A very old and mystic tradition, which is given special attention in many European countries, are the 12 holy nights around the turn of the year also called the Rauhnächte.
Rauhnächte begins on Christmas Day (December 25th) and ends with the Feast of the Apparition of the Lord (January 6th). Other periods are also celebrated such as between the winter Solstice (December 21st) and New Year’s day (January 1st).
It is a special and magical period during which time seems to stop. It’s a time when the past, present and the future become one. It is a time for rituals, conclusions and new beginnings.
For many people December is already full of traditions. From opening a new door on your advent calendar each day, to lighting candles, attending dinners and  social gatherings, it’s often a time that is so busy we miss the magic of it all.  So why not take the time between the years to turn inwards?

In preparation for the Rauhnächte it is suggested that we settle things that are unresolved.  Disagreements, unpaid invoices, returning something borrowed or anything else that requires  closure.
December 21st – Winter Solstice – marks a good day to start preparing; it’s the shortest day of the year and from here on in the days begin to get longer again.


Each of the 12 days has a different meaning and stands for a month in the coming year.


25. December – January
Is the foundation and the arrival.

26. December – February
Connect to your inner guide, to find peace and to trust. Trust that the seeds you have planted are ready to grow.

27. December – March
Is about your dreams. Connect with your heart and everything that wants to grow.

28. December – April
Release and let go of negative blocks to make space for what’s to come. Be curious, open and excited like a child.

28. December – May
Connection and friendships, as well as, some planning for the year ahead.

30. December – June
A time to clear things up, connect to the power of movement and flow of transformation.

31. December – July
Day of transitioning and preparing for what’s to come.

1. January – August
The birth of the new year. Connect with joy to all the abundance that is in your life.

2. January – September
Blessings, intuition and to look inwards.

3. January – October
Your Visions and inspirations. Notice the fruits of the seeds you have planted and plant new seeds.

4. January – November
Letting go and saying goodbye. Seeing and honouring the connecting within everything.

5. January – December
Cleansing and transformation.



Here a few suggestions for rituals you can incorporate into these 12 days:


Meditate and sit in silence to hear your inner voice
Take time to sit in stillness and notice the thoughts and feelings that arise. Pay attention to your inner voice, your heart and take note of what it tells you. What do you really want? If you struggle to tune in to your inner voice then use a beautiful mantra such as the Adi Mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo which has a lot of different meanings but one of them is that it connects us to our inner guide and wisdom.


Create a Vision Board or a year Mandala
A vision board can help to map out your dreams and desires. To create a vision board all you need is a large piece of poster board, magazines, photos, scissors and glue. To find out more read Oprah’s instructions here. Mandala’s are complex abstract designs and creating one takes a bit more artistic ability. Here’s a simple guide on creating your own Mandala. You could always just buy one of those beautiful Mandala colour books.


Journal about all and everything
Write, write, write and write. Write down your heart desires, dreams, visions, goals as well as all the abundance and blessings that are already here. Pick a quiet time to sit and write down anything that comes to your mind.


Along with your vision board, just sitting in stillness can be a great way to manifest your dreams and desires. In order to manifest the life you would like, you must be grateful for the things you have. Be grateful for the health that you have if you want to be healthier. Be grateful for the wealth you have if you want to be wealthier. Take time to sit, think and journal of everything you are grateful for.


Burn negative beliefs and blocks
To help rid yourself of negative beliefs and blocks, write them on little pieces of papers and gently sent them alight with a lighter or a match. Be mindful that you don’t burn yourself or set off your fire alarm. Be fully equipped with water, a damp towel or a fire extinguisher.


Shake it Out!
Get your favourite dance tune on and start dancing and singing along. Have fun, move your body and shake out all negativity!


Be still and rest
Schedule a day where you do nothing! Stay in bed, don’t get out of your pyjamas, meditate, cuddle up with a book, enjoy a cup of herbal tea, take naps, just take care of yourself.


Clean, your home and yourself – inside and out
Eat and drink clean, green food and juices, go to the sauna or take an extra long bath and brush your body. Get fresh air into your home and body by going out for regular walks in nature, opening windows to allow for airflow, or using an air purifier”.


One of the most known traditions during this time is smudging. Smudging is a powerful cleansing technique which uses the power of various sacred plants to drive away negative energy and to restore balance to an individual, a group, a space, or all three

All you need are herbs (see below) matches or a lighter and a bowl/dish to burn the herb in. Some herbs such as Sage are available in sticks. If you use Frankincense, it is best done using charcoal tablets.


Here are examples of herbs that you can us:


  • sage (for example white sage or garden sage) — clearing negative energy and provide protection
  • frankincense – symbol of light, ease depression and promote clairvoyance
  • cedar leaf, pine needles or fir — cleansing and purification
  • holy basil (tulsi) — purification and calming
  • rosemary — protection
  • lavender — calming
  • rose petals — meditation + calming + attracts love
  • peppermint — healing and protection



Besides the herbs you will need matches or a lighter and a bowl/dish to burn the herb in. Some herbs such as Sage are available in sticks. If you use Frankincense, it is best done using charcoal tablets.


How to smudge:

Clear the space around you and make sure to open your windows. Carefully light the herb with a lighter or a match. Allow it to smoke. Gently fan the smoke around you and your space. Turn to all 4 directions – north, east, south, west. Take as much time as you need to do this. Feel free to use a prayer. You can find more guidance on smudging here.

Rauhnächte is all about celebrating the past and preparing for the future. Incorporating some of the above rituals into your winter celebrations, will help to release stagnant energy that no longer serves you, allowing you to be more open to opportunities that may arise in the upcoming year.

If you are looking to improve your wellbeing in 2017, then why not schedule a free consultation with me to find out how health and lifestyle coaching could help.