A month ago I received a request from the Unitarian Universalist Assn. for permission to post my winter solstice poem on their Worship Web, a resource for all their ministers and congregants. I was honored! I wrote that poem in the early 1990s and it continues to be shared at solstice celebrations around the world, but to have it find a permanent home in their archives formalizes its place in the winter solstice tradition.
Our little sangha had a great time celebrating the solstice together this week: I placed a candle wreath in the center of our coffee table, and, after meditation, asked each student to choose a little votive ‘candle’ (Here in California many of us are still freaked out by real fire. I imagine you who live in Australia are having some of the same feelings and our hearts go out to you. And happy summer solstice!)
With the candles switched off, we gathered cozily together to watch the video of my narrated poem (shared below). Then we closed our eyes and in silence opened to whatever sense of intention, gratitude or well-wishing that came up from the wisdom within, in words or wordless. Still in that meditative place, we silently ‘lit’ our candles and placed them in the wreath. What a beautiful sight!
It’s nice to create a sense of ritual. I’ve shared other rituals over the years and you can check them out in the offerings below.
After the ritual, the celebration!
Our group of sangha sisters sang a joyous rendition of ‘This little light of mine, I’m gonna’ let it shine.’ We sang it over and over again, our smiles bigger each time. We were so impressed with ourselves that we did it again and recorded it. Then the judgments came out and the whole thing went downhill, but hey! We were amazing in the moment!
I have always felt that the Vipassana/Insight Meditation tradition lacks only one thing: music and dance! We brought the joy of music into our sangha and I think we’ll keep it! The Sangha Sister Singers.
OFFERINGS FOR YOUR SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
- Here’s my original poem in video form, illustrated and narrated by the author. Suggestions for sharing: Expand to full screen. You can mute the sound and read it yourself if you prefer.
Youtube offers many ways to share this video if you are sending out solstice greetings through social media or by email.
- Here’s a written version of poem (no illustrations) to read or share with others when you don’t want to set up a video: In Celebration of the Winter Solstice
- Rituals for the solstice
- Winter Solstice Too – a poem about gathering
- A compendium of my solstice posts over the years for an immersive experience. There are many takes on the solstice, so you might find one more meaningful than another. They may offer the same poem, etc. but the lead-ins vary.
However you honor this very special time of year, I wish you every good blessing. – Stephanie