How are you celebrating the Winter Solstice?

Mi-Shell

Here in the northern hemisphere the Winter Solstice is just a few days away. this compels me to ask you guys, what you are doing to celebrate.
Back in Siberia, my great grandmother Ulali, the shaman of our clan, would take out her large ritual drum, tighten the skin over the fire and throuout the solstice night she would walk a trail through the snow, sunwise around the village, chanting, drumming and singing the ancient old traditional chants that help he sun to be reborn after the longest night of the year and to keep all the malevolent entities away from the hamlet. bonfires were lit on all 4 cardinal directions along her trail, so she could warm up, re-tighten the drum if needed and do libations of milk, yus koel and tea for the Ancestor Spirits that were helping her on this task.
The last libations were done in the early dawn, when everyone joined her and the fire keepers to greet the light.
A sheep was selected, dressed up with a collar of red felt, liberally doused with yus koel and then let run loose among its companions, never to be slaughtered, but to live out its natural life as a guide of good fortunes for the herds......
Then, guess what; there was a feast......
 

Mi-Shell

Since I live here, in Canada, things are a little different.
There are Solstice Celebrations in our town, for all the towns folk , volunteers and the public on Friday at 1.oo pm . I have been asked to do the multicultural ritual again.
There will be invocations to the 6 directions, a traditional solstice chant ot 2 (with drum), a reading of all kinds of different Solstice customs from around the world - read by the participants- and I am also preparing to have a huuuuge yule log, where everyone can attach their notes with wishes for the new year.
The mayor will have to stuff it into his stove I guess - or we will have a bonfire - iffff it ever stops snowing till then...
We will also have a tree with presents that will be distributed to needy families in the community.
Oh yeah! there will be a little feast with donated goodies ....


Saturday there will be celebrations at our house for some of the pagan community and friends.
We will have a 7 circuit labyrinth out on top of our frozen beaver pond, lit with torches, as well as our Spiral of Life snow labyrinth for a meditative walk, before things get under way inside.
The ritual will be more participatory and intimate, as everyone knows each other and several people know the english versions of the chants to help me out.
I an sure my friend L. is also going to bring her NA flute. She is magnificent at it!
And there will be another yule log to be decorated and everyone’s wishes for the new solar year will go on it!

Well, guess what: There will be a Laaaarge feast!
And after that we will really get going!
There may be mummer’s dances, we will perform a short play / skit with a Solstice theme and we will have a ‘yule-club style’ gift exchange complete with gift- snatching and much fun and laughter .
Since everybody brought their drum and we have over 50 in the house anyway we will have a drum circle till midnight and then a communal Wolf howl out on the deck!
Usually we get answer from our resident pack of 7....
I am loooooking much forward to the festivities and now pass the “Talking Stick" to you all to tell of your plans!
Mi-Shell
 

NightQueen

My house is nearly done, but I have ordered some beautiful flower arrangements to put around the house on friday, Im preparing a huge feast I have about 30 people all up coming to celebrate Yule, the gifts are wrapped, the children are excited, (although I seem to be most excited!) The energy is very exciting here in my home, once the visitors leave I intend to have a huge ritual at the beach and have a lovely bonfire to mark the rebirth of the Sun God:) very excited!
 

Briar Rose

Your great grandmother was a really awesome!!! I loved readng about that.

And you ar so lucky to have the events where you live.

I don't know how to celebrate except to light some candles and meditate on being thankful for surviving the year pasting, and peace and prosperity for 2008.

I was just looking all the pictures you posted today in previous threads and thought how nice it would be to have a neighbor and friend like you!
 

Dancing Bear

How nice of you to say that heavensvault, I was thinking the same!
 

Mi-Shell

((((((((((HeavensVault and Dancing Bear))))))))))!!!
You ARE my neighbours!!
We are all in this together! For sure I will include you in the "Blessings of Friends" ritual!

..... and pm me your wishes to be put onto the jule log and I will coppy / paste them onto the scrols and put them onto the log!!

That is an offer for EVERYONE!
And I could promise pictures!!!

By the way, do you guys want ideas fo the ritual for you families?????????
...... to be adapted to X-Mas celebrations as well.....
 

Grizabella

Suggestions for us would be really wonderful, Mi-Shell. I wish I had known some earlier because I could pass them on to the school the girls go to, as well. They do a celebration with a Maypole and they have a harvest celebration, so I know they do want to incorporate some solstice celebrations during the school year. I just don't know of any around Christmas that they do other than something for Christmas itself.
 

VGimlet

I usually go outside, light a candle and burn some herbs in my herb burning bowl. Unless we are having monsoon-like weather.

rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme and mint.
 

Debra

I usually go outside for all of about two minutes, feel too cold, come shivering back inside, light a candle, make something hot to drink, wish for more daylight, go to bed early.

So yes, MiShell, suggestions for a "one-person ritual" would be welcome! I was gone from home over Hanukah so now I'm lighting the candles "backwards" from 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1---it will be 3 candles on the night of the 21st.
 

Dancing Bear

Yes Please MI-SHELL I would Love a Small ritual for the Family , We are in the Southern Hemisphere, so also Monsoon weather here too, living in the tropics is unpredictable..
I did have full Intentions of Lighting Candles, but it feels funny wishing for the sun to rise again when we are in full swing of Summer.. It is like our Summer Solstice here.

My Gran taught us to light a white candle and place in our window facing the street front, so the souls of our past over Loved ones can find their way home for the festivities, Inviting them to join us for the day and always,
It is a time for Family and Friends for us Including those passed over, we celebrate the bonds, Love and Unity we have with all for now and always..

Is there anything more we can add to this little ritual to help our friends and family in the northern Hemisphere celebrate.

and thankyou so much for the offer to be on your friends list , it is kind of you!

xxxx