Winter Solstice and the Four Elements
The Winter Solstice and the Four Elements
Our ancestors knew that the winter solstice was the longest night of the year—and that meant that the sun was beginning its long journey back towards earth. The ancients performed rituals or ceremonies to celebrate the return of the sun. Why perform a ritual for Winter Solstice in these modern times? Because ceremony-- or ritual, (we use the words interchangeably!) is a mindful way to celebrate the natural cycles of nature. Ritual brings power to the present moment. It sets intention. Ceremony or ritual has long been used as tool to celebrate being alive and initiating change. Rituals serve as touchstones to help us cultivate presence and an attitude of receptiveness and appreciation to help carry us through the holiday season, and the dark days of winter, with more ease.
Last week we published an article on how to perform a Spiral of Light Winter Solstice Ceremony, and a 'How To' make a Yule Log or Decorate your Altar for Winter Solstice. Today we offer a third option for ritual: Invoking the Four Elements.
Honoring and acknowledging the elements of FIRE, EARTH, AIR and WATER is to show gratitude for the foundations of life. The heat of the sun, the earth beneath our feet, the air we breathe and the water we drink are essential to our existence. The elements exist in a harmonious balance and this balance is necessary for us and the planet to stay alive. An understanding of the elements of earth, water, fire, air, (and spirit) provide us with a meaningful way of appreciating the creative qualities within us, and within the natural world.
Earth: Earth is the quality of materiality and physicality. It is practical, grounded, stable and reliable. People in whom earth is strong love working with nature and materials, and love tradition. Direction: Face North.
“I honor the Earth, who holds us and supports us. She is the creator of life, of the mountains that surrounds us, the trees that shade us. At this time of the Winter Solstice, we give thanks to the Earth for this period of rest and darkness which has led us to explore the deep wisdom within ourselves. With earth, we strengthen our roots by understanding ourselves and our experiences better. Through this inner exploration, we can contact the source of our being and find spiritual meaning in our lives. I call to Earth to protect our sacred circle, and allow us to grow and blossom, as the sun is reborn, we begin to make ready for a new phase of life, to manifest a new set of possibilities and experiences in the material world.”
Water: Water is the quality of flowing, bonding, connecting and nurturing. This is expressed in our emotions, in love, heart connection, and inner flow towards the unknown. Direction: West.
“At this time of the Winter Solstice, I invoke the qualities of water - deep mystery, flow, nurturing and holding. We are mostly water. We thank the gift of water, teacher of change and new form, and stillness, in this winter solstice. Water cleanses and cools us, makes our food grow, and reminds us nothing is permanent, everything is changing. We thank water for shaping our land, for the melody of raindrops that grows our food, and for the still qualities of water in the winter."
Fire: Fire is the quality of transformation, whether of creation or destruction. Its potent energy promotes change and cleansing, and is expressed in power and passion. Direction: South
“At this time of the Winter Solstice we give thanks for fire, the vital energy source, the life force which both creates and destroys. At this time, fire is being reborn. I invoke the Fire for our circle - our creativity, our passion, our new beginnings and rebirth. As the Sun increases in strength, we look forward to expressing ourselves again with spontaneity, expansion, growth and passion.”
Air: Air has the quality of movement. It is light, and without form, and is the breath of life. It is the realm of the mind, expressed in intellectual and mental processes.
“At this time of the Winter Solstice, we give thanks for the Air for its inspiration and inner knowledge which brings us new ideas and creates new beginnings. We give thanks for Air’s gift of the ability to communicate at all levels. Air was the first element, and we breath the DNA of all creatures who came before us. I invoke air for our Winter Solstice circle, with the first new breaths of the new cycle. We invoke air to ask that our communications be direct and clear, that we listen to our intuition and inner guidance."
Spirit: Spirit, Space, or Ether is the fifth element and stands outside time and space. It is the realm of consciousness from which the four manifested elements: earth, water, fire and air, arise. Our desires and thought forms manifest in Spirit and are expressed first in the aura - and ultimately in the physical body.
“We invoke the qualities of the Spirit in our circle. Spirit is the celestial energy that fills all spaces, the element that connects us to our ancestors, the divine, and the connecting force of life itself, within us and outside of us. A spiral is the symbol of spirit, reminding us that we are part of all life and all existence on all levels, seen and unseen. Spirit reminds us of the Great Mystery, and our infinite potential.”
"May all elements, and all directions be a part of our continued growth."
Photo: Stonehenge (life-size) Replica in Eureka, Montana. We are a state of many curiosities!