December 17, 2010
Willits will mark Midwinter’s Day with its annual Solstice Celebration an evening of songs, dance, theater, candlelighting, making wishes, and drum jam beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 21, at Little Lake Grange.
The 16th annual event, “A Council of All Beings,” will focus on the human part in the interwoven web of life, says event organizer Ann Weller. she notes. “Community celebrations that mark the seasons bring us together regularly and promote deeper relationships.”
The celebration will include a play with forest animals about Solstice, community and the balance of the Earth. Weller invites those attending to “come dressed as an animal or creature, tree, plant, mushroom, elf or fairy.”
“The marking of the yearly cycles of the seasons was a matter of life and death for our ancestors,” Weller says. “They measured and noted the sun’s path and length of days for reasons of weather and agriculture, or for their own nomadic changes.
“We might do well to begin to note the natural cycles as a part of our return to nature our own biologic consciousness, our shift into a new way of being.”
Throughout the centuries, peoples all over the world have celebrated “the turning of the wheel,” the cycles of the seasons upon which all life depends. One of the most celebrated in ancient times was Midwinter, as the ancients celebrated the sun’s return on December 21.
“The Winter Solstice has a special magic that resonates deepwithin us,” Weller believes. “It is the season of hope and love, of goodwill and sharing, of making merry, making wishes and giving blessings. On this, the darkest night, we come together, to honor the time of gestation, of dreaming and inner sight.”
Winter Solstice Eve, she explains, “is the darkest, longest night of the year midwinter to our ancestors, the very beginning of winter to us.
“The long dark nights are a time to sleep more and eat less, to rejuvenate, to be still and quiet, to go within to know and heal oneself, to awaken our curiosity and nurture our creativity, to tell our stories, to incubate our ideas and our dreams.”
Worldwide, interpretation of the solstice event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations often involving light and candles around that time.
Blessings of Yule
Slow and slow turns the Wheel of the Year.
To the season of silence, cold, bleak and drear.
Hope’s to be born, from the dark, wintry night
The feast is prepared, and the Yule-log alight.
Round is the wreath, as the year turns round;
Green is the Holly Life midst Death found;
The berries red as the Sunrise of Birth
Of Hope to the world, and Joy to the Earth.
Bright blessings of Yule! May they shine on your life!
May you feast, and rejoice, and set aside strife!
Hope and gladness be with you, gloom and misery fly
Away, at the Birth of the Lord of the Sky!