Day Two of eleven days of the Winter Solstice Event, which will end Dec. 31, 2012.
I’m not a scholar who tracks down every comment for accuracy – sorry. I do think I can say with a degree of certainty, however, that practically every historical group of ancient people worshiped the sun and tracked its course through the sky and the seasons
The day of the longest night and shortest amount of life-giving sunlight would be recorded, analyzed, and in most cases, worked into a ritual celebrating/commemorating the day.
Such a day is December 22, the day the Hopi Indians of North America celebrate Soyaluna. It is also spelled Soyal, Sol-ya-lang-eu and Soyala. The ceremony of the black plumed snake is the central theme of this ritual, signifying the sun in terms of the winter solstice. Prayers are offered for the lengthening days, asking for prosperity to grow along with them, and for good health as they move through the still-cold months.
Fearful that the Sun God was traveling as far away from them as he could, they constructed the Soyaluna ceremony to stave off the sun vanishing forever. Before the ceremony, they would create gifts of feathers and pinyon pine needles tied together with cotton strings and give them as gifts. The ceremony of the gifts was elaborate, involving specific ways to move the string, willow branches and inception of the gathered goods to the kiva meeting room. The feathered/pine needle gifts festooned the rafters of the kiva.
The ceremony goes on for hours, held in utmost solemnity, for the loss of the sun would be devastating to their world, and all their intent in the ritual was focused on keeping the solar energy in their universe.
The Hopi continue this tradition, yet I found it nearly impossible to find images to illustrate this blog post. I will share with you an evocative, calm painting of an unnamed tribe at the time of the Winter Solstice in 1100. This is a computer artwork created by an Richard Thornton, architect and member of the Perdido Bay Muscogee-Creek Tribe, in an attempt to allow us to see that night, that Winter Solstice serenity 1000 years ago.
For today’s giveaway, I’d like to offer some fragrant products extracted from plants grown in my garden, and extracted by hand by myself. This would be an homage to the Native Americans who grew and harvested and processed their food, medicine and fragrance materials. What better than white flowers that glow in the moonlight? I will giveaway two ounces of gardenia pomade. I harvested various gardenias for a succulent accord: native lush gardenias that we in America are familiar with, Vietnamese gardenias, and to a lesser extent, Tahitian gardenias. They were placed on nonhydrogenated palm oil shortening to extract their scent. Look at the photo I took during one of the extractions – gardenias slowly turn a deep golden/orange as they age in the pomade. The pomade can be used right out of the jar for a single-note perfume, blended with some other oils and butters for a body butter, or perhaps just used to fragrance your hair. Please leave a comment to be in the random drawing for this gift, and thank you for stopping by during my first Winter Solstice event.
Prizes will be shipped worldwide. Posting for the Light drawing ends tomorrow, Dec. 23 at 10 a.m. ET, USA.