New Year's Eve in Harmony Village
From: Cheryl A. Charis-Graves (
Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 09:29:01 -0700 (MST)
Leaving the palindrome year of 2002 and bridging into our 6th year in the
Village, we created options. No ³one-size-fits-all.² We¹ve learned. Some of
us want to dress up in sparkly clothes and dance the night away. Some of us
want thoughtful discussion of the larger issues in our lives and in the
world. Some of us want the challenge of a 1,000-piece puzzle with two
primary colors, one being black, and an image that dares us with soft

We even created options in our rituals. On the Solstice, a few of us walked
our labyrinth in the light and warmth of day. We could see each other¹s
eyes, see the mesas and the foothills that surround us, see the trees
reminding us of the wisdom of dormancy in the cold and dark. We celebrated
the turning of the solar year, the return of the Light, and were glad for
the comfort of warm words and warm hands to hold our intentions for the
coming year. We walked the circuits of the labyrinth mindful of the energy
of an almost full moon and shared tears for the recent loss of one of our
elders. His wife walked with us, because it was day, because it was warm
enough for her to do so. And we were glad to be with her, and to acknowledge
that some seeds require a period of cold and dark to germinate. We are
germinating remembrance and spending the time we have wisely.

On New Year¹s Eve, we lit up the labyrinth with paper bag luminarias, a
traditional decoration for Southwestern-style festivities. A crew of us
assembled paper bags, sand, and tea lights. I added lanterns at each of the
four directions and placed objects on the center stone to represent the
directions, following teachings from Native Americans and other indigenous
people. Eleven signed up, including me. I planned for 18 participants.
Twenty people showed up.

Our labyrinth welcomed them all. As I explained the meaning of the
directions and the objects in the center, fireworks erupted behind the mesa
to the east. It was midnight, and it was perfect. Bundled in furry hats and
mittens, long garments sweeping the ground, one sparkling skirt winking
beneath a cuddly coat, the figures entered and turned with the circuits of
the labyrinth and breathed as they placed their feet carefully on the uneven
terrain, negotiating the narrow path marked by fist-sized river rocks. At
the center, each person took time to gather the objects which had been left
for them, meditated on their meaning, and stood in a circle of silence for
several minutes before walking out, retracing the circuits by which they had
entered. At a turn-around point near the outside, each one stopped to leave
their intention in the care of the Ancestor Tree, an old and leafless
sentinel of all that has come before us on this land.

On the threshold of a new beginning, we blessed and released what we are
ready to leave behind, we honored the wisdom and insight with which we have
been gifted in the past year, we acknowledged what we will be creating in
the time before us, and we reminded ourselves to balance the weightiness of
our lives with the nurturing presence of fun and humor.

Deep peace to you all,

Cheryl Charis-Graves
Harmony Village Cohousing
Golden, Colorado

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