Saturday is the Winter Solstice, also known as Yule. On this day the tilt of the Earth’s semi-axis is furthest away from the Sun, creating the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This is a sacred day that predates Christmas by thousands of years, and is the day where we welcome the merging of the darkest time of the year and the emergence into the newborn light. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin solstitium, meaning “point at which the sun stands still.”
So often we forget the pause, the empty space between tasks, or even the empty space between thoughts. But on Saturday, when the sun stands still, we are reminded to not overlook the pause, but to savour it.
Deep in your consciousness may be an ancestral memory, a part of your spiritual DNA, that still senses the cosmic significance of this day.
And I’d love to share a Winter Solstice ritual that you will help you connect with that memory.
- Gather with your family in your home. Everyone should have a flashlight and a smaller candle. Light a large, central candle that everyone can stand around.
- Go through your house and turn off all the lights, so that there is darkness everywhere except for your candle.
- Gather back to your central candle and then blow it out.
- Pause in the darkness and reflect on the stillness and the celestial pause happening today. Allow yourself to feel how darkness is important for our growth, our evolution. You may wish to share what has been in the shadows for you over this last 6 month period. True consciousness comes from embracing both the darkness and the light.
- When complete, re-light your central candle. Sense into the spark of illumination that is expanding around you.
- Everyone, one at a time, should light their smaller candle from the central candle. Share an intention or desire that you wish to manifest over this next 6 month period.
- Celebrate with some food and music!
On the Solstice the mystical forces of transformation are deeply present. Taking time for ritual, however simple or short can be a powerful way to receive the gifts this sacred day offers.
The longest day of the year fast approaches, this Friday, June 21st.
The word solstice comes from two Latin words meaning ‘sun’ and ‘stoppage’, this will be the day that the sun stops moving North and reaches its highest point of the year.
The Solstice represents a time of newness, nourishment and sustenance – an opportunity to turn our attention inward and cast light on the shadows.
Cultures all over the world and throughout history, have celebrated this day. They observed that the expansion of consciousness opened through meditation, practice and ceremony on the Solstice is magnified in a very powerful way. Taking pause on this special day can be a very potent experience.
There are many ways to celebrate this special day, here are a few suggestions:
- Be intentional and turn off all your devices for some part of the day. This helps you align into the frequency of your chosen ritual.
- Prepare a home altar with colours of the sun – brilliant golds, red and oranges. Use candles, flowers, food and anything that brings thoughts of brightness and radiance into your being.
- In a journal or in meditation, reflect upon your journey over the last 6 months. What has transpired for you in the first half of the journey around the sun this year?
- Place a jar or bowl of water out in the sun early on Friday to be energized with the Solstice sun. Drink in the later day to receive the vitality of the most important of cosmic entities.
- Write a list of your intentions for the next 6 months. Bury these intentions in your garden to grow with you over this next cycle of light.
Most importantly, play, have fun and remember all that you’ve generated this year & honour what has burst into creation!
If you have a particular ceremony or practice that you use to celebrate the Solstice – please share it on my Facebook Page. I would love to know how you honour this special day.
Around the world our Muslim friends have been celebrating Laylat al-Qadr. Considered to be the holiest night of the year, it is traditionally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. Known as the “Night of Power,“ “Night of Decree,” “Night of Destiny,” or “Night of Measures,” it commemorates when the Quran (the Islamic holy book) was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
The Prophet Muhammad retreated from his daily life on a regular basis to meditate on the higher truths within the human existence. After fifteen years of this practice, he received his first call of revelation from the angel Gabriel, beginning with “Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists).”
It is said that on this night, God gives abundant blessing while also showing mercy to practicing Muslims, who actively seek His forgiveness and engage in various acts of worship. Praying for salvation and blessings (known as Ehyaa), Muslims believe that past sins are forgiven if the person prays throughout the night. Additionally, it is believed that angels descend to Earth during this time to perform every errand decreed by God. Muslims also believe that this evening marks their fate in the following year.
Laylat al-Qadr is a time of community, where everyone comes together to worship, pray and celebrate. It is also a time of acts of good will and charity, particularly towards the poor and unfortunate. This holy night is celebrated by millions of Muslims around the globe and is quoted in scripture as being “better than a thousand months”.
So, tell me, my Muslim friends, I would love to know what this special evening means to you and how you celebrate it with the ones you love. What are you asking for this year? Drop me an email back and let me know!
It’s May Day! Also known as Beltane, this Gaelic festival marks the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Originally celebrated to protect cattle, crops, and people; special bonfires were lit and said to have protective powers through their flames, smoke and ash. Like a mass smudging, people and their cattle would walk around the fire or sometimes leap over the flames and embers.
Modern versions of Beltane still include the bonfire to be a key part of the celebration but central themes tend to significantly focus on life, fertility and growth. Other customs include decorating the “May Bush” with bright yellow flowers of the season and dancing around the Maypole.
Beltane is a great time for bringing intentions to life! One thing you can do to celebrate this year is to create a wish box charm.
· A small cardboard box (shoe boxes are great)
· Rose petals
· Sunflower and/or poppy seeds
· A piece of willow or birch bark, an acorn or leaves
· Something that represents your wish/intention
Start by writing your wishes/intentions on a piece of paper, while doing so, visualize them manifesting into reality. You can get extra creative by decorating your box with symbols such as the triple moon, pentacles, hearts … or whatever you’re feeling.
Poke several holes in the lid, as this will help your plants to grow. Next, take your box and put some earth into it. Then add a layer of your paper wishes with the bark/acorn and “wish representation” and then cover with another layer of earth. Now mix your rose petals with your seeds and scatter them on the top. Cover with a final layer of earth and place the lid back onto the box.
The best time to plant your wish box is after a fresh rainfall, but if you’re experiencing a dry season, just make sure to give your planting area a good watering the night before. Dig a hole 2 inches deeper than your wish box and lower it carefully into the hole while concentrating on your intention. Imagine your wish growing with the flowers as they reach skyward. As you cover your box with earth, say: “Dream that lies within the earth awaken now. Hope that sleeps awaken now. The stars await as so do I. Grow true, grow strong, toward the sky.”
If you don’t have a garden, you can also plant this in a pot.
I’d love to hear how you and your loved ones celebrate Beltane. Send me a message and let me know about your yearly traditions!
Passover, the annual Jewish celebration of freedom, ends on Friday. The Passover story is of a people liberated from slavery more than 3,000 years ago. And while it is a time of celebration with family, it is also a time to question and contemplate what currently holds us personally in bondage.
Today I would like to share a few Passover questions (inspired by Rabbi S. Buxbaum) you might feel called to reflect upon. Regardless of your religion or spiritual beliefs, these questions can be a potent entry point for some deep personal exploration.
- Has anything ever happened to you which seemed bitter at the time but later turned out to be sweet?
- How have the hardships in your life helped you become a better person?
- In your day-to-day life, do you really love what you do or are you more like a captive to aspects of your life (i.e., work)?
- What is holding you back the most?
- What are the gifts in your life that make it all worth it?
- If you could fully express gratitude to someone in your past who really made a difference in your life, who would it be?
I’d also like to share a traditional Passover recipe with you, one of my favourite seder dishes since childhood, Charoset. This sweet, fruity dish holds a special, symbolic place as its colour and texture are meant to recall the mortar that the Jews used to bond bricks while enslaved in Egypt. It also reminds us to always look for the sweetness in life.
Charoset is so simple to make and especially delicious the next day after the flavours have soaked into the apples. Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Traditionally served with Mazos, but I like it just out of the bowl on its own.
- 3 firm apples chopped finely or shredded
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
- 1 TBS honey
- 6 chopped dates or a handful of raisins
- 1/2 cup good red wine
- 1 TBS lemon juice
Our life may be full of moments of real and perceived bondage. In those moments, may we all have the opportunity to pause, feel into the sweetness that life also gifts us and allow ourselves to be reminded of the lessons, consciousness and transformation that is waiting to be revealed.
Today is a BIG day!! It’s the first day of Spring – the Vernal Equinox, which for us in the Northern Hemisphere is a huge deal. Finally the days are getting noticeably longer, the temperatures are warming, snow is melting and you can just feel that new growth vibe all around.
It is also a Full Moon, in Libra, the sign of balance. This particular Full Moon is about boosting the intimacy in all of your relationships, and asks you to deepen your trust, honesty, and authenticity. It is an auspicious time to repair suffering relationships and to be more present for our loved ones.
Tonight at sundown, the joyful Jewish holiday of Purim begins. Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jews in ancient Persia and is celebrated with costumes, sharing food, donations to the poor and lots of hamentaschen (triangle cookies filled with jam) and wine.
And….it is my birthday! Today I am celebrating another revolution around the sun. I’m pausing to acknowledge all the amazing gifts and blessings in my life – a healthy and capable body, a beloved partner that I adore, 3 extraordinary children who inspire me every day, loving and supportive friends, a yoga studio with devoted students, a career that embraces my dharma and engages my passions and devotions…and YOU! I am so grateful to you for being a part of my life.
So to thank you for being here, for reading my musings, for staying connected, for being part of a global shift of consciousness to make our world a better place for all beings everywhere, I want to offer you a small gift on this special day. I created this Spring Equinox meditation for just you. Take a moment to get comfortable, connect with your breath, drop in and nurture your Springtime intentions as we move into this season of renewal, beginnings and growth.
Thank you again for being here and I hope you enjoy this most special day.