Turning to the Morning: Sunset Rituals
By Lissin Lev Chaya
Ever since I was little, no matter where I was, I knew when the sun was going down. When I moved to the Pacific Ocean 15 years ago, my awareness became a daily sunset ritual. My partner and I were even nicknamed “Team Sunset” by our neighbors.
From the moment the bottom edge of the fireball hit the horizon we would sit in silence, simply watching, until it fully disappeared. No two sunsets were alike, and I never grew tired of them. I was often filled with gratitude at getting to witness the passage of another day.
Now that I have a five year old in the house, silent sunsets are rare. Like many things in my life, rituals and traditions have shifted and changed to accommodate my family. Now we mark the sunset with a song, and my sweetie and I slip off for silent sunset moments when we can.
These days we sit together with my son and any other kids around and sing:
“Goodnight to the Sun for another day, Thanks for the light, Thanks for the play. Now we’ll watch you slip away, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.”
In our fast paced culture of clocks, alarms, to-do lists and driving all over the place, taking time to honor the passage of the day can reopen our lives to the subtleties of nature, and bring us deeper into connection with the whole.
Whether your horizon is a mountain or ridgeline, houses, prairie, ocean or even city skyline, you can create a sunset ritual. If you can’t practice every day, simply do it when you can.
Begin by finding a comfortable place to sit where you can see at least part of the sun going down, behind something.
Offer gratitude for your day, whether it is gratitude in general or for something specific.
Watch the sun sink in silences, if possible, from the moment it hits your horizon until it is gone. With kids, choose or create a sunset song that will grow familiar for your family over time.
Take another breath to close your ritual.
Acknowledging the sunset and the rhythm of the day can help bring us into awareness of the now, and strengthen our ability to be present to the rest of our lives.
“Round and Round the Earth is turning, turning always to the morning, and from morning ‘round til night.”
Lissin Lev Chaya is a certified wedding and Life-Cycle celebrant. As a celebrant, Lissin is honored to create personal, heart-felt and meaningful ceremonies for weddings and Life-Cycle rituals. Lissin is also co-director of EarthCapades, life partner, and mama. Lissin lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and can be reached at [email protected]