It’s time once again to join together every Sunday through Yule (or Christmas) for our annual Yule Prayer-Spell.
If you have been a regular reader of mine in past years, you know that starting in late November, I invite all my visitors, regardless of their spiritual path, to join together in a virtual prayer circle, or spell weaving, if you will.
This was originally inspired by Beltane Papers founder, the late Helen Farias, and then continued by Waverly FitzGerald.
This will be my eighth year that I have also shared it on my website. I have found it to be a gentle, inclusive, yet powerful practice. Over the years, many of my readers have agreed that it is a deeply meaningful ceremony for them as well. Others have noted that it feels as joyful and amazing as doing “the wave,” only in globe-circling prayers.
This ritual may remind you of the Christian practice of lighting candles around an Advent wreath, which, in fact, was copied from older Pagan practices celebrating the advent of the Winter Solstice.
You can easily adapt it to be in harmony with your own dreams, desires, and beliefs. I encourage you to join others throughout the world, Christians and non- , and to share it with your friends and beloveds.
Of course, you can adapt this to your own desires for the coming year.
But this year, we seem to be at such a liminal time. It is certainly a turning of the tides in America, and other places around the globe and of course the much ballyhooed Winter Solstice of 2012 approaches!
I rather doubt that as we light our Solstice candle, the world is going to snuff out (as some doomsday prophets have suggested). But we are at a threshold moment. I know you feel it too, don’t you?
So much seems to hang in the balance: the economies of the world, wars and rumors of wars, the institutions we have depended on for our laws, wealth, and governance, and the survival of so many species and beings on our imperiled planet.
In so many ways, it seems we truly are at the Great Turning of the Age.
So I suggest that in this window of time-out-of-time, this magical moment between the inhale and the exhale, where all possibilities, dreams, and the eons themselves come together in a single spark of rebirth, let us join together.
Let us weave our prayers in a global Circle, with our wreath echoing and honoring the great Circle that is the Divine One. Lighting our weekly candles with our awareness on the four quarter points, we anchor our vision into manifestation.
This year, with our loving hearts and full awareness, we help to turn the Wheel of Time. Now, with all the skill and wisdom we have learned in our lifetimes, we throw open the Gates of Dawn. We usher in a new, creative, cooperative future for humanity; we welcome a new beginning that is rooted in harmony, beauty, and balance. May all life forms be honored. May all peoples discover their common good together. This is the dawning of Light and Love that will shine from Solstice on. So mote it be.
First, make an Advent wreath, or call it a Solstice Sun Wheel, or whatever is appropriate to your beliefs. You’ll be lighting one candle on each Sun Day prior to the Solstice, starting Sun Day Nov. 25.
Please note: This year there is an extra Sunday between Solstice and Christmas. So households counting down to Solstice only can simply begin tonight and end at Winter Solstice, Dec. 21.
But the official Christian countdown begins next Sunday, Dec. 2 (because of the additional Sunday before their Big Day). So I suggest that where both traditions are joining together, begin tonight and then have an extra lighting of the fifth candle on Christmas Eve to accommodate everyone.
Thus we enact our support and respect for each other’s traditions.
Your Sun Wheel is simply a small wreath, the sacred Circle of the Divine Feminine (or the One(s) to whom you are devoted). It can be laid horizontally upon a table, altar, or other special place. Evergreens are a nice touch, but it can be of holly berries, or grapevine, or whatever materials you have on hand. The wreath should have four candles around its periphery, and a fifth candle in the Center.
The colors and type of candles are up to you. The Christian Advent wreath traditionally is made with three candles of violet, and a fourth, which is lit the last Sunday before Christmas, of rose pink. In some churches, the pink candle is the third one, and some also add a center pillar candle of white, which is lit on Christmas or Christmas Eve.
To be in harmony with other family members that are not Christian, or who belong to different denominations, I suggest you agree on using five candles, and the colors can be your choice.
My suggestion for non-Christians is to use five simple white candles (tea candles perhaps), or a yellow candle for East (Air), a red candle for South (Fire), a blue candle for West (Water), and a green candle for North (Earth) with a fifth candle in the center for Spirit (Mystery). A black, white or purple candle would be a good choice, but let your heart be your guide.
The idea is that each Sunday before Solstice, ideally on the threshold between day and night, at sunset wherever you live, you have a quiet ceremony to light a new candle. The first Sunday (Nov. 25, 2012), you will light one candle only, the one for East. The next Sunday, December 2, we again light the East (first) Candle, plus add the South (second) candle. And so on, until the final candle, either Solstice night, Dec. 21, or Christmas, or both, depending on your preferences.
Even if you haven’t started with us from the beginning week(s), don’t worry. You can join in any time!
As you do this, please send your energy and intentions for empowering and welcoming the turning of the Wheel and the birth of the Light. Consider all the meanings that this has for you – in your own personal life, for the good of our community and our planet as well. What is your deepest wish and will for the coming year, in the Light reborn?
Be aware that, based on the many, many emails I’ve gotten over the years, there are hundreds of other people, in many different time zones, around the world, who are participating in this with you. All of our hearts are joined in this act of both acknowledging the dark, and yet energizing our empowerment as we light a candle of hope and renewal.
As you focus your will, remember that we are not fighting, fearing, or trying to defeat the dark. Darkness is necessary; without the dark, there are no dreams, no healing sleep, no deep growth that is necessary to thrive. We honor the dark, but now more than ever, our troubled world is in great need of a new day dawning.
So gaze a while upon the dancing flame and call upon the powers of the week’s Element or Gift of Spirit, to bless and protect the coming Sun Child, and the renewal of Life. When you are at peace, and the time feels right, gently extinguish your candle.