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  • Winter Solstice/Yule

    (Not to be confused with airmist's Winter Solstice Suggestions thread.)

    So, what are people scheming for the Winter Solstice (or, as I like to say when I'm feeling particularly pretentious, the Hibernal Solstice)? Ritual plans? Family gatherings? Special holiday magic of that special Pantheist sort?

    Share it here!
    If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
    helps you feel your life protects you,
    cradles you and connects you to everything.
    Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

  • #2
    I'll start, shall I?

    I am sooooo stoked. My wife not only agreed to my slumber party ritual, she's excited about it!

    One thing that bothers me about Winter Solstice rituals that I've been to before is that they never give the dark its due. The ritual focuses on "the light is coming back" and "the light is triumphing over the dark" and doesn't acknowledge that, for today and tonight, the dark is still kicking the light's butt. Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, not just "the night before the amount of daylight starts getting longer."

    I wanted a ritual that would honor and celebrate the darkness, as well as welcome back the light. I got the idea for a slumber party ritual. We will be awake from sunset until sunrise. There will be traditional slumber party activities, like popcorn and movies and gossip, and there will be traditional ritual activities, like divination and spellwork, honoring and working with the power of darkness. At sunrise we'll go out into the yard (or to one of the places where local Pagans gather every year for such things) and sing up the sun. Then we'll collapse in our beds and sleep for the rest of the weekend.

    I may need to buy special pajamas for this.
    If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
    helps you feel your life protects you,
    cradles you and connects you to everything.
    Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not sure I belong here but by an emotional definition I am inclined, so here's what I'm thinking. I'd like to greet the sun but need to decide whether I'll stay up all night or not. I like the idea of acknowledging the darkness, the longest night of the year and all. It's just what I do that I'm really not sure about. Maybe I can structure some art work or art exercises. Maybe some black and white work :D Windsmith you mention spell work, is this usual working or will you have work specific to the darkness? And if you don't mind me asking, what work might this be? I guess I could do some surfing and find darkness associations and correspondences, and see what gets triggered there. I don't know. I don't expect a book or anything, but I'd love to hear some ideas for ritual of some sort.
      The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
      --Bill Watterson

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by RavenStars View Post
        I'm not sure I belong here but by an emotional definition I am inclined
        Hey, good enough for me - if you feel you belong here, then chances are good that you do!

        Originally posted by RavenStars
        I'd like to greet the sun but need to decide whether I'll stay up all night or not.
        Staying up all night is by no means a requirement. Here in my area there's a group that's been singing up the sun every year for over a decade. They gather on one of the bridges over the Mississippi just before sunrise and sing their hearts out. It's a beautiful, effective, and magical beginning to the day. And every last one of them gets their normal amount of sleep the night before.

        Maybe some black and white work :D
        You might be interested in a recipe that cheddarsox posted in our Autumnal Equinox thread for Black and White cookies. I don't know if you're into kitchen witchery at all, but that right there is some fun - and tasty - black and white work.

        Windsmith you mention spell work, is this usual working or will you have work specific to the darkness? And if you don't mind me asking, what work might this be?
        Wow. I'm flattered that you think enough of me to think I have it that well planned out! What we do will depend on a lot of factors: what's come up in our lives recently that needs dealing with; our general mood; our specific intent for the ritual. My wife and I are usually improvisational magicians; other than a general idea like "make a talisman" or "write something down and then burn it," we don't plan spell work in advance. I do anticipate working the darkness into the spell in some way, if only in terms of carrying the lessons of the dark time of the year forward with us as the sun returns. Exactly how we'll do that is entirely up in the air - especially in a ritual that's going to last all night.

        Originally posted by RavenStars
        I don't expect a book or anything, but I'd love to hear some ideas for ritual of some sort.
        That's a big part of what these threads are about: gathering these ideas together so we have a free-form "book" of sorts to draw from in the future.
        If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
        helps you feel your life protects you,
        cradles you and connects you to everything.
        Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

        Comment


        • #5
          winter Solstice is one of my most favorite Holy Days...but the job I am working is totally wreaking chaos on my plans...10 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week till Christmas...sigh

          So whether or not I'll be able to do much...I don't know. But here's what I've done in other years

          Solstice walk

          I created a number of "stations" around the property lit by candles, each featured a different type of greenery, and some characteristics of them. It was a meditative walk...to carry a candle, go from station to station, read the characteristics and think about how we are like that greenery.

          Labyrinth with similar stations for indoor and smaller properties. A very nice labyrinth can be made on a floor or carpet with masking tape.

          A gathering to make gingerbread Solstice lanterns. Like gingerbread houses, but no roof, and with cut outs in the walls. Yes, a candle can be burned in them and they are totally beautiful surrounded by holiday greenery.

          A gathering to make greenery candle holders. Begin with a trip to the thrift shop...buy some glass bowls, or whatever...go to the craft or floral store and buy "Oasis" water holding foam. Gather greens. Let everyone create their own arrangement in their bowl, mug, whatever...and give everyone a tall candle for their arrangement.

          ritual which included sitting on the ground in the dark and cold with just a candle, thinking about the aspects of life on this planet. Think about the importance of the sun. ( I do a reading about it)Then, blowing out the candle and sitting in the dark for 12 minutes (the amount of time it takes for the sunlight to travel from sun to earth) Then lighting a candle, and passing a bowl of warm wassail ( I make some kick ass wassail) around the circle for everyone to drink from if they are willing to commit to another trip around the sun.

          Another ritual is to get a bunch of canning jars (thrift shop again) and some metallic wrapping paper and cut out shapes and make solstice lanterns. Put a candle stuck in clay or firmly in aluminum foil in each lantern. Have a procession to the fire pit (or fireplace, or grill, or what have you) and when you get there, do a reading or story about the solstice...and what community means in this cold, dark time of year, how we huddle together and depend on one another. A story I like for this is "The Mitten", about a bunch of animals that crawl inside a mitten for warmth.

          We also sing Solstice Carols...like "This little light of mine" Solstice version

          this little light of mine...I'm gonna let it shine (etc)

          when the world is dark and cold...I'm gonna let it shine (etc)

          if your candle flame goes out, I'm gonna lend you mine (etc)

          Also...I always do a Solstice Altar, with lots of gold suns and lights, and crystals for reflecting the lights, etc. It is very pretty.

          And we have a soup and bread supper.
          In a love affair with sunshine

          Live this day like an altar to what you believe

          Comment


          • #6
            Cheddar, this is amazing. I'm going to steal, like, a million percent of these ideas.

            Originally posted by cheddarsox View Post
            ( I make some kick ass wassail)
            Hah! This made my afternoon. But now I want some of your kick-ass wassail. So now I'm sad.

            Originally posted by cheddarsox
            A story I like for this is "The Mitten", about a bunch of animals that crawl inside a mitten for warmth.
            Seconded. This is one of the best winter-time stories.
            If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
            helps you feel your life protects you,
            cradles you and connects you to everything.
            Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by cheddarsox View Post
              winter Solstice is one of my most favorite Holy Days... here's what I've done in other years

              Solstice walk
              These rituals are really wonderful.
              I don't need a god to make me safe
              I am safe by knowing I am where I should be
              a part of all that is

              Comment


              • #8
                I really like the idea of sitting in the dark (how long it takes the sunlight to reach the earth) and we're planning a version of that ourselves, but I have a question.

                How do you know when 12 minutes is up when you're sitting in the dark?
                ____________
                If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
                If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.



                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lunacie View Post
                  I really like the idea of sitting in the dark (how long it takes the sunlight to reach the earth) and we're planning a version of that ourselves, but I have a question.

                  How do you know when 12 minutes is up when you're sitting in the dark?
                  I brought a timer! not very "romantic"...but it works
                  In a love affair with sunshine

                  Live this day like an altar to what you believe

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cheddarsox View Post
                    I brought a timer! not very "romantic"...but it works
                    One of the wind up ones that "ticks" (rather distracting to me) or one of the ones with a tiny battery that buzzes very loudly when the time is up? I think I might use the alarm on my cell phone and have it play a little tune after 12 minutes.

                    The gal who is leading our Yule Ritual this year wants us to file into the sacred space (the living room) in the dark (the altar will be set up and the space will be swept ahead of time). Then we will sit there in the dark while she reads a guided meditation about the goddess being all alone since her partner sacrificed himself in the harvest, but then she goes into labor and gives birth to a whole new offspring/partner. But I don't know how she's planning on reading it in the dark? :hahugh:
                    ____________
                    If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
                    If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.



                    Comment


                    • #11
                      On the 21st I will be taking off from work. I plan to light candles, burn incense and maybe do a small ritual. Usually my friend has a ritual at her house. She hasn't let me know if she's doing that this year.


                      "Madness takes its toll, please have exact change".

                      -Jessica [aka Whitewolf]sigpic



                      Myspace:http://www.myspace.com/White_Wolf1

                      My Paganspace page: http://www.paganspace.net/profile/whitewolf51



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've been considering a personification of the dark and light. But I'm not sure how to write an invocation of something that's already there! But I the point is to increase awareness and invocations are what I'm used to. I have had good experiences taking on a role in a myth I just haven't found one that I like yet. They are all written around snow, frost, cold... I live in California and today, at least, it's raining. Just some ideas wandering around my head. It's funny that you write about the darkness meditation, cheddarsox! I found a version by Nancy Brady that also includes saying aloud the things lost during the year and extinguishing a candle after each person is done. I'm not sure I like this but I though I'd share it. Anyway, it's very nice to hear what people have to say! I'll continue my research....
                        The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
                        --Bill Watterson

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lunacie View Post
                          One of the wind up ones that "ticks" (rather distracting to me) or one of the ones with a tiny battery that buzzes very loudly when the time is up? I think I might use the alarm on my cell phone and have it play a little tune after 12 minutes.
                          I have an electronic timer that is silent except for a beep beep beep when time is up. Cell phone sounds like a nice idea too. The timer cost 3.95.

                          someone mentioned taking the day off work. I'd love to! I do that for the Days of the Dead, but the business I'm in...Christmas Rush and all, it is just not possible. This is the first year in a very long time that I don't have a let up of work at the holiday...and I am a little sad that it will get lost in the rush.

                          My daughter, seeing how stressed and absent I've been lately, has been worried too. "We're going to do something for Solstice aren't we?" she asked the other day.

                          Something...I said...something.

                          What I have learned...is that when I am not able to create something...the universe has always stepped in and provided...something. So...I will not stress too much, but will keep my eyes and hands open. The day will not go unobserved, and we will not go unchanged.

                          cheddar
                          In a love affair with sunshine

                          Live this day like an altar to what you believe

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RavenStars View Post
                            I live in California and today, at least, it's raining.
                            I'm in Northern CA too. At first I was a little miffed at the rain, but it was nice to be able to fall asleep to last night.


                            As for Solstice/Yule; I'm planning a family connection ritual. Well, two, actually; one by myself in private, and the other (more secular) one for my family. Our family is spread out across the country, so I want to do something to remind everyone that we're still connected, even when we're physically apart.

                            I'm not really sure what all is going to be involved at this point, but the universe is sending me inspiration. The private ritual will have a knot magic component, where I'll tie 5 lengths of rope together (for the 5 people in my immediate family) in a circle. I'll also be charging 5 identical necklaces with the intent of deepening connectivity and opening communication.

                            After that, I'll present the necklaces to my family on Christmas, telling each person the qualities that I admire about them, and how much I love them.

                            At least, that's my plan. Life has a funny way of changing plans, though.
                            "In the secrecy of his study, with "spells of waving arms and woven paces," the conjurer-juggler becomes the sorcerer who attempts to draw forth elemental powers and make them obey his behest."
                            -Arthur Chandler

                            "Big men use small words, and small men use big words"
                            -Winston Churchill

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                            • #15
                              What a wonderful idea for ritual! I've been doing a bit of jewelry making. I just might swipe your idea... thanks!
                              The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
                              --Bill Watterson

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