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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Experience a Winter Solstice Ceremony at South Lido Beach

Dec 11, 2015 03:01PM ● By Jo Mooy

On December 20, the Northern Hemisphere is cloaked in the shortest hours of daylight, signifying the longest night of the year.  For three days, the sun appears to stand still before starting its ascent from darkness into light and longer days. Our ancestors gathered at major ceremonial sites like Newgrange in Ireland to honor the sun during seasonal changes. We celebrate this seasonal change as they did, but we gather instead at South Lido Beach to honor the sun’s return. On this night of great introspection, we summon ourselves out of the dark with a personal return to light. 

            Drums sound a processional, as participants arrive to the setting sun. A meditation on the five elements, led by Patricia Cockerill, sets a reverent tone for the evening. This meditation is then followed by a group song and chant that echoes across the sands. This is our Winter Solstice observance, celebrating the return of the sun’s healing light.

            A mandala of lights will be created in the circle’s center. This mandala serves as an altar for participants to place individual tea lights, representing their wishes for the New Year. Drumrise—led by Barbara Gail, along with The Venice Frame Drummers under Jewell Cochara’s direction—will hold the beat for this entire evening. Jeannie Bloomfield dances the circle in a performance inspired by the sun's return. As darkness falls, the mandala will be lit with all these tea lights.

            Participants are asked to bring their own tea lights, chairs, blankets and flashlights. Donations will be collected on behalf of the mayors’ Feed the Hungry program. This Manatee-Sarasota County organization feeds thousands of families in need during the holiday season, and is a charity supported annually by the Women’s Meditation Circle. This event will be held at South Lido Beach State Park on the Gulf Side, and will begin at 5 p.m. Men and children are also invited to attend. 


For more information, email JoM[email protected] or visit



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