How do you honor the Winter?

Personally, I tend to grumble and wish it away. Which, I admit, is not very respectful.

So I talked to my Shaman. I said, hey Tommy! What can we do to make this the most beautiful, inspiring, and healing Winter we’ve yet to see? Or, without any expectation of a given outcome, what can we do to really make Winter feel loved and respected? So that it might smile upon us.

And wouldn’t you guess it? He said  “Join me for this celebration of the Winter Solstice.”

Go on……

“Winter Solstice 2013 is the celebration of the return of light for all traditional people of every continent. This year, December 21st at 5:11 pm will mark the exact time of this natural celestial event. Dec. 21 is the shortest day of the year and it marks the end of a cycle.

From this point on the days grow longer until the summer solstice in June. Traditionally people celebrate the winter solstice with a spirit of both thanksgiving and reflection. We thank the universe for allowing us to celebrate once more, and we reflect on how we have lived this past cycle. Have we been true to ourselves? are we committed to our life mission? Do we need to end negative patterns? How do we vision ourselves at the 2014 solstice?”

Hey, what about everyone else who can’t make the fabulous trip to Staten Island? Isn’t there a way that we can all celebrate together, globally?

Oh, they can hold their own ceremonies? What a great idea! Where do we start?

“At my ceremonies on this day, I use a fire as the focal point. If one can not gather around a fire, then a candle may suffice.”

Interesting. Why fire in the Winter

“The fire is an element that helps us to transform as well as to solidify our intentions. The element of fire exists in every one of us. It is a manifestation of the sun’s energy.”

I see! So it’s kind of an out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new sort of thing. ‘Gone away is the blue bird,’ and all that. So what comes next?

“During the ceremony I ask all participants to write down on paper something they want to change within their lives. Each person kneels before the fire and throws the paper into the fire in a reverent way. On the second round I ask each person to write down a prayer request for themselves or for someone in their life circle. the last round is a planetary petition. Once all prayers are submitted, we then begin to play the drums and rattles. For those without drums a rattle will do.”

Sounds like a very powerful invocation of change. Will you have any other guests chanting, playing music, or speaking?

“Since the Winter Solstice is dominated by feminine energy, this year the ladies will lead a prayer and perform the Lakota Butterfly Dance. I encourage women everywhere to create a ritual based on women’s needs.” 

Why are the lady-vibes so important this time?

“This is an energetically feminine time of year. Furthermore, we are at the beginning of a 500 year cycle dominated by female energy. For the last 500 years we’ve seen how masculine energy handled being in the driver’s seat; wars and destruction. The next 500 years should be quite different.”

How does the ceremony continue from there?

“Food is an important element at every ceremony, no traditional ceremony is without it. I always ask every participant to bring something since giving first before receiving is universal law. The food is prayed over and a feast is enjoyed. In the northeast since its cold, we serve hot tea and coffee to keep everybody comfortably warm. Fresh juice or spring water is always served, as well, for those of use who don’t drink either coffee or tea.

Does it end with the feast? Or is there something to close out our intentions?”

“Finally a small  evergreen tree in a pot is presented and will stay with the oldest participant until the Spring Equinox when it is planted. Evergreen is the only tree used because it stays green all year long, representing both continuity and life. On behalf of the traditional elders I beg everyone to acknowledge this day and time in some way. Our world, our human race needs us at this time of great change. The need to revitalize the old ways in a new light has never been more needed. When we acknowledge the natural cycles, we will notice that our own lives will come into balance. We will become the natural, free beings that the universe intended us to be. We will realize together that we are One Awesome Spirit.”

OK, Count Me In!

So, to recap for everyone playing at home:

December 21st, 2013, 5pm

357 Mill Road, Staten Island NY

Offerings of food are appreciated

Dress comfortably, and warm.

We will be outside, so bring a folding chair and blanket!

If you’re interested in holding your own ceremony, anywhere in the universe, please let us know! I will be posting a concise version of Tommy’s suggested ritual for you to follow along, and we can share photos or videos to use these internets for Good.

I look forward to dancing with you on the edge of the Seasons.