Ways to celebrate the winter solstice

Need ideas? Here are a few:

– Declutter your home, vehicles and work spaces. Change the linen/curtains in your home. You may want to use colours that reflect winter. Burn sage to cleanse spaces.

– Wear white and winter colours.

– Get quiet for a few days. Retreat & turn off phones, computers, tvs, radios etc.

– Do some healing work ie. tai chi/qigong, yoga, meditation.

– Seriously consider fasting especially if you participate in/celebrate Xmas and/or Kwanzaa. Do so for a few days.

– Read children’s books on winter.

– Focus on your goals. Write them down in a special place.

– Pour libation (preferably outside) for significant/family ancestors born in winter.

– Prepare winter dishes and warming herbs/spices like soups, stews. Try to use lots of  fresh, local foods.  Have a small gathering with friends & family.

– Go for a drive and check out all the pretty lights on homes, businesses etc.

– Take it easy. Relax, relax, relax. At the very least slow down.

– Catch up on sleep. Curl up and read a book or two. Go to sleep earlier than usual if possible.

– Consider exchanging a few small gifts.

– Give your young children a few winter colouring pages. There are plenty you can download free of charge.

– Colour mandalas. Mandala books of all kinds are on the market.

– Play cards/board games/puzzles.

– Head to a tree lighting ceremony and/or have a tree lighting party at your home. Invite family & friends.

– Light some candles for a few nights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cx3EBcdWXA    Fasting for the solstice

http://oyansoro.com/WinterEquinox2011/articles/solstice_cleansing.html   Cleansing/fasting for the solstice

http://keidiobi.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/winter-solstice-fasting-for-health-longevity/     More about cleansing/fasting for the solstice

http://www.earthwitchery.com/yule-tree.html   Significance of solstice trees.  Remember much of Celtic/Druid culture came from us. 

http://www.Blogtalkradio.com/perankhlive/2012/12/09/perankhlivesaankhtified-sundays-whats-up4sep2012-9amest  Discussion about the 2012 solstice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1Ap6rwLnuI    Iyalosa talks about embracing the great shift (solstice 2012)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHkgw4A0ajM    Part of a lecture given by Ra Un Nefer Amen about the solstice



Navigating Christmas 2

Folks, whether we celebrate Christmas or not we/our children should be informed about it. Need resources to help? Simply head to a local library and you should find a few good books.  Luisah Teish’s “Jump Up” is an excellent one! You may want to pick up a few children’s ones too. It’s easy to find good reads about the European roots of Xmas including  the Santa story. Don’t stop there though. Connect it all to our ancient story. Stay away from demonizing the holiday and its celebrants. Instead concentrate on the facts. For those of us who don’t celebrate it, don’t preach. It’s enough to be honest about our reasons. Keep in mind that many children will have questions so be prepared to talk things through with them.

– In response to “Merry Christmas” consider saying “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings.” It’s a gentle way of reminding people that there are all sorts of celebrations happening  around this time.

– Try not to get caught up in the Xmas rush. Slow down, retreat & catch up on sleep if you can.

– Avoid heading into stores as much as possible.

– Consider participating in some community service projects. There are so many to choose from around this time of year. Lend a hand where you can. Just make it clear that you won’t be wearing a Santa hat.

– Don’t reprimand children for expressing an interest in/being drawn to aspects of Xmas. Be sensitive and talk about it. Take the opportunity to remind them of your own traditions/holidays. Reiterate that different people celebrate different things the world over.

– Connect with other folks who do not celebrate mainstream Christmas. Share tips on how to navigate the holiday.

– If you choose to exchange gifts with your relatives try your best to support black businesses/vendors.

– Be respectful when stating your reasons for not celebrating Xmas. Keep it brief. No preaching.

– If you don’t plan to attend your extended family’s gathering please inform the host a.s.a.p. The earlier they know the smoother it’ll probably go over. Be as peaceful as you can about it. Don’t entertain any guilt tripping that friends/relatives may drop on you.

– If you decide to attend your extended family’s gathering that’s fine. After all it’s one of the few times many families get together. Sad, true. Simply have a game plan for the Santa/consumerism & carol singing vibes. No need for preaching. Be proactive! You may find that it’s best to keep your visit short ie. 1-2 hours long.

– Accept gifts in love. Give unwanted ones to charity.

– For those who tell you that you’re depriving your children (because you don’t celebrate Xmas) simply tell them that your family has a unique set of holidays that you celebrate. Xmas just isn’t one of them. Don’t feel pressed to elaborate. Some people just want to argue. Plain & simple. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into a fight.

– If you don’t celebrate Christmas yet you feel a draw to it consider participating in Ka-Rast Mass celebrations (Dec.25) with Qubtic folks.  Or does Lidet call you? If so connect with some Ethiopian/Eritrean Orthodox/Coptic/Rasta folks about it. Enjoy!  Mark Jan.6 & 7 on your calendars. 


Navigating Christmas

So Dec.25 is just a few weeks away. The sights, sounds, smells of (Western) Christmas are all around us.  Now let’s not get in a funk about it. Seriously. I say this knowing full well that some of us do. Folks, it’s time to get over it.  If we don’t celebrate Xmas it’s critical that we know why. Explain your reasons to your children. In the meantime we still need to learn how to navigate the season. If possible do it with a smile. Let’s face it, there’s no sign that Xmas is going anywhere. We must have a plan for ourselves. If our children go to schools that acknowledge it what are we going to do? If you don’t want your child(ren) participating in plays, secret Santas and so on write a letter to the respective school(s) requesting that they be exempted.  Ideally this should be done by mid-October. Additionally remove your child(ren) from school on an as needed basis. When would that be? Think: Xmas parties…  We may want to avoid Xmas parades too. If possible avoid heading into stores with your little ones around this time of year.  Minimize radio/tv time. Otherwise it’s easy to find ourselves getting caught up in all the hype. Trust me.

Now when it comes to the 25th maybe your immediate family takes the avoidance approach. That’s always an option. If we decide to head to our extended family gathering  how about preparing some nutritious winter dishes? If we’re veg*n that’s a must. It’s always best to take our own food anyway. Some of us prefer to go after gifts have been given (if the heightened consumerism is something we’d like to avoid). Don’t be afraid to tell your family that you won’t be purchasing gifts (in a sweet way of course) AND that you don’t expect to receive any. If your family gives you/your children gifts don’t fight it. Consider giving them a “wish list” sometime in November. Focus on goods/services you and your children actually need.  Let relatives know that you’d prefer the gifts to be unwrapped. If they must wrap them suggest relatively  plain paper. Say “no” to Santa/Mrs.Claus and nativity scenes. Say “yes”  to snowflakes, stars, candles/lights, reindeer.  Think about unwrapping gifts in your own time/in your own home. Decide how/when you’ll give the gifts to your children.  If your children receive a large number of gifts consider giving them 1-2 at a time over a few weeks. Some parents choose to hand over the gifts to their children in January. That may be best especially if you celebrate Kwanzaa. The last thing we want is for our children to confuse Christmas with Kwanzaa.

Article about how non-Christians create new traditions:


Interfaith families and how they celebrate the holidays:


How America’s non-Christian immigrants navigate Xmas:


Article on Christmas for non-Christians:


Movement to buy nothing for Christmas:




Kwanzaa music

Albums (available for purchase):





The Kwanzaa Album

Happy Kwanzaa – Maia

Individual Songs (on youtube):

Happy Kwanzaa – The Boys/The Suns of Light

Happy Kwanzaa – Teddy Pendergrass

Oh Happy Kwanzaa – The DigiDonz

A Song for Kwanzaa – A.Chandra

Happy Kwanzaa from Kwanzaa365 OR Kwanzaa Yenu Iwe Na Heri – Mxolisi & The Sankofa Singers

Kwanzaa Song by Kev Choice – Bay Area

The Kwanzaa Song – http://www.kwanzaasong.us

Kwanzaa Kwest Theme Song

Happy Kwanzaa! – Kamal Imani

Sharing the Love (Happy Kwanzaa) – Watoto from the Nile



Brown Skin – Richie Spice

We Are Family – Sister Sledge

Togetherness – Alison Hinds

Family First – Whitney Houston (Daddy’s Little Girl soundtrack)

Everyday (Family Reunion) – Chaka Khan

Family Time – Ziggy Marley

Caribbean Girl – Nadia Batson

Raid the Barn – Anthony B

U.N.I.T.Y. – Queen Latifah

Mama Africa – Akon

It’s A Family Affair – Sly & The Family Stone

Family Reunion – Jill Scott

One Caribbean – David Rudder

Save the Children – Marvin Gaye

What’s Going On – ” ”

Family Reunion – O’Jays

Lift Every Voice & Sing – James Weldon Johnson

Love & Inity – Damian Marley

Oh Africa – Akon

Neighbour – Edwin Yearwood & Patrice Roberts

Bob Marley – Teddy Afro

Brown Skin – India Arie

I Remember When – Luciano

Harambee – Rita Marley

Justice – Nasio Fontaine

One Love – Bob Marley

Africa Unite – ” ”

Unity – O’Jays

A Song for Kwanzaa – A.Chandra

One Island – Nadia Batson

Positive Hustle – Watoto from the Nile

One Nation Under A Groove – The Funkadelics

Stop the Fussing and Fighting – Dennis Brown



Carnival Please Stay – Sherwayne Winchester

Naima – John Coltrane

The Beauty Within – Dead Prez

My Roots – Burning Spear

Garvey – Mutabaruka

Oh Freedom

Liberation – Morgan Heritage

Black Star Liner – Fred Locks

Black People – Queen Ifrica

Black My Story – Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers

Tell the Youths the Truth – Jimmy Riley

I’m Black & I’m Proud – James Brown

Young, Gifted & Black – Bob Andy & Marcia

Pat Pata – Miriam Makeba

I Know I Can – Nas

African – Peter Tosh

Garvey – Burning Spear

Real Revolutionaries – M-1 & Bonnot

Rebel – Culture

African Liberation – Sizzla

Armagedion – Gyptian

I’m Going All the Way – Sounds of Blackness

Africans – Nneka

Mighty Race – Culture

I Remember When – Luciano

Africa Awaits – Tarrus Riley

We Are Africans – JJC

Save Yourself – Jah Cure

Realest Song – Konshens

Black Child – Aniba Hotep & The Sol Collective

Shaka Zulu Pickney – Tarrus Riley

Africa Must Wake Up – Nas & Damian Marley

Ancient Wayz – Purple Crown

I Am Not My Hair – India Arie

*Harriet Tubman Dedication Song – Conscious Plat



*Love Your Afrikan Self – Phu’ Cha

Save the World – Mighty Sparrow

Lean On Me – Club Nouveau

Stand By Me – River Phoenix

Raid the Barn – Anthony B

Not Gonna Give It Up – Peter Tosh

Love is the Order – Etana

Iron Sharpens Iron – Culture

Tell the Youths the Truth – Jimmy Riley

Save the Children – Marvin Gaye

You’ve Got A Friend – Michael Jackson

I’ll Be There – Jackson 5

Rebel – Culture

Harambee – Rita Marley

Justice – Nasio Fontaine

Friends – Nas & Damian Marley

You’ve Got a Friend – R.Flack

A Song for Kwanzaa – A.Chandra

Real Friends – Assassin

You are my Friend – Ledisi

That’s What Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick & Friends






Golden – Jill Scott

Headed In the Right Direction – India Arie

The Mission – Stephen & Damian Marley

Justice – Nasio Fontaine

Africa Awaits – Tarrus Riley

Love is the Order – Etana

Not Gonna Give It Up – Peter Tosh

Liberation – Morgan Heritage

Save Yourself – Jah Cure

We Shall Overcome

Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – McFadden & Whitehead

Black Child – Aniba Hotep & The Sol Collective

*Harriet Tubman Dedication Song – Conscious Plat

I Won’t Quit – Watoto from the Nile



Giant Steps – John Coltrane

Bacchanal – Destra

You’ve Got A Friend – Michael Jackson

I Love My Life – Demarco

Pata Pata – Miriam Makeba

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Mix – Ladysmith Black Mambazo




Lift Up Your Head – Everton Blender

I Am Not Afraid – Etana

African Spirit – Nasio

Mama – Gyptian

God is Real – India Arie

Some Day – Capleton

Hero – Mariah Carey

Never Give Up – Yolanda Adams

Shining Star – ” ”

Be Strong – Gyptian

Give Praise – Luciano

Oh Freedom

We Shall Overcome

Hold On Change is Coming – Sounds of Blackness

Africa Awaits – Tarrus Riley

The Prayer – Donnie McClurkin/Yolanda Adams

Realest Song – Konshens

Rejoice – Eric Dozier

Grateful – Hezekiah Walker

Stand – Donnie McClurkin

Great is Your Mercy – ” ”

I Believe – Sounds of Blackness

Spread Love – Take 6

A Quiet Place – ” ”

Something Within Me – ” ”

Lengthen My Days – Queen Ifrica

Testify – ” ” ”

If Jah – Tony Rebel

Rain Down on Me – Kirk Franklin

Be Still – Yolanda Adams

Yeah – ” ”

No Weapon – Fred Hammond

I Believe – James Fortune

The Best is Yet to Come – Donald Lawrence

There is a King in You – ” ”

Citizens of the Kingdom – ” ”

Spiritual – ” ”

I Am Healed – ” ”

I Speak Life – ” ”

Mama Africa – Akon

Let Go – Dewayne Woods

For Every Mountain – Kurt Carr

The Potter’s House – Walter & Tramaine Hawkins

Everything is Gonna Be Alright – Sounds of Blackness

Spirit – ” ” ”

Somebody Prayed Me Over – Sweet Honey In the Rock

Marcus Teaching – Tarrus Riley

Protect the People – ” ”

The Greatest Love of All – Whitney Houston







http://www.serenityhealingarts.com (Music/devotionals by Ivy Hylton)


*Listen via http://www.rbgtube.com

Most songs are available on youtube.com.

Sovereignty & Communal living

Fam, we’re in need of more self-sufficient communities. Think: sovereignty. When? Always. Let’s do this!




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TQBWCkmN7s  I’m not condoning the religious aspect. I posted this strictly because they have an intentional community. There is lots about their lifestyle that is very holistic.



Black Love: The Black Woman’s Agenda

Sis. LeTava is ON when it comes to many a thang!










http://www.theblackwomansagenda.com/FREE-Study-Guide.html Good one to check out!

Kwanzaa tunes for the little ones

I find these a li’l corny. Someone out here may like ’em though.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNdinShUHEk My new favourite! It’s suitable for the whole family.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/godden This CD is pretty good.

Kwanzaa is a Holiday     I can sing it for you via skype.

Umoja Karamu – A sweet Kwanzaa warmup

Folks, Umoja Karamu can be a sweet Kwanzaa warmup. It falls on the 4th Sunday of November. Some American folks ignore Thanksgiving and celebrate this instead. Do you? If so do tell. I started to read about it a few years back. Now I’m considering incorporating it into my calendar. We shall see. Food, music, fellowship. Ah ha!

A clip explaining the celebration:


Some blog posts explain the details of Umoja Karamu:




Travelling for the holidays?

Folks, if you’re travelling for the holidays consider heading to some Kwanzaa gatherings. They’re held in many parts of the world. These links will give you a taste:
http://www.kwanzaadc.com/    Washington, DC
http://www.kwanzaakollective.org/   Richmond, VA
NOTE: Some places also have pre-Kwanzaa gatherings.