The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year! The world is wrapped in the cocoon of darkness, awaiting the return of the light. We allow our visions to stir and our plans to rest as the seeds in ourselves germinate.
The word "Yule" is an old Norse celebration that comes from the word "lul" meaning "wheel." Yule is not synonymous with the winter solstice, but because the celebrations landed close together, they have become intertwined.
Many of the celebrations at Yule-tide revolved around encouraging the sun to return. Children would carry oranges, apples, and other gifts from house to house in honor of the sun's return. A log that had either been gifted or found on the land, would be brought in the house, wrapped in decorations, herbs, and doused with fragrant drinks as gifts to spirits of the forest. The log was kept burning throughout the darkest time of the year, helping to encourage the sun to return.
During Soul Medicine Through the Seasons: Yule, we will use the art process to reflect on: What is germinating in me?
The Celtic Wheel of the Year, by Nikiah Seeds
I will offer a short ceremony: we will light candles, sing a song or two, and do a nature-based meditation.
I will share a prompt for a visual journal practice to listen to your inner journey
There will be an optional sharing.
I am offering you a soulful creative process that I have engaged with the last 10 years to support my own journey.
In this virtual workshop series, Soul Medicine through the Seasons, I will share how to develop your own visual journal practice, which is a sort of mashup between a mindful and expressive art process with creative journaling.
We will enter into our time together as a space of ceremony. I will guide us in song/chant as we gather. We will have a brief introduction to the season, followed by a guided meditation that will invite you to connect with the more-than-human ones as a part of your process. Following the time for you to work in your visual journal, there will be a time of optional sharing.
Give your soul some medicine around the Wheel of the Year to honor the season in ceremony and listen to your inner wisdom!
There aren't many rules to visual journaling, and you don't need to be an artist--just willing to try the creative process!
The essence of Visual Journaling includes using art processes and materials to intuitively express something you are feeling or want to explore about yourself. This allows access and expression to the right side of your brain. Then, we include creative writing to draw out more from the image that our left side of the brain can understand and make sense of.
These practices are all done in one sketchbook, this allows for you to witness the evolution of your inner process, and give some support and ability to "closeup" something once you are done exploring it for the moment. It can also be meaningful to decorate the cover of your visual journal to fit the chapter of life you're in.
I love how I can quickly release a confusing emotion, get more clarity on my inner longings and wisdom, and meet myself with more compassion through this process!
This process is a beloved one in the art therapy world, and was taught to me by my professors at Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2013. You may have a practice of your own very similar!
The Celtic and Norse people, along with many other indigenous traditions, lived so aligned with the rhythms of the year, that they honored the turn of each season. This includes the 4 solar festivals (solstices and equinoxes) and the 4 fire festivals (halfway between the solar festivals).
Living in alignment with the Wheel of the Year is both a physical practice and one of practicalities--eating root vegetables in winter, planting in the spring, harvesting in late summer--and an energetic one--tending our energy in winter, celebrating our achievements in summer.
In our modern lifestyles and from the impact of dominator systems (where land, feminine, bodies, color, queerness and more were feared and hence oppressed), we have become disconnected by what these rhythms mean for us.
As a cultural Mennonite, I am grateful for having grown up with a sense of the impact of the seasons on my life, and more recently, am learning to more deeply align my external life (schedule, choices, lifestyle etc) to my inner rhythm and consequentially, the rhythm of earth. I have gratitude for those who have not lost the connection to earth, despite the persecution for it.