Join in Bluff’s modern-day version of the ancient Winter Solstice ritual held December 20 – 21, 2014.
The Winter Solstice is the turning point in the sun’s journey, as the longest night of the year leads to the sun’s revival. We know that Winter Solstice was important to the Ancestral Puebloans living in Bluff. An Ancestral Puebloan archeological site just across the San Juan River on the Navajo Reservation aligns with the Bluff Great House site at Winter Solstice.
In ancient times, bonfires and candles burned on Winter Solstice helped fortify the waning sun and ward off spirits of darkness. In keeping with that tradition, this year’s Winter Solstice Weekend in Bluff will be capped with the Burning of the Bison, a magnificent wooden sculpture crafted from natural materials built during the 2014 Bluff Arts Festival by local artists Joe Pachak and JR Lancaster.
The sculpture is of a paleo era bison which has special significance for Bluff residents and for Joe Pachak. Joe discovered a petroglyph along the banks of the San Juan River that many rock art experts believe depicts a pleistocene era bison figure from 11,000 – 13,000 years ago. (Click here for more information on the paleo bison/mammoth image.)
This year’s Winter Solstice Weekend offers a film screening of Wrenched, a photography workshop and bison-inspired art at the local Cloud Watcher Gallery. See the full schedule of events below.
Saturday, December 20
Gallery opening at Cloud Watcher Gallery featuring the Bison inspired paintings of Brent Spink (4 – 6 p.m.)
M.L. Lincoln shows her film, Wrenched, about Edward Abbey, followed by a question and answer session with the filmmaker at the Bluff Community Center. Vaughn Hadenfeldt will be the MC ( 7 – 9:30 PM) $5 admission, 17 and under free, refreshments provided. Sponsored by the Bluff Arts Festival.
Sunday, December 21
JR Lancaster will lead a workshop, “How to Make the Most From a Flaming Megafauna Photo” ( 1 – 3 PM) at the Bison site (across from Recapture Lodge). Free, all are welcome, no photo experience necessary.
Electric Light Parade. Gather at the Community Center and wander down to the Bison site (6:30 – 7 PM). Decorate your bikes, your horses, yourself.
Burning of the Paleo Bison with flaming atlatls (7 PM). Including Liam Downey and fire poi ceremony, gong and wind chime music, and more. Drumming, masks, costumes welcome.