My Favorite Winter Solstice tradition… releasing our dreams into the night

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Last year I posted this celebration idea *after* Winter Solstice, which does you… dear reader… no good. So this year I wanted to post it the week before… it’s such a simple, easy, and sweet way to mark the darkest day with honor and a bit of candlelight. It is something my entire family looks forward to every year. This Winter Solstice we’ll be traveling, but I’m taking some slips of paper and a few matches so that we can create our sacred space wherever we are. I would love to know that a few of you are out there sending your 2012 dreams into the air too… riding on a wisp of smoke and disappearing into the fullness of what lies ahead. Are any of you with me?

xoxo, Laura

We really enjoy winter solstice at our house… we have a few traditions that we repeat every year.

One is stringing cereal onto thread and draping it across the bare branches of our trees for the wildlife to share… some apples too, hung on a thread. Our gift to the creatures that share our yard in the night, the longest night of the year.

Miles threading Cherrios onto embroidery floss…

Clara checking to see how far she has gotten on her strand…

I realize you probably don’t need to see a closeup of a cheerio on a string, but I just liked how this picture turned out!

Apples hung on our front yard tree branches, for the deer…

The cheerios for the squirrels…

And extra cereal flung all over the yard… for the birds… and for FUN!

Then we welcome the return of the sun by eating our entire dinner in only candlelight and firelight… thanking the sun for all of it’s strength and energy, and for bringing light into our lives.

Homemade chicken noodle soup heats up on our woodburning stove…

First, the kids hand roll beeswax candles for the center of the table.

For dinner on winter solstice we always have soup and rolls… Letting the candlelight spill over the room, we soak in the stillness and darkness and make wishes for the new year.

Beeswax candles the kids made… and a mini forest created from SouleMama’s idea (love her blog!)

Writing our hopes and dreams for 2011 on slips of paper, we light them on fire by our candles and watch as the paper transforms to smoke… carrying our intentions out to the universe.

Miles lights his intention on fire…

Clara’s intentions release into the air…

… and the strips of paper get safely dropped into a waiting jar of water when the flames get close to sweet little fingertips!

Consider writing your hopes, dreams and 2012 wishes on a slip of paper and watch the light transform your written word into heat and light. Your energy and intention is not unnoticed.

You can also use this ceremony to release any old thoughts, patterns or unwanted energy from 2011. Just write down whatever comes, draw a picture (when my kids were very little, they would just draw a cute little picture and have fun lighting those in the candle. No words needed.)

This is such a sweet, safe, fun way for children to experiment with fire and feeling the love and support of their family all around them as they safely express their desires. Just have a bowl of water waiting and have FUN!

Much love, Laura