Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Winter Solstice

My good friend Edward invited me and a few close friends to a special ceremony in observance of the Winter Solstice. We gathered on his property to make prayers for the passing season and set good intentions for times to come. Afterwards, we enjoyed hot soup, bread, and apple cider as we sat around a cozy pot belly stove in his cabin. We had a wonderful and pleasant visit.

At one point Edward asked me to sing and invite the spirits of the land to participate in our little ritual; and as I did so, I realized I participated in a similar ceremony with my father almost 12 years ago to the day. He felt inspired to mark the passing of the seasons in a similar way and bring together the ancient traditions of both Europe and America. We participated in a sweat lodge ceremony on the banks of the Little Spokane River and later took a dip in the icy stream. As we emerged from the water, I blacked out and collapsed. I think I had hypothermia, but I remember seeing lights and feeling warmth surround my body like a loving embrace. I heard my father shouting in the distance, as though he were standing on the other side of a large field. They later told me he did shout. He panicked and yelled something into my ear like, “He’s passing to the other side! Bring him back!”

They pulled me into the house and warmed my freezing body. As my consciousness returned, I felt a sudden, piercing pain in my chest and arms and head and legs. I shook uncontrollably.

They drove me home and put me to bed. Several days later, my father called to check up on me. “Connie was worried,” he said, “But I knew you would be okay.” He died just a few days later and I have since wondered if this near death experience had any meaning in relationship to his passing. Twelve years later, I remember this day and wonder if his spirit is prompting me to carry on his observance of the passing seasons.

No comments: