We celebrated the Winter Solstice last night at Neskaya. The building was decorated with a Solstice tree covered with lights and ornaments, and small white lights strung along the balconies. We had a good big circle.
First dance was Kos, the one we usually begin with
Lord of the Dance
Kyrie Eleison (the lively one choreographed by Friedel)
Then we listened to a story and song from the Christmas Revels CD Wassail Wassail
Nightwalking—done around a single candle, all other lights turned off.
Sitting in darkness, we pass a talking piece and each speaks about what darkness and this time of year means to them
Then we light candles one by one, making a wish, which can be shared or not. Many people wished for compassion
Shepherds’ Dance—done with candles. A while back we agreed that all the circles would do this dance, so it feels like it connects all of us
At this point we relight the candles at the Four Directions
Ring of Light—another candle dance
Then we turn on all the lights and do two new joyous dances
Il Cantico delle Creature
Bleak Midwinter (a very simple version)
Midwives—our usual closing dance, we all come into a hug.
Many people said how glad they were to have this group and this celebration, for a short time living in a world filled with love, sharing, co-operation, and peace.
Any readers who are wondering how these celebrations fit into a life characterized by struggle with PTSD, I have to say, Circle Dancing saved my life. What is there you are still willing to do when you can’t enjoy anything? My ability to enjoy is dependent on brain chemistry. I know there are people who choose not to enjoy certain things, but I’m not one of them. After my therapist told me that depression prevents enjoyment, I thought about it – in some ways it was a relief, that I WASN’T choosing to not enjoy. I saw then that appreciation can be done on will, but enjoyment needs correct brain chemistry. So there are days that I know are beautiful — sunshine, green leaves, white clouds, soft breeze — but I can’t FEEL they are beautiful. But I did find out that doing dances in community, with the understanding that they have a sacred dimension, was still worth doing even when I couldn’t enjoy it.