~ Welcome! ~
Foraging is such a beautiful & powerful way to come into communion with and gratitude for the earth.
If you can and your body likes it, see if you can commune with the same plant every day for a number of days. This can create a rich sense of kinship with the earth around you, as the plant literally becomes you, as you digest it and build new cells!
If you’re in northern Europe, this could be for example elderflower (for cordial or fritters), nettle (endless uses, I love having daily shots of nettle juice with my slow juicer but these nettle crisps or nettle pesto are fab), Linden (for tea), wild rose (for tea, baths or jellies), mugwort (for infusions and drying for smudge sticks), yarrow, rosemary or mint for smudging, St Johns Wort for infusing into massage oil or smudging.
Gathering herbs is recommended on the full moon, which happens a little after Solstice this year on the 24th of June (roots are gathered on a new moon).
There are so many ways to get creative with flowers (although make sure that you leave enough for the bees & butterflies!).
Try collecting edible flowers & leaving them in a jar of water for a day so they can infuse their beautiful vibrations into it, and then drink the water while giving thanks to the earth.
Go for an intentional walk (such as focusing on gratitude or wonder) and collect some beautiful things (always ask permission and don’t overdo it!). Ceremonially adorn your home and/or your altar space with your treasures.
If you don’t have an altar, you could make one for the Solstice. An altar is a physical manifestation of your connection to spirit. By adding things to it from nature, we are inviting the spirits of these things into our home. You can add anything that feels of significance, including any intentional writing you are doing.
Prepare for Winter
Consider foraging & harvesting something ahead of time for using ritually at the Winter Solstice, such as mugwort for smudging, drying lemon balm or nettle for a ritual tea or rose petals for a bath.
Hang on to your journalling (unless you want to burn it) until the Winter Solstice too, so you can see where you were and where you are six months later!
This is a time where our ancestors would celebrate the life-giving properties of the sun. Traditionally they would have stayed up until sunrise, often in the highest places where they could spot the first rays, and welcomed the sun through singing and prayer.
A beautiful way of connecting with the sun is also through dance and movement. Find a good spot where you can connect with the sun and let your body be a prayer of gratitude and reverence! Receive its blessings by welcoming the warmth and light on different body parts!
Create a gratitude ceremony for the earth. You can leave a little offering of food outside for the nature spirits, or make something specifically for little animals (such as melting coconut oil and adding seeds and nuts and forming into balls).
Nature spirits love to be gifted hand made things, so anything you can create with your hands that is biodegradable is great (like a wooden bead, weaving together grasses or making a petal and leaf mandala)
You can also write a poem and speak it out loud or sing a song to the earth, expressing your gratitude and care.
Fires were a tradition of our ancestors during this time, as they awaited the sunrise. (The word ‘bonfire’ actually comes from ‘bones’ as one ancient practice included throwing bones into a solstice fire, as well as burning old things that were no longer needed, such as old bits of cloth, corn husks etc).
A common ritual in many places to this day is the lighting of the bonfire and jumping over it, which is throught to guarantee prosperity and avoid bad luck!
As an element, fire can support release, cleansing & transformation.
Tips for creating a ceremonial fire:
Bring presence into every step of the way! From the gathering of the wood and preparing of the space, to the lighting of the fire until the very end.
Therefore, before you begin: make sure you are grounded & focused! If you just got out of work: what do you need, in order to prepare yourself?
Pause before you light the fire and welcome it’s spirit and thank it for it’s sacred function. You can also sing a song to welcome it. Treat the fire as though it were a being.
Traditionally, the spirits of the four directions & elements are invited into a ritual space, along with any other supportive spirits, including your ancestors. Consider offering a prayer that this ritual be for the benefit of all living beings or offering a herb or a little oil into the fire as a gesture of gratitude.
You can burn anything ritually that is non-toxic, such a writing and reflections of the past or words on paper that you are ready to let go of..Dance. Sing. Speak to the Fire,. Use herbs as an offering to the fire.
Make sure you close by thanking the fire & the supportive spirits & elements. Ideally the fire is allowed to burn to embers.
Dr.Alberto Villoldo says “There is a two-week period following a fire ceremony in which “instances of opportunity” appear. These “instances” provide the opportunity to translate your intent for healing, into reality. You are advised to think of the fire ceremony not as an instantaneous magical change, but rather, an opening to heal and shift distinctive habits and patterns – to manifest a different dream. Remember to recognize this “opening” and seize the opportunity to create change – then let the universe take care of the details.”
If you are unable to make a fire, you could make a smaller ceremony & burn paper which has written on it, that which you wish to release or your prayers.