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DECEMBER 1998 NEWSLETTER

Greetings, and Peace and Light.

We have our first taste of winter here in the Northeast. A light covering of snow fell overnight, and is rapidly disappearing on this bright sunny day. December so far has been sunny and mild. Most unusual I can assure you. Normally when I put up the outdoor Christmas lights my fingers are numb with the cold. This year it was shorts and t-shirt weather.

A big welcome to all those who have joined our circle since the previous issue.

We come once again to a most significant time in our year. The Sun enters the sign Capricorn on December 22nd at around 2:00 am GMT, or at about 9:00 pm EST on December 21st in Toronto. I will have a large gathering here in my center honouring this time in the old ways.

This is the moment of the Sun's furthest travel south, when it appears to stand still before it begins to move north once again. It is the time of greatest darkness, the beginning of Winter in the northern hemisphere, and the direction North in the Medicine Wheel, or Sacred Circle.

It is the Winter Solstice.

In Astrology, where the Wheel faces south, it represents our greatest potential achievements in the outer world.

In the Sacred Circle, where the Wheel faces north, it is the North Direction, the path of cleansing and purification, of letting go of all that is completed, and of our connection to Spirit, to the Great Mystery.

The importance of this time has unfortunately been lost to our modern civilization. In ages past, our Druid ancestors used to light fires on the hilltops of England and Europe to honour the connection to Spirit, to bring Light into the world, and to ensure the return of the Sun in the Spring.

December 25th was chosen by the early church to roughly coincide with this so-called pagan festival. It made it easier to lure the people into Christianity, and interestingly enough, obscured the actual birth of Christ.

We perpetuate the old ways today in our lighting of candles, and with our Christmas lights.

North is also the direction of Wisdom. In the Old Ways, it is one part of the Sacred Triangle, the trinity of Shamanism (Wisdom-Power-Love). It represents Old Age, and it's colour is white, like your hair when you are old. In the Lakota tradition its totem is the sacred White Buffalo.

It venerates this part of the cycle, for the old are wise through the experience of walking the paths of life. Wisdom comes from allowing growth and change, from knowing what is finished and what to let go of, and of allowing the new to manifest in it's own time.

This is the time of one of the four turning points of the year. They are the Summer (longest day) and Winter (longest night) Solstices, and the Spring and Fall Equinoxes, (equal day and night).

How important are they?

Our ancestors must have thought they were, for they built immense structures like Stonehenge to mark these points precisely.

Why was this done?

So that the people could gather and celebrate the manifestation and release of the energy and power that coincides with these points, the energy of change and creation.

And utilize this energy in their own lives . . . and be a part of the changes the energy release brought about.

Are these points and the energy released by them significant?

They bring about the changes of the seasons. They are the foundation of the Medicine Wheel which represents the four paths of life. They are the foundation of Astrology and at the very least the major factors in the steps to Change that we are exploring.

The North, the Winter Solstice, is the time to look at the part that you play in the world, what your role has been and what it will be in the coming time.

What you can do to make this a better world, not only for yourself, but for everyone . . . and everything.

It is the time to light a candle in the Darkness, see your own path and your own truth, and put aside limitations and obstructions.

Ask not what your world can do for you, but what you are here to do for your world.

What are you responsible for, to bring about? What is your part in the whole?

With the onset of Capricorn, we encounter Responsibility on our journey.

This is the tenth step overall, and the fourth one that deals with our interaction with the outer world.

What are we responsible for . . . and to who?

Is there a Higher Responsibility than what we are all led to believe, and believe in? And who established those parameters for us?

Is this like Need? . . . or Truth?

Yes.

Why is this point so important or difficult?

It is so much easier to deal just with ourselves (the first part of our Journey). Other people complicate things.

The Importance?

When you solve the issue of Responsibility, it frees you to grow, to go on, to be more, to do more, to spiral upwards.

Isn't that why we are looking to Change in the first place?

This Step is a completion, a letting go, and moving on towards a new beginning in the Spring, the next phase, the manifestation of Change in our lives.

That's why this time is important. The energy and alignment to the Solstice allows this change to happen, awakens us to the next part of our Journey, and makes us aware of what we can do next for ourselves and for all of us.

Mi takuye oyasin, in the Lakota language, expresses this as "for all my relations, for all of us".

We are at the Tenth Step.

Ten is the number of new beginnings. It is the higher vibration of One, one cycle higher in the spiral. This is the time of letting go of collective involvement (responsibility with a lower case "r"), and of moving into your personal power (step twelve as we looked at last month).

Only at that point can change really happen. This is the beginning . . . of the end.

Once again, to recap the Journey so far. Beginning in the Spring, we encountered Illumination (Aries), Values (Taurus), Ideas (Gemini), Foundations (Cancer), Ego (Leo), and Evaluation (Virgo). These six steps represented that part of our journey where we dealt with our inner conflicts in facing Change in our lives.

In the next three steps we encountered our dealings and conflicts with the outer world. They were Balance (Libra), Need (Scorpio) and Truth (Sagittarius). These manifest the concept of "We", and the inescapable realization that we share our lives and our planet with others.

And how well we share . . .

To understand and deal with Responsibility, we first have to look again at Truth . . . and Need.

These are the steps that are dual in nature. In Need we encountered the concepts of "We Have" and "I Desire", and the co-dependency that holds us until we learn to trust. Trust ourselves and the others in our lives so that we can let go and Share, so that we can all benefit and grow.

In Truth we encountered the concepts of "We Think" and "I See", and the collective beliefs in which we hid our individuality and our potential. We looked for our own truth, for what was real for us, individually, uniquely us, and allowed ourselves to See differently from everyone else, and from what we had been told to believe.

Religion . . . culture . . . nationality . . . class . . . gender . . . colour . . . all serve to dissipate our individuality.

We saw our own Truth deep inside of ourselves. Who we are, what is right for us, what is possible for us, what there is for us to do.

And it was different from everyone else, for we are unique in all time and space, and we are all special in our own way.

Before we can fully celebrate this revelation, we must take the next Step, Responsibility.

Capricorn traditionally represents the structure of our world, those in power, and those who create and maintain order.

In your life they are parents, teachers, bosses, spouses, religious leaders, politicians, newscasters and reporters, forecasters of all types, policy setters and anyone else who tells you what to believe and what you are responsible for.

They embody the "We Think", and are the ones who maintain the structure and integrity of the collective, of society, and punish heretics.

But they are not the ones who created the collective, they only administer it. In this step we confront Power. Here we find the deeper level, those who implemented the structure. They are the two percent of the population that we have met before, the ones who control the wealth, have the power, and use the resources of the planet for their own ends.

And have done this for millennia.

They are driven by the unholy trinity, the triangle of the abuse of power. With no real wisdom, and certainly no love, except of fulfilling their own personal desires, they work from Money, Greed, and Power.

They have been there since time immemorial, at the top of the pyramid, controlling and using everything and everybody, for that is their nature.

And they dictate what your responsibilities are, and what you can expect, and control through their actions what you can have.

They operate worldwide controlling economics, policies, and decisions. Those directly in your life do this in a scaled down way . . . if you let them.

They operate through responsibility (yours), and out of need (theirs).

It is all about power - those who have it and those who gave it away.

Responsibility is all about empowerment . . . and taking back your own personal power.

On our Journey so far, each of the inner steps has its counterpoint in the outer world. Thus, so far we have seen Aries (I Am) balanced by Libra (We Are), Taurus (I Have) by Scorpio (We Have), and Gemini (I Think) by Sagittarius (We Think).

Astrology teaches us that the inner path to growth and enlightenment gives us Libra as "I Balance", Scorpio as "I Desire" and Sagittarius as "I See."

Thus our individual empowerment comes from within, and shows us that we can find and maintain our individuality within the outer if we resolve the conflicts and empower ourselves - believe in our own selves.

Capricorn embodies the concept of "I Use". It has come to mean the utilization of your abilities, opportunities, people, and resources at your disposal for personal gain and achievement.

Use or be used.

That is what those who hold the power do. That is what those in your own microcosm of the whole, your personal world do. It is what we know and experience as life.

The symbolism of Capricorn is that of the Seagoat, a mythical creature who emerges from the ocean (water, birth, emotions), and progresses in life, scaling the heights to achieve success in the world. This is done in an orderly, planned and traditional (ie socially acceptable) way. In other words, you came out of the sea but don't make waves.

In older terms, it represents the journey into self-actualization from birth (mother, nurturing, emotions) to ascending the heights of spiritual understanding and applying this to the world in order to fulfill your goal, the reason you came here.

In it's opposite sign Cancer we built our foundations of Change through our feelings of what is right and appropriate for us. We rid ourselves of the beliefs about ourselves that others had given to us. We found our own Foundation. Now we get to stand on this foundation, and use our abilities to build with others a better place for all of us.

The deeper meaning of Capricorn in the outer world is "We Build." It is the utilization and expression of your unique talents, abilities, and your personal contribution directed at working with others to achieve an end where we all benefit and gain.

Through that experience, you grow and gain in wisdom so that you can be even more, do more, and achieve more.

Through that you find even more of yourself, spiraling upwards, growing into light. Over and over again.

All because you looked first into yourself to see who you were, what you could do, what you had to do.

And everyone gained.

Each time you invested yourself in the future of all, you grew and everyone else did too.

Amazing.

The Golden Rule is "Do unto others . . . ," not do *for* them, at the exclusion or denial of yourself.

That comes from another "golden rule," those who have the gold make the rules.

Be Responsible for yourself and your growth, and everyone benefits.

Instead of where we have been for so long. Stuck in duty, obligation, trying to do for others instead of ourselves, denying who we truly are. Letting others make our decisions or shape our lives. Our abilities, talents, and contribution lost to the collective effort.

And we all lose.

Thus misplaced nurturing instincts and feelings of responsibility are transcended in our mandate to be all that we can be, and allow our personal growth so that we can be more and do more for others as well as ourselves.

We must decide for ourselves what we are responsible for, and that is to do our part to the best of our ability and to fulfill the purpose to which we took on this life.

In this end, the resources of the world are for the benefit and use of us all.

And we are a resource.

We are not here for the benefit of others. We are not here to be controlled by them. We are not here to live their lives and fulfill their needs.

For that is not taking responsibility for your life, your purpose, your abilities, your success, and your fulfillment.

It is not doing your part.

That is not being responsible.

Responsibility sees the bigger picture, the greater good, the higher purpose, and humbly accepts why you are here and what you have to do.

You fulfill their needs by first fulfilling yours.

That is your Responsibility.

With regard to responsibility, and acknowledging being an outsider, if the majority of the American people do not want their president impeached, and if politicians are elected to serve the wishes of the people, why are the Republicans going ahead?

Rhetorical question.

Our regular contributor is back with us this month. Here is Karen's most welcome and looked forward to insight into crystals for the Winter Solstice.

Winter is all about locking energy in. The deep hibernation of power during Winter will later awaken as a rebirth and renewal in the Spring. The Winter Solstice is a time also of celebration as the mysteries of the feminine take us into our subconscious.

Some crystals you can add into your solstice event include:

Black Onyx for protection and for deepening the connection within one's self;

Azurite to remind us of the Winter's deep blue night sky, providing us with depth of vision and clarity of inner communication;

Sugilite for providing a meditative space, for reducing anxiety over the length of the dark winter, and for staying tuned into the Universe;

Snowflake Obscidian to remind us of the balance between Light and Dark;

and Clear Quartz Cluster or Drusy Quartz to symbolize the purity of the Winter.

The quick cold snaps of Winter keep us alert, preventing our minds from getting sluggish and our bodies from getting complacent. Enjoy the quiet pace of Winter and prepare yourself for your inner journey at this time.

Karen Ryan
Crystal Energy Therapist

If you are interested in Crystal Healing Classes, contact Karen at:

Karen Ryan
905-821-3082
kryan@globalserve.net



In our healing circle this month, join with me in placing all those in need within the center, and send our prayers and blessings to them. Let us add the Earth, our Mother, and all those involved in the conflict in the Middle East.

This is the time of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All. It was powerful enough to stop the hostilities in past wars, albeit temporarily. Let us pray that we can end all conflicts not only for a day, but for all time.

In regard to responsibility for some others who share our world, this is an edited extract from an article written by Steven Raff in Animals' Voice magazine:

"Now that the unwanted pet dumping season is at its peak, a few words of advice for all the boneheads who believe it is a good idea to go into the countryside to dump their unwanted pets.

Firstly, people in the country do not have unlimited resources or an infinite capacity to house, feed, and care for all the stray cats, dogs, alligators, and budgerigars, etc., who turn up on their doorsteps. Farmers are not subject to an unwritten law that requires them to adopt all stray animals.

To put it more simply, your pet will probably die slowly of exposure or starvation, or more quickly as the result of a traffic accident. A dog may be lucky enough to be killed instantly by a bullet, when caught in the act of attacking livestock.

Second point. That cute cuddly puppy or kitten you see in the pet store window will very quickly grow into a large, less cuddly dog or cat. If you are not willing to provide an animal with food, shelter, love, training, daily walks, and medical attention for 15 or more years - don't get one.

Third thing, if you have a female cat or dog, and she wanders freely, she will definitely have puppies or kittens. To prevent this from happening, get her spayed. This is a technical term for an operation that prevents and animal from ever having puppies or kittens. Isn't science wonderful?

Neutering is necessary for male cats and dogs too because your neighbour probably hasn't spayed his female cat or dog either.

Number four, if you have a pet you cannot keep any longer, try to find the animal a good home. You may do this by advertising in the local newspaper, or by putting a notice on a community bulletin board. If that doesn't work, take your pet to your local humane society, or SPCA. This is an organization of people who, unlike you, love animals, and will accept your pet even if your reasons are incredibly stupid.

If you do this, leave the SPCA 10 or 20 bucks for their trouble, because they will try to find your pet a good home. If they can't, your pet will be euthanized (killed). Does that upset you? Then keep your pet until he or she dies of old age.

Finally, your pet did not ask to be adopted by you. It was entirely your decision. However, he or she will always give you love and affection, fun and companionship - unconditionally. This means your pet will love you even if everyone else thinks you are a jerk.

Don't let your pet suffer and die because of your stupidity. A pet deserves to be treated as a member of the family, not as a piece of unwanted furniture.

If you dump your pet and are caught, you will be the proud owner of a criminal record, because causing suffering to animals is a criminal offence.

If this is still beyond your understanding, go see your parish priest, your minister, marriage counselor, your doctor, your vet or your old high school teacher. Ask one of these individuals for an explanation or what a sense of responsibility means."

Thank you Steven. This is a very serious subject and problem.

Thanks for the reminder of our responsibilities to all life, not just people.

Please pass this newsletter on to all those you feel can benefit from it.

Blessings to all of you at this special time of the year, and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

May you always walk in beauty.

Mitakuye Oyasin (for all my relations),

Alan Grey Wolf
Toronto, Canada
December, 1998

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