Winter Solstice – The Resting Sun and The Return of the Light

Sun rise on Glastonbury Tor 20th December 2022 by James Rippingale

Into the darkest day.....

It’s always amazed me how, as we near this darkest point of the year, the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night, we feel so drawn to come together, reignite old friendships and gather with family and share some warmth, light and cosiness. 

This instinct for gathering, feasting and social connection seems so basic, old and primal. We naturally react to the dark and cold with merriment and celebration don’t we? With lights, fire and delicious food – people are quite amazing aren’t they? 

It’s easy to imagine this going way, way back to our ancestors. We know they revered times like this because they left ancient stone monuments that align directly with the Solstice Sun. For example the outer Sarsen Ring of Stonehenge aligns to the Midwinter Solstice sunset (ref Kindred p.62) and the Newgrange burial mound in Ireland aligns to the rising sun on the Winter Solstice when a shaft of sunlight pierces a long tunnel to illuminate an inner chamber deep within the mound. 

Old Stomping Grounds......

I’m writing this in the rugged green hills of Derbyshire in the village of Parwich. I’ve been walking the land sprinkled with snow and frost like a light dusting of icing sugar, visiting family and reconnecting old friendships in the land where I grew up. I feel so connected to the magic of nature here with The Nine Ladies Stone Circle to the North East and the great mystical Arbor Low stones just a little further north. I grew up in Derbyshire, explored the land, played my first concerts, sat among the stones, wrote my first tunes, slept under the stars and had my first spiritual experiences out in nature. The energy here feels peaceful and grounding, simple, homely and ancient.   

I sense the Solstice Energies rising like a great light in and around me and I love it, it makes me so happy. I’m grateful for the year that has passed, for the healings, learnings and teachings, for the music and the amazing friendships and I feel optimistic for the future too, as they say in ThetaHealing, “…..for who we are and who we are to become”. 

The Pausing Wheel and Returning Light

Winter Solstice is also known as “Yule”. It is said that the old North Europeans believed that the turning “Wheel of the Year” stopped briefly here as a new cycle was born and astrologically it does appear that the sun pauses in the sky at this point in the year, resting briefly before the light begins to grow and return to the Earth. In olden times it was actually taboo to turn wheels on these days even to churn butter!  

If we mirror our sun’s journey, this can be a time for us to pause too, to stop momentarily, look back and reflect on the year passed and forwards towards the year ahead as  the growing light brings new energy and vitality to the land and our lives.

Since Samhain we’ve traveled deep into the “darkness”, like the trees we’ve drawn our energy inwards and strengthened our roots as the sun’s waning energy offered an essential period of rest and introspection. Remember, the Celts didn’t view the darkness as bad or “evil”, this dark “Cauldron of Regeneration” was an essential part of life to be embraced. Now we prepare for the returning light and the journey towards Spring/Imbolc as the light and life grows once again, our energy will rise, activating like the new shoots and buds of Spring (who’s looking forward to the first Snowdrops! – Yay!)   

Connecting with the Solstice Energies

Here are three suggestions to help you connect with the solstice energies and some links if you would like to know more. 

Join a Winter Solstice Celebration or create one of your own 

You could do this by visiting a nearby sacred site where you’ll probably bump into like minded people too.  When I lived in Derbyshire I would walk up the hills to The Nine Ladies stone Circle on the Winter Solstice morning to witness the rising sun. One time a group of us travelled up there equipped with a hot tin of mince pies only to bump into the author Glennie Kindred. She was mid-ritual among the stones and invited us all to spontaneously join in, so we did!    

Read “Sacred Celebrations” by Glennie Kindred

Talking of Glennie Kindred Sacred Celebrations is my favorite reference book for the Wheel of the Year filled with wisdom and folklore. It’s delightful, thought provoking and full of fun activities. 

Click HERE to explore her books

Explore the music of Damh the Bard

Pendragon of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids – Dave the Bard writes songs deeply rooted in Druidry, Paganism the Wheel of the Year and the land where I live.


Click HERE for his YouTube channel: 


Dave also hosts “Druidcast” an awesome podcast which you can find HERE   

Winter Solstice Inspired Energy Downloads

Here are some Energy Healing Downloads inspired by this time of year. They are offered using the Theta Healing technique, created by Vianna Stibal which I use in my healing sessions. If they resonate with you and you would like to receive them just say “Yes”.

Would you like to know how it feels to live in harmony with the seasons and to know and receive the blessings of each one? 

Would you like to know how it feels to connect with the Earth and it’s energy, heartbeat and vibration, how it feels to be nurtured, loved and supported by the Earth Mother in the highest and best way? 

Can Creator show you how the earth can heal you, that it is possible to receive healing from the earth and what this feels like?

Can Creator teach you the feeling of calm and the feeling of peace in the highest definition and perspective of the Creator of All That Is?

Can Creator teach you how it feels to have peace in your friendships, peace in your relationships and peace with your family, that this is possible for you and you can have this now?    

And meanwhile in Avalon.....

I’ll be back in Glastonbury for Solstice. Watching the sun rise from the Tor and  celebrating at the Chalice Well Gardens with fresh air, nature, a fire and hopefully a cake or two! I’m looking forward to seeing many of the locals come out and the bards share music and songs under the ancient Yew trees. If you would like some support and healing in these times there are free Energy Healing Download videos on my Instagram – just click the icon below:

I’m also available for private Theta Healing sessions and packages should you need me. You can book a free consultation here:

If you would like to learn Theta Healing for yourself I can highly recommend my teacher Susie Valentine. You can find her HERE and enjoy her free meditations HERE

Bright Blessings




Path to the Tor
Path to the Tor by James Rippingale

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