How to celebrate and utilize the energies of the Winter Solstice
This time of year is not only remarkable for the vast number of holidays that are celebrated, but also for the way that the seasonal transition affects our bodies, minds, and hearts. It is no surprise that so many people choose to engage in festival, coming together with their loved ones and finding reasons to be grateful and joyous, rather than succumbing to the dreariness that could be created by early sunsets and cold weather.
Our Ancestors of the Hapi (Nile) Valley built their entire culture by being in tune with the seasons and the cycles, crafting ceremonies and rituals to take advantage of our divine relationship with the Cosmos. Many of the religious holidays celebrated during the month of December can trace the roots of their meanings and practices to our Ancestral traditions. So as we engage in the work of reconstructing our culture and reclaiming the ways of Maat, we seek to innerstand holidays as the people of KMT celebrated them and how they can be observed by us in the modern day.
Web en Djed is the Raising of the Djed Pillar, observed on the Winter Solstice, which most often falls on December 21st but occasionally will occur on the 22nd. The Winter Solstice is called the shortest day of the year, because it is the time when we experience the least amount of daylight over any given twenty-four hour span.
Metaphorically, the Winter Solstice is a time when darkness threatens to encroach upon our harmonious embrace of light and love. When the sun disappears from the sky, to be replaced by fourteen hours of nighttime, it can feel as if the darkness will never end. This can invoke a feeling of hopelessness, misery, and despair. Our Ancestors understood this and were determined to fight against such low feelings. They saw their culture as the repository of survival strategies that would get them through any dilemma or challenge.
The Djed Pillar itself is a symbol of stability and strength. The backbone of Ausar reminds us to prioritize all areas of our health and to be disciplined and steadfast despite the conditions of the world around us. The world may be immersed in complete darkness, and all may seem lost, but the Djed Pillar is our lighthouse that stands firm and tall upon the shore and guides us home to safety. It is a symbol of our own metaphoric spine and the courage we must assume when the light is drained from our world; the tenacity we will need to continue pushing forward.
Our Ancestors celebrated Web en Djed on the coldest, darkest night of the year, so that they could be inspired and could inspire one another. They understood we cannot lose our center and become imbalanced just because times seem bleak. We must guard our beings against Isfet - chaos, imbalance, and disorder - at all times, for this is the way to cultivate our true selves and bring Maat to all we think, speak, and do. Raising the Djed Pillar is an opportunity for us to remember that when we come out on the other side of the long night, we will have to live with the consequences of our choices, so it is our charge to always create righteousness, harmony, integrity, and balance, despite what is happening around us.
How to Observe Web en Djed With Your Family:
- This is a perfect opportunity for cleanses, both internal and external. Spend three to five days cleansing the body of toxins and engaging in longer meditations than usual. Clean house and rid yourself of anything that you no longer use and no longer serves a purpose in your life.
- Burn myrrh oil and incense to fill your home with the scent of Ausar.
- Eat green leafy vegetables and drink freshly pressed green juices. Visualize yourself glowing with the green light of regeneration and health.
- Construct a djed pillar with your children. Be creative about the materials you use. Allow them to paint it and talk with them about what each tier represents - one for physical health, one for emotional health, another for mental health, and the fourth for spiritual health.
- Lie the pillar on its side until it is time to raise it. On the Winter Solstice, raise the pillar as a family. Adorn it with a red ribbon (which represents the Thet, or knot of Auset) and a yellow sun (which represents light triumphing over darkness).
- Wear green, black, and white to bring yourself into alignment with the energies of the occasion. You may also wear grounding stones such as black onyx and hematite. These will help you to stand firmly on your square and not waiver from your principles.
- Reflect upon the triumphs and successes of the year that has passed. Allow yourself to be filled with gratitude and pride. You have done great things and you can - and will - continue to do more great things. Remember that all cycles will come to an end and you, as a divine being, have the capacity to create the life you want for yourself.
Remember, it is our divine charge to look to our culture for the guidance we need to live empowered, sovereign, intelligent, harmonious, and masterful lives. Afrakan culture contains all of the elements we need as Afrakan people to be our best selves at all times, with no exceptions and no excuses. Let us continue the process of reclaiming our true selves by reinstating our Ancestral traditions and holidays and getting back to who we are and who we have always been.