Solstice means…standing-still-sun. In the northern hemisphere it is the shortest day of the year. In the southern hemisphere it is the longest day as this marks the summer solstice. As the Church of Rome tried to discourage the celebration of the holy days that belong to everyone at the time of the turning of the sacred wheel, the Winter solstice was overlaid with Christmas and the observance of Christmas spread throughout the globe. The Winter Solstice is the true New Year’s Eve, the passing of one year into the next. This date was changed to the 31st of December intentionally to break the foundation of faith of the ancient people and to stop their practice of following the cycles of nature and the honoring of the Earth Mother. Along the way, we lost our connection to these celebrations. Many people of different beliefs are looking to regain that connection as they know it is key to our world finding balance once again during these times of dramatic change. Even though it is the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere this can be celebrated as the completion of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. For those who have my 2013 Sabbat Celebration and Moon Cycle Ritual Book, you can also perform the ritual specifically outlined for the Summer Solstice as well.
The Winter Solstice celebrations aren’t just an invention of the ancient Europeans. Native Americans and indigenousness people all over the world celebrated the turning of seasons. These sacred holy days were tremendously important to our ancestors, as they are to me and to anyone who follows the path of a Shaman. Shamanism is not a religion; instead it is a way of life and must be practiced on a daily basis. In journeying into the spirit world, the shaman sets intention and is guided by their spirit helpers and animal allies to gather information, guidance and healing. If we are to be the guiding light in service at this time we need to have a personal understanding of our connection to everything and everyone as well as a deep relationship with the spirit world.
I have celebrated this very special time for years as it feels deeply meaningful to my soul in a mystical way, to honor the old traditions and to prepare for the coming year and all that it offers. The Druids of ancient times and the first Indian nations of America celebrated the Winter Solstice as the birth of the sun and acknowledged that this special day brought the promise of new beginnings. Many traditions of our current Christmas celebration have their origin from the Pagan tradition of Yule. Yule translates as “wheel”. The wheel is symbolic of the wheel of the year, the ever-changing, never-ending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Decorating trees, caroling, presents, Yule logs, and mistletoe have their origin several thousand years before the birth of Jesus. They were simply borrowed by the church to create the holiday of Christmas.
The earth religion also has a ‘Nativity Story’, though the three central characters are quite different than what is celebrated with the traditional Christmas holiday. The Holy Trinity is seen as Mother Nature, Father Time, and the baby Sun God. It is the birthday of the new Sun King, the Sun of the God and Goddess. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the darkest of nights, when the Goddess becomes the Great Mother and once again gives birth. On the longest night of winter, from “the dark night of our souls”, there springs a new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, and the Light of the World.
This is a night to decorate your altars with evergreens. Fill your altar with many candles all shapes and sizes green, red, white and one bayberry candle. The green represents the birth of new life that will come with the Spring Equinox and the return of the Goddess, the red represents the sun that will return at the time of the Summer Solstice. White represents purity of thought and will carry our prayer for peace, oneness and the awakening of all of mankind out to the world. On this night extinguish all the candles except the bayberry candle. (If you can’t find a Bayberry candle smply dedicate one candle to representing the source of light you are moving towards). Spend a few moments in complete darkness honoring the turning of the wheel into darkness and fill your heart with an absolute knowing that together we are moving our planet to a global awakening and all beings are being joined together. Pray for places on the earth still in darkness, pray that our world leaders make right choice for the good of all humanity. Pray that the seed we carry inside our heart will be activated with light. As you light each candle, it symbolizes new souls awakening and becoming part of the light that emanates around the planet. Think about all that you wish to create and manifest in the coming year 2014.
With the turning of the cosmic wheel we say goodbye to 2013 and to an old way of being. As we prepare for 2014, the Goddess presence is fully empowered and fertile with creative potential to give birth to our dreams and wishes. In the quiet and stillness of the winter months the seeds we plant this night through ritual and celebration will begin to germinate much as a beautiful flower lays dormant for all outside appearances and yet is gaining life with each day that passes until the Spring when it rises. The true meaning behind the Christmas tree comes from the ancient practice of bringing an evergreen tree into the home to welcome the world of faery into ones sacred space. As we prepare for 2014 The Year of the Seed of Life how perfect to honor those from the unseen world.
A beautiful and ancient ceremony that is still performed throughout the Americas and a wonderful ritual to do on this night is a ceremony shared with me from a Cherokee Elder known as a Despacho Ceremony. In a Despacho ceremony, the shaman prepares an offering of gratitude to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and the Apus (Mountain Spirits). We are given an opportunity to place prayers of gratitude or requests into the offering. These prayers are then “dispatched” to Great Spirit through the sacred smoke when the offering is burned. The ceremony begins with clearing and grounding your energy field. A wonderful opportunity to share sacred space, to clear and recharge your energy field, and offer your heartfelt gratitude for the abundance you have, or would like to have, in your life. Shamanic abundance is having what you need to fulfill your true vision, it is NOT material possessions. When you are in ayni (proper relationship) with your true vision, Pachamama will provide all that you need. Shamanic wealth comes from being in alignment with the true purpose of your life.
Prepare your Despacho bundle by writing all you are grateful for and what you would like to bring into your life on a beautiful piece of paper. At the end write the words…. SO BE IT AND SO IT IS. Scroll the paper towards you symbolizing receiving these gifts from the universe. In a piece of wrapping paper you will prepare your bundle with the offering of corn meal to acknowledge Mother Earth, Tobacco to acknowledge the ancestors who walk with us, sunflower seeds to acknowledge Father Sun that brings life and power to your journey, herbs or dried flowers to honor the faery folk, Candies such as M and M’s or skittles to acknowledge the child and finally sage to cleanse and purify your offering as you ask for protection on your journey. Place your scroll of intentions and words of gratitude in the bundle upon the offerings. Tie the ends of your bundle; it will look like a tootsie roll or firecracker. Prepare a sacred fire. Hold the Despacho bundle over your heart and send love. Burn the bundle in the sacred fire and give thanks.
Take the time to listen to your knowing heart.
May 2014 bring you the fulfillment of your dreams and wishes and may you remember the true purpose of your earth walk. Thank you for weaving the web with me to illuminate our world, to share the magick and to be the change.
For those who may wish to schedule a soul life reading for clarity and guidance I am seeing clients in Southern California January 17th to the 21st and will be available for phone or skype sessions the end of January and beginning of March. Please contact Guy at [email protected] to schedule an appointment.
Love and celestial light from Mount Shasta,
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