The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, is also a day that many people celebrate as a spiritual holiday, to gather with a small group of close friends or family and welcome back the sun. This year, it will be Monday, Dec. 21, according to the Farmer's Almanac.
"It's been recognized for thousands of years, ever since humans first observed the sunrise and sunset," said Juli Everett of Sag Harbor, who has a spiritual wellness and astrological advisement practice, Knead and Seed. "We really celebrate the renewal of life. We consider it a quiet indoor holiday. We gather, we get warm, we give thanks."
Here are some of her other suggestions for making the winter solstice a day to remember.
1. Take in the sunrise. Ms. Everett says the ocean beaches, Montauk's in particular but indeed any wide open spot that offers a clear view of the eastern horizon, are great places to see the rising sun.
2. Light some candles. Ms. Everett suggests making an altar with a yellow, white, or red candle, representing the sun, at the center, surrounded by more candles. Get some green or red twine to wrap around a candle, or roll the candle in a fragrant oil and then in some evergreen or rosemary clippings. The Sag Harbor Variety Store, 114 Main Street, is a great place to find candles. Add some winter greenery, either foraged from your yard or acquired from a fine nursery or store such as the Sag Harbor Garden Center, 11 Spring Street. Burn some incense in traditional winter scents such as frankincense and myrrh. Locally, Flashbacks, 69 Main Street in Sag Harbor, sells incense and holders. Meditate and "set your intentions" in front of this altar.
3. About those intentions. This is a time to ask for peace, love, happiness, and abundance. "A mantra that I have is, 'The more I have, the more I have to share.' It's being grateful for abundance, and asking for it so that you can also spread it around," Ms. Everett said.
4. Mull some wine, make some soup. Ms. Everett suggested placing clean gemstones such as rubies, bloodstones, garnets, or emeralds into the container of wine to infuse the drink with "magical energy." Gemstones can be found at Blooming Shells, 11 Washington Street in Sag Harbor. Make the ingredients of your soup as colorful as can be, but don't cook those stones into it! Check out this recipe for Sun King soup.
5. Burn a Yule Log. This also has a long association with Christmas. Decorate a dried log with holly, evergreens, and/or red ribbons of a natural fiber, then light it in the fireplace. Turn off the electric lights and enjoy the warmth as you contemplate the past year and the year to come.