The foundation of this Winter Solstice dressing is made from yew (Taxus baccata) and larch (Larix decidua), symbols of transformation, rebirth and spiritual connection. Simply as an evergreen, the yew represents perpetual life and hope; whilst birch (Betula pendula) acknowledges the turning of the Wheel.
With them is holly (Ilex aquifolium) for protection and in honour of the Holly King of winter; and its lyrical partner, ivy (Hedera helix), representing the bonds of family, clan and that to which we choose to attach. Similarly and for softness the seed heads of clematis including Old Man’s Beard (Clematis vitalba) found so often in abundance in our hedgerows.
In representation and hope of the returning sun and fertility of the field are dried heads of Centaurea montana and nigellas.
Also the last of our golden Graham Thomas roses, blessed at the Solstice fire held online yesterday and here a symbol of friendship and care.
“It is always darkest before the dawn.”
Although this is not scientifically true, we know that sometimes it feels like this. Just as for our ancestors, this is the time we need to hold firm in our belief of the returning sun. Whilst we continue to honour the darkness during this resting time, the seeds are beginning to form roots in anticipation of the coming spring.
Even if we feel we are stumbling in the darkness, we are with each loving thought welcoming in the light.
However we connect to our spiritual support and love at this time, whether it’s through a whisper in the leafless trees, the receipt of divine golden light or the quiet voice of conscience, we are all simply looking for the light of inspiration and connectedness.
May this dressing and your connection to the Well bring love and peace to you, all you call family and the place you call home this Winter Solstice and in the new year.
With love, blessings and gratitude for all the love you have shared with us this year,
These delightful arrangements were made by Julie, our new Retreat Facilities Manager, from the garden for the Upper Room. They accompanied the quiet meditation held by a small group there at midday today in honour of the Winter Solstice.