by Crystal Pomeroy
(Note: Although the Solstice is exact on December 21, 2004, Winter Solstice celebrations customarily take place several days before and after the astronomical event itself. What are now called Christmas and New Years form part of its sacred energy portal.)
The Solstice Full Moon in Cancer captures the light of the Divine Mother, as she gives birth to a new solar cycle. At what would appear to be the threshold to the darkest winter in American history, Lunas bright light urges us to connect with the Divine Mother within, who is capable of birthing the divine child: a new cycle of freedom and life for ourselves and for the planet, despite appearances to the contrary.
The Winter Solstice is the most ancient of known human festivities. Its symbolism runs deep in the veins of collective memory. According to pagan tradition, the December Full Moon is the Wolf Moon. This noble animals archetype now sounds its impassioned call in response to Lunas light. Our higher instincts are sounded as we are drawn to preserve the human and natural pack of which we form a part.
Our prayers and reflections now are designed to access the magical merger between these portals: the Winter Solstice and the Wolf Moon, a fusion that intensifies this lunations power to connect with Goddess Within and access her capability to balance personal and planetary energies. The idea of balance as part of our process of rebirth at this particular solstice is emphasized by the polarized female and male energies expressed repeatedly in Cancer/Capricorn, Saturn/Luna and Aries/Libra (as described in detail in Mayas Daily Success Guide).
Millennia before Jung spoke of the anima and animus, shamanic traditions (from which Solstice and the Santa figure both derive) acknowledged these two poles in each person, and the need for their equilibrium in personal efficacy. The female is the state of being, now symbolized by the Mother from whom the Wonder Child springs forth. The male is action. Which of these two expressions do you need in order to be a more integrated being, capable of utilizing the opportunities waiting in this new solar cycle, and fulfilling the role designated you in this time of planetary transition?
Our solstice suggestions include some powerful reflections and prayers to move toward integration of the god and goddess within.
Consecrate your solstice altar or shrine
Effective ritual begins with a clear intention. As you prepare your Solstice-Wolf Moon altar, or even as you put your seasonal décor in place, know that you are tuning into the holistic environment, both ancestral and natural, and calling on the divine spirits, guardians and angels to begin a truly light-filled personal and planetary cycle.
As you decorate your tree, put up wreathes, sprigs or related greenery, or add them to your altar, remember that perennial foliage symbolizes the force of life in her victory over cyclical transformation, and that you are part of this energy. Another simple way to catalyze this archetypal energy in your space include burning fresh herbs or 100% natural essential oils in your fireplace or on burning charcoal in an incensory or fireproof dish. Emphasizing natural decorations, avoiding plastic, will tighten your connection to the ancestors and natural kingdom.
Light and fire represent the ever-returning sun, but also the light within that is turned on by enlivening our faculties of will, love, intention and awareness, which we can remember as we light or look at candles or Christmas lights. At this particular Full Moon, you may choose to emphasize gold and silver, for the contrasting electric-magnetic, solar-lunar energies at play.
In his beautiful work, The Winter Solstice, John Matthews describes a simple, beautiful sacred decoration as the solstice shrine. It can be set on your altar space or a table with selected stones to honor the earth, feathers, bones or fossils for the animal kingdom, evergreen sprigs which can be leaned against one another with bark to make a little tipi as symbolic welcome for the shamans spiritand of course a candle.
If your altar or solstice (including Christmas) decoration is already in place as you read this, scan over it and connect with the reserves of faith and joy in the collective memory that are evoked by evergreen and light, gold and silver. Invite the angels and guardians of light and of perennial life to bring these energies into your awareness and to connect all hearts with their circle of good.
Praying by the light of the Solstice Full Moon
I searched through the I Ching for these prayers and two themes were emphasized: freedom and forgiveness. The Mother within reminds us: we are not alone in the face of the threat to our personal and collective freedoms that seems to loom ahead in the Republican regime. In whatever other challenging appearance we may have to deal with, there is a Higher Power with us at all times, who is working to loosen the chains of circumstances and people that may seek to bind us.
At this Full Moon, we do well to access the Divine Liberator in consciousness, never loosing sight of our inherent power to determine the nature of the coming solar cycle. The Creator Within operates most effectively when we untie the energetic knots that bind us to unloving, judgmental attitudes. This can seem most difficult in the face of the travesty that is being inflicted on the American political system and the atrocities perpetrated on Iraq and other countries, but remember: fundamentalism is their ideological tool. The most effective way to fight it is not through equally dogmatic attitudes, but through combining effective prayer with effective action, both of them carried out from a consciousness of unconditional love.
Before using the following affirmations, designed to resort to the assistance we receive from Spirit for these purposes, it can be helpful to consider our feminine and masculine natures, our capacities for being and acting, to see how a greater balance between the two can make us more effective instruments for the Divine Liberator.
In their book, The Power Path, neoshamans and writers José and Lena Stevens outline the following tendencies:
- Imbalance toward the masculine side or excess of sun
- Inability to listen.
- Problems communicating with women.
- Too "hard a hand" in leadership positions.
- Analytic paralysis (allowing the intellect to dominate obsessively).
- Overconfidence in deductive reasoning.
- Obsession with details.
- Addiction to impulsive action.
- Depression and attachment to pain.
- Autocratic decision-making.
- Desire to control others.
So, after lighting your candles and invoking your angels and guides, resort to these universal forces within and among us by decreeing:
We are not alone or without power, effective assistance. The Divine Liberator is with us, helping us and assisting us in whatever way is necessary to receive our freedom in the mental, spiritual and physical realms. The Divine Liberator is at work, leading us and fortifying us to release any judgmental attitudes and synchronize with the Spirit of unconditional love. The Divine Liberator knows exactly how to move and coordinate those people and situations necessary to insure our complete freedom and that of the entire planet.
Gifts, goodies, kind words and thoughts evoke good will and love, emotions which are the basis of our existence and which we fortify by choosing them consciously, even in the midst of the most challenging appearances. The most traditional solstice gifts are candles. Carefully chosen books and music will also light the fire within the receiver.
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