Home     Contact Us         Log in
Jan 09
Featured Stories
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. 

Post Tags: ,
3 responses to “ Circle of Light ”
  1. David Schneider
    Jan 18, 2017

    This is so cool! Thanks to all who put this on, and to Mr. Campbell for helping us all to learn about it.
    It seems to be just a fantastic way to invest energy in the children.
    More more.

  2. Sylvie Stevenson
    Jan 13, 2017

    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!

  3. Carolyn Mandelker
    Jan 10, 2017

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this!

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

Website Development by Blue Mandala using Wordpress MU.
All content and source Copyright © 1994-2021. Shambhala International (Vajradhatu), Shambhala, Shambhala Meditation Center, Shambhala Training, Shambhala Center and Way of Shambhala are registered service marks of Shambhala USA
Privacy Policy
Translate »