Solstice ritual celebrates connection to Earth

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Jason Berg and Lee Sokol of the Silver Grove Society tie ribbons to the ceremonial tree to symbolize things they need during a midsummer ritual at Girard-Liberty Memorial Park. The society is an eclectic pagan community group.


Unity Centre for Spiritual Living to host first-day-of-summer event.

Solstice ritual celebrates connection to Earth

Solstice ritual celebrates connection to earth



The summer solstice ritual at Unity Centre for Spiritual Living celebrates the human connection to Earth and the environment.

The event, which marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, is planned at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Unity, 1226 Naylor Lloyd Road. The public is invited.

The word “solstice” comes from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” and “to stand still.” On the solstice, the sun shines in the sky longer than any other day and also is at its highest point. Conversely, the day will be the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, the shortest day of the year.

Kirk Kupensky, Unity music director, said the celebration is marking its fourth year and each event has met with more success and participation than the last.

Kupensky, who has been interested in Earth spirituality since the 1990s, said he approached the Rev. Ric Schumacher, Unity minister, about presenting such an event and received encouragement to “give it a try.”

Kupensky said the celebration “is not Christian per se, but Christians wouldn’t be turned off by it.”

He said he sees the ritual as something evoking the ancient Celts. “It’s related to the Druids and what you get from your five senses,” he said.

Kupensky said the ritual notes how our bodies are affected by the length of the days and nights. “We feel the change of seasons in our bodies,” he said, adding that as we age we might feel twinges in our knees.

As the seasons change, they reflect changes in our lives and our aging process. The summer solstice marks the longest day of light of the year then daylight begins to get shorter.

“It can make us reflect on and think about how our days are getting shorter,” he said.

Another part of the ritual relates to the growing cycle. Flowers, fruits and vegetables reflect the summer bounty. The ritual includes an invitation to participants to plant flowers in Unity’s garden.

“The symbolism is about giving back to Mother Earth and thanking her for all she has given and gives us,” Kupensky said.

The ritual will include music, meditation and prayer. Kupensky said a drumming group from Columbiana County has participated and brings drums to share.

An added feature this year will be participation by members of the Silver Grove Society. C.L. Luciole of Niles, a founder and high priestess, described the group as “an eclectic pagan community group.” She continued that paganism is an “Earth-based polytheistic path.”

Luciole said members believe in many gods and revere nature. She mentioned Celtic gods such as Morrigan, the goddess of war, and Dagda, god of Earth and bounty, and Greek gods such as Artemus, goddess of the hunt, and Eos, goddess of the dawn.

She said the group, which organized in 2012, takes its name for silver representing lunar energy and grove, representing nature and a traditional gathering place.

On Sunday, the society marked a midsummer itual with music and chanting.

At Friday’s solstice event, Luciole said, society members will call the four directions, known as “calling the quarters.” Luciole said north represents the Earth; east, the air; south, fire; and west, water.

Luciole said members do engage in witchcraft, working with natural energy. “It’s beneficial magic,” she said, adding the mantra is “do what you will but harm none.”

She added members also believe that “what we send out will come back to us.”

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