Winter Solstice – December 21st

Getting in touch with the deeper meanings of the Winter Solstice through readings, practices, poems, and prayers.

As the Winter Solstice approaches in the north, we notice the changes: the days of light are shorter, the darkness is longer, the weather is cold, the trees are bare, and snow is often on the ground. John Matthews, who has lectured widely on Celtic and Arthurian traditions, has written this lyrical passage about Winter Solstice:

“The Solstice is a time of quietude, of firelight, and dreaming, when seeds germinate in the cold earth, and the cold notes of church bells mingle with the chimes of icicles. Rivers are stilled and the land lies waiting beneath a coverlet of snow. We watch the cold sunlight and the bright stars, maybe go for walks in the quiet land. . . . All around us the season seems to reach a standstill — a point of repose.”

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The Soul of Christmas

With a review by Frederic & MaryAnn Brussat, Spirituality & Practice

The Christ Child reminds us of the infinite possibilities of life available to us, and we celebrate that vitality in the season of good cheer, gift-giving, and community. Christmas also offers an opportunity to get in touch with our own mystical side, to recreate the Nativity in our hearts. “If we could but mix just a small measure of the child’s naïveté with an intelligent appreciation of the traditional Christmas symbols, myths, and images,” Moore asserts, “we might be surprised at the profundity.” The enchantment of Christmas is a taste of what is possible if human beings could really love each other. The infant in the manger symbolizes new life, the potential all human beings have to be a new kind of being dedicated to agape, a love of the other—whoever that “other” may be.

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La Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe

“Las Posadas” is an old Mexican tradition enacting the effort by Mary and Joseph to find a place to stay on Christmas Eve. Actors depicting Mary and Joseph wander from “inn” to “inn” asking for a room, with a singing candlelight procession following them through the town. Here I offer my own words for the tune:

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Christmas Poetry

Christmas Poetry: Churches are welcome to use these poems with attribution.

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Shamanic Voice by Istvan Sky – Divine Overtone

When you live in nature, in the scent of flowers, in the blessed light of the day and the sweet dew of the morning, you don’t have questions, you simply live and joy together with them. Your heart opens, you cry, cry, and your eyes are wet with dew. This is how this song was born, when your body, mind, and soul opens, God steps next to you in an unguarded moment, and pours her treasures into you.

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Responding to the Trauma of the Presidential Election in Four Dimensions

The 2016 presidential election triggered an unexpected and nearly unbearable trauma for over half of the American people. For many, it felt like the death of a loved one, or the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, or the nightmare of 9/11. It felt like a wrecking ball shattering our nation’s fragile architecture of decent human values, urgent climate plans, and steadily expanding civil rights. Like many, I shared my distress wherever I went – in my men’s group, spirituality group, conscious aging circle, and conversations with loved ones, and knew that this threat to our way of life was magnitudes worse for vulnerable peoples – immigrants, religious and racial minorities, and the poor. We discussed protests, marches, political action and civil disobedience. I imagine that many of you had similar conversations in your communities as disbelief, shock, grief, tears, fear, insomnia, and horror fragmented psyches all across our land.

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I worship God by having the courage to be more fully human

“If God is the source of life, I worship God by living. If God is the source of love I worship God by loving. If God is the ground of being, I worship God by having the courage to be more fully human; the embodiment of the divine.”

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A Face In The River

I stand on a bank of a running river, immersed in a flow of my own called life
Sad, happy, fearful, calm, and joyous awe-filled waves lap up all around me

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Meditation for Post Election

Alan gave a talk about the result of the US election during the 5-week Cultivating Emotional Balance Teacher Training Course in Alicante, Spain.

Listen to the recording:

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What’s it worth?

For years, I have taught a gem from the Talmud (Pirkei Avot 4:1a) that addresses worth:

Who is rich?
Whoever is happy with what they have.

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A Meditation: Black Lives Matter

  We invite you to join us in a virtual (but real) social media prayer and meditation. We’d like you to get comfortable wherever you are–at your desk, on the subway or at home. And quiet. Put …

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Worship Materials – Winter: The Pregnant Barrenness

From the Seasoned Celebration Collection

1. Winter is the season of the revelation of basic structure. If I was to strip away all the paraphernalia of my life what form would it have?

How many of the things which I do are related to the roots
of my spirit.

2. Winter is the season for hibernation. What rhythm do I have for reflection as well as action?
What frequency and length of time do I need in solitude in order to facilitate the growth and quality of my spirituality?

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Do that one thing… which one thing? Ah….

There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there’s nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.

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Stations of the Cosmic Christ

Experience a new contemplative practice!

The below probably speaks for itself but in a nut shell it is about churches, chapels and retreat centers joining the movement to move from an overly human-centered religious consciousness (what Pope Francis calls our “narcissism” as a species) to a cosmically-aware consciousness. It is about uniting anew the psyche and the cosmos that was torn asunder in the modern era with the divorce of religion from science but today can and must be healed. With a practice like this we can move from centuries of battles over Jesus and Christ dogmas to the “third nature of Christ,” the Cosmic Christ (which in fact is present in our earliest Christian sources including Paul and the Gospel of Thomas). Such an understanding paves the way for an Eco-Christ and an eco-theology but based on a spiritual practice, not just speculative theologizing.

Thank you for your attention,

Matthew Fox

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Prayers for Our Leaders

A collection of prayers for political and government leaders and the people who elect them.

Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

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Coming Home to Our Better Selves

Coming home to community, we come home to our better selves.Coming together as community, we can live as our better selves.

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24 Ways to Practice Thanks-giving

A gratitude practice for every day from Nov. 1 to Thanksgiving

The Christian writer G. K. Chesterton had the right idea when he said we need to get in the habit of “taking things with gratitude and not taking things for granted.” Gratitude puts everything in a fresh perspective; it enables us to see the many blessings all around us. And the more ways we find to give thanks, the more things we find to be grateful for.

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God is not a Christian, God is not a Jew …

“God is not a Christian, God is not a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist. All of those are human systems which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honor my tradition, I walk through my tradition, but I don’t think my tradition defines God, I think it only points me to God.”

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