Christmas Eve

Christmas-EveThe day has passed quietly as we prepare for Christmas. Now, a few minutes before sunset, we are finishing tasks. Jennie sings for two services this evening at the UU church. I’ll go to one and join hundreds of others in lighting a candle to the turning year. Tomorrow, Christmas, the day will be noticeably longer; somehow our awareness marks the addition of a minute or two of sunlight to the day. Continue reading

Shamans, Priests, and Crows

Crow

Today is All Souls Day. Throughout the Americas families and individuals will gather tonight, or tomorrow night, to welcome the returning Dead. Those who gather by family alters, or in churches or cemeteries, will bring with them wonderful food and beautiful flowers. Some will burn incense or tobacco; others will display transient handmade crafts. Many will remain awake throughout the night, or sleep where they maintain their vigil. Continue reading

Ceremony to Heal Trauma

A group of close family and friends sits with a woman. The women in the group have spent several hours bathing and dressing her. Tonight she will step out of her old self and into a new life. Other friends sit or stand in groups around the room. They have come to listen as the woman and her friends and family tell the story of the trauma she has faced, and of her courage and persistence in reclaiming her life from that trauma. They have come to see her step into a life of balance, and they bear gifts and food to celebrate her new life. Continue reading