Today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere.
Not familiar with this term? It’s the day each year when the sun travels on its lowest arc in the sky. This results in the shortest amount of daylight and longest period of darkness. It’s also the first official day of winter on American calendars.
Yes, the sun is at its least today, with darkness prevailing for many more hours than the sun will be visible above the horizon. But rather than feeling bleak or oppressive, as some think of winter, it is instead the beginning of something… a day that shows us a gleam of light at the end of a long tunnel. Why?
Because tomorrow, we begin walking steadily and resolutely toward more and more light (though it still may seem equally as dark when we enter and leave the office!). Rather than dread the perceived darkness of this season, we can instead hold onto certain faith that every day will be brighter than the one before.
These shorter, darker, and (for those further north) colder winter days naturally turn us inward, inviting us to be still for a season. It’s a time carved out to snuggle into a comfy blanket, sit by a fire (or the glow of a sparking tree), reflect, and really be still. It’s our opportunity to –- like the land resting before the bursting of spring –- truly pause and tap into our heart space.
In contrast to the high energy and activity of summer, the winter solstice is about finding and holding onto light amidst darkness, while celebrating the emerging brightness. It’s this small fire within that keeps us aligned through the longest and darkest days. It also provides solace and invites in greater healing, wisdom, and ease.
You’ve likely heard it said that to everything there is a season and purpose. Our bodies and souls are most centered and at peace when we align ourselves with the rhythm of the season rather than trying to oppose it.
Winter asks that we align ourselves with the energy of stillness and quietness. And, thankfully, we can use essential oils with the same energy to help us get there more quickly. While they are quieting our hearts and helping us draw out our inner light, these essential oils are simultaneously working in the background to prepare the seed for who we will become in the spring.
ESSENTIAL OILS TO CONNECT TO YOUR INNER LIGHT
There are a number of essentials oils that are well suited to connect us to our inner light and higher wisdom. It’s innately who they are – part of their DNA and skill set. Some of my favorites for winter include:
Frankincense is the perfect oil when seeking contemplation, tranquility, and truth. Skilled at clarifying thoughts and connecting the soul with its inner light, it creates new perspectives based on light and truth rather than spiritual darkness. It is known to decrease mental chatter, decrease worry, and still the mind, making it the go-to oil for meditation and prayer. Powerful, yet gentle, it invites more protection, wisdom, and spiritual openness into your life, while promoting feelings of peace and relaxation.
Myrrh’s greatest strength is helping you find inner stillness and peace. Along with Frankincense and Vetiver, it is one of the best oils for overthinking, worry, and mental distraction. It helps you replace these with a deep tranquility of mind, allowing you to feel safe, secure, and have greater trust in the goodness of life. Myrrh is an ideal oil for those needing additional healing, nurturing, or connectedness.
Vetiver has a calm, reassuring strength that endures. It invites feelings of being centered, grounded, present, and connected with the earth and its energies. It relaxes a racing mind, helping you better connect with your inner light and wisdom.
Cedarwood assists the heart in opening to receive love and support from those around you. It invites greater connection and community with others, as well as feelings of belonging. Like the stable tree from which it comes, Cedarwood steadies the mind and gives you the strength to not only endure, but to derive wisdom and strength from negative situations.
Lavender is revered for its calming, relaxing properties. It’s often used to balance strong emotions, reduce tension and anxious feelings, foster mental-emotional equilibrium, and promote peaceful sleep. You may not know, however, that Lavender is also regarded for its ability to help those who struggle to communicate or who feel unheard better express themselves. In this way, it encourages full expression of the individual self, which is particularly helpful when looking inward to find your inner light and wisdom.
Helichrysum is skilled at dealing with all types of pain, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Its powerful relationship with the sun’s light is regenerating in nature, inviting more healing, courage, perseverance, hope, and joy into your daily life.
Siberian Fir brings the smell of live Christmas trees into your life all winter long. The oil increases your positive energy and is affirming, vitalizing, and empowering.
Other oils to consider for connecting with your small inner light and higher wisdom include Geranium, Juniper Berry, Thyme, Cypress, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Rose, and Neroli.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR BRIGHTENING, UPLIFTING, AND BRINGING JOY
We often associate the aroma of cooking spices – such as Cinnamon, Cardamom, Clove, and Ginger – with the holidays. Not only do they make our atmosphere feel warmer and cozier, but they harmonize and uplift our spirits as we invite in more light. This is especially helpful for combating the darker days of winter.
Finally, the cheerful, uplifting qualities of citrus essential oils bring brightness, energy, and joy into your heart, soul, and home. There are a number to choose from – such as Sweet (Wild) Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Bergamot, Clementine, Red Mandarin, and Green Mandarin – each with slightly different personalities and uses. Sweet Orange, for example, energizes and uplifts both mind and body, encouraging spontaneity, lightheartedness, and joy. It helps you take a calm and relaxed approach to crazy situations, adapt to change more easily, and release anxiety. It also helps with letting go of fear, nervousness, or inflexibility.
This turned into a long list! However, you don’t need all of them for your soul to be well supported this winter. As always, I suggest starting with the oils you already have on hand and learn to connect with them in a new way before expanding your collection.
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Want to read further about the emotional nature of these essential oils? Here are a some of my favorite books to get you started:
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE WINTER SOLSTICE AND BEYOND
- Rub 1 – 2 drops of one of the aforementioned essential oils, mixed with a few drops of fractionated coconut oil or other carrier oil on your abdomen, over your heart, and on the bottoms of your feet. As part of your ritual, set an intention to bring increased light and wisdom to this season.
- Diffuse essential oils to drive out darkness and invite the light into your heart. They also create greater connection to the cycle of life. There are endless possible combinations. Below are some of my favorite winter blends to get you started!
- Take a bath or soak your feet using Epsom salt and a blend of essential oils. Right now, my family is enjoying an amazing-smelling combination of Frankincense, Myrrh, and Green Mandarin in our foot soaking salts.
- Put a couple drops of oil on your favorite diffuser jewelry to carry light-giving aroma with you wherever you go.
WHEN WINTER SEEMS BLEAK
Despite the festive holiday season, winter may be a time when you struggle to see or feel any light. The shift from autumn’s abundant harvest to winter’s bareness and hibernation can feel heavy to the soul… perhaps even oppressive. Instead of seeing or sensing rebirth and the increasing light, you may instead feel stuck in darkness, possibly experiencing melancholy, despair, lethargy, irritability, increased stress, or anxiety. Any of these can lead you to want to withdraw socially, creating a cycle of further isolation and deeper despair.
If this resonates with you, consider essential oils that will:
- Stimulate and awaken your soul to the light, such as Rosemary, Lemon, Grapefruit, Peppermint, Basil, Ginger, Melaleuca (tea tree), or Cypress.
- Build your self-worth, confidence, and desire to be in community: Frankincense, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Jasmine, Rose, Ylang Ylang, or Neroli.
How to Use Essential Oils to Combat Winter's Bleakness: Regardless of which of these methods you choose, breathe the aroma in deeply and exhale slowly.
- Apply essential oil to your feet, wrists, back of neck, belly, or over your heart after diluting with a carrier oil.
- Add one or more of these oils to an unscented natural lotion or body butter.
- Make a 10-ml roller bottle of a combination you'd like to apply regularly (for example, 3 drops Cedarwood + 2 drops Sandalwood + 2 drops Neroli + 2 drops Wild Orange + 1 drop Cinnamon + carrier oil).
- Diffuse 4 – 6 drops or make into a room spray.
Got other favorite essential oils to use during the winter season? Let me know what they are in the comments below!
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At this time of seasonal change, I'm praying that you make time to pause, be still, and reflect. To allow light to be reborn from darkness and let joy emerge from within.