This night, having made the preparations I described last week, we begin our spell for the return of the Light. It is based on the Christian practice of lighting candles around an Advent wreath, which, in turn, is based on even older Pagan practices celebrating the advent of the Winter Solstice.
The Christians call this season Advent, which refers to the coming birth of their God. Advent simply means “to come,” and all northern hemisphere cultures throughout history have made merry in this time of preparation for the great miracle of the longest night. For we are only weeks away from the magical turning, when the long descent into the darkness pauses, and then daylight begins to lengthen once more. This is the rebirth of the Light, the shining Child of Promise.
And Goddess knows, we need some Light.
So let our intention be that we will shine with the Light of understanding and truth. Let our light awaken humanity and guide us to restore honor, tolerance, beauty, and good will among all humans. Let the light guide our hearts and hands to act on behalf of our Mother Earth.
This evening, Sunday, Dec. 2, ideally at sunset, take some time for a quiet ceremony to light one candle, for the Guardians of East, or the Element of Air (or whoever your tradition invokes first, when casting a Circle). Or for whatever quality or spiritual gift you long to see bestowed upon yourself or the world.
As you do this, send your energy and intentions for empowering and welcoming the coming birth of the Light. Consider all the meanings that this has for you – in your own personal life, for the good of your community, your nation, and the planet as well. What is your deepest wish and will for the coming year, as the Light is reborn?
Meditate on the fact that (based on the many, many emails I’ve gotten each year since I introduced this ritual) there are untold numbers of others, from many faiths and paths, in different time zones, all around the world, who are participating in this with you. As the shadow of sunset moves over our globe, envision how, one by one, a candle is lit in friendship, hope, and intention.
As one friend described it, we are doing a magical, worldwide version of The Wave. All of our hearts are joined in this act of both acknowledging the dark, and yet feeling our empowerment to light a candle of hope and renewal.
For 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 heaven knows our troubled world is in great need of a strong, powerful new day dawning.
So gaze a while upon the dancing flame and call upon the powers of that 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.