For some of us, our love of the world is so passionate that we cannot ask it to wait until we are enlightened.
Joanna Macy, World as Lover, World as Self
Tonight we celebrate the second Sun Day of our Advent Solstice Sun-Wheel prayer circle.
Advent simply means the coming of. So every Sun Day between now and Solstice and/or Christmas (or other Winter holiday you celebrate), people around the world are joining together wherever they live to celebrate and prepare for the coming rebirth of the Light.
All you need is a wreath with four candles in a circle, plus a fifth candle in the center. (Although some of y’all are choosing to create your own family variations, and that is perfectly fine, too). The original idea was for this to be a wreath, a sacred Circle, honoring the Divine Feminine, and the circular nature of the Wheel of the Year.
The candles can all be white, or they can be colored to represent the Elemental Directions, or whatever you prefer. You might also like to use beeswax or other natural candles, since paraffin candles emit toxic fumes.
In the Christian traditions, three of the candles are usually purple (blue is also popular, to differentiate Advent’s candles from the Lent season). In addition, there is usually a pink candle for the third lighting (next week), and the fifth, final candle, representing Christ, is traditionally white.
Please Note: Even if you missed out last week, it does not matter. You can begin any Sun Day, since we go back and re-light the previous candles from prior weeks. Please join us — your energy and good wishes are both welcome and needed.
To read the additional particulars about what you need to do to join in this powerful prayer-spell, including our intention for this year, click here.
The gist is that tonight, preferably at sunset (but more importantly, try to find a time when you can make space for some serenity), take a few quiet moments to be fully present as you stand before your Sun Wheel.
Turn off the lights, and absorb the gifts of the dark’s quiet depths. Allow it to close in, marking the end of this day. Slow your breath, find your center, come to balance and peace.
Re-lighting the First Candle
When you are ready, we are first going to light the candle that we lit last week. In some Christian denominations, the first candle on the Advent wreath represents Hope. Others consider the first candle to be in honor of Isaiah and the other seers and prophets of the Bible, who promised the coming of the Savior.
For many who are counting down to Solstice within an Earth-based spirituality, the first candle represents the Element of Air, and the direction of East.
To delve more deeply into these meanings, and some thoughts about how to honor them, especially if you are just now joining us this week, you can visit here.
If you have a prayer, a chant, a scripture verse, or a song to share aloud, it would be very appropriate. If not, simply focus on how this one candle changes the darkness to light in and of itself. That is our desire for our world.
Bask in its beautiful light, giving thanks in whatever ways your heart speaks to you. Send out healing for those concerns you have thought of.
The Shadows of Fire
Next, gaze at the second candle.
In Christian traditions, this candle often represents the Bible, the principle of knowledge, or the Manger in Bethlehem. It is also known as the Candle of Preparation.
If you are Christian, how have conflicts over the Bible and its interpretations brought anger, hate, or grief to your faith?
Also, in the story of the Christ’s birth, there was no room for the expectant couple at the inn. Instead, the only welcome available was in a stable, with a manger for their newborn baby.
What present-day shadows now echo the Christmas story’s lessons of accommodation for those who seek shelter? How do you embody kindness towards strangers, the open door of welcome, and the virtue of hospitality in accordance with your faith?
These matters can easily be interwoven with the Earth traditions, who may see the second candle as representing the Element of Fire, in its aspect as the element of hearth and hospitality.
Before lighting it, contemplate the meaning of Fire for you, and the shadows that might be ruled by Fire.
For example, Fire is energy, action, power, passion, creativity, and change. In what ways are these matters sparking fears and distortions in our world?
You might consider the geopolitical power struggles for domination; issues around global warming and climate change; the wars being fought over places that yield fossil fuels; the resistance to change; or out-of-control growth.
And this year, again, we have seen staggering wildfire destruction, thanks to unprecedented drought, the global climate crisis, and human destruction.
On a personal level, how do the distortions of Fire impact you? Does your job have a power hierarchy that stifles creativity or innovation?
Have you ever thought about the differences between “power over” and “power with?” Do you have fears about stepping up as a leader or creative person? Do you fear change?
With clarity and compassion, as the dusk descends, notice how these fears prickle and affect you. Feel the ways that these dramas may have hurt you, your loved ones, and your community.
Burning Away the Dross, Feeding What Is Life
And then, using your focus as a magical tool, when you are ready, light your candle now, and gaze upon it. Combined with the first one, look how much brighter things are now! This is how we will see change happening in the coming year.
As you gaze upon it, feel the energy of how Fire cleanses, transforms, burns away what must be given up, while also feeding 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 the warmth of giving congenial welcome to others.
Fire warms and illuminates. Fire feeds us, and we feed the fires in our lives.
It is the gift of Prometheus, it is the home hearth of Hestia, the untameable brilliance of Sekhmet, and the sacred blessing of beloved Brigid.
Give thanks for the gift of the healing Fire in your life, for it offers the cauterization of chronic, toxic wounds. It is the electrochemical stream that is the life force itself.
Fire brought the genesis of civilization. It is a critical delineation between humans and our wild forebears.
Visualize the bonfires lit upon ancient hilltops, signaling in times of need or celebration. Even today, throughout the world, many, many cultures celebrate this magical element of life and transformation with sacred ritual.
Think of the hearths of our ancestors, tended nightly with ceremony, with families gathered round in warmth, sheltered with love while icy winds would blast outside.
Know that our Fire candle tonight, being lit by so many others across town and across the world, will re-align and heal the goodly power of Fire.
Celebrate the candles of Air and Fire and let them warm you. Move and dance with the flames, laugh with your beloveds.
Then, when you are ready, gently, reverently bid the Fire candle farewell and extinguish it, and then the first candle. Know that as you so say, so shall it be.