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A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 38: Summer Ritual And Celebration

For Classroom or Home School



Week 38: Summer / Element: Fire

Ritual Celebration 4: Summer Solstice

Gathering date that falls closest to the Summer Solstice. Please see below.

Each seasonal Ritual Celebration is designed to be intimate (you and the children), or larger so your greater community or community partners may be invited for a time of prayer and ceremony. The celebration might be twenty minutes or it could become a half-day festival that happens on or off site.

NOTE: If completed in a more-or-less weekly and chronological order, Week 38 of A Joyful Path will likely fall in May and the Summer Solstice Ritual Celebration could look like, “an end-of-the- school year celebration.” Make it a “graduation” as appropriate.

Alternatively, adapt this gathering and schedule it to happen as a midsummer celebration for your entire community (on or near the solstice, in June). It may coincide well with other summer programming and/or worship activities. Be creative! Build community! Celebrate!

Themes: Generosity, Aliveness, Courage, Possibility

Additional Christian Context — If you would like to make this seasonal ritual and celebration more directly connected to the Christian calendar and liturgy, consider the following points for emphasis:

If this ritual takes place in May, this celebration may fall close to Pentecost Sunday, a time when fire is embraced and celebrated. Consider adding a fire or candles to the ceremony. Include passages from the Book of Acts instead of speaking about the Sun.

Since Pentecost is thought to be the “birthday” of the church, it could be fun to enjoy a birthday cake with candles.

Alternatively, your community may wish to acknowledge

its graduates at the end of the school year. Use this ritual to bless them in ways that feel appropriate, honoring their accomplishments and praying for them as they embark on a safe summer and new chapter in the fall.

Preparation for Summer Solstice Ritual Celebration:

* Determine where the out door ritual celebration will take place. Could you gather at the tree where at least four lessons have happened in the last year? Is the tree still wearing its “robes” and thank you messages from Lesson 25 (Week 31)? If so, this could be a great time to introduce the tree to your larger community and include the tree in this summer celebration. Depending on what you wish to do on this celebrative day, other outdoor options that provide plenty of space for the planned activities and members of your larger community to join may be ideal.

* There are several short readings in the ritual. Print them out so they can be handed to a volunteer to read for the group OR share your “script” with them.

* A tray with a pitcher of sun tea (herbal, not caffeinated) and dixie cups, and a bowl with some of the dried strawberries or other dried fruit snack (napkin or tongs to take fruit, if preferred).

* Outdoor rituals benefit from live music or instruments. If members of your community are drummers, play guitar, etc., invite them to participate in the ceremony and festivities.

* This celebration could be a showcase or review of your favorite lessons from the year. You are encouraged to bring back activities the children really enjoyed or invite guest instructors whose message meant a lot to your class. Weave together the best parts of these lessons in a celebration that acknowledges the children’s commitment to courageous and curious learning this year.

* Instead of co-creating an altar with an altar cloth, candle, etc as in previous ritual celebrations, create a nature mandala with the children and anyone who is attending at the outdoor location. Creating a nature mandala was a suggested activity in Lesson 2 (Week 4). There are beautiful nature mandalas pictured on this website. In addition to what is in the natural setting at the ritual location, the mandala might benefit from additional items you bring, such as: flower petals, stems and leaves from an expiring bouquet (some grocery stores are happy to give away expiring flowers that would otherwise be thrown out), seeds, sticks or pinecones, etc.

* Completed nature-craft from last session (dried strawberries!), bagged and ready to share with the children as a take-home treat.

* Bubbles! You will need to mix the bubble solution in advance (at least an hour in advance; the night before is fine) and create a few of the bubble string wands to share OR bring enough string and washers for each child to tie their own string wands. Bubble solution ingredients and wand instructions are below.

* Celebrative summer snacks could include herbal fruit tea, ripe melon, or even popsicles/ice cream if there is a way to keep things cold. If the larger community is participating, this might be a potluck or picnic lunch.

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

Review & Commentary