Celebrating Winter Solstice with the Clearing
Fittingly, the Clearing’s first collectively-planned service/ritual was a powerful Winter Solstice ritual and gathering, held at The Vault, a black-owned community event space that showcases the art and culture of Durham and is particularly supportive of local organizing efforts among queer and trans people of color. It was a beautiful and heart-opening moment for the community!
The Clearing’s core team, a group of leaders that grew out of the Clearing’s initial community conversations, planned and held the ritual and gathering on Thursday, December 21. Close to fifty people came together to celebrate the longest night of the year and the power and brilliance of darkness—and, afterwards, a delicious meal.
Folks were invited to bring an object for the altar that represented something sacred to them, something they wanted to honor about the solstice, and/or someone they wanted to bring into the space. We shared reflections and poetry primarily from Black and Brown people. We offered time and space for folks to reflect on what they needed to let go of and put in the earth, as well as what they were invested in holding onto to give them what they needed for the new season. And then we shared a wonderful meal. It was magic, not just because it was a really meaningful moment for folks, but because it helped set the tone for more opportunities to gather in worship together in the future.
The Clearing has evolved into a space that encourages folks to show up, be present, share their struggles, successes, challenges, and desires in a safe, supportive environment. We are cultivating and co-creating loving and sustainable spiritual spaces that are anti-racist, anti-capitalist, queer, womanist, feminist, and de-colonized, offering all the folks coming together to move the Clearing from dream to reality something we didn’t anticipate—a chance to make the impossible possible!
Currently, as we share monthly dinners, co-create spaces for ritual, celebration, and healing, and build an evolving team of visionaries and organizers that will continue to breathe life and love and meaning into this community, we are also building beautiful relationships in the community. The Durham Co-op Market, that provides our monthly meals, the LGBTQ Center of Durham, the Vault, and the Radical Healing Collective are all community gathering spaces where queer/trans POC folks have deep roots. We’re excited to keep building and growing and healing together.