On the Eve of Summer Solstice and, in the Christian calendar, the midst of Advent, a joyful community celebration took place at Rahamim in honour of the season.
Traditionally, this is a time of waiting for fulfilment, of reaching capacity, of new beginnings, of recognising our dependence upon our mother star, and our relationships with one another in the community of life.
Among the wood-fired pizza, flowing of local wines, live music and good friends, a ritual was held during which we recalled our interconnectedness with the source of all life, the sun, combined with the Christian expression of Advent.
During the Acknowledgement of Wiradjuri Country, we recalled the work of historian Bill Gammage, who found that across Australia, the creation story is essentially the same, with all of life’s origins in light. “Change and time exist only as cycles: birth and death, the passage of stars and season, journeys, encounters” (The Biggest Estate on Earth, p123).
In acknowledging our dependence on the sun, the work of Brian Swimme was read, teaching us that the sun is a million times larger than the earth, and that one billionth of the sun’s energy reaches the earth. Because of this, everything on earth takes place and earth is bonded with the sun, “recognising what it holds out”.
In an expression reminiscent of the themes of ‘longing’ and ‘waiting’ of Advent, Swimme writes, “The longing that gave birth to the stars, the longing that gave birth to life, who knows what this longing can give birth to now?” (Canticle of the Cosmos, p8).
Combining both the Solstice and Advent, Patricia Powell rsm reflected that “The light we wait for is the light of Christ, piercing the darkness of our blindness and opening our minds to new insights and inspirations… Our Advent stance is one of receptivity – openness to an encounter with the Divine.”
Writings of Hildegard of Bingen, reflecting on ‘Veriditas’, the greening spirit of all things, were proclaimed along with the poem ‘For a New Beginning’ by John O’Donohue. Periods of silence and drumming accompanied reflection along with children in colourful costumes, gold ribbons and sun masks, dramatising the movement, shape and seasonal direction of the sun.
Before the party continued into the night, participants took a moment to write a word on a decoration to sum-up their hopes and longings at this time and hang them on the Reflection Tree. The tree became filled with golden baubles with words befitting the season like “Community”, “New Beginnings”, “New life”, “Love”, “Heaven on Earth” and “Beach”.