A Stardust Ritual
for Winter Solstice

by Connie Barlow
December 2003


Winter solstice is the perfect time to celebrate the creation of the chemical elements inside giant stars who lived and died before our sun was born. Whether the occasion is a Sunday morning church service or a gathering of on Earth-centered spirituality group, we highly recommend the telling of the Stardust Story (see Stardust Background document), followed by a Cosmic Communion.

The Cosmic Communion is simply a ritual in which, participants are "glittered" (or glitter one another), while a song is sung. The glitter can be purchased in any crafts store (the tinier the pieces, the better they stick). Instruct participants to nonverbally indicate whether they wish to be glittered on their forehead or the back of their hand. For Sunday morning services in liberal churches (we have performed this ceremony in Unitarian Universalist churches), congregants may choose to come forward to be glittered or to remain at their seats.

For Cosmic Communions we have performed year round, we instruct participants to sing this chant tune, over and over while the glittering takes place:

We are made of stardust
every single atom
of carbon and of oxygen, calcium and iron.

Note: carbon is signified by burnt toast, oxygen by a cloud, calcium by bone, iron by blood

Click to listen to an AUDIO CLIP of this song, in actual performance.

FOR WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATIONS (including Sunday morning services in Unitarian Universalist churches or other liberal churches immediately preceding the solstice), we have printed in the order of service these verses, which are variations on the traditional "Silent Night." The beginning and ending stay the same for each verse, with subsequent verses having new words for lines 3 and 4:

Silent night. Holy night.
All is calm. All is bright.
Planets gracefully circle the sun.
Stardust cycles through every one.
Life abounds upon Earth.
Life abounds upon Earth.

Radiant beams from primordial stars,
Swirled into planets like Venus and Mars.

Carbon, nitrogen, and calcium,
All were born inside ancestral suns.

Death and recycling of millions of stars,
Brought forth planets and all that we are.

Silver, gold, and titanium,
Forged in stars before Earth had begun.

Flaring forth across heaven above,
Supernovas made all that we love.

NOTE: For intimate group settings, including family occasions, we suggest a longer and more participatory version of this ritual, A Family Stardust Ritual

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