WINTER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL - FOUNDATION CENTRE - IRELAND
15th December 2018
By: Sarah Nolan
On one of the darker days before Yuletide we all made our way to Clonegal Castle upon a sodden landscape where shores were flooding across roads like a multitude of rivers converging on the Flatlands!! Nature confining us to meeting and greeting in the theatre, we all joined hands in circle and our Presiding Priestess spoke of the meaning of the Winter Solstice to retreat into the dark womb of the Mother to rest and listen for the guidance that we need in order to sow the seeds we need to grow come Spring! No need for fear as it is here we are nurtured!
We then made a dash across the courtyard to the Temple of Isis where a Priestess invoked Persephone, Goddess of the Underworld, who looks out on the gardens in front of the Temple door, where no sensible peacock was to be seen today!!
The bell tolled at the Temple door and entry was sought. We all made our way to Brighid's Well where we listened to the words from Olivia from an introduction to the 21st Century Manual written by her in 2013, "The Vision of Isis/ Shemsu", where the joyful expansion of the Fellowship was not at the expense of other Spiritual ways. That confidence comes from when one knows that they are loved! Lack of understanding can lead to extremism which is contrary to what the Fellowship stands for which is LOVE for ALL beings.
By conserving the Earth, recognising we need the balance of the Divine Feminine/ Divine Male energy within all situations and being aware that the veils between the worlds are becoming thinner, allowing more access to spirit world interaction. This is what leads to "Expansion by growth within the Fellowship”.
Deity was invoked by the Priesthood and blessings from Brighid's Well were given to all in attendance and a libation of thanksgiving returned to the well, while “Silent Night, Solstice Night” was sung by two Priestesses in harmonic tones! It reminded us of Yuletides Past and all those that have passed.
Making our way to the High Altar where a Priestess delivered an Oracle from “The Nameless One”: “If changes do not come I will gather all back to myself. Call upon me the nurturing Mother/ The Great God by whatever name you call me, I will come because all within me is within you. If you do hear me and feel my energy running through your veins you have a responsibility to yourself, to humankind and to the Earth. The return to the Light must happen in each heart. There will always be those who will not listen and deny my existence!"
Our Druidic Harpist then played the strains of "A Sweet Dancer" to a very still and attentive audience who were as if they had already retreated into the dark of winter. Shh...!
We were then quietly led by a Priestess on a journey to a snowy landscape where a large ancient evergreen tree stood. This tree had weathered many seasons of ice, snow, winds and rains and the intense heat of the Summer sunshine, but it still stood in honour and beauty. By opening our hearts to the Dryad of the tree we could witness times past, re-kindling our own joyous memories of family and friends in loving situations. Life's journey can be very hard and we encounter many trials and tribulations which makes it hard to sit in silence, to find the Light within.
Our Ancestors say “Remember, Remember”! The Great Bilé rooted deep into the Earth and its outstretched limbs sheltering us from the storms is a promise to us all that no matter what darkness falls upon us the memory of all that is will be within/without! On our journey back to the Temple we noticed more footsteps in the snow which reiterated that "we never walk alone, our Tribe walks with us”. The Priestess then sang "The Season is Here".
For the mystery play, three Priestesses gathered by the altar lit only by candlelight. One spoke for the unborn child in the womb - even though it is in darkness it is nurtured and protected and receives all it needs to grow. The second Priestess spoke for the darkness: “The shadow covering the land, many are afraid of me, the fear of the unknown!? When people can't see their way forward it is in this moment that we need to rest in silence in order to receive guidance!” Singing, "Slowly, gently the power of the night - The darkness of the music of the night". The third Priestess spoke as the Mother of the unborn child: “The child in my womb obtains all the nutrients and protection from me to flourish into being - in our dark times call upon me the Great Mother to embrace you!” Then she sang a beautiful, haunting lullaby to Gaia.
The first Priestess then burnt Frankincense and blessed us all with Air, as the second blessed some spiced biscuits and truffles and distributed same throughout the gathering. The third spoke again as The Child of Light: “Even though we came through travails to be here, I Am Hope, I am not harmed because I am earthy. The power of Light, Hope and Love is even in the deepest darkest places. My seed is light there. Even those who are burdened, I will uphold them”. Singing, "May the long time
Sun shine on you, all love surround you and pure light within you guide your way home". Lovely!
At the same time a candle from the High Altar was passed and held by all there, one by one, for a few moments and as we all gazed upon the flame remembering our inner flame and sending healing, hope and light to all those names and places that were mentioned in the sacred space.
We then envisaged what the voice of hope sounded like within our own beings and soulfully we all chanted together, sending it to where it was needed. It sounded like the humming of bees!
Announcements were made and all made merry to Osborne’s where we indulged in yummies, gift and card exchanging and a very important catch up!
A Peaceful and Magical Winter's Solstice to one and all!