Day 9 – 12 Days til Solstice – I Gift You a Meaningful Soulstice Celebration Template.

by on December 17, 2016

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Winter Solstice is Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 2:44 am PST.  Some cultures celebrate solstice the evening before. Others stay awake all night  to welcome the light returning.  You could choose to have a solstice celebration with family and friends Tuesday evening, or since the energy is present for days before and after, it might be more convenient to celebrate this weekend.

Today I’m going to gift you with a detailed template that I have used that make Solstice such a special celebration for me. 

If you’ve been selecting ideas from my blogs,  you are all ready to host a celebration.  You have created your own joyful, fun, lively playful, celebrations that fill you with a sense of well-being and rightness with the world.  You have increase your awareness of your relationship with nature and reached out to others. You are familiar with the traditional herbs and greenery and their meanings  You have concocted goodies and scents that recall the wonder of the season.  You have decorated, perhaps creating your own special Solstice symbolic items.  Or you may wish to make them during your solstice gathering and have your guest take pleasure in the process.

Here are some more ideas for your solstice celebration.

First, consider what your purpose for the celebration is. It might be to:

  • Strengthen your family or community
  • Attune to natures cycles,
  • Attune your guests to connection with  and honouring all life on earth
  • Connect with the ancestors as this is a time associated with the end of life.
  • Celebrate cultural heritages
  • Educate about solstice
  • Deepen the understanding about spiritual renewal and love Solstice brings
  • Have fun

If you decide to make it more than just a festive gathering, you can make the ceremonial part of the celebration appropriate for the age and attention span of your guests with a short under 5 minute activity or make it longer and include several solstice inspired activities I’ve included based on celebrations I’ve hosted.  You may want to include them after you have had some of the solstice food has been enjoyed, or intersperse them throughout the evening, depending on your guests and their energetic awareness.

 

Introduction.

You can make some introductory remarks to set the scene and tone of your celebration. For example explain that by honouring the natural world we honour ourselves for we are each a mini universe or microcosm of the cosmos we live in.

Mention that solstice means sun stands still, it is the shortest day of the year when the sun is furthest away and the light most remote.  It has been celebrated for as long as human memory exists.  Celebrations included rest and relaxation, not doing, connections with friends and nature, contemplation, prayers for protection of winter crops, honouring deities, merry marking and fun. You may want to add:

This is the season when we can choose to learn:

  • from nature, how to honour the darkness of lifes mysteries
  • how to recognize the seeds of growth and nurture them with our own inner wisdom until the light returns full strength
  • to revere old age which has brought wisdom, understanding and closure and to face our own old age with serenity, faith and power
  • to focus on creating health, peace, joy, good relationships, abundance and other desires by entering the darkness of the void of creation

It is the time when we come to the end of a project, a season or of this earthwalk with :

  • true insight, love and compassion
  • with the ability to share this knowledge

It is an honored part of the annual cycle because it represents

  • completion
  • joy in endings and yet unknown beginnings
  • courage in the face of universal mystery and closure
  • it combines incredible joy and incredible somberness
  • it is a sacred season

Light and Sound.

The winter solstice can be a time of ceremony honouring both darkness and light, a natural peaceful progression.   Use both light and sound for meaningful activities.

Candle lighting

You can create a special moment by creating a solstice wreath using a circle of 13 candles, a dozen white and one bright yellow or golden candle.  If you don’t have that many people, have a candle for each person present.

  • Extinguish the lights
  • Stand in the darkness for a few moments and contemplate the reduction in daylight at this time of year , the importance of the Sun to life on the planet and the symbology of light as an indicator of renewal.
  • As host you can light the yellow candle in blessing of renewal and rejuvenation for the guests  tribute to the returning sun, to hope, to life, to the wisdom and silence of winter and to growing and manifesting good things.
  • Have each person at your celebration light one of the white candles from the gold candle making a statement of gratitude for something in 2016 , saying something about the significance of solstice for them, the return of light to the world or a wish.
  • Have people take a few moments to breathe in the energy of what they want to create for 2017.   The candles can be extinguished as you state “the light of renewal remains in our hearts”
  • You may wish to sing “We wish you a merry solstice” or continue with another activity such as ringing the bells

Bell Ringing

Ask your guest to bring bells

Gather together in a circle. Describe how bells have been rung in connection with many kings of celebrations to ring out the old year and ring in the new.  There are two ways to celebrate with the bells

1/Ring the bells in the direction of

  • the sky to connect with the universe and Source, however you conceive it.
  • the earth to honour the planet and mother nature
  • the centre to honour within, and divine unity with everything

2/Ring all the bells together to celebrate

  • first as the guests connection with each other as a group whose positive energy  and life force can make a difference
  • second to celebrate their connection with the cycles of nature
  • a third time to celebrate their connection to the planet earth and the universe
  • Then each guest speaks a vision or wish for the planet for the coming year.  After each one speaks all ring their bells together to affirm that vision/wish

After all have shared the ceremony ends as the group calls out “Happy Solstice” and rings the bells.

Light the Yule log

Traditionally  in many parts of Europe, Solstice celebrations included lighting a huge bonfire to lure the sun back to the earth , perhaps in the hope that Grandfather Sun would be happier among heat and light.

The tradition evolved into creating an oak  Yule log decorated with burnable ribbons and dried holly leaves. You can check out the how to video here. Set the log over dried kindling and burnt until small chunks are left. These wood chunks are saved and used to start the next years Yule fire. As everyone gathers to watch the Yule log being lit, you can explain that the Oak represents the waxing solar year, winter solstice to summer solstice and the holly represent the waning solar year, summer solstice to winter.

  • Turn off the lights and ask the group to quietly contemplate the change in the solar year and what the past year has meant to them.
  • Once the fire is burning ask each guest to throw a piece of dried holly into the fire and say farewell to the old year. If they want they can call out something they are  thankful and appreciative  for or an old habit they wish to banish.
  • When the song is done, have each guest throw in an acorn or twig to represent the year ahead . They can call out an intention for the new year
  • Then sing a song such as “Deck the Halls” since it refers to the solstice, the old year passing and the Yule log.
  • When the song is done, have each guest throw in an acorn or twig to represent the year ahead . They can call out an intention for the new year
  • Depending on the group, if it resonates, offer each guest a piece of the burned Yule log to start their own fire the next year.

Gift Exchange.

If you wish to exchange solstice gifts you may wish to consider items like:

  • crystals, pretty rocks, shells, candles, bells, candy
  • cards indicating a symbolic donation to an animal group or charity that gives supplies that help people start a project to sustain their family or community.   You could give a goat to a family in Africa, or donate to a local crowdsource project.
  • coupons for your services like shoveling snow, pulling weeds, cooking a meal, driving a child or senior to an activity to give the parent an opportunity to do some other activity or rest, or their choice of some activity with you.

You could ask people to include an extra gift.  You could designate a specific  group to receive the gifts

  • Many seniors groups have programs whereby a senior who would be alone on christmas puts a wish for a gift on a card and you pick a card and purchase the gift.  It is given to the senior on your behalf.
  • Give an uncommon item for the food bank that people would have as a treat.
  • Shopping centres often have toy drives where you give an unwrapped toy which will be given to a community organization for a child who might not otherwise get a christmas present.
  • Some of the guests could give you the gift of dropping of toys, food items and seniors gifts, if you do not choose to designate a specific group.

You can close this activity by sharing your appreciation for the unique gifts of each person and what special thing they bring to your life. 

Closing

It makes the soulstice ceremony more special if you have an activity to close so people return to the celebratory fun in a renewed way. Depending on the guests you can modify it slightly to refer to energy or just to share the returning light and love it brings.  You can mention the following during the exchange

You can bring the ceremony to a close by having people sit or stand in a circle close enough to reach out for the others hands.  You can begin by taking the hand of the person on your right, looking at them in the eye and saying with meaning their name,  “Jane, I want to share my energy with you( or the returning light and love) and to wish you (whatever).  Jane takes her hand and says Thank You.  Jane then turns to the person on her right and says “Bob”I want to share my energy with you( or the returning light and love) and to wish you (whatever). He says thank you and the process continues.

At some point depending on the group, you can say “If you hold hands gently enough and offer your positive energy to this circle, , we will feel the energy travelling from one person to the other, from one hand to the other, as each persona energy joins forces with the next, and together we create a powerful good.

At the end say “Let us take a moment to enjoy this sense of mutual energy, love and togetherness.   (Silence)  If you choose close your eyes now and send that energy out to create a world of health joy and peace for all.  Take a moment to envision or sense the world at peace”

 

Deck the Halls

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la!
Don we now our gay apparel, Fa la la la la la la la!
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol, Fa la la la la la la la!

See the blazing yule before us, Fa la la la la la la la!
Strike the harp and join the chorus, Fa la la la la la la la!

Follow me in merry measure, Fa la la la la la la la!
While I tell of Yuletide treasure, Fa la la la la la la la!

Fast away the old year passes, Fa la la la la la la la!
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses, Fa la la la la la la la!
Sing we joyous all together! Fa la la la la la la la!
Heedless of the wind and weather, Fa la la la la la la la!

 Image by Valter  Grivins Flickr Creative Commons

 

 

 

 

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