As the northern-most point of Earth tips away from the sun, the ebb and flow of nature’s cycles are most dramatic in the contrast between the fading light of the sun and the long dark nights of winter.
Over thousands of years, humans have worshiped the rebirth of the solar year with a celebration of light returning and new beginnings.
This year, solstice, when the “sun stands still,” is on December 21 at 2:23 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The full Cold Moon will also rise on that night.
Most of us may not be building large stone structures that align with the sun at certain times of the day and year, nor dancing around huge bonfires dressed in horns and furs, sending offerings to the gods to ensure the daily return of the sun. Instead, here in our small island community, blessed by the beauty of nature and the warmth and generosity of friends and neighbours, we will celebrate with traditional and sacred music and a symbolic lighting of the Sun Candle.
We invite you all to come together on this longest night for a Solstice celebration, on Friday, December 21, with a special gathering of local musicians, mulled wine and festive treats. This will be the seventh such celebration on Bowen and it will be the first held in the new Cove Commons space. The Spirit of Solstice event began as a collaboration between Shelagh MacKinnon, Doug Stepple and Susanna Braund, like the Green Man festival in the spring, and it combines music and spoken word with an element of ritual and time for meditation.
Hearts will be warmed by music and storytelling from MaddRegaeles’ Muse (Rita Ciammaichella, Hari Mavridakis and Doug Stepple), Simon James, Lorraine Ashdown, Davina Haisell, Crossing Over led by Brian Hoover and HSB (Doug Hillhouse, Doug Stepple and Susanna Braund), with Martin Clarke as our able master of ceremonies. Lorraine picks up the torch from Shelagh MacKinnon, who presided at the previous Winter Solstice celebrations, in leading us in a meditative ritual moment when we have a chance to make a silent wish for things to come.
This year, as we gather with friends and loved ones, we remember those who have passed and contemplate our deep connection to nature’s cycles and to the continuing wheel of life. This is a time to tune in to the magic and beauty of winter, a time of rest and renewal as we resist the urge to get caught up in the swirl of the holiday season – at least for this one remarkable day.
The concert is at Cove Commons on the eve of winter solstice at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available for purchase at www.biac.ca/solstice.php and at the Gallery @ Cove Commons. This event is sponsored by The Hearth – Arts on Bowen (Bowen Island Arts Council) and the performers. Proceeds will go to the Bowen Community Centre project.
From out of the darkness and the cold, the light and hope return.