We were invited to celebrate the Winter Solstice by a friend, this year. We have never marked winter solstice with participation in any ritual, but I don't think I'd want to miss it again. It is a really beautiful way to get in touch with creation/nature and pause to think about the upcoming season and what you would like to see fill that time. Marking solstice has pagan roots (as does bringing a live tree into your living room!) but is truly an ecumenical concept. The Winter Solstice is the longest or 'darkest' night of the year. Historically it was a gathering in which people comforted one another with food and music and 'called back' the sun to give them longer days.
Whatever you believe, nature has a way of bringing that all together. I believe in God, and was able to connect this clearly with my belief system.
There were kids of every age, beautiful, seasonal decorations, and a bounty of food.
The fire was central to the celebration - remember, we were calling back the sun!
Our friend, Jane Ann, lead us in a ceremony of releasing fears and singing.
The best part of the night was the drum circle.
I really enjoyed marking the season this way. It helped me take some moments to pause, pray and as always when Jane Ann is involved - play.
After this 'longest night', the next day, the boys attended a Winter Solstice class informing them of all the attributes of the forests this time of year and take a winter hike with friends.
I learned that although the solstice marks the first day of winter, the earth has made that turn that starts bringing longer days and that means we are headed - straight for Spring! Happy Solstice, everyone.