Winter Solstice Tea Ceremony

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Photo by Tom Check under CC

With endless holiday commercials since late October, shopping and decorating, you may be holiday cheered out by now.

However, the Winter Solstice is a powerful time for connecting with the natural world. In the Yearly Rites section, I wrote about the importance of connecting with the natural turn of the year. It brings us closer to nature and ourselves.

The Winter Solstice (on Dec. 21 this year) marks what earth-based religions call “the triumph of the light.” After the Winter Solstice, the days will start to get longer again. It’s a marker in the depths of cold days that warmth will come again. Burning a Yule log, bringing a Christmas tree inside and hanging holiday lights are all ancient celebrations of life’s triumph over darkness and stillness.

In order to connect with the Solstice, I have a tea ceremony of sorts I like to do that I wanted to share.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is pick out an appropriate tea. I like to pick out a flavor that is closely associated with the holidays. The herbs usually have a close connection to the Solstice. Some of my top choices are:

Peppermint tea: This one is just a given. Peppermint is an invigorating tea that is closely associated with mental stimulation. It is the perfect choice for combating the surly sluggishness of winter.  This one is easy to find in the store, and you probably won’t have the fresh plant around this time of year.  If you do thanks to an indoor garden, however, here are instructions on how to make the tea.

Pine needle tea: In case you weren’t aware, yes, you can make a delicious tea out of real pine needles. It ties into the season perfectly. Evergreens like pine have strong associations with eternal life and bold heartiness. Here are some great instructions with photos on how to make a fresh, natural cup of pine needle tea.

Cinnamon tea: With this classic holiday flavor, you can brew the tea straight out of cinnamon sticks. Here’s how. Cinnamon is associated with vitality, energy, courage and fortitude. It’s the perfect drink as the light triumphs over the dark.

Once you have your tea picked out, the ritual is simple. You’ll just need your cup of hot tea and a quiet place.

  1. Breath slowly and clear your mind.
  2. Think of the cold winter, the silent earth. Picture snow on the trees (or maybe in your area it’s simply a rainy season). Fully picture and immerse yourself in your vision of winter.
  3. Hold the teacup in both hand and feel the warmth of the tea. Think of the days getting longer and picture sunny days.
  4. Drink your tea slowly, and as you do, feel it suffuse you with vigor and warmth.
  5. While still drinking, focus on a key aspect of the herb in the tea. For instance, if you are drinking cinnamon, could your life use more courage?   Is there an issue you are avoiding? Hold the question in your mind. Answers may come and they may not. Don’t feel forced into anything. But when they come, they’re usually pretty strong.
  6. Once your tea is gone, focus on your gratitude for these gifts.

Once you’re done, you may want to go write down any epiphanies. I also find it helpful to just record my experience; it may reveal some wisdom.

Happy Solstice!

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