Women of Spirit and Action: The Women’s Building Summer Solstice Celebration

“I was touched by the vision of all the individuals walking the labyrinth. Their unique journeys combining into a larger vibrant whole. Very similar to the life of the building, today, 30 years ago, 100 years ago. Don’t underestimate the power of the mojo that got invested in the building that evening either.” – Amy Butcher, TWB Board 

“I think often, as we’re not taught to celebrate it, women forget the great, empowering energy that they can draw from the earth (or universe) when they honor the spirit of the feminine.  Sharing my poetry not only helped me continue to break down my own artistic fears, but also connected me into what we were celebrating, ‘the real work of women in the world,’ or, the awesome feminine power that vibrates in the world.  It was a wonderful way to move into the next season.” – Samantha Rubenstein, TWB Board

This past week, The Women’s Building celebrated solstice, the longest day of the year and a time that recognizes increase in our lives through this hallmark of summer, with a fundraiser event called “Women of Spirit & Action.”  The evening brought together individuals from all walks of life working through methods of engaged spirituality for social justice in alignment with the mission of the Building. We raised over $400 to benefit the work the Building does every day on behalf of women and girls.

The evening welcomed performances and presentations by Bay Area artists and academics, with dance, poetry readings, and invitations through meditation and other forms of engagement to go deeper into reflection on the personal actions we can take for equality. A video on the ritual of pongala in Kerala, India showed us the faces of hundreds of thousands of women dedicated to goddess. A dance invited us to explore the mysteries of the feminine. A poem taught us to accept all of who we are in this body we inhabit. A call to our lineages of female ancestors brought us in touch with the past and possibilities for the future.

The culmination of the evening began with a visualization that brought forth a guide or wisdom voice, our higher self, and we were led to the opening of a gigantic labyrinth–a replica of the one on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France. Women and men stepped forward to take the flower of a pink, red, or white carnation as they entered, walking as the healing chant to Buddhist Tara, “Om Tara Tutare Ture Soha” was sung.  At the center of the labyrinth was a small altar upon which a carved wooden yoni statue stood. One by one, participants entered this space. Some took time to just be, others to reflect, to make a vow, or to offer commitments and gratitudes.

Once everyone had passed through the labyrinth, we gave thanks to those seen and unseen who had joined us and opened to community time with the sharing of good food and conversation. It was a special evening that we hope to repeat again next year.

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