Solstice Celebration (to be added to any rite)
Invocation for Nature (derived from the American Humanist Association Rite):
We invoke the memory of those who have passed before us and the promise of those who shall follow…Each of us here recognizes our debt to the innumerable multitudes who endeavored over tens of thousands of years to increase our collective knowledge, to advance civilization, and to improve the human condition. We reflect upon knowledge that humans are a part and product of nature so we may trace our heritage back to when life first appeared on this planet two billion years ago. With our minds full of hope, we look to the future. While we might never be certain of the subsequent course of events, we do stand united in our profession that in a thousand, or even ten thousand, years, the heirs to our culture will likewise consider the lengthening legacy of humankind. Let us hope the generations to come will be able to proudly proclaim their thanks for the small part that we, who are here now, played during our lifetimes.
The flame of a candle can facilitate our feelings of spiritual inspiration. Perhaps this is because our ancestors relied upon the light from such flames as the only source of illumination to pierce the dark mysteries of the world around them. Today, these candles symbolize what we have learned through the science of reason and the optimism of love. We know, for example, that the Sunlight will return to us as the Earth rotates and moves through the path of its orbit. And sowe know to always hold onto to hope and ambition even when difficulties arise. (We now light these candles in honor of our past, present, and future.)…….Across many cultures for thousands of years, bells have rung to mark as a call to acknowledge the past year. I invite you each to take a bell in hand and one by one express a vision or wish for (this couple) or (this planet) in the coming season. After each person speaks, let us ring our bells in response and affirmation. We ring these bells to celebrate the solstice and pending return of the Sun. With their sounding, we recognize the dependence of life on Earth on the Sun’s light and energy. Without the radiating heat from our great star, our lives would never have evolved. Let us ring our bells to honor our pledges to help bring more enlightenment to this world, just as the Sun will in the future. Go now in peace to be peacemakers to others.
We gather here with Spring around us and Summer upon us. The Earth is reborn. Nothing is new and yet nothing remains the same under the Sun. The Universe contains infinite possibilities, yet we may conceive and live through some of them. The sun will rise and set in the future, yet each day will feel fresh and new to us. Seasons gradually emerge from one another; the harshness of ice and snow yield to gently, nourishing showers and then to the full warmth and blessings of the Summer…….We begin this rite with a full glass that represents complete happiness. In recognition of the plights faced by our ancestors and the suffering still occurring in this world, though, we spill some into the ground: our own happiness and honor is incomplete if pain persists on earth…Let us raise a glass in gratitude for worldly and inner growth. We feel awed by the universe’s beauty and potential of humankind…..Peace to everyone and everything. Let us raise a glass to hope to increase the dignity and liberty for all and thereby decrease despair and oppression. Let us raise a glass to compassion, sympathy, and humility so we may gain more knowledge. Let us raise a glass to having the courage and integrity to overcome future struggles. And let us raise a glass to the affectionate tenderness, the kindness, of love. Amen. Peace be with us all.