Happy Solstice to All!
If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, today marks the darkest of days, the longest of nights. The Winter Solstice reminds us that Darkness is our creator, not something to fear or fight. Everything was born from darkness, and one day we will all return to its void. I like to think of the Winter Solstice as the point at which the Sun, who gives and gives and gives to us earthlings on the reg, is nearing burnout. Darkness, seeing this, invites the Sun to take a rest in their arms to restore the Sun's energy. While the earthlings might initially FREAK at the lack of sunlight, they are reminded that they, too, carry a light inside and decide to celebrate the Sun for taking a much needed rest after offering so generously its life-giving force to the planet. As the earthlings accept that they must find their own light, and give thanks to the Sun for it's power, a miracle happens...the Sun returns!
This telling of the Solstice story offers two truths. One, we all need to rest! Two, miracles happen when we accept that even if they don't or can't or won't, we will be okay. A miracle here refers to something wonderful that occurs against all odds and reason. I am moved by this idea of resting in the way things are currently, and asking for a miracle to happen even if we think it's impossible. Right now, there are so many unknowns and too many injustices to count on one hand. I pray for the miracle of a free Palestine (+ planet!), I pray for the miracle of our taxpayer dollars being spent on the health of our own citizens, I pray for the miracle of a collective shift in caring for our earth.
On this darkest of nights, it is so important to find your people and work some miracles. I love the image that emerged at our Community Solstice Celebration, where one by one we got to walk the spiral, light our candle, and lay it back on the pine to illuminate the path for others. The more we take steps towards finding our own light, the brighter the way becomes for others to do the same!
A Solstice tradition that we've been sharing with our youth programs, and one I've personally been LOVING for the past several years, is something called a Dream Incubation Ritual. I first learned about this from the book, "Circle Round" by Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Annie Hill. This is a special time to have a sleepover party with your friends or family, conjure some water spirits, and invite the darkness to offer you vivid dreams and messages from realms unseen.
You Will Need:
A Bowl (preferably clear glass)
Pens, markers, paper, a journal
Water from natural sources
Cozy clothes and anything to help get you in sleepover mode (warm beverages, snacks, songs)
Place the bowl in the center of the room and start by sitting in a circle around the bowl.
Work together to write a spell to conjure the water spirits! Here is an example:
Water spirits, we thank you.
Show us a vision, show us what is true.
Flow into our hearts, ebb into our souls.
Show us a dream to make us whole.
Share that all water on this planet comes from a great water spirit, and as it flows from ocean to river to creek to lake and even into our plumbing systems to come out of our sinks and showers, it multiplies into many unique and wonderful water spirits. Ask each person to think about where their water came from and then one by one, take a turn pouring their water into the bowl and sharing the vibe of their water spirit (i.e. "this water is a stream who's bubbly and remembers worlds unseen").
Once the bowl is full, charge the bowl with your magic by chanting the spell you wrote together.
Next go around and ask the water spirits a question you want to receive a vision around. Encourage the questions to be more what/how-oriented and not should-oriented. For example, instead of asking "should I switch schools?" you could ask "what will it be like if I switch schools?" Remember that water does not deal in the realm of logic and reason, and the visions we'll receive will most likely not be step by step instructions! The water spirits will offer us bright colors, feelings, sensations, and images. Each person can dip a part of their hand in the water when they ask their question, then put the water on their heart to anoint themselves if they like!
Now it's time to sleep! Set up pillows in a circle around the water bowl so each person has their head facing the bowl. Go to sleep holding your question in mind and heart, and relaxed in your body, open to receiving the visions from your water spirit friends. Make sure everyone has their journal, paper, and markers next to them before they fall asleep!
As soon as you wake up, write or draw what came to you in your dreams. Share what messages you received as you enjoy a warm beverage and watch the sun rise once more!