Saturday, December 21, 2013

A blessed Solstice to you all!

"Solstice represents hope and regeneration. Out of the longest night, a new day is born. The deepest darkness gives birth to light. Tonight, we can draw on that tide of energy and weave some magic for the transformation.

Some of you may already be on your way to join in ceremonies at Mayan temples or jungle retreats. Others may be dusting off your altars, or looking for a ritual to join.

But maybe some of you don’t have a spiritual community. Perhaps you are feeling that you want to do something, and yet don’t know what it might be. Here’s some ideas, and any time over the next few days, between the 20th and 23rd, is a good time to do them.

Solstice can be a time for personal work, for letting go of inner pain, regrets, mistakes, blocks. Fire and water can both be good tools for doing this. Stir some salt into a bowl of water. Sit with it, and let the painful feeling arise, and as they do, breathe them into the water, stirring counterclockwise. When you feel the wave of emotion has passed, sit for a moment and allow yourself to believe that change is possible. Imagine it as a spark of light, that begins to grow as you stir clockwise. You can sing or chant or breathe to raise the energy. When you feel the bowl is glowing, take a small sip and consciously take back the transformed energy. Look back at some of the situations that have been painful and imagine how you might do them differently.

If you have a fireplace or woodstove or a way to make a fire outside, you can do a similar cleansing with fire. Sit by the unlit fire, draw or write your regrets on paper, then light the fire and let them burn up in the flames.

Solstice is also a time to honor the cycles, the seasons and the elements. You don’t have to be at an ancient pyramid to watch the sunset or to gather with friends at dawn and sing up the morning sun.

And Solstice is a time for connection, with friends, family, children and community. Gather with friends and create a feast, and take time for each person to name their hopes for the new era as you raise a glass or pour a libation, and to commit to something they will do to help midwife it into birth. At my house, we like to bake bread, kneading in our dreams and visions. The rising dough is like the swelling belly of the Great Mother, pregnant with the New Year Child. At dawn, the bread is ready, and we bring it up to the hill, still warm, to eat as the sun rises.

And Solstice is a time for magic—for linking our intentions with symbols and images that channel energy to bring them about. Symbolically, the Great Mother goes into labor tonight, to bring forth the Child of Light, the new sun, the new era, the new day. We support her efforts with our gatherings, our chants, our songs, our ceremonies, and the real work we each do, our own labors toward the Great Turning.

Change always requires sacrifice—letting go of something, if only our old, destructive ways of being. But every loss, every emptiness, opens the way for something new to be born. In darkness, the seed takes root and the new sprout
pushes toward the light. In the dark of the womb, the spark of life is kindled. Out of the longest night, the new day is born.

So let this Solstice be a time when we all put our intention toward the change, and draw forth the strength, the courage and the determination to bring that new world into being. A world where we know that we are not separate, but connected, not the masters of the world, but nature’s children, her partners and healers, where the currency we strive for is not money or power, but love. We are creative, magical, radiant beings, and when we link our hearts, our vision and our actions together, as the Wheel of the Year turns, we can indeed turn the world around.

A blessed Solstice to you all!"

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

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