Appreciating the natural world is a huge part of my spiritual practice. I love to spend time in nature, with my my toes buried in the earth, while the the warm sun shines on my skin. However, those moments are much more challenging to experience in the middle of winter. I live in a location with very harsh winters. When the seasons turn, the days grow much shorter and the world ends up buried in snow and ice. The bitter cold prevents me from spending any quality time outdoors for several months of the year, which brings an inherent sadness to my practice. Even the sunshine doesn’t feel warm in these months. However, I try to put effort into appreciating the sun nonetheless. I focus on the returning warmth and light of the sun when it returns to power. This work helps push me through the coldest, darkest months. So, how do I honor the sun when I can’t spend time outside? I’ve got a couple of go-to methods that I use during the winter:
Yoga is an exercise that is fairly new to me, but I have fallen in love with it this winter. I view Yoga as a method of prayer that is done through different positions and body movement. There are specific Sun Salutations that can be done to express gratitude to the Sun, and to connect to the light and warmth it embodies. Even a short 15 minutes doing Yoga, like the video I linked above, can help me reconnect to the energies of the world, while also working on my physical body.
In the moments when the sun is hidden, I find that I can reconnect to it and appreciate the role it plays with other fires. I have a fire pit in my yard, so when it isn’t TOO terribly cold, I will light a fire and enjoy the warmth and light that it brings. Sitting around the flame and sharing happy stories, singing, and spending time with loved ones can be a beautiful way to reconnect with the light. You could also do this with a fireplace if you have one in your home.
Watch the Sunrise
I find that a really beautiful way to honor the sun is to watch it rise over the horizon, perhaps pouring an offering or saying a word of thanks as it brings light to the world around me. Because the days are shorter, the sun rises later in the day, so I find this practice much easier to follow-through with during the winter than in the summer (I'm a night-owl at heart, so mornings are a challenge for me!).
There are also numerous crafts that can be done to honor the sun. This can be a lot of fun if you have little ones. Below are a couple of examples from different bloggers:
Sun Weaving https://nurturestore.co.uk/sun-weaving-solstice-crafts
Stained Glass Sun Catcher https://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/summer/sun-catcher.asp
Melted Crayon Sun Catcher http://morningsunrae.blogspot.com/2010/08/catching-sun.html
I hope these give you an idea of some ways that I honor the sun, even when the world is cold and snowy. If you have other suggestions on how to honor the sun during winter, I’d love to hear them. Also, if you decide to try any of these practices, send me a message to tell me how they worked for you!