December Solstice 2022: On December 21st at 21.47 BST the sun enters Capricorn signalling the seasonal Solstice. A pivot point in the cosmic calendar. In the Northern hemisphere it heralds the return of the light, a rebirth. In the Southern hemisphere it is a celebration of the culmination of light before the descent into darkness. In whichever hemisphere you find yourself this pivoting of the light offers us a sacred pause. (The Latin root of solstice means ‘to stand still’). It is a threshold moment. A liminal space. A chance to reflect and release the old from 2022 and set delicious new intentions for 2023.
December Solstice 2022
Our forebears were essentially farmers. How the cycles of nature effected the growing of crops was a matter of life and death and therefore of prime importance. They invested considerable faith into the abilities of the local shaman to petition the Spirit world on their behalf to ensure good harvests in the coming season.
Shamanic cultures across the globe have celebrated the seasonal Solstice since the dawn of time in myriad ways The Celtic shamans would light giant bonfires on hilltops, as a symbol of keeping the darkness at bay. For the Hopi this was the time when stories from the elders were passed on to the children to teach them important life lessons. The prayers and rituals surrounding this helped the Hopi to turn the sun toward its summer home and begin empowering the Earth for the new growing season ahead. Rather than staying up all night to celebrate the dawn, the Iroquois celebrated by turning in early, to sleep and dream. At sunrise the entire tribe would gather and each would relate the visions they saw on this special night. Pay attention to your dreams on Solstice night they may be offering you a vision of your future.
What Shamans do
Shamanic wisdom can assist us with our everyday challenges such as those stressful aspects associated with the upcoming festive season. Indigenous shamanic cultures believe that everything is alive and contains a Spirit which connects everything to everything in the all-encompassing web of life. We are in co-operative collaboration with all of life as we too have a Spirit and we too are integrally connected to all that is. Instead of falling into old patterns over the holiday see it as a sacred invitation to know yourself better. Realizing that all the triggers of your relationship dynamics are simply reflections of some unconscious, unacknowledged aspects of self. Thus, we are able to find compassion, forgiveness and love and are able to release judgment and anger. Quantum physicists have reached the same conclusion that everything is connected to everything. Although they use terms other than Spirit to explain it! Finding it hard to find compassion for a particular person or situation? Visualise placing symbols of love and forgiveness into the invisible, but all pervasive, morphic field between you and them.
Ritual for December Solstice 2022 – Creating a Prayer Tree
Celebrate the Solstice using this adaptation of a Siberian shamanic ritual for creating a prayer tree. In Siberia, and other shamanic cultures, trees are regarded as sacred. They symbolise the three worlds of heaven with their leaves, the human realm with their trunk and Mother Earth with their roots. They are seen as the conduit between Heaven and Earth and are special places for prayer. Unusual or isolated trees were considered especially powerful.
If you don’t have a tree that you could use you can find a tree branch and plant it in a pot at home. On the Solstice gather family and friends or you can work alone. Firstly, invoke the Spirit of the tree by saying a prayer and making some traditional offering such as corn, seeds, stones, flowers, tobacco, spring water and incense at the base of the tree or pot.
If you know a suitable song or even a Christmas carol sing it to the tree or play the drum, ring a bell or clap round the tree in honour of its Spirit and living presence, asking the tree to carry your prayers to heaven and bring them into manifestation back down on earth – listen carefully and perhaps you will even hear the trees response.
Once the tree has been empowered each person takes a coloured ribbon and blows their prayers, hopes and dreams into it for the coming cycle. These ribbons are then tied on the branches of the trees. Take time with your prayers and become the prayer in the moment of blowing it into the ribbon. You can do as many prayer ribbons as you wish. The only limits in this Universe are those we impose upon ourselves. Include prayers for your family, your community and the larger world.
NB If you are using a living tree, please tie the ribbons LOOSELY. Remember the tree is still growing.
To complete the ritual, dance around the tree together or sing a collective song to the tree. You can return and add prayers and make offerings anytime you choose.
Whilst your ribbons hang, they are empowered by the elements. The prayers they hold are carried far by the winds, energized by sun and starlight, animated by rain and snow and revitalised by the Earth.
So mote it be….