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During Winter Solstice Celebration 2013 on Dec. 21, in addition to the indoor entertainment, the Labyrinth Walk Coffee House has scheduled several outdoor activities guests may participate in.  The celebration, hosted by Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff (UUCOC) at 3839 W. Kiest Blvd., Dallas begins with an Opening Ceremony at 6:00 pm and ends with the closing Ceremony 9:00 pm.  The outdoor activities, held on the beautiful five-acre campus, are as follows. There is no admission charge, but donations of canned goods and gently worn clothing for UUCOC’s Christmas drive will be appreciated.

Earth Loom Decorating:  “The Earth Loom is a living symbol, planted in the ground, of our intention to weave together the fabric of community. . . . The Earth Loom helps communities to unite hands and hearts to build and weave together an emblem and an instrument of peace. . . .  Earth Loom weavings can be a meditation, a gift of friendship and an inspiration for action. . . .Children and adults can weave together . . . Earth Looms may be made with indigenous materials. .  . - See more at: http://www.livingcrafts.com/blog/weaving/an-earth-loom-in-the-garden#sthash.s5uZgKJb.dpuf Mavis is in charge of the labyrinth meditation.

Organic items will be available for guests to weave into the loom.  You may bring your own cuttings to weave into the loom, symbolically linking your space with ours.  UUCOC members Anita Mills and Barbara Fudge will lead this activity.  The Earth Loom is located behind the Faith Building near the entrance to the Labyrinth. 

Meditative Candle-lit Labyrinth walking:  Built in 1999 by many loving hands, the Labyrinth in the woods is 44 feet.  Walking a labyrinth brings a different meaning and experience to everyone.  It is a safe place for people to develop their own spirituality.  http://www.oakcliffuu.org/labyrinth.shtml 

Walking the labyrinth is also synonymous with moving through the trials and tribulations of life.  We all know every life is replete with twists and turns of fate and fortune. It could be said our very lives are labyrinth like.

Mavis Belisle of UUCOC is in charge of the labyrinth meditation. People will be in 4 spaces on the labyrinth, asking guiding questions to direct the meditation. Tongue depressor sticks will be in the center, along with pencils, so people can write down what they want to release and what they want to bring in for the new year and then burn them in the yule log. Smudging will be led by Bobbi Blanch. The Labyrinth is located to the north of the Earth Loom along the designated path.

Yule Log Burning: Following the path from the Labyrinth to the west is the smoke lodge area where the Fritz Kuehn will be in charge of the burning of the Yule log..  There will be long sticks for people to hit the yule log and make a wish. There will also be salt to toss on the fire to create yellow flames. The tongue depressor sticks from the Labyrinth can be tossed into the fire.  There will be music and wassail or hot cider will be served.

A Yule log (originally an entire tree intended to provide the maximum warmth) is a large and very hard log which is burned in the heart as part of traditional Yule or Christmas celebrations in several European cultures.  Is may also be associated with the winter solstice or the 12 Days of Christmas or Twelfth Night.  Originally, it was an entire tree intended to provide the maximum warmth.

The origins of the Yule log are often believed to be associated with Germanic paganism practiced across northern Europe prior to Christianity.   Robert Chambers in his 1864 work, Book of Days, notes that “two popular observances belonging to Christmas are more especially derived from the worship of our pagan ancestors – the hanging up of the mistletoe and the burning of the Yule Log.  Swedish folklorist Carl Wilhem vonSydow, however, claimed that the Yule log never had any religious significance and was simply a festive decoration with a practical purpose. 

Regardless of its origins and purposes, the burning of the Yule log continues to be an activity associated with the Winter solstice.

The Closing Ceremony begins at 9:00 pm when Raven Crow High Priestess Pam Kincaid leads participants in a spiral dance to the beats provided by Drums, Not Guns.  The spiral dance accommodates a large number of people.  It usually involves a drumming group and a chant or song in addition to the dance.   Traditionally, all participants hold hands and follow a leader in a counter-clock wise motion using a grapevine step.  As the leader comes near closing the circle, she whips around and begins moving clockwise while facing the rest of the dancers.  By continuing this formation, every dancer in the line will eventually be face to face with every other dancer.  Wikepedia. 

There will be a basket of colored material for each to pick and hold up during the dance. Handicapped people will be in the center, ending like a large group hug. 

Drums Not Guns - is a Dallas, Texas 501 (c)(3) non-profit devoted to stopping violence and increasing the peace through the power of percussion; “to provide our youth with creative ways to re-channel negative energy...diffuse anger....build team spirit,  self-worth, self-esteem, learn to listen better,....and community thru the power of percussion. . . .  Drumming is worldwide. Drumming is a communal activity that brings people together and we believe that all traditions have something to offer our communities. We support efforts to develop, revitalize, and appreciate these traditions within the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, in Texas, North America and the world." http://www.drums.org/dng/who.htm

Parking is available at the Church’s two lots and at the New Life Bible Fellowship lot at the corner of 3727 W. Kiest and Coombs Creek Drive on the east side of Five-Mile Cemetery.  Donations to cover event costs and tips for the performers, all of whom donated their time, will be accepted.  For more information, see http://www.labyrinthwalkcoffeehouse.com and/or https://www.facebook.com/events/570245633025395

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http://www.labyrinthwalkcoffeehouse.com

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