Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

 

Winter Song O’ Mother Sun

By Laurie Corzett

 

Winter homage to our waning Sun

that she will return, feeding us

with light and heat, sweet

energy.

Mother Star, we enchant

thee with ceremony, singing/dancing

in glorious pageantry at your feet,

a synergy of faith and formal prayer.

We are your children, refining

your gift of life, designing

grand structures, grander dreams,

imaging rainbows from your

streaming light;

see how our visions learn to take

flight

under your warm embrace

and on through the night.

These long dark nights, we beseech you,

reach out to join our hands,

sharing warmth of your reflected love,

Mother Sun.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

A common theme of Winter Solstice ceremonies everywhere is the burning of fires to symbolically re-kindle the dwindling sun. People gather together to cheer on the ascendancy of the light, the victory of the very forces of life.

The Hindu Festival of Lights, Divali, The Festival of Light, comes about six weeks before the Winter Solstice. The story surrounding Divali is that Lord Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic, Ramayana, was sent into exile (read darkness), but he redeems himself by slaying the evil ten-headed Demon King Ravana, who had stolen his wife, Sita, the light of his life. He is then, after fourteen years, able to return home in triumph.

On Divali, people light his way back into the fold each year and at the same time, invite the gifts of the Goddess of Prosperity and Plenty, Lakshmi. They place clusters of deyas, small clay lanterns filled with oil and a burning cotton wick, along all the pathways, garden walls, windowsills and patios in towns and villages, their flickering glow, providing a warm welcome.

Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights celebrated near the Winter Solstice, commemorates a miracle which is a metaphor for the dwindling, then returning light of the season. The popular story goes: the stock of oil, which was used to fuel the everlasting light on the altar of The Temple, ran low. A one-day supply was all that was left, but it was somehow able to continue burning for the eight days that it took to procure more.

The eight-day Chanukah ritual involves the lightening and blessing of eight candles in a menorah, or ceremonial candelabra. One additional flame is kindled each night, mimicking the gradual gathering of light in the dark sky. For Jews, the candles represent the light of truth, the flame of freedom.

Throughout Northern Europe where the weather is more severe, the solstice fires were lit indoors. The Yule log and colored light decorations, which are today emblematic of Christmas are the same as were once lit in honor of Sulis, Sol, Sunna, the old Goddess of the Sun. In Sweden, Santa Lucia, Saint Lucy, Holy Light, is observed on December 13, the date of the Winter Solstice on the old Julian calendar. Young girls dressed in white nightgowns with crowns of lit candles in their hair parade the streets at dawn, waking people with coffee and fresh baked cakes in the spiral shape of the many-spoked sun wheel.

Kwanzaa is an African American holiday that has been celebrated during the solstice season since 1966, when it was first designed by Dr. Maulana Kerenga, a Black Studies professor and cultural nationalist at Berkeley. Although it is inspired by West African harvest and thanksgiving festivals — Kwanzaa means “first fruits” in Kiswahili — it is celebrated like a solstice fire festival.

A major ritual element is the lighting of seven red, black, and green candles in a kinara, a holder. Each candle stands for the Seven African Principles, fundamental precepts upon which a creative, productive and successful community life is based: Umoja, unity; Kujichagulia, self-determination; Ujima, collective work; Ujamaa, shared economics; Nia, life purpose; Kuumba, creativity; Imani, faith. Beginning on December 26, they are lit alternately from left to right, one each night, until they are all aglow.

Since the earliest of human times, it has been both natural and necessary for folks to join together in the warmth and glow of community in order to welcome the return of light to a world that is surrounded by dark. And through the imitative gesture of lighting fires, like so many solar birthday candles, we do our annual part to rekindle the spirit of hope and light in our hearts.

Lighting a light at the darkest time of the year is a pledge somehow. A promise. A sacred vow. Such a small, symbolic gesture. So elegantly simple. So significant. Each tentative flicker of each flame is a reminder of the fragility and pulsating persistence of the life force. Each spark, a signal flare of faith.

One by one, in tiny increments,

candle by candle, gesture by effort,

wish by prayer, concern by care,

we feed the life-fires of the soul

and light the infinite universe,

little by little from within.

– QMD

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

Winter Solstice Prayer

By Pauline Alma

 

A M A, Earth Mother

Who art all around us,

And within us NOW

Blessed be our creations.

Give us this day,

The strength and trust

To acknowledge and surrender our fears to the Light

As we compassionately face that

Which would use our fear against us.

Guide us on our journey

With love and peace

And consecrate our abilities

To create a new world

Of compassionate acceptance,

In joy, appreciation and harmony.

For ours is the beauty emerging

Birthing in the ascension spiral,

Forever FREE

To exercise goodwill actions towards ALL.

May our Victories be Self-Reflective

Hearing Jolly Bells ringing for ALL this NEW YEAR.

Blessed be our Winter Solstice Intent

hummming us OM

A M A   OM

***

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

Today is the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter. The beginning point of the return of the light.

I send blessings of illumination to all Queens everywhere.

xxQueen Mama Donna

 

Winter Solstice Prayer

by Mary Saracino, CO  www.marysaracino.com/

Deep night, Dark night

Night of the longest sigh

Soulful night, Sacred night

Night of the longest dreams

Cold night, Holy night

Night of unfurling desires

Womb of the world, Birther of hope

Bringer of peace and good will

Pray, pray for all good things

That suffering for all will end

That life will thrive and generosity reign

In the hearts of all humankind

That joy will rise and children will fly

On wings of prosperity

Oh hear our plea, this silent night

When the moon is round in the sky

When hopes are high and eyes are wide

with delight and audacity

May Love prevail tonight, and always

Leading us back to our Source

May we dance with the dark, without hesitation or fear

And savor her promise of plenty

Deep night

Dark night

Night of the longest sigh

May our weary hearts stay vigilant and receptive

To all that is loving and dear

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.