Our Advent Countdown now unites
For Christmas and Yule, linked prayers of Light.
Depending on your point of view
Tonight we light candles one and two.
Tonight, in the threshold moments of dusk wherever you are, you are invited to gather with individuals and families around the globe, from every faith and tradition. Please join in our Solstice Sun Wheel practice, as we prepare the way for the dawn of the Light reborn.
Every Sunday at sunset, between now and Solstice and/or Christmas, countless hundreds of people throughout the world will be lighting candles together around a wreath.
Each week, in this small, quiet ceremony, we are journeying together as the Sun reaches the utmost extreme in its annual arc, either for Summer Solstice below the equator, or Yule in the Northern Hemisphere. Around the world, we are in a loving chorus of prayer and peace, honoring the darkness and the rebirth of the Light.
If you and your family are counting down to Solstice (and perhaps also to Christmas), tonight is your second lighting of the candles. Our first candle was lit last Sunday, Nov. 24.
If you are counting down only to Christmas, you will be lighting your first candle tonight.
I know it sounds a little confusing, but it’s just that this year, we have an extra Sunday between Solstice and Christmas. So the official Christian countdown begins tonight, Dec. 1.
That’s why I am suggesting that, if you wish to accommodate both traditions, you can simply have an extra lighting of the other candles on Christmas Eve, and/or Christmas Day, or whatever other day in addition to Solstice you may wish to commemorate.
PLEASE NOTE: Even if you are just now hearing about this, you have not missed out!
Because we go back and re-light the prior week’s candles before lighting the current one, you can join any time through the final lighting at Yule or Christmas! So please share – the more, the merrier, and the mightier we are.
Also, if you are busy at sunset and can only do this later or earlier in the day, no worries. There is bound to be someone, somewhere in some time zone joining you! As some have said, it’s like we are doing a prayer version of “the Wave,” traveling across the globe.
Likewise, please, please share! Invite everyone you know to join in!
You and your loved ones may change and adapt this as you prefer, but this is what I have been guided to share with you for this, our 15th Anniversary:
Holding sacred space with one another, across Grandmother Gaia, we make our final descent into the dark of the year. And in our re-emergence together, let our vision open to a new kind of light.
Let it enable us to see beyond the crumbling of the 3,000 year old myths of separateness, exile, and innate wrongness. Together, let us behold and invigorate the profound interconnectedness that is our truest Nature.
We therefore weave our prayers around the globe, with our wreaths honoring the great Circle that is the Divine One. Lighting our weekly candles with our awareness on the four quarter points, or whatever you name as holy, we anchor our vision into manifestation.
By this candlelight, we stand for the Light that is always Whole. With our prayers, we embrace the most ancient Divine One(s) whose name is Love. With our hands and hearts joined, now at this threshold of change, we invoke the irrepressible dawning of healing, grace, and rebirth.
With unfailing devotion, with all our courage, from within and without, for the Earth, Her resources, and all Her beings, so mote it be.
Suggestions if tonight is your second candle lighting
You can, of course, designate your candles in any way you wish. For instance, each might represent the four stages of the spiral in The Work that Reconnects, plus adding an additional one for Solstice itself. In other words, it need not be a religious attribution.
Other suggestions for a variety of faiths and traditions can be found in the overview link found either at the top of my blog page, or else via this link.
However, many people counting down to Solstice simply use the Four Elements (Air, Fire, Water, Earth) as their template, with the fifth, center candle representing the Fifth Element (or Source, Spirit, Akasha, Awen, the Sun King, the Oak King, or the Solstice child – whatever you like).
Tonight’s Lighting, Working With the Elements:
Gather with your loved ones, or alone, ideally around sunset. Ground and center yourself, or create sacred space in whatever way is right for your practice. Turn out the lights where you are, and have your wreath, candles and lighter ready.
In the twilight, consider again (as we did last Sunday) the qualities associated with the Element of Air: knowledge, information, understanding, communication. Light the first candle again — the one you lit last week — for East. See, know, and speak of how the many qualities of this Element may be healed and strengthened for the good of all.
Next, this is the night when we first call in the Element of Fire (the direction of South).
With only your East candle burning, before you light the second one, take some time to contemplate the meaning of Fire and what Fire gives us.
It is true that Fire has a shadow side: anger, vengeance, greed, violence, and destructive sexuality. Fire certainly rules over the fossil fuel industries. And of course, the tragedy of incomprehensible wildfires, drought, and even the global climate crisis itself can be seen as linked to the Element of Fire.
But when in harmony, Fire cleanses, transforms, and burns away what must be given up in order to feed the life force. Our passion is referred to as our Fire, and we all experience physical desire as a flaming energy. Fire is our creativity and our welcoming hospitality.
Fire warms and illuminates. Fire feeds us, and we feed the fires in our lives. It is the electrochemical stream that is the life force itself.
It is the gift of Prometheus, it is the sacred blessing of Brigid.
Tonight, then, with awareness of its light and shadow, spark your second candle in thanksgiving for the gift of Fire in your life.
Perhaps you might visualize bonfires lit upon ancient hilltops, signaling in times of need or celebration. Think of the hearths of our ancestors, soup bubbling, children gathered round in warmth and love while icy winds blast outside.
Know that our Fire candle tonight, being lit by others across town and across the world, chases the gloom, the dank, and the cold dark fears that have chilled our hearts for too long. Fire is courage, authority, and mastery – may this candle remind us that we are empowered.
Combined with the first candle of Air, look how much brighter things already are! This is how we will see the bright, inevitable dawning of the new beginnings ahead.
If You Are Counting Down to Christmas ONLY
Welcome to all the families and friends who have begun their Advent season today. For Christians not also counting down to Solstice, tonight is your first candle. In many denominations, it represents Hope. Other denominations consider the first candle to be in honor of Isaiah and the other seers and prophets of the Bible.
Note how this is in perfect harmony with any Solstice celebrants in your household who see their first candle as the Element of Air, for in the beginning, was the Word.
As you light your candle, think quietly of all it represents to you. If you have words, Bible verse, a prayer, or a song to share aloud, please do. If not, simply focus on how this one candle changes the darkness to light in and of itself. Isn’t that exactly what our common desire is, regardless of denomination or faith?
Bask in its beautiful light, giving thanks in whatever ways your heart speaks to you.
As mentioned, there are additional suggestions for other faiths and beliefs, as well as logistical details via the all-purpose Solstice Sun Wreath link you can find either in the pull-down menu at the top of my blog page, or by clicking here.
At some point, you may wish to repeat the overarching intention for this year’s work (as posted above), or your own desires. Take some time to open your deepest sensitivities, and feel the presence of all the others who are in ceremony with you, for you are absolutely NOT alone. Countless past participants have told me how palpable the experience of the others in this prayer circle around the globe feels.
At last, whenever you are ready, gently, reverently extinguish your candles, in reverse order if you have lit two.
Know that as you have said it, so it shall be.