Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Solstice

In this mid-week post, I'm diverging from my usual format to document a Naples original event.

Event: Every solstice, a group of universal-minded Italians hold a Solstice Ceremony at the Temple of Apollo in Lago Averno. The ceremony is well attended and charming in its desire to unite all religions and all peoples together.

We began at 18:30 on June 21st outside the Temple of Apollo. While everyone gathered around, an elderly gentleman gave an introduction to the coming service, in particular the need for the group to respect silent moments.

Then we filed into the Temple -- a place usually closed to the public. The ceremony began with two circles, one inner and one outer. We first recited an "Invocation of the Seven Directions." Throughout the service, songs were sung and individuals read poems. Symbols of the earth, wind, fire, and water were passed around: a plate of Lago Averno water, bread, incense, and a torch went from person to person.

An elderly woman gave a speech explaining that we come together with our sayings and songs from different religions in order to appreciate our unity.

We then made our way from inside the Temple to the lake where we swept candles on lilypads into the water. Stones were also thrown into the water as offerings. The ceremony ended with a long "OM...." at the banks of the lake just as the sun sets across the crater.

The next solstice ceremony will be held in winter. The event is free and you can find more at Centro Nuova Era. (The center is located in Vomero overlooking a breathtaking view and offers massages, yoga, and other activities.)


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