something that is done on New Year’s Eve when everything seems forced, and you feel pressure to set high expectations for yourself for the coming year.
Solstice rituals that can be performed every six months are a more accessible–a more personal way to motivate yourself to follow your big dreams.
8 Unique Solstice Rituals
1. Let It Go
If this year was not the year for you, sit down at sunset, take out a piece of paper, and write down everything negative that happened to you during the past 6 -12 months. Light a fire in your fireplace, your barbecue, or a place outside.
Create your ritual prayer like, “Goodbye past I let you go. I set you free. Never to return.”
Burn the paper while visualizing your troubles disappearing in the smoke and setting you free. If you don’t want to burn your problems, find a place where you can dig a small hole. Take your paper with your troubles and bury it.
Place some stones around it and say farewell.
2. As It Is Written
Write your dream on one side of a piece of paper, then flip it over and write everything you think you need to do to accomplish it. Decide to pick one item each week from the list to do for the next 26-52 weeks.
Find a special place to hang your list.
3. Create a Sacred Place
If you like to meditate, midnight would be a great time to contemplate your intentions for the coming year.
Here are three great guided meditations on YouTube:
4. Plant Seeds of Gestation
Buy some flower seeds and plant them in a small glass at your window. You don’t need dirt to do this. Wet two napkins, then wring out excess water and unroll the napkins flat.
Fold the napkins into a small clear drinking glass, so that the napkins form a soft wall around the inside of the glass. Place your seeds between the napkins and the glass, so that the seeds can be viewed. The napkins should gently hold the seeds in place.
Place the glass on a windowsill that receives several hours of sun each day. Water only enough to keep the napkins damp. The plants you are growing should be a reminder of your dream.
Each time you water the seeds and notice them growing, imagine one small task you can accomplish towards your dream. Hopefully, by the time your plant reaches maturity, you have an ongoing commitment to your desire.
5. Set Up A Rebirth
Water represents cleansing and renewal.
Light some candles and draw yourself a soothing bath. Turn on some music and allow yourself at least 20 solid minutes of relaxation.
Visualize all the good that you would like to obtain in the next 6 – 12 months. As you let the water out, imagine any troubles or disbelief being washed away down the drain.
6. Forge A Space
Spend the evening, clearing out space for your dream. Buy some large garbage bags and spend the next week filling them with items in your home you haven’t used in the last year, or anything that brings up negative feelings.
Clear out your clutter and donate it to The Salvation Army before the end of the week.
7. Embody Cultural Rituals
In Ecuador for the New Year, they eat twelve grapes before midnight and make a wish as they eat each grape. You could do this with your dream. Each grape can represent a step that you need to take. Visualize yourself living each stage of your idea as you eat the grape.
Ecuadorians believe that if you walk around the block with your suitcase, it will bring you the journey of your dreams.
It might be interesting to pack your suitcase with images that represent your dreams and carry it around your block. If anything, it will give your neighbors something to talk about for the next six months.
Create a vision board for your dream. There are probably several magazines and websites that have images that represent your dream.
Spend the solstice evening, cutting out these images and placing them on a bulletin board, poster board, or a piece of paper to place on your refrigerator.
You can even create your vision board on Pinterest. Title the board my your dream, or the solstice you are celebrating. Spend the evening collecting images from around the Internet that represent your dream or what you plan to do to make your dream come true. Decide to look at your board every morning and every night for the next 6 – 12 months.
As you complete any of these rituals, imagine your dreams for the coming year clearly in your mind. Make this visualization as real as possible and imagine your dream happening now, at the present time.
Rituals are a great way to become inspired to set your dreams in motion. You can even use the evening to write down everything in your life that is working and say a gratitude statement for the good that is in your life.
Start with being grateful for the eyes that can read this, the computer that brought you here, the fingers that typed the search, the roof over your head while you read this, and so on.
Try a solstice ritual today to jumpstart your big dream journey and see what happens to your life during the next 6 months.
Catherine Hughes is the editor and founder of 8WomenDream. She’s also a magazine columnist, content creator, blogger, published author, and former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine collaborates with companies to craft engaging web content and social media narratives. Her work, highlighting stories of the resilience and success of Northern California residents, appears in several print magazines. Outside of work, she treasures motherhood, her close friendships, rugby, and animals.
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