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Winter Solstice: Full Moon, Heart, Stars

December 21, 2018

Friday December 21 is the winter solstice 2018, the day with the least sunlight and the longest night.

A most important day for humans for millennia!


The Smithsonian Magazine writer, asked Native friends about winter solstice traditions. The answer?

Winter is the time for storytelling and star gazing!

For the Ojibwe (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe), according to Indian Land Tenure Foundation/Lessons of Our Land as background for teachers:

“Storytelling is reserved for the winter months for many tribes. This was a practical choice given the fact that during the other season’s, people were busy growing, gathering, and hunting food. It was in the winter, with the long dark evenings, the snow and wind blowing outside, that telling stories was a way to entertain and teach the children. Another reason is that many traditional stories contain animal characters. To be respectful, people waited until the winter when animals hibernate or become less active so they cannot hear themselves being talked about.

To have a storyteller tell you a story is like receiving a gift.

To be respectful, a gift of tobacco is offered to the storyteller before the story begins. The storyteller will often take the tobacco outside and place it on the earth as an offering to the spirits of the story.

Members of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin “wait for the Winter Moon, and there has to be snow on Mother Earth for those stories.”

At the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, winter solstice marks the New Year with ceremonies not privy to the public: “It’s also the time of haamaaha, storytelling of the coyote, stories of heroes, stories of the animals, sharing of knowledge. My parents said that when you call haamaaha, people will arrive with piñon nuts gathered in the fall that are roasted and shared.”

For the Syilx of Washington State and British Columbia, winter solstice “marks the point in time when our Winter Ceremonies can be held. My grandmother sometimes held her first ceremony of the winter at this powerful time. We have winter dance ceremonies; prayers for the new year to come, for the berries, roots, four-leggeds, and fish—the four Food Chiefs; prayers for our families and ourselves. There are songs, dancing, feasting, and a give-away. This is held during the evening and can go all night, depending on the number of sacred singers who come to share. The ceremonies are called winter dances. Or my grandfather also called them Chinook dances. In our territory to the south in Washington State around Nespelem, my grandfather told me of one dance ceremony lasting ten nights in a row!”

Around the globe, we humans tell stories about the stars. This winter solstice is marked by a big bright almost full moon as well as shooting stars.

According to, “We’ve nursed our intentions long enough: At the full moon in Cancer, they’re ready to be born… whatever we began two weeks ago at the new moon is likely still a work in progress. But by now, it’s taken on a life of its own—and grown way too big to keep under wraps.” And they say, “Whatever you do at this full moon, be gentle with yourself… and with everyone else in your life. After all, at this full moon, we’re all looking for a safe space.  Fortunately, the sun in Capricorn (which opposes this full moon) provides us with a supportive structure or container in which to process all the feels.” They conclude with “More than any other sign, Cancer can bring up a lot of nostalgia for childhood and family. So whoever or wherever feels like home to you, that’s where you’ll want to be at this full moon!”

No wonder I’m being called to go to Art City tonight — my emotional and artistic “home” here in Ventura. A few years ago, I led a Winter Solstice Ritual similar to this one. Tonight check out music, performance and more:

Happy Solstice — however you choose to celebrate! Cheers!

PS For more on these bubbles below, check out this post on Wine Predator!

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