A Solstice Ceremony for Unusual Times
Until we can gather safely in person again,
and instead of an 18th annual community Luminous Night celebration,
here’s a way to continue the well-loved tradition
and have a quiet, nourishing night of inner connection.
This is not a zoom event.
Tickets to our live event sell out quickly every time,
but this year you can just set aside about 90 minutes
when you won’t be interrupted on Monday night , December 21st
or another convenient time and follow along with this simple facilitation to
support you in observing the season in your own ways.
The winter solstice marks the first day of winter and the longest night of the year. The word “solstice” derives from the Latin solstitium, which means “sun stands still.” From this point until summer solstice the days will lengthen.
Since before recorded history, humans have observed solstices and equinoxes as a powerful time of self-reflection and community ceremony with meditation, dancing, and feasting. These celebrations are probably humanity’s most ancient ritual observances. It’s in our blood! And even though we’re not together in person this year, we can still feel connected through thousands of years of tradition.
Exact time of winter solstice this year is Monday, Dec 21st at 3:24 am mountain time
2020 brings us quite a grand finale with a once-in-many-lifetimes event in the heavens within hours of the solstice, a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, the largest planets in our solar system. Jupiter and Saturn align once in a generation, but this time they’re so close they almost merge and look like a double planet in the night sky.
This hasn’t happened since 1226 AD, so be sure to look up on Monday night to see something that hasn’t been seen in almost 800 years.
Jupiter/Saturn conjunction is exact on Monday Dec 21st at 11:20 am mountain time
Set the Space
During this time of the longest night when we naturally want to go in, but often end up being even more active because of the holidays, this is a chance to give yourself the gift of a tranquil, quiet evening to slow down and savor peaceful, inner space.
Ready? Okay, let’s get started. Set aside about 90 minutes
when you won’t be interrupted on Monday night , December 21st
or another convenient time and follow along. Set up an area with a comfortable place to sit that’s also big enough to move around or dance. Is there someone else you’d like to invite to this solstice ritual?
Things to gather:
• One candle for each person to light with intention later in the ceremony
• A match or lighter
• A favorite scent that feels special to you (our tradition is to bless everyone with frankinscence and myrrh resin as they enter the space and it’s also filled with fresh evergreens in a large spiral for walking meditation)
• Paper and pen
• Water and anything else for your comfort
• If you want to go all in, you might even dress in white. It symbolizes the return of the light and creates an ethereal feel that takes you from the ordinary to otherworldly
• You’ll have opportunities to make loud sounds. Bring a pillow to yell into, in case someone nearby would be alarmed by this
• There will also be an opportunity to drop into deep silence. Since the music we’ll use is through YouTube, I recommend going there before we get started and turning off “autoplay”, the feature that starts another video automatically. It’s at the top right when you’re viewing any video.
Let others in your home know that you’ll be going into a time of personal retreat that will include silence and possibly making sounds and ask to not be disturbed.
When you’re settled in, make the space as dark or dimly lit as possible. Don’t light your ritual candle yet. If you’ve attended any of our live events over the last 17 years, you can reflect on those sweet memories.
Sit comfortably, and take some time to slow down, get quiet and breathe deeply, especially focusing on slow, complete exhales. Here’s some music to help with this. Press play and take as long as you’d like…
Welcome or invoke any elements, symbols, ancestors, memories or good feelings as you continue to breathe deeply.
Completing the year
Whatever this year has brought you, the darkest night is the end of the solar year. The final exhale and pause before the lengthening of days and return of the light. There is nothing we can do to make it come sooner or stop it, but we can exhale with it and let go of anything we don’t need to take with us into the next cycle. It’s time to put this year to bed.
The next few songs are an opportunity to reflect, move, feel, and release anything you’ve been carrying that you can be done with. Are you willing to clear out accumulated tensions, emotions, and stuck places so you can move forward into this next solar year refreshed and renewed?
If so, this is the perfect time to give yourself full permission to trust your body’s wisdom. Move. Stretch. Shake. Trust your breath. Free your mind. Something inside you knows the way…
Each song evokes different energies. If it doesn’t move you, just skip to the next one or use one of your own favorites. This is your sacred time to dive into yourself!
Give yourself full permission to relax your neck, your jaw, your tongue and make any sounds that rise from your belly, your heart, your lungs…
As your brainwaves change (breath and movement does that), let your awareness drift into reflecting on your year and the personal experiences you’ve had. Your body has recorded all of it. Keep moving and trust your inner wisdom to bring you any information or insights…
And now expanding your awareness to include your loved ones, your community, the world. Releasing, feeling, expressing. Keep going!
Here’s a heart opener…
Here’s one if you’re willing to include intensity, possibly anger…and make some noise. That’s sacred too.
Here’s one that’s energizing. Great for vigorous breathing, shaking, clearing out 2020’s cobwebs. It’s gets rockin’ 5 minutes in. And how about forgiveness that goes all the way to your bones? You ready for some of that?
Now that you’ve bravely done all that clearing and completing with your whole being, I invite you to write down what you’re letting go of or any insights you just got. Or, just keep moving if that feels better…
Here’s some background music as you reflect.
What’s done is done. And from this place, we go into the dark. Solstice night isn’t just an idea, it’s a subtle, real pause that affects the whole world. Are you ready to listen?
Sit comfortably or lie down and rest as you give yourself the time and space to settle into quiet. You might even feel the sun’s arc at its lowest point as it seems to stand still before turning back to return with new light, bringing you with it.
Here’s a couple of songs to carry you there. I suggest you listen to one of them, then drop into silence for a while.
This one, a soft heartbeat with warm cello.
This one, crystal tones and angelic singing
Don’t take night for granted.
Especially at this time of year.
Let her have her way with you.
Turn off every light,
even your naming mind.
Just listen to silence,
and gaze beyond seeing.
Taste pure night,
not what it contains,
but night itself.
This radiant darkness!
…And through that wonder,
giving birth to stars.
– Fred LaMotte
When we’re listening, each moment is a beginning.
Stay here in silence and receive the nourishment of the dark and quiet until you feel the natural impulse to move forward again.
The Light Within
…and now, oh so gently, breathing deeply again. As the earth prepares for a new cycle of growth, so do you. Breathe. Listen to these pure frequencies of sound. Allow yourself to connect with your own life force, and feel the awakening of the light within.
What wants to be reborn in you now?
What are you hoping for?
How can your light be nurtured as the days gradually lengthen for the next 6 months?
As you quietly reflect on what you’re feeling now, I invite you to listen for the deepest, truest intention that naturally arises from within you.
What is your heart’s desire for the new solar year that has just begun?
When that word comes to you and you feel ready, light your candle with all your heart. Add the power of fire, the spark of life to your intention. This word will be your guiding light through the coming months.
Is there anything else that would make this personal ritual feel complete?
How about writing or drawing your intention on a new piece of paper? At our live events, you can put the paper that you wrote what you were done with in a container that gets burned in a ceremonial fire later that night. What feels right to you now?
And how does your personal intention relate to your family, your community and the world? Awareness starting within and expanding outward. Give yourself the spaciousness to use this potent time of new beginning.
Now are they but one lamp, one light, one sun.
– William Shakespeare
The Light Returns
When we’re together in the dark and everyone’s candle is lit, we circle up and since this song a few times. When your ritual feels complete, consider singing along with our friend, Monica Dixon.
One planet is turning
Circling its path around the sun
Earth mother is calling
Her children home
A light is returning
Although this is the darkest hour
No one can hold back the dawn
Let’s keep it burning
Let’s keep the light of hope alive
Make safe our journey
Through the storm
This would be when we gently turn up the lights and start speaking out loud again while we connect and enjoy delicious, nurturing food.
Here are some favorite recipes from last year to download.
Turkish Red Lentil Wedding Soup and Vegan GF Dark Chocolate Muffins
Gifts of the Season
Thank you! I hope you found this journey into the dark and your own light nourishing. May you keep the light of hope alive and stay safe. Feel free to email me with any comments. I’m listening. With love, Sylvia
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Tax-deductible donations are appreciated and will go towards creating a community gathering place where we can come together to heal and connect.
Usually co-hosted by volunteers from the Women’s Full Moon Dance and the Warm Springs Alliance.
The Warm Springs Alliance is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed to protect and preserve the Warm Springs landmark site at 840 N Beck St (300 W) Salt Lake City, revitalize the hot springs and create the sanctuary in the city that we all need.
The Women’s Full Moon Dance is a group of magnificent women that have been gathering for 18 years on the Saturday closest to the full moon to reconnect with body and spirit in sacred space. We also host special events open to the whole community sometimes (usually Solstices and Equinoxes).