Winter solstice and a new moon

This one is for Danielle.

21st December is Winter Solstice – and also a new moon night.

It’s the shortest day of the year, and there will be no moonlight. It feels like a blank canvas, and a perfect time to celebrate new year. To make resolutions, to look ahead to lengthening days, more daylight, more night-light, and a new lunar month.

I believe in the power of intent so much that last year, scared by what I’d ‘achieved’ in 2013, I deliberately didn’t make any new year’s resolutions. I just wanted a nice quiet year, to be in the flow, to pootle along happily and not work too hard.

Ha ha!

Y’all are probably sick of me going on about all the cool things ideas we’ve had together and the plates I’m spinning right now to get these ideas off the ground. Safe to say this year has been anything but ‘pootling along’. And next year is gonna be even more crazy-good.

How, then, when you’re full of ideas and intent and passion and drive, do you set resolutions? How do you approach the blank canvas of Winter Solstice and the exciting potential of a new moon when you’re already completely filled to the brim with a joyfully overwhelming amount of *stuff to do*?

Here’s a new year tarot spread that’s not about generating ‘goals’ or ‘to-dos’ – but about figuring out the approach you want to take to your to-do list or resolutions. It’s about understanding how you want to move forwards, rather than the direction. It assumes you already know the road you want to take, and are now deciding what shoes to wear, what to put in your backpack.

It’s a blend of two spreads already published on this blog – the Dark Moon Tarot Spread, and my own New Year Tarot Spread (which I’m using with plenty of my clients at the moment!) I wanted to incorporate the gratitude of giving and receiving in the Dark Moon spread, alongside the more personal focus and ‘secret powers’ of the New Year spread.

Winter Solstice/New Moon Tarot Spread


Here are the card positions. To make a more in-depth spread, you can simply draw two cards for each position.

1. Where you stand

You, now, and the energy around you,

2. Something to leave behind

You won’t be needing this any more.

3. Something to receive

Look for the opportunity to accept this gift from outside yourself – another person, the Universe…

4. Something to learn

The past lunar month (or year) has taught you this.

5. Something to give

Offer this to the world as you go.

6. Your hopes and dreams

The spirit in which you are stepping forward into the next phase.

7. Your secret special skill

A resource to help you on your journey.

I’ll be reading with this spread on Sunday, to celebrate the Winter Solstice new moon. I’ll be in Lincolnshire with Emma’s family and I don’t know if we’ll have time for a ‘proper’ Solstice celebration, but there is always room for a little tarot 🙂

What about you? Do you have your own Winter Solstice ritual? How will you celebrate the lengthening of the days and the brightening of the nights on the 21st December?

The-Elements-of-the-Year-SM-littleredtarot.comInterested in the wheel of the year?

My hand-drawn Elements of the Year poster shows each of the eight sabbats, with corresponding elements and tarot suits, with thoughts and ideas about the internal and external shifts taking place as we move through the seasons.

Buy here


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  1. SatMiter says:

    I’m going to take part in a solstice-sadhana at five o’clock in the morning – this is a pretty big thing for me because I’ve put it off for years. I love the new moons and full moons and would like to celebrate them more often in company, but what am I to do, people in Finland aren’t that into social gatherings :). So it’s just me and the cats!
    You must be over the moon to get your love home <3

    • Beth says:

      Wow SatMiter – that sounds wonderful. Good for you doing it on your own regardless – I’ve never really managed to do yoga alone, I admire those who can. What a grounding-yet-also-spiritual way to greet the new year and lunar month.

      Also – the day must be SO short all the way up there in Finland! How much daylight will you actually have tomorrow?

      • SatMiter says:

        I didn’t write too clearly 🙂 – there were maybe ten of us at yoga in the morning but as for the new moon spells and such – had to do those alone. I live in the southern part, so we have almost a 6h day, but for example in southern parts of Lapland where we have a cottage it’s under 3h long…

  2. Bobby says:

    Of course here it is the Summer Solstice, but the New Moon energy is very appropriate for me. I am so attuned to the workings of the moon, being mostly water… 🙂

    I remember the first upside down summer/winter solstice here, 9 years ago…. standing out in the valley and just calling on the Universe to guide me and hold me up. She didn’t fail me…. trying times but these are when we ask, and with asking comes gratitude. So at Solstice times I celebrate everything wonderful of the season, and above all I feel gratitude, because it truly is the most power magic that we earthlings possess. Also I love it when the earth turns on its axis and we are heading backl towards the darker nights, because me, I am a winter moon child!!

    Em does look beautiful and I am so happy that you are back together in person, have a fabuous time away and reunion and thank you for being Beth xoxo Bobby

    • Beth says:

      A winter child – of course! Thank you for being Bobby xxxxxx

      And thank you for the reminder to practice gratitude Bobby. It’s so easy to be caught up in the moment, the past, plans for the future…and forget to be grateful for what we have in our hands *right now*

  3. Celia says:

    I’ll be on a plane to Argentina, so I don’t know what I’ll be doing yet! I’d love to find a way to celebrate going from the winter solstice to the summer solstice though.

    I’ll definitely do this spread in the morning before I leave to the airport, though. I’ve really found all of your moon-related spreads to be wonderful!

  4. Elisabeth says:

    I’m really glad you posted this. I haven’t celebrated the holidays yet, even though I really actually love to. Those around me never do, which makes me sad! Also, thanks to SatMiter for the reminder that it is beyond acceptable to do stuff on your own. Something I often seem to need reminding of. This spread is an awesome thing I can do to reflect and celebrate. This is such a magical time!
    Congratulations on being reunited! My best wishes to you both!

  5. Potter says:

    I cleaned my room (but not my desk, oh my) for the Solstice yesterday afternoon, then did your spread this morning while it was still dark. I used it to focus on some spiritual questions, which is incredibly new to me, at least in the context of reading for myself. I’m pretty sure this is one of the most positive personal readings I’ve ever had; it’s a little mind boggling!

    • Elisabeth says:

      Sounds really interesting! I’d love to see it if you’d like to share. Posting mine at the Tarot School group over at Autostraddle. Thanks again Beth for this wonderful spread!

      • Potter says:

        I was able to start some initial quick notes, but I had to get to work. I hope to do a full write up and post it to my tumblr tonight after I get home. I’ll share it then! 🙂

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