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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Ideas for Solstice  (Read 2425 times)

Beloved

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Ideas for Solstice
« on: December 07, 2019, 10:24:12 pm »
Hi everyone!

It was roughly a year ago that I joined the cauldron. At the time, I identified as a lifelong Christian who was seriously struggling to reconcile with the claims of Christianity. I was wondering if the Paganism umbrella might be a better fit for me. I began exploring and practicing and celebrated my first solstice, privately, in my own way; while still participating in my family's Christian celebrations.

This year has been amazing. I have done some light reading about a few Neopagan traditions, but mostly I've just allowed myself the freedom to express my spirituality in what ever way felt right (an amazing freedom I had never experienced until this year!).

My husband is now doing the same, which is unexpected and interesting. We now find ourselves without many holiday traditions that still fit. We will continue celebrating with our families and feel comfortable navigating that, but want to find some new traditions for just us to celebrate Solstice. Any book or website recommendations with ideas that are meaningful but not super religious in nature (since we don't belong to any religious tradition currently)?


TheGreenWizard

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Re: Ideas for Solstice
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2019, 06:37:29 pm »
Hi everyone!

It was roughly a year ago that I joined the cauldron. At the time, I identified as a lifelong Christian who was seriously struggling to reconcile with the claims of Christianity. I was wondering if the Paganism umbrella might be a better fit for me. I began exploring and practicing and celebrated my first solstice, privately, in my own way; while still participating in my family's Christian celebrations.

This year has been amazing. I have done some light reading about a few Neopagan traditions, but mostly I've just allowed myself the freedom to express my spirituality in what ever way felt right (an amazing freedom I had never experienced until this year!).

My husband is now doing the same, which is unexpected and interesting. We now find ourselves without many holiday traditions that still fit. We will continue celebrating with our families and feel comfortable navigating that, but want to find some new traditions for just us to celebrate Solstice. Any book or website recommendations with ideas that are meaningful but not super religious in nature (since we don't belong to any religious tradition currently)?

Hello Beloved,

I'm so happy from reading your experiences so far - definitely there's great sense of freedom when you're finally able to celebrate a holiday or season the way that feels right for you, and even more so when your significant other(s) jump on board as well. To help you out, here are a few ideas for solstice work:
  • At TC, we do the Up All Night for the Winter Solstice - Altair hosts it, with me being Geek Squad for getting everything set up with Zoom, Discord, and what have you. We stay up all night to recognize the longest night of the year (conversely, the shortest day of the year). This comes from Altair's personal experiences/practices, and is now in its 25th or 26th year of celebration!!
  • Winter solstice is meant (in my opinion) as a time of reflection, and goal setting. It's the shortest day, however, from here til the summer solstice, the days get longer. Definitely think about what you have learned this past year, and what do you want to grow in. Similar to New Year's Resolutions, but with the aspect of really focusing on a manageable number of goals (for myself, two to three).
  • Here's a website with several ideas and explanations (from Circle Sanctuary): https://www.circlesanctuary.org/index.php/celebrating-the-seasons/celebrating-winter-solstice
  • Mother Earth Living has a few ideas as well, with celebrating Solstice and Christmas: https://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/simply-solstice-celebrate-winter-with-new-and-old-traditions
Just a few ideas - don't want to overwhelm you!
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

PerditaPickle

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Re: Ideas for Solstice
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2019, 04:11:35 am »
I have done some light reading about a few Neopagan traditions, but mostly I've just allowed myself the freedom to express my spirituality in what ever way felt right (an amazing freedom I had never experienced until this year!).

Happy TC anniversary!

The above was the bit of your post which caught my attention, and for me this would be the way to go. What appeals to you this time of year?  Candles, foodstuffs etc?

I think TGW's suggestion of UAN (or part of) would be an excellent one and feel you'd almost certainly come away with new ideas for the following year.

Hope to see you then!
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
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SunflowerP

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Re: Ideas for Solstice
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2019, 06:43:28 pm »
At TC, we do the Up All Night for the Winter Solstice - Altair hosts it, with me being Geek Squad for getting everything set up with Zoom, Discord, and what have you. We stay up all night to recognize the longest night of the year (conversely, the shortest day of the year). This comes from Altair's personal experiences/practices, and is now in its 25th or 26th year of celebration!!

Just to be clear, that's not how long it's been happening on TC (TC itself hasn't been around that long!); that's how long Altair has been including it in his personal practice.. It became a TC thing twelve years ago, as a result of a thread convo on the archive board in which it came out that several people marked the winter solstice with an all-night vigil.

One of those other people is me; I've been doing it for slightly longer than Altair has (since '91? I think?), but because Altair is the one who suggested making it a Cauldron event, and took on organizing it, he's who is most associated with it.

Beloved, participation in UAN was also the first thing I thought of when I read your post - it's an excellent way to do something that feels significant, without having to attach it to any specific tradition/religion or put in a lot of prep work or ritual construction in advance.

Sunflower
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PerditaPickle

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Re: Ideas for Solstice
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2019, 05:32:13 pm »
The above was the bit of your post which caught my attention, and for me this would be the way to go. What appeals to you this time of year?  Candles, foodstuffs etc?

The above was rather brief, posted when I was just about to get off the train, so thought I'd return and elaborate some more about how I mark the solstice.

In my case, I still celebrate Christmas together with my husband and family because I'd miss it too much if I didn't, far too much childhood nostalgia is wrapped up in it to let it go altogether (though I can appreciate that some may feel this makes me hypocritical, since I don't attach any religious significance to it and beyond it being a time to get together & spend time with family I don't derive any particular meaning from it).

I try to incorporate as much of my paganism as I can, though, in my decorations, foods I stock up on for the festive period and so on.

For example I've garlands for our living room, candlesticks & holders and our Christmas tree has numerous 'baubles' which have decidedly 'pagan feeling' motifs - and I try to ensure that this collection grows most years*.  Many of these were picked up in high street shops, since there's a fair bit of overlap in some of the symbols.  Stars and deer for instance (sometimes what I think are meant to represent reindeer actually remind me more of stags, which is convenient).  Also a lot of the usual winter greenery (holly, ivy, fir boughs and of course mistletoe) and other natural décor items, like pine cones and even botanicals/herbs (cinnamon sticks, star anise as decorative elements etc - great for a rustic feel).  Another benefit of this is that to outward appearances most of these won't appear out of place to anyone who visits our home and isn't aware I'm a pagan, which is a broom-closet bonus.  Some of the Christmas decorations available in the shops are more 'pagan feeling' than others of course - certain star motifs are distinctly more 'nativity' than others, I'm thinking of the sort of elongated one you often see aloft above three visiting kings/wise men.  What I need to incorporate more of are sun symbols, flames and so on - and I might have to get creative & crafty to get some of these going for my decorative collection.
(*Sustainably, these days.)

Anyways...

Some people mark the solstice on the full moon nearest to it - I'm a bit late providing that tip for this year, but might be useful for next year.  There again, some people also mark the solstice on the dark moon nearest to it as well.  I've an app on my android phone for the moon phases, called Daff Moon from the app store - it was free, and it's pretty good (& doesn't have a lot of superfluous info which I'll never need).

I try wherever possible to mark the actual moment of the solstice with a minute of quiet reflection (providing that this doesn't fall at 3 or 4 am or so) - my pagan friend and I very often exchange a text message with one another quite near to the solstice moment, as we very rarely manage to actually get together at the very moment to celebrate (particularly winter solstice, as she's already headed off to visit family by that date, usually).  As your husband is getting involved, perhaps this may be something you and he might like to do.  I like this website for assistance with tracking the solstices & etc: https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/seasons.html

One year I came across online instructions for making spell decorations - basically, it was an alternative to a salt-dough recipe with cinnamon for a more ginger-bread looking and slightly scented ornament.  The idea was to put one's intent into making the dough, along with symbols to represent what was being wished for on the reverse side of each ornament.  The website was as follows, I believe: https://www.learnreligions.com/yule-ornaments-4083710 (please note I really can't speak to the quality or otherwise of anything else which might be listed on that website, though).

I treat myself to a bottle of mead each year (which lasts me most of the year).  If you're not into alcoholic drinks you could maybe come up with something else a little bit indulgent and out of the ordinary, like a chai latte or something, and share a drink & have a toast together with your husband on the solstice.

Most years when giving gifts to friends around Christmas time I usually try to give a handmade treat alongside any more mainstream (shop bought) gift - this is usually the one and only fudge recipe I've ever managed to perfect (though this year I don't think I've allowed myself enough time to do this and distribute them before the holiday period so I may very well end up handing them out as new year treats instead).

I hope some of the above may help provide some inspiration - if you'd be okay to come back and share any new solstice traditions you and your husband are able to forge this year I'd be interested to hear them.  Above all, have a nice time!
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SunflowerP

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Re: Ideas for Solstice
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2019, 05:50:32 pm »
The website was as follows, I believe: https://www.learnreligions.com/yule-ornaments-4083710 (please note I really can't speak to the quality or otherwise of anything else which might be listed on that website, though).

Looks like the current form of what was once About.com's religions section - the article you link is bylined Patti Wigington, and when I scroll waaaay down, I see it's still part of ThoughtCo, which is what About.com became. So, not great, but not appalling either; the biggest issues seem to be (as they always were) superficiality and a very Wiccish take on what paganism is.

Sunflower
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PerditaPickle

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Re: Ideas for Solstice
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2019, 04:11:25 am »
Looks like the current form of what was once About.com's religions section - the article you link is bylined Patti Wigington, and when I scroll waaaay down, I see it's still part of ThoughtCo, which is what About.com became. So, not great, but not appalling either; the biggest issues seem to be (as they always were) superficiality and a very Wiccish take on what paganism is.

Sunflower

I did wonder - and I didn't actually try the recipe either, come to think of it, I think I just added cinnamon to a salt dough mix in the end (which seemed to work and gave quite a nice ginger-bread finish).
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Re: Ideas for Solstice
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2019, 05:14:41 am »
Any book or website recommendations with ideas that are meaningful but not super religious in nature (since we don't belong to any religious tradition currently)?

Sorry I've missed this thread for so long, Beloved, but let me add my voice for those encouraging you to join us here for all or part of Up All Night (whether you and your husband choose to go the distance and actually stay awake or not).

If you do choose to go for the all-night duration, this is a good year to try, since the solstice falls on a Saturday night. Assuming you work weekdays, that means you can nap beforehand on Saturday and sleep it off during the day on Sunday.

One of the nice things about UAN is that it's nondenominational; it's not yoked to any particular tradition or path. And it's a great way to ride out the cold and dark, and celebrate the return of the light!
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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