A Firelit Sound Meditation to celebrate the Winter Solstice
An Evening with a Difference...
Over the years I've hosted many different meditation classes and courses. It's always a pleasure to introduce new people to the benefits, as well as providing a place to reconnect with an existing practice and share the experience with others.
Back in 2020, (what else was there to do during lockdown!) I recorded three meditation tracks, my first collaboration with the very talented musician, Andy Roid. You can listen to more of Andy’s music here, including the instrumental music from my meditations. I am now very excited to tell you all about a new venture we will be hosting, so please read on to find out more...
The Turning of the Seasons
If you have ever attended one of my meditation classes, or listened to a recording, you will know that they are mostly guided meditations. A guided meditation generally involves someone talking you through techniques or visualisations to help you (amongst other things) bring greater quiet and stillness to your mind as well as helping you to connect with your body and feel more relaxed. Sometimes we focus on our breath, create images in our minds or tune into sensations within.
I always try to make my meditations as accessible and practical as possible, whatever your beliefs about the world. With this in mind my focus is often around nature, the cycle of the seasons and connections to your own self and I like to hold classes to mark the solstices and equinoxes in some way. I like these times of celebration because they are so closely connected to the natural world and, although they are celebrated as part of some religious or spiritual traditions, they also stand outside any particular belief system. These four points in our calendar mark transitions; the turn of the seasons. The two equinoxes (spring and autumn) mark the days where day and night are equal in length and the two solstices (summer and winter), celebrate the longest day and night each year.
The winter solstice, although deep in darkness, is the time when the gradual waning of the daylight hours ceases and we begin looking forward to more light once again. It is a time to focus on warmth, comfort and to direct our attention internally. This seemed like a perfect time to come together for our new event.
The Magic of Sound
As well as the guided part, in most of my meditations, I include a section where I am quiet, allowing space for you to focus more fully within. I often play music in the background, which can help you focus when my voice is quiet. Listening, as a focus for meditation, can be an easier way to connect with your body than visualisation, which can keep your mind busier. I have sometimes wondered what it would be like to lead a meditation with live music that could be adjusted to when I am speaking and when I am silent and perhaps provide a focus for meditation in itself. This would be more responsive to the group attending and the energy of the room. This wondering was the kernel of a plan…
Andy Roid, after a long career of playing in many different bands, has increasingly been experimenting with more ambient music designed to take the listener on a journey of sound experience. When he plays live there is always an element of spontaneity, even with essentially familiar and rehearsed tracks. He aims to connect with his audience, and the environment he's playing in, to see where the music takes them. Although he provides the music, it becomes a co-creation of sorts. This move towards a greater connection with his audience, along with the increasingly dreamy, floating (albeit sometimes surprising) quality to his music was Andy’s inspiration to start thinking about the music as a meditation in itself.
A Very Special Evening
These individual thoughts and later conversations were how our idea to host a Sound Meditation, in celebration of the Winter Solstice, was born. The magical venue that is the Donhead St Mary Village Hall, with its high ceilings, beautiful wooden floor and open fireplace seemed like the perfect place.
You will be able to sit or lay by the fire and listen first to a guided meditation, to help you relax and feel as balanced as possible. Andy will then transport you with his wonderful soundscape, before we gently guide you back. You are welcome to stay for a cup of spiced apple punch, or a herbal tea, and a mince pie before you head home.
We very much hope that our evening will provide a little respite from all the frenetic energy that the run up to Christmas can be filled with. Book your place now and put the date in your calendar to carve out a little space for yourself. Places will be limited so booking is required. You can purchase your tickets online here in the meditation section.
We really hope you can join us. Read on for the practical details...
The Important Stuff!
Where: Church Hill, Donhead St Mary, Wiltshire SP7 9DQ.
When: Thursday 21st December. Doors open at 7pm and will be closed for a prompt 7.20pm start.
Please arrive in plenty of time to make yourself comfortable. Once the doors are shut no one else will be allowed in.
The meditation will finish around 8.30pm after which you are welcome to stay for refreshments.
What to bring: Whatever you need to be comfortable sitting or lying down, e.g. a mat, blankets or cushion. Chairs will be available if you prefer.
Please also bring a bottle of water.
Cost: £20, payable when you book.
Book: Tickets can be purchased here.
*It is very dark by the hall and there are no pavements or street lights. Bring a torch and take care if you are walking on the road.
*There is parking in a layby opposite the hall, please ensure you park closely to maximise space and car share if you can. Church Hill is fairly narrow and large farm traffic sometimes comes by so please also ensure you park well in to the side of the road and please avoid blocking any entrances.
*If the layby opposite is full you can park a little further down the hill by the church.