Nature Transmissions

Fire Rituals for Winter Solstice

mythic imaginal nature rituals seasons Dec 14, 2023
fire rituals to celebrate winter solstcie through nature connections and intuition

Fire symbolizes humanity’s separation from the wilderness and from the divine.

As far as we know, primordial humans lived in darkness until they discovered how to harness fire only a million years ago. Each night as the sun descended, your ancestors, homo habilis, headed to their den to form a hairy cuddle puddle of warmth against the cold. They could see nothing beyond the mouth of the cave on new moon nights, trembling with anticipation of predators with better night vision who might find them easy prey.

Yet, they understood in a way we can barely comprehend in our modern world their interdependence and connection to all beings in existence.

There are myths all over the world about fire being stolen by or for humans. In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity. The San peoples of South Africa tell of how the folk hero Cagan stole fire from the ostrich to give to humans. Various Native American tribes tell the stories of how fire was stolen and given to humans by Coyote, Beaver, Dog, Grandmother Spider, Opossum, Crow, Rabbit and more. In Australia, India, Georgia, Polynesia, New Zealand and more, indigenous tales of fire being stolen for humans are prevalent.

Since ancient times, fire was believed to be stolen, not gifted to humans. Cultures considered fire helpful but harmful because, as in the story of Prometheus, once humans had fire, they envisioned themselves to be as powerful as the gods.

Once we had control over fire, we were able to leave the dark cave, leave the warm bodies, leave the forest and venture to all corners of the world. We then had the power to heat ourselves, light our way, cook our food, burn away obstacles, scare away predators and much more.

When we stole fire, we stole the power to build civilizations. We became separate from the wilderness.

On a stormy winter day with those big fat snowflakes glistening across the sky, I love to slide my chair up to the hearth and stay inside, reading a book in my pajamas and drinking hot tea and soup I cooked on my stove. I can avoid the weather all together if I want to. It doesn’t affect me more than my mood. Thanks, fire.

When the earth is tilted away from the sun, and we are in the dark and cold. The sun, our fiery star, is farther from us and our reliance on fire is more apparent. And so at this time, we honor and give thanks to fire for its gift.

Throughout time Winter Solstice rituals have revolved around fire because we are ritualizing the act of calling the sun back, calling the great fire back. And always, when we gather around fire, we are calling back our connection to the wilderness and the divine.

We are also acknowledging that though we can harness fire, we don’t actually control fire. Fire has its own spirit. It can go wild and burn down an entire forest or refuse to ignite when we need it most. It is far from within our control and yet we are wholly dependent on it. For this reason, as well, we are grateful and respectful of fire.

Here are fire rituals you can use for winter solstice:

  1. Build a bonfire and circle around with loved ones. Sing, drum, dance and tell stories. Imagine you are calling back the fire. When we circle around a fire, we are ritualizing a return to that time before our separation from the wilderness. We are calling for a return to our wild souls.
  2. Light a candle at sunset on winter solstice and let it burn until sunrise, as if you are holding vigil for the light in the darkness. Think of your ancestors who had no fire at all. Honor that the winter brings us back to our origins of darkness, mystery and connection.
  3. Burn stuff. Write down everything you need to burn away—war, racism, hatred, fear, anger, etc.—and burn it however you please. Set the intention to let it go and watch it transform to ash. Bury the ash in a planter to give your green friend a splash of potassium. Whisper your intentions for new growth—love, peace, joy, abundance.
  4. Sweat it out. There may or may not be a fire in your sauna, but it still counts as a fire ritual. Whether you sweat in hot springs, a bathtub, a temeszal, a wet or dry sauna, whatever, set the intention to release all the energy of the past year from your body. Embrace the heat and feel the tension, stress, karma, et al, spill out of you and return to the earth (or tile floor) until you feel cleansed.
  5. Join me for a fire ritual in the astral realms on December 20th from 6-8pm MT as we celebrate Winter Solstice. Register here.


These bimonthly letters include magical insights and radiant rituals to draw you ever closer to the healing delights of the natural world.

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