by Marge Piercy
Looking back at our Solstice celebration, now passing into the memory of last year. But I feel a bit like a brown bear awakening slowly from a holiday hibernation, so the vibrations of our gathering are still with me. We were visiting family in the midwest on the shortest day of the year and I invited everyone to participate in celebrating the day - making simple rolled beeswax candles, thinking about our intentions for the year to come and releasing old patterns that hold us back.
I always feel a little tentative inviting extended family to celebrate seasonal holidays they might not otherwise, but I have found that most people appreciate the invitation to participate in ways that feel comfortable to them. We had a lovely moment outside releasing what holds us back to the bonfire, surrounded by our handmade Waldorf inspired lanterns and spoke aloud our intentions for the new year. Afterwards we warmed ourselves inside with Glogg, a nordic mulled wine.
It was fun to spend time during the day preparing for the celebration. Everyone loved making the candles and painting the lanterns, making everyone feel a part of the moment in a rich way.
Happy Winter Solstice!
Today is the shortest day and longest night - when we welcome back the light to the earth. Tonight my family and I will light our solstice luminaries and make a bonfire outside, spending time reflecting on the year past and our intentions for the year to come. I wrote a short little Winter Solstice Chant that I am humming to today:
Welcome the days
now growing longer,
love of light getting stronger.
With mother earth in sleepy peace,
we celebrate the year to sweet release.
Here are some other ways to honor this magical day:
:: Create a releasing ceremony
:: Spend time with yourself in the dark in meditation and quiet. Honor the unknown around you and within you. Light a candle at the end of your ritual, a symbol of our need for the sun to shine fully once again.
:: Create a fire outdoors and share warm food and drink with loved ones. Read a poem aloud together.
:: Create a bird feeder or leave out food or water for animals who must also bear the famine months.
:: Spend time thinking of how you can encourage the rebirth of spirit in your life, your family and your community*
:: Make candles or create lanterns as a symbol in your faith in the light to come.
:: Treat yourself to a yoga class honoring the Solstice - a wonderful way to be in community with others.
:: Recomit to your faith and spiritual practice, spending time in meditation asking "How do I keep my faith alive?"
:: Ring bells, light candles, sing to the sun as it sets, or just take a few minutes to walk the earth.
Those are just a few ideas and I would love to hear from others who celebrate the day.
All love, Aja
*from Ruth Barrett's Women's Rites, Women's Mysteries
Maybe its the salt water, which feels as cleansing as tears. Or maybe its just the expanse of the ocean, or the seals popping their heads out of the water like shiny sea dogs. Or the chill in the air or the light house that seems to watch over everything.
Take steps to greet the wild Self: Find the doors. Open them. And walk boldly
“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes
"I see a finely wrought chain of tempered silver,
delicate yet strong, stretching back through time,
reaching deep into the earth..
A chain of women, each listening to each,
being present to her as she waits for her self to be born,
for her feeling values to come to form and to birth.
Woman after woman after woman,
being present, as each finds her voice."
-Judith Durek, A Circle of Stones: Woman's Journey to Herself
The Full Moon is here, tomorrow August 20th in Aquarius and this may sound a little odd, but before I knew what sign this month's Full Moon would be in, I thought to myself "I hope its in Aquarius". That's because I could use some big, out-of-the-box, dream world visualization to help me show up at my best right now. Sometimes the best way to connect with our soul work is to get out of our small minds and into the bigger unviersal mind. Aquarius energy is a great support for going further afield into new and interesting realms of possibility.
I have a great Full Moon exercise that I want to share that can help you connect with opportunities and possibilities you may have thought impossible. Its called "I Would Never" and when it was taught to me, I was so excited at how such a simple question could open us up to new possibilitues while at the same time affirming the ways in which you already on the right path.
The exercise is simple, in fact, its better to think of it as a writing meditation, so find a few minutes of quiet time to be alone. Grab your journal or a piece of paper. Then guide yourself through this simple prompt:
Thinking about your life as it is now, think about things you would NEVER DO. Write them down, starting with the words "I WOULD NEVER..."
Don't edit your list and make it truthful. Think about things you would never, ever do. Much of what you write down will be affirming, meaning, you will say to yourself "That's right, I would never do that." For example, one thing on my list is "I would never leave my husband and baby daughter and run off." And that is 100% true. I would never to do. I love them dearly and am dedicated to my family. Its affirming to connect with that and feel that in my heart.
You may have nothing but affirming items. And yet! You may realize there is something on that list you were telling yourself you would never do that is in the realm of possibility and desire. Perhaps you write down "I would never quit my job" or "I would never go back to school." At first, it may feel those statements are unequivocally true. But as you connect with them, you might start to question this truth. You may ask yourself why would I never do that? Perhaps, no matter how small, something you would never do, is actually possible. It might not go onto to your "to-do" list, but it comes off the "never" list and starts to rest in the realm of possibility, which is the first step in manifesting your soul work in this world.
Granted, this is a messy exercise that may leave you with more questions than answers, but soul work isn't always easy or clean or linear. And the Full Moon in Aquarius is a perfect time to ask the big questions and get unexpected answers. In fact, sometimes the answers aren't as important as being brave enough to ask the question in the first place.