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One of my favorite spiritual practices involves participating in ceremonies that honor the wheel of the year, the seasonal cycle from winter through spring, to summer then fall.  By aligning with the energy of each season, these ceremonies help me stay in balance.  They also support my spiritual growth.

The ceremonies take place at important junctions in our seasonal cycle, the beginning of each season, which is determined by the length of night and day.  Winter Solstice, the beginning of winter, takes place on the shortest day and longest night of the year.

Winter Solstice ceremonies welcome this darker time of the year, the time when we retreat inside to hibernate.   Winter is our time for reflection, for inner composting and rejuvenation.  Like bears who hibernate, our rhythms similarly slow.  If we rest and nourish ourselves during winter, we emerge in spring feling renewed, with energy for manifestation.

A few friends joined me recently to plan our group’s Winter Solstice ceremony.  One woman had just returned from a trip visiting Peru’s sacred sites.  As she shared some of her experiences, her words sparked a vague memory of a book I once read. 

I wandered to the nearby book shelf, surveyed titles, and my eyes fixated on “Masters of the Living Energy: The Mystical World of the Q’ero of Peru” by Joan Wilcox.  Grabbing hold of the book, I handed it to my friend who located a photograph of the ceremony she had been describing.

We then explored the coming Galactic Alignment anticipated by the Mayans and other indigenous peoples.  Ancient prophesies foretold that this Winter Solstice’s Galactic Alignment would herald an era of spiritual development, with consciousness potentially evolving to enable peaceful, harmonious co-existence with each other and all of nature.

Focusing on the ceremony, we brainstormed in many directions, from Peru to Mexico, from earth to sky and from intent to gratitude.  Our spiraling journey eventually gravitated toward a ritual involving stones.  One of our activities would include narrating the Stone Soup Story and then making Stone Soup.

While many versions of the Stone Soup Story exist, the central theme remains the same.  In a nutshell, here’s the story:

A stranger arrives in a town where the people are hoarding food because of a famine in the area.  When they let him know they have no food to share, the stranger pulls out a pot, fills it with water, builds a fire under the pot, adds a “magical stone” to the water, and declares he will share his delicious stone soup with everyone.  Then the stranger begs for just a little vegetable to add to the pot, to make it truly tasty.  One by one the villagers respond to his pleas and contribute to the pot, until a truly nourishing meal gets created – which they all share.

This story describes how our ceremony came together.  We each contributed ideas to the pot.  It cooked and a nourishing ritual emerged.

Making Stone Soup

After my friends departed, I left Joan Wilcox’s book on the kitchen table.  A few days later, I sat at the computer trying to put the ritual on paper.  Stumbling to find words that would adequately describe the Galactic Alignment, I searched the web to learn more about this anticipated event.

A few hours later, though bleary eyed and hungry, I finally had a sense of the astronomy involved.  Deciding to give myself a break, I went downstairs for a snack.  Sitting at the kitchen table with my bowl of muesli, I idly picked up Joan Wilcox’s book and leafed through it.

My fingers stopped at a page with the caption subtitle, “Andean Prophesy of Spiritual Evolution.”  Reading what lay below, I was amazed to discover information relevant to our ceremony.  This information asserted that we humans will need to work together, in a collective manner, to facilitate the shift in consciousness.

“Aha” I thought, “the prophesied shift in consciousness will require us to make Stone Soup.  Our talents may be different, our interests diverse, but if we pool our resources we can help create a better world.”

Yes!  We’ll prepare Stone Soup.