As the days grow shorter, we approach the Winter Solstice. Each year, this cosmic moment offers us an opportunity to reflect and set seeds for the year ahead. During the solstice, the sun appears to stand still in the sky before reversing its apparent direction, symbolising the rebirth of light and the gradual lengthening of days. On Dec. 21, the sun enters Capricorn.
Capricorn encourages reflection, discipline and the pursuit of our most ambitious goals. We are invited to turn inward, assess our achievements of the past year and set intentions for the coming year.
This past year was filled with a lot of tumultuous energy. We were asked to fight for what we believe in and likely reevaluate our lifestyle choices.
December graces us with a moment of retrospection to herald our solstice intentions. Mercury will be in retrograde until Dec. 31 in Capricorn, so we can expect a period of introspection and reconsideration in matters related to long-term goals, urging us to strategize while reflecting.
The end of the year will also be illuminated with a full moon in Cancer. We can expect heightened emotions and a profound need for emotional security as the year closes out.
That, accompanied with the winter solstice this December, asks us to embrace shadows within ourselves and the world around us while anticipating the return of brighter days.
As a practising witch, I use the winter solstice to set magical intentions for the new year. It’s a time when our metaphoric seeds can be implanted into the cosmic field at the same moment that the sun is ‘born’ again.
Magic—the art of tapping into quantum or ethereal forces to shape reality—has a diverse and ancient history across the world. In many parts of Africa, Indigenous communities engage in rituals, communing with ancestral spirits and nature’s energies.
Voodoo traditions, prominent in West Africa and the Caribbean, use elaborate ceremonies blending dance, music and symbols to invoke spirits for manifestation. Hinduism uses yantra and mantra rituals for specific outcomes, while Chinese Taoist alchemy and Feng Shui manipulate energy flows for manifestation and harmony with nature.
Europe’s magical traditions, from medieval grimoires to Renaissance Hermeticism, involve intricate rituals written about by figures such as John Dee and Aleister Crowley. In South America, Indigenous cultures, including the Inca and Aztec, integrate spirituality into daily life, and conduct shamanistic rituals like ayahuasca ceremonies in the Amazon for guidance and manifestation. The universal human need for connection with the mystical forces shaping our existence is embedded in our history as a species.
Contemporary Western trends have coined this idea as ‘manifestation,’ which is rooted in the law of attraction. Manifestation can be explained by ideas in quantum physics that suggest our thoughts influence the energetic fabric of the universe.
Manifestation, simply put, is how our thoughts and intentions interact with the world around us. It’s like a dance between our minds and the universe. The belief is that the energy we put out draws similar experiences to us.
By clearly and strongly imagining what we want, we connect with the positive vibes of those desires. It’s like creating a tiny magnet that pulls in what we wish to achieve.
As a practitioner of magic rituals, I can attest to their validity. But they are not as immediate and sublime as you might think. You see, we are a part of nature, and like nature, any change or seeds we set will require time, energy and healthy environments to grow.
The ‘magic’ of manifestation works through us. So, for it to work, we must keep our bodies, minds, spirits and hearts healthy.
The other caveat with this practice is that since the energy is working through us, we can’t expect to do harm to others without harming ourselves. And while my personal practice draws from various traditions, there is an old Wiccan rede that states “An ye harm none, do what ye will”—do what you will, harm no one. And I do stand by that.
Individually, we can harness this energy for personal transformation. However, at a time where our planet is in dire need of repair the solstice is a pivotal time to cultivate and distribute healing. As stated, for millennia, collective intention, channelled through symbolic acts and rituals, has been believed to influence a metaphysical shift that can contribute to positive change. We are each a microcosm of the universe.
When personal transformation occurs, it can ripple into a collective force and foster transformations, both in our personal lives and on a global scale. So, this winter solstice, I invite you to spend a few minutes in ritual either for yourselves or for the collective.
Below I’ve offered some ideas to help create the right ritual for yourself based on your rising or sun sign. I’ve also created a sombre and reflective cosmic mixtape to help create the right mood for your rituals.
Perform a candle or burning ritual to channel your passion—light a red candle, focus on your desires and visualise them manifesting.
Connect with nature—plant seeds that represent your intentions in soil. Create a healthy meal while visualising your desires.
Harness your intellectual prowess. Create a vision board showcasing your desires using images and words that resonate. Meditate on it daily.
Tap into your intuitive nature. Perform your ritual under moonlight. Write your intentions on paper and bury them in the soil by moonlight.
Leverage your creative flair. Engage in a ritual of self-expression through art or performance. Infuse your creations with intentions.
Embrace your meticulous nature. Develop a detailed plan for your intentions. Break it down into practical steps. Create a daily routine to stay organised and focused.
Harmonise your energies. Create a beautiful atmosphere to meditate and find balance. Write down your intentions with your favourite stationery and frame it.
Tap into your transformative energy. Take a ritual bath infused with herbs and oils that resonate with your intentions and allow the water to cleanse and renew your spirit. Make a token or talisman from the herbs to hold with you.
Harness your adventurous spirit. Conduct a guided meditation journey that takes you on a quest where your desires become reality. Come up with an affirmation you can tell yourself during daily exercises.
Embrace your discipline. Conduct a mountain meditation, envisioning your intentions as peaks to conquer. Write down any milestones to help you continue to focus on those goals.
Tap into your visionary energy and engage in stargazing to connect with the cosmos. Meditate under the night sky and visualise your intentions aligning with the vast universe.
Dive into the depths of your imagination. Conduct a ritual by a body of water or even in the bath. Write your intentions on paper and release them into the water.
Elfie Kalfakis is an artist inspired by mythology, play, the occult and consciousness. Her work is multidisciplinary, intuitive and uses mediums such as, but not limited to: collage, film, illustration and street art. She aspires to use her artwork as a means of breaking down stigmas and barriers within popular culture towards metaphysical concepts and has a passion for female empowerment, mental health advocacy and understanding the collective unconscious.