This may not seem like it fits in with my off grid life but in so many ways, it does. Years ago, I gave up the Catholic religion I was raised on and tried some different ones but never found something that fit. Until now.
A friend of mine is involved in a medicine circle and has invited me to some of the ceremonies. So finally, I went to the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice ceremonies. I find them very connected to the land. Living off grid is all about reconnecting to the land.
For the winter solstice, we needed to bring a stick as long as our forearm and the diameter of our thumb. After a potluck dinner, we wrapped a different color yarn or ribbon for each of the events of the past year, whether good or bad. We did this in silence.
This past year has been filled with projects, new activities, and friends. The hardest part of the year was dealing with the fluctuations in temperature in my cabin when it got below zero as I would head out to substitute teach.
I searched for the color that matched the project or event and slowly reminisced about it. After we were finished, we were to go outside, alone, and release it to the Universe.
It seemed a bit awkward but I went outside. The sky was a milky, gray and the night air crisp. I looked up at the sky through bare branches and gave my past year’s events to the Universe. I thought about how lucky I am to have a wonderful life and thought about people living in pain and misery in war torn countries or just in poverty in horrific conditions. I vowed to do something more to help others in the coming year.
I was surprised how moving it felt to release my past year. I had wanted to hold onto it. These were events I was proud of. They embodied everything in my new life off grid. After coming inside, all was dark, except for the few embers in the wood stove where we tossed our colorful sticks and watched as they burned.
The rest of the evening was, again, spent in silence with our thoughts, gazing into the fire until the last ember was out. We each made a dream seed packet from a patch of felt and tied it up with some yarn. These were seeds of the year’s new journey and events.
I was not meant to hold onto the building of my shed, new vegetable garden, or any other projects of the past year, for they would all be replaced with new things to learn, share, and experience. There was soap to make from the ashes from my wood stove, soil improvement for a better garden, fermenting cabbage, building a rocket stove to cook on, and most of all, what I could do to help stop climate change.
I am sure to be at the next winter solstice ceremony.