Welcome to the home sweet home of Wellness and Spirituality!
Last night I made a prayer arrow to participate ceremonially in the Winter Solstice which occurs at 6:38 p.m. EST here where I live. At that time, I will place the arrow in a prayer mound. I am so appreciative that I slowed myself down during this busy season and took the time to do this! It seems so simple…yet such interludes are too often neglected…this slowing down and spending peaceful, contemplative time with yourself.
My dear Elder, Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha, has taught me many ceremonial ways, including the preparation of the prayer arrow for the Great Pine Ceremony on the Winter Solstice. I tried to explain to my 87 year old parents what I was doing, and I came up with this explanation: Making a prayer arrow for Great Pine on the Winter Solstice is something like making new year resolutions. Indeed, since the arrow is placed in the mound at the exact time when the sun is at its farthest distance from the Northern latitudes and then–in a manner of speaking, reverses direction, and the days begin to grow longer again —it’s really more of a “new year” than what we celebrate as the New Year.
I did not try to explain the deeper, esoteric meanings and forces involved in this ceremonial practice. But for you–for a wonderful description of the meaning of the Great Pine Ceremony and Winter Solstice, please check out my sister blogger, Deb Adler’s, Dec. 20th post, “Welcoming Winter”.
To make the arrow, I go to the woods and find a tree that I sense is willing to do “giveaway” of a straight section of branch, about 1/2 inch in diameter, two feet long. I make an offering of cornmeal and put some on the place that is cut. I take the branch inside and strip the bark. Then, in a Medicine manner, as has been described in detail by Grandmother, I prepare the arrow, using markers, paints and a woodburner. The symbols and writing I draw on the end of the arrow which will be put into the Earth, speak of that which I would like to release from my life in the next year: anger, intolerance, procrastination, all the ugly stuff. The symbols put on the top of the area speak of the blessings and goals to which I am open.
Do you take time for yourself–not just to smell the flowers–but to water the garden of flowers that is YOU? If not, just do it!
Christmas is coming and family will be coming and going at my parents house during the holidays. Yes! I get to see my husband and two sons! And sisters and spouses, neices and nephews. We do “Christmas” in the customary American way with gifts under the tree. I really love it. But preparing is a bitch! Oh, maybe its not that bad. But if I don’t watch myself, I can feel overwhelmed. Taking time with my craft items, my prayer arrow, sitting on the floor with a smudge burning last night….it was all a returning to Peace and quietude. Thinking about some of the lousy things I’ve done in the past year and saying: “not this year!’ was rejuvenating. And contemplating blessings to come– uplifting.
By changing your thoughts you immediately get inner peace…thus spake the Dalai Lama. How wise is that!
Solstice Blessings Be With You,