As the sun began to touch the tip of the mountains the drumming began again, the cries of the sacred drummers seemed to echo around us. I could feel the energy of the day to come pounding through my body. The fire that sent our prayers the night before was still raging in anticipation of the ceremony ahead. At this point I have not slept since we started, but the primal forces running in our camp kept me going. All through the night we prayed, we sang, calling on the spirits of the land. I watched as the poles were chosen, preyed upon, cut, preyed upon again and then placed in the ground. The smoke of burning sage never died away unless it was replaced with the sweet smell of mother earth’s hair. Although, I was not going to have the privilege of being a part in the ceremony or would even be able allowed to watch it as it unfolds. I did get a chance to see the dancers partake in some of their own private preparations. As much as I understood why I could not attend one of the most sacred ceremonies of my tribe, I still felt some disappointment. I held on to the satisfaction in knowing that the knowledge I had received from my elders about the Sundance was unlike any other that I would find anywhere else or by anyone.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to witness many different sun-based ceremonies and rituals, in part or in participation, all have been “spirit” opening and spirit learning. There is something completely different in the energy, the flow, and the meaning when working with the sun. My first ever experience, outside of a Wheel of the Year celebration, was when I was a “little Witch” and attended a Wiccaning that was being held just after the Summer Solstice. It was here that everything I had been taught seemed to be put into question for the first time. This Wiccaning was very different than I had learned about. The focus was on a god and not a goddess and utilized the sun and not the earth. This was the first time I had ever heard about “drawing down the sun” being done in a ritual or even at all. This was one of the first times during my initial training that my “why” brain screamed “whoa! Hold on just a moment?” After learning so much about the Goddess being first in everything, I now saw that there was room for the God to move forward and be the center of attention. It was not until years later that I experienced first-hand and participated in a “drawing down the sun” rite at a Beltaine celebration in New York City. Being part of this circle and learning the structure of the ritual was life changing. We can learn so much from another’s traditions and from experiencing things outside of our own.
In “The Modern Witch’s Curriculum”, this chapter explores the magick of the Sun and how to work with its energies. Each week deals with a time of day and each day explores a different aspect of Witchcraft in a traditional curriculum style. Whereas each day has activities to foster spiritual growth.
Examples of Daily Activities Found in “The Modern Witch’s curriculum”
Make a list of what the sun means to you spiritually and how you feel at sunrise. The sun can mean a lot to different people, memories of summer on a beach, fishing on a lake as a child or the evening sun glistening on a snow-covered tree. The times and memories we associate with the sun excite and vitalize us. Even during the dark days of winter or after a long rainy week we crave the warm rays of the sun, this not just a physical craving, but a spiritual one as well. The sun plays a major role in spirit and our spirituality. Depending on tradition, it can mean more for an individual Witch. Today, write out a list of your own personal and your traditions meaning of the sun. Just as with the moon we can also be affected by the phases of the sun, this week we will track these feelings to access our magickal time of day.
Study and learn the herbs, oils, and crystals associated with the sun. Create an incense for working with the sun. Planetary correspondences and their magickal properties can be an overwhelming and difficult practice. There are thousands of plants and natural items that are associated with the sun as a planet, as gods, or as a type of energy. Figuring out which is which can discourage any Witch. Some herbs have a connection to the sun because of its color, growth cycle, and so many other factors. To narrow your studies down I recommend looking into the teachings of your tradition or cultural beliefs and practices.