After a nice evening with the Hall's, where we threw lavender into an outdoor fire while making wishes, and then ate beef and mushroom soup, chili, cornbread, and salad, our family headed home to have our own special Solstice ritual. I did some research to try and find something that would be meaningful for us, and could become a tradition that the children (and us) could look forward to every year, and bring us a sense of belonging to the holiday hustle that was more in line with our beliefs.
So we started by putting up our "Solstice bush," a locally grown live mini-tree that we could plant later, and wrapping it with lights. Then we laid out the things we had collected that day (mostly from our yard but a few things we had to buy) for our ceremony: rosemary, holly, bay leaves, ivy, apples, walnuts, and evergreen boughs.
We lit the tree, and some candles. Then, with our couch moved out of the way, we sat together in front of this alter on our big circular wool rug. When we looked up, thorugh our glass roof this was the view:
A perfect solstice moon right over our heads! Wow. We are so excited that this can be a magical part of our tradition every year! Now getting the roof replaced seems like it was totally worth it...
So the symbolism of our elements were as such:
*we bound rosemary and bay leaves together, one bundle for each of us. the rosemary is for remembrance so we each took turns sharing our favorite highlights of this year (so many!) then placing the bundle on the alter. the bay serves to cleanse the unsettling events of the year.
*blake and i both had bundles of holly and ivy. holly is masculine (fiery and protective) and ivy is feminine (intuitive and emotional.) this was the most touching part of the ceremony for me since blake and i took a moment to honor each others opposite but complimentary natures--since we spend so much of our time not really understanding our different perspectives (lol!)
*we each placed an apple by our tree, the symbol of love, and either proclaimed out loud or silently our love for one another.
*walnuts were wishes we had for the coming year.
*finally we laid out evergreen boughs around all of this--the symbol of resilience and immortality--impervious to cold and darkness. things we hope for our family.
We finished up just in time for the actual peak of Solstice, 10:08 pm, to stand around in a circle and hold hands and Ohm at the moon, respecting its darkness, but inviting the sun to return again. We went to bed feeling warm and connected to each other, the holiday, and the earth.