Happy Holidays!

     As we gather together in small groups, as well as large, we have to remember that at this time in the Northern Hemisphere - we gather when the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. For those disconnected from the cycles of nature, it means a time of running around like crazy getting together presents for other people. We must remember that this season is not just about the gift giving, but is also meant to be a time of restoration and reflecting upon ourselves about what our true values are. When we move past the celebrations of family gatherings, we begin to look toward the New Year and the coming of 2017. This is the time when we turn our gaze inward and reflect upon the choices we have made. If we focus on the giving aspect to excess, then what are we receiving? A question to ask ourselves is - am I letting those I care about give, without me really accepting what they have to offer? Too often many people feel drained in this holiday season, because they focus so much on the other. They miss the point of what this season has historically been about.
     The darkness does not represent "bad" or "scary" things, it is supposed to be a time of rest, reflection, and inner peace. When one does not feel comfortable with this aspect of themselves, then often times it leads to fatigue, overexertion, shoulder tension, and carrying the stresses of others. As we gather, let's bring back what is sacred by honoring ourselves. If you've gathered anything from these words, if this introduction made you think, do yourself a favor and do something nice for yourself where you turn off the phone for at least 20 minutes to take walk outside. Take a bubble bath. Read that book you've been wanting to read. Do something to replenish yourself, not to spend more of the energy that you don't have. 
     There are plenty of events for people to go too, but it would be an honorable thing to also be grateful and thankful for the things we have. There are many people out there in the world who do not have what we have. If you can, donate to a local food pantry, or give gifts to the toys for tots foundation. 

The next Heart Centered Sound Circle is Today! on August Moon Farm Next one after that: January 8th from 1-3 pm
New Years Purification Ritual in Frederick, MD on
January 1st
from 7-9pm
Ancestral Healing Circle - Solstice Gathering
Potluck and blessings
in Severn, MD
from 6-8pm
25% of all healing sessions will be donated to the medical fund for Standing Rock. 
Ancestral Healing Circle
     The last two Ancestral Healing Circles have been a roaring success! The right amount of people came to do the work, and it was exactly what was needed. This group is beginning to transform into a Ceremony based group, where both beginning ceremonialists and more advanced ceremonialists can share common ground. If you don't know anything about ceremony, don't worry - the more advanced practitioners can help hold the space. You don't have to participate because even the role of "sacred witness" is a role that's an honor. 
     This month, however - we are taking a break :) This month we honor the pause of the holiday season and we breathe, remember what we are grateful for, and gather together in community. It will be a small potluck, followed by a mini blessing ceremony (to show that the sacred can be interwoven into the most mundane of things). If you are bringing something, please have a list of ingredients on a note card, or have packaging with the ingredients on it so that those who have allergies will be safe.
     It will be held at a private home in Severn, MD (please message for address) on December 21st from 6-8pm
     Let us honor the darkest night of the year by gathering together in celebration of the coming light. 
Heart Centered Sound Circles
The Heart Centered Sound Circles are in full swing. We have been recording after each one, and you can now follow us on SoundCloud. Today happens to be the day for the December Sound Circle! Next month we have decided to move it to the second Sunday of the month due to the holidays. At the Sound Circle this month, we will bring the power of Gratitude, and shake a rattle around the circle as we say what we are grateful for. We will also hold a prayer for Standing Rock during Ceremony.
Feel free to visit the FAQ or the Sing Along page. 
If interested in staying connected, there is a Facebook group that shares the chants/songs sung at these events, as well as a youtube channel of the more popular ones asked to get recorded. Bring your rattles! Bring your drums! But most of all bring your true self! Hope to see you there ;)
Shamanic Journey Group
     This month, we are taking a break from the Journey Group. We will reconvene in January! So stay tuned ;)
     If interested, Mary Tyrtle Rooker does a New Years Day Journey which will be highlighted in the next section.
New Years Purification Ritual
Yup, it's that time of year again! Enter 2017 from a centered place of peace. Release the energies of the last year, and set a harmonious tone for the year to come. Sacred Space will be held from 7 to 9 pm in the Sanctuary of the UUCF.

Attendees are invited to move through the Elements, releasing the shadows of 2016 as they go. Elemental Guides will be available at each Quarter to offer a way to move into the energy of a new year. End your Purification journey with a walk to the center of the Labyrinth to receive any messages for the new year.

This ritual is an opportunity to move through Sacred Space. As such, there is no set start and finish time--it does not have a formal ritual structure. Your journey will be self-guided. We will hold the space open from 7 to 9 pm, and you should expect to spend somewhere between a half hour to an hour on your journey.

Please remember that this is a very popular ritual. There is a single path to follow, so at 'peak' times (generally around 8 pm), there can be a line. Please plan to arrive early or after the 'peak' and please be patient with the process of the people around you. 

All are welcome to attend
Other events in the area!
     Please keep in mind that as the holidays come up, there will be plenty of events that are people doing clothing swaps, or are gently used items they no longer need. Consider these Green Options when purchasing gifts for the holidays.
     There are plenty of events happening in Virginia, but they are well advertised on Meetup, so hence why I don't really "advertise" for them. 
December 4th - Sacred Sound Meditation in Towson, MD
December 6th - Art of Crystals and Meditation in Falls Church, VA
December 10th - Standing Rock & Beyond March in Washington DC
December 11th - Healing Cooperative in Burke, VA
December 11th - Vegetarian Potluck and Kirtan in Sterling, VA
December 13th - Full Moon Open Ritual in Washington, DC
December 13th - Full Moon Indoor Labyrinth Walk in Frederick, MD
December 13th - Full Moon Community Chant/Fire Circle in Sterling, VA
December 14th - Wednesday Night Drum Jams in Takoma Park, MD
December 17th - Holiday Bazaar + Akoma Drumming Performance in DC
December 17th - Transformative Crystals with mini sessions in Falls Church, VA
December 18th - Yule/Winter Solstice Ritual in Washington DC
December 21st - Standing Rock Fundraiser in Baltimore, MD
January 1st - New Years Purification Ritual in Frederick, MD
January 21st - Womens March in Washington, DC
Fly high, everyone! Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season!
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