Stories for the solstice fire

by | Jun 21, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments


How do you maintain your inner fire at winter solstice, when thunderclouds rumble through the sky and cloudbursts drench the air, bringing plummeting temperatures that set you shivering?


If you are in the northern hemisphere, you will soon be celebrating summer solstice and basking in the outer fire. In the southern hemisphere, the shortest day will soon be here, on June 22.

In the old traditions, the answer has always been to gather together, feast and celebrate the turning of the solstice sun.



Winter is the perfect season for storytelling when ancestors in many cultures have drawn close to the hearth. There, as stars glittered in the cold night sky, families told their histories. The elders would pass on tribal knowledge and ancient myths for all to absorb and learn.

Children learned the art of storytelling by listening and absorbing, then joining in when they were ready. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, eloquent storyteller and author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, says she was asked to tell her first story at five years old: ‘Come on, your turn now!’

In this digital age, it’s particularly warming to the soul when we nurture old practices that stir the senses. In the dark of winter, the imagination can flare and glow.


Celebrating with family and friends

Our extended family tradition over the years has been to hold a winter dinner followed by storytelling around the fire. We now range in age from eight to eighty years old.

In past years we began by each bringing a story about winter to tell. Then we started exploring other themes: ‘a special gift’, ‘a memorable meal’, and more recently, ‘homecoming.’

After telling our tales, we like to turn out the lights and one by one light a candle while making a wish. The children love the magic and join in eagerly, their eyes big with wonder.

The dancing flames remind us that the sun’s light will now gradually be returning and that Matariki, the Pleiades, will soon be rising higher.

This year, the second national Matariki holiday takes place on July 14th.


Your festivals

What festivities are bringing you good cheer through the storms of winter? I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to leave a comment.

I wish you rich feasting, storytelling, comfort, and warmth.

Solstice blessings, wherever you may be,



Stories are medicine. . . They have such power; they do not require that we do, be, act anything—we need only listen. The remedies for repair or reclamation of any lost psychic drive are contained in stories.

—Clarissa Pinkola Estes


You will find some great winter stories in my book Dancing with the Seasons. Look for stories on the origin of Chinese dumplings (p.111), bees in winter (p. 117) or the three golden hairs (p. 122).


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