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Jan 09
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Circle of Light

Children journey to the spiral’s center in Karmê Chöling’s traditional midwinter Festival of Lights

photography by Philip Campbell

Between December 25th and New Year’s Day, practitioners of all ages gathered at Karmê Chöling for a warm and lively week of programs to support and celebrate families and children. A highlight of this magical time together was the Festival of Lights, a beautiful outdoor candlelight ceremony held each year especially for the youngest children. Teens worked for hours in temperatures well below freezing, preparing a spiral path in the deep snow of the meadow. They decorated the space with evergreen boughs, created a series of banners, and set luminaria on either side of a curving path leading to the spiral from the main house. After dark, the lamps were lit, and a circle of singers formed around the spiral; time for the magic to begin.

Dozens of luminaria show the way through the darkness

 

 

Teens light a warming bonfire near the spiral in preparation for the children’s arrival

 

The spiral’s King and Queen at the center, surrounded by a circle of singers

 

The stage is set; ready for the children to enter

 

One by one, the children walk slowly to the spiral’s center where the King and Queen help them to place their decorated lanterns

 

 

 

Path travelled by each child through the snow to enter the spiral

After the lamps are placed, everyone gathers by the bonfire for good cheer and a special treat: gingerbread cookies hot from the oven

 

After the ceremony, a few hardy souls linger by the fire


Philip Campbell is a photographer from Northeast Ohio. The loves of his life are photography, backpacking, travel, and watching movies. He has been a student of photography since childhood, and has engaged with photography as a serious hobby since 2004. Philip retired from his 17 year position as the Production Manager of the Tri-C JazzFest to follow his passion and become a professional photographer. 

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2 responses to “ Circle of Light ”
  1. Carolyn Mandelker
    Jan 10, 2017
    Reply

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Sylvie Stevenson
    Jan 13, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you for this magical documentation of KCL’s Circle of Light! It’s wonderful you make the natural winter water element a significant part of the celebration! We don’t all have that opportunity! I can just imagine how it felt to these children as they walked the circle and encountered the King and Queen of Shambhala! How very wonderful!


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