Celebrating the Winter Solstice
by Tara Semple with Dr. Julie Zepp
Shunyata Sound Studio has been following the sun for two full cycles now, gathering community and providing space in the sound field for deep inner journeys. The sun cycle consists of the winter solstice, spring equinox, summer solstice, and autumnal equinox. These offerings consist of three areas of focus: concert music of the heart, inspired word, and an alchemized sound bath using gongs, crystal bowls, flutes, drums, and more.
The winter solstice is my favourite part of this cycle. No matter your belief systems, we seem to be led at this time of year to seek out deeper meaning in our lives. The solstice is a beautiful way to gather and set aside our differences, coming together as a community to support each other as we find our way in this beautiful world. We lay on the ground together side by side, held in the sound as we journey in our own inner worlds. Sound bathing is a gift to yourself, in a season that we traditionally gift to those around us. This year, why not gift ourselves and our loved ones with an inward journey, slowing down, inviting listening, being open to sitting with what comes up.
The sun has always held a fascination for me, yet my relationship with the sun has changed over the years, as I have changed. I find with the releasing of my own feminine cycles, I have become more aware of the larger cycles in the world around me. I had a knowing that I wanted to connect my working in the sound field to the sun’s cycle. From darkest night to brightest day holding space for the darkness and light that each participant brings with them, alchemizing sounds that support deep relaxation and sounds that move stagnant energies, allowing them to be released.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day of our lives, we forget to connect with the natural world around us. We forget to look up in the sky and see how full the moon is, or notice the days getting shorter as we approach the Winter Solstice. Following the sun as a community draws us together, grounding ourselves with this cycle. The sun holds the possibilities of our fullness as we light our way in the world. The sun also offers us the space to truly look at our shadow. Who are we in the darkness of our lives? Asking these questions opens us up to the deeper learning. Asking these questions gives rise to the answers that are held within.
Dr. Julie Zepp opens and closes the sacred space and speaks from her heart to inspire us in the sound field. Here is an example of her inspired words from our last Winter Solstice.
“Spirit, please bestow upon each and every one of us the blessings and healings that you deem is in our Highest Interest for our individual healing at this time. We humbly understand that as we heal, so does the collective. Thank you Spirit.
And thank you all for taking the time for what I have been calling a “sacred act of rebellion” by joining us tonight. We are disrupting the hurried, busy, overstuffed, consumerist, isolating flow of conventional energy, when we partake in such sacred ritual. Our modern culture teaches avoidance at a max, especially at this time of year: shopping, overworking, over-spending, comfort food, and drinks.
At one time, and in other cultures, the winter solstice time was reverently celebrated, knowing that this is a period of descent and rest, of going within our homes, within our families, within ourselves, of reflecting, and taking in all that we have been through, all that has passed in the year that is now coming to a close, as a way to process it, metabolize it, mine gold from the hard times, learn from the challenges what was ours to learn, grieve what we have needed to let go of, give thanks for the blessings, and to celebrate that which has come anew into our lives.”
Sounding in the equinox and the solstice is an opportunity to be regular with our inner practice of checking in. Taking time in a sound bath, getting out of judgment, and just being with what comes up when we get quiet. Are we filling in the quiet spaces with busyness, activities, and mindless chatter? Or are we inviting our potential to show up ripe with possibilities? Sound bathing brings forth a variety of emotions. Yet the practice of sound bathing offers opportunity for self-regulation, learning to be at peace amidst the sounds that life presents to us.
My experience in the sound field has deepened my listening. Listening and responding musically to what I am hearing has taught me patience in the not knowing. Some journeys give rise to acknowledging how my inner world is not at peace, and I need to sit with this wisdom. Other journeys take me to deep sonic drifting, where creative ideas and deep knowledge lie. Being open to and listening to our inner messages are the gift of this sound journey experience.
How do you want to bring in the Solstice? Please join this growing community of change. Taking time for inner journeys. Taking time to send blessings out to others in this time of giving.
Tara Semple is an alchemist in the Sound Field. She is the owner of Shunyata Sound Studio, a beautiful resonant space at Knox-Metropolitan United Church. Offerings in this space include private sessions or group sessions from 2–16 participants. She dreamt up the Sun series, a journey in sound that follows the Sun from Solstice to Equinox. Tara works with a wide variety of instruments including gongs, crystal bowls, flutes, drums, chimes, and more. As a professional flute and piccolo player, she is always exploring the ways that the concert stage can meet the world of sounds around us. Always learning, always creating and holding sound curiously up to the light. She is passionate in providing a sound journey, as a way for participants to find deep relaxation and tune into their inner voices. Hope to see you in the Sound Field, shunyatasoundstudio.com.
Julie Zepp is the owner of Prairie Sky Integrative Health, the multidisciplinary health clinic in which she runs her naturopathic medical practice. She has been a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine since January 2005, giving her close to 20 years of clinical experience in the field. Through her work with clients, she has discovered the utmost importance of healing on a deep soul level, in order to bring about optimal physical health and wellness. This knowledge has driven her to widen her skillset to include not only the traditional naturopathic medical modalities of nutrition, acupuncture, orthomolecular and botanical medicine, but she is also a Reiki Master, an Internal Family Systems (IFS) informed practitioner, and has studied and practices intuitive healing, shamanic journey work, and is an avid student and teacher of A Course in Miracles. In addition to working in private practice, she offers a variety of classes, workshops, and retreats. Please visit her website at www.drzepp.com.