Skyscape at the de Young

21 12 2008


img_2114img_2107img_2110  A few months ago my friend Donna took me to this wonderful part of the de Young museum I’d never been to before, even though I’ve sipped drinks and eaten lunch right next to it several times. In the back corner, behind the cafe, look for a mound covered with shaggy grass. Then walk behind it (wearing your entrance sticker and passing the guard) and you’ll discover an entrance into it!  Walk around the edges inside, then emerge into a round chamber with a big round opening in the ceiling. Not huge. Not technologically “advanced.” But profound.

 I thought you would enjoy these photos today, on this most powerful of solstices, going deep inside and looking forward to the return of the light.

P.S. Please comment below if you know what this is called.


Summer Solstice Ritual – Despacho

16 06 2008


Before modern times, people structured their lives based on the earth’s natural rhythms. Our human experience arose through millions of years living deeply embedded in these vast cycles and systems.

Though today we might not be very awake to the natural rhythms pulsing around us, they are still there. How do we learn about them, and find our right place in the bigger picture of things?  There are myriad ways; perhaps the most simple is to simply pay attention. If you want to take it one step further to develop a relationship that gives back to the source that offers us the perfect balance of factors to support our lives – the earth – ritual can be a beautiful and meaningful and incredibly powerful way to connect.

There are lots of different ways to look at ritual.  I like to think of it as the concretization of intention, connecting with the divine and bringing to life our deepest feelings through playful and meaningful acts that honor the truth of our lives.  

I believe there is no “right way” to do ritual; the important thing is that it connects you with your source. There are countless established, tried and true, ceremonies from around the world. Though performing them as they were passed down may carry special weight, we may choose to copy or borrow from them to create our own rituals, as long as we do so respectfully. They are all gifts to us.

The longest day of the year, summer solstice – which this year starts at 7:59pm this Friday, June 20 – is one of the top power moments of the most important of earth’s cycles – the sun’s.  First peoples – indigenous people – around the world have interpreted it as a time to give thanks and solidify our intentions as we await the upcoming time of ripening.

Here’s one ritual you can do, called a despacho. This is an offering ceremony from the Andes that can be performed any time, including solstices.  The pictures above are from a despacho ritual I participated in at a client’s home earlier this week. There’s oh-so-much I could say about it, but this would be a very long blog post!  Here’s a website, Earth Caretakers, that does a wonderful job of talking about both the traditional despacho as well as contemporary adaptations.

How do you stay connected to and honor the natural cycles of this earth while living in a modern, urban environment?