If you have been a regular reader of mine, you know that for many years now, starting in late November, I invite all my visitors to join together in a virtual prayer circle, or spell weaving. All spiritual paths are welcomed to this beautiful and powerful practice.
This is a very, very simple ritual, so although this post is long, the practice is not. I am just including lots of background for you.
We begin the Solstice Sun-Wheel Prayer today!
Inspired originally by Beltane Papers founder, the late Helen Farias, and continued by Waverly FitzGerald, I have found this to be a gentle, inclusive, yet powerful practice.
Over the years, the numbers participating have grown exponentially, with many of our participants agreeing that it has become an important annual ceremony for themselves and their families.
This ritual may remind you of the Christian practice of lighting candles around an Advent wreath. That was, in fact, copied from older Pagan practices surrounding the advent of the Winter Solstice. The word “Advent,” simply means the coming of.
So this works for all faiths, all spiritual paths. You can easily adapt this to be in harmony with your own dreams, desires, and beliefs. I encourage you to join others throughout the world, who are also participating.
And please share it with your friends and beloveds. Let’s spread the word and good energy! Truly – the more, the merrier!
Where We Are
This year we find ourselves in a most extraordinary time. For one thing we are on the threshold of the year 2012 – a year upon which we have heaped countless myths, legends, stories, hopes and fears.
We also know ourselves to be at a pivotal point as the entrenched hierarchies of power around the globe are being challenged in ways never seen before.
Truly we are in the midst of the Great Turning.
From Occupy, to the Arab Spring, to the drama-filled American elections being decided next year; from the crumbling of the Euro and the ongoing multinational debt crisis, to the specter of an ever-deepening economic collapse; from astrological forecasts, to environmental crisis, to the interpretations of the Mayan calendar — we appear to be at a critical tipping point.
As my friend and teacher, Pomegranate, has noted in her prayer-spell, healing the greed is crucial at this time.
But for our Solstice Sun-Wheel, I would like to widen that view just a bit.
Because I see greed as being one symptom of the bigger, more grave illness that has so long infected our world: fear.
Each direction — East/Air, South/Fire, West/Water, North/Earth — holds a particular energy. To me, greed is a fear that is particular to the Element of Earth.
But we also have fears of each other (which we could associate with Water). There is fear of what is unfamiliar or unknown (Air). Fear of the emptiness that all the money, consumer goods, entertainment, and war dramas never seem to fill (Fire). Fear of the loss of control and power (also Fire).
It is time to face our fears, and heal them the only way fear can ever be healed: with love.
As we make the final descent into the darkest time of the year, we align with the light that shall be reborn at Yule.
Candle by candle, heart to heart, each week together, we will gather in the twilight of sunset.
We will open our hearts and spirits to know the truth of our fears as they are associated with Air, with Fire, with Water, and with Earth.
Then, with clarity, compassion and our united love, we will illuminate and heal the fears within ourselves, and our human family.
First, you’ll need 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 this Sunday Nov. 27. Either on Yule night, or on Christmas eve, depending on your preferences, you’ll light the final, fifth candle.
Your Sun Wheel is simply a small wreath, the sacred Circle of the Divine Feminine, 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 the 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, a center pillar candle of white is also included, lit on Christmas or Christmas Eve.
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, you have a quiet ceremony to light a new candle.
Tonight (Nov. 27) is the first Sunday
Gather with your loved ones, or alone, tonight around sunset. Ground and center yourself, or create sacred space in whatever way is right for your practice. Consider the fears that might be associated with the Element of Air: knowledge, information, understanding, communication. Think about how fear distorts what we see, what we believe, how we make choices. We pass judgments, we are told and sometimes share hurtful stories about one another. If you are with others, you might talk a while about these fears.
Then, allow some silence. With your breath, inhaling and exhaling, begin to see, know, and forgive the ways those types of fear exist.
With clarity and compassion, see the ways that your own beliefs have wounded you. The ways that you have spoken untruths or unkindness. And then, still using your breath as a magical tool, let those fears and hurts be dispelled as you light your candle.
As you do this, send your energy and intentions for empowering and welcoming 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.
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. (One person has called it a prayer version of “The Wave”).
All of our hearts are joined in this act of both acknowledging the dark, gazing with unflinching hearts at our fears, and knowing we are in unity and empowerment as we light our candles.
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 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 heal and bless. We look forward to the coming Sun Child, and the renewal of Life.
When you are at peace, and the time feels right, gently extinguish your candle.