The Twelve Holy Nights
December 24th - January 5th
Clock, St Mary's Ottery. Photo: M. Reinhart 1999.
Buy recordings of the London workshop
December 15th 2013:
Some practical suggestions
for following the process in your own way
Participating 'solo' in the Twelve Holy Nights process, in your own way, either alone or with a group of 'fellow travellers' can be an inspiring experience. Many people do this, in different places around the world, creating a resonant field or network of light around the Earth.
Firstly, download these notes and make yourself a calendar of the sequence. There is a generic calendar included, but you might want to make your own, noting any significant astrological aspects occurring, or any days which are particularly special to you for personal or family reasons.
The 'Twelve Holy Nights' process starts every year on December 25th. It continues all through the following days and nights, until January 5th, taking one sign of the zodiac per day, starting with Capricorn and ending
The dates and sequence can be shifted slightly if need be. For example, some people prefer to start after Christmas Day, so on December 26th, and some go through the zodiac in the forward sequence, beginning at Aries and ending with Pisces.
Once you have done the process one time, as described in the box above, you might want to experiment and see which 'feels right' for you, and of course this could also change over time. There is no 'right' way, but do invite a depth experience by the way you set it up. Stay with the sequence you've chosen and be sure to follow it right through to completion.
If possible, it is best to allow one 'entry' day beforehand, and one 'closure' day afterwards. Typically, this means starting on December 24th and ending on January 6th, so 14 days in total.
The 'Twelve Holy Nights' process really does 'belong' to this time of year, for astronomical and other reasons, so while it is possible to 'transplant' it to other times of the year, in order to provide a framework for simply studying the zodiac, the real magic is revealed over December to January.
Here's why ...
Every year during this time-period the Earth is at perihelion, its closest point to the Sun. (This proximity is not affected by which hemisphere you live in, as it is an orbital factor, rather than a rotational, seasonal one.) As the relationship between the Sun and the Earth defines the Tropical Zodiac (the 'usual' zodiac in Western cultures), both the symbolism and the physical energetics are at their most potent during this time of year. This is also why the Moon's light during this time appears so bright, sharp and intense.
Secondly, download the MP3 *** on which some suggestions are offered. There are some meditative sounds at the end of the talking, and these also run quietly in the background during the first part of the recording.
- Click here for photographs of an extraordinary series of zodiac sculptures, created during the Holy Nights, the work of English sculptress Gertraud Goodwin. She has truly captured the essence of each sign ...
(French language website)
('Johfra Posters' - UK site in English)
*** Note: printed copies of Johfra's artwork are becoming increasingly difficult to find. None of the links above seem to offer complete zodiac sets. However, if you Google the name 'Johfra' or 'Johfra Bosschaert' (or Bosschart), you'll find numerous interesting pages online.
*** I have a few complete sets of the cards left, available for purchase. Email me to ask about this.
If you are planning to do the process, use the time from late November (Advent in the Christian calendar) until December 24th (Christmas Eve) to consider how you might engage with it: prepare your space, yourself and your schedule of activities to encompass your intentions.
Collect together your journal, dream book, reading material, drawing and writing materials, favourite music, zodiac cards - whatever you feel will support the process. Or be bold - let go of as many 'props' as you can, and just allow yourself to be present to yourself, and your process, mostly in silence. Be sensitive to how you can best configure your own individual and personal resources for this journey ...
- Will you look for friends to share the journey with, in person or by Skype/phone?
- Or will you 'fly solo'?
- Or schedule brief occasional check-ins with 'fellow travellers' rather than totally sharing the journey?
- How deep do you want to go?
Let the process 'form itself' as your intention grows.
If you do Yoga as part of your practice, see if you can sense and feel the symbols of the zodiac within poses which are familiar to you. If you're not familiar with Yoga, take it easy and don't tie yourself in knots trying to 'impersonate' the symbols physically!
You can always sit quietly and feel, sense or imagine them inside your body. A beautiful and nourishing process to engage with, indeed. Not difficult to see the symbol of Aries in a face, for example ... follow the line from the tip of the nose upwards, and out across both eyebrows! Feel that 'Aries Ram' and contemplate how it relates to this sign ...
A special note for those who will be unavoidably busy with family, work commitments, care duties, friends or socialising during this period ...
No need to feel that this process is out of your reach! You can participate in whatever way makes sense for you and your life. A little forethought and planning, with a bare minimum of time spent each day will still connect you in.
Nice to remember that you're not alone doing the process, but you join with a large number of people all over the planet, also doing it ...!
Experiment with it ...
Your inner intention will carry you, and you will probably have the delightful experience of noticing 'zodiac manifestations' right in the midst of busy days and nights.
And this is part of the 'message' ... that The Sacred accompanies us every day, everywhere, in all circumstances.
Important: make a definite 'beginning and ending' for the process, an 'entry and exit'. If possible, schedule a day on either end of the process to 'bookend' it. This helps your focus, and also keeps the energy concentrated and contained. Also, be sure to follow through on any intentions you set to spend time with the process, and complete it if you start. Do be realistic and plan for something 'manageable' that fits with your circumstances.
The zodiac picture above shows the points of the stations of Venus,
sometimes considered to be the 'Star of the Magi'.
Grateful thanks to Sophia Smith, to whom this prayer was given in 2009.
*** Download instructions: right-click the link, and then scroll to 'Save Target As'. You can then choose where the file should be downloaded to, and the name. Recording is about 35min long, file takes about 5min to download with average speed broadband.