Sounding a Sad Note for Santa

By Steven Libowitz   |   December 14, 2017

Noell Grace, Ejé Lynn-Jacobs, and the SpiritSings Band have a Yuletide offer: Come all ye merry souls for a magical evening of Christmas carols, mystical solstice chants, and original spirit songs celebrating peace on Earth and the darkest days returning to light. The long-running SpiritSings turns its attention to the holidays, a special show when Sanskrit largely gives way to Santa for the sixth annual SpiritSings Solstice-Christmas Singalong. What’s more, Grace’s all-female fantastically harmonizing trio Vocabella will offer a few songs of their own right after the midway cookie and mingle break.

But the joyous occasion set for 7 to 9 pm on Monday, December 18, at Yoga Soup is tinged with a note of sorrow. The event represents the final SpiritSings for the foreseeable future, as Grace is scheduled to move to Arkansas after the first of the year. So, there might be some frowns accompanying the fa-la-la’s and tears mixed in with the merrymaking. Entry is $10 in advance or at the door.

Firing off Some Thoughts

SpiritSings is just one offering during a busy week for events scheduled at Yoga Soup, though the Thomas Fire has prompted an advisory to check the online schedule for any last-minute cancellations of classes or programs. The wildfire has also brought out the wild man and philosopher in owner Eddie Ellner, who offered these words in an email missive: “Fire is a divine heart opener, however destructive and unwanted it may appear. A stark, simple reminder that we own nothing, not even our bodies. An invitation to surrender to the reality of life as expressed through gain and loss, pleasure and pain, form and formlessness.”

What Lies Beneath

That surrendering can begin on Friday night, December 15, when the monthly Authentic Relating Games offers the intriguing theme of “And, what’s underneath that?” December’s lineup of interpersonal “games” – which are meant to be both challenging and connecting – explores and plays with the feelings, the needs, the motivations, and the desires that are often not made readily available, often even to their owners, but are instead located a couple layers beneath what comes out of our mouths. The event includes marvelously creative and intuitively nourishing raw snacks prepared by Deneen Elizabeth, who recently joined Santa Barbara games originators Tamra Rutherford and Simon D’Arcy as an official presenter. Admission to the 7 to 9:30 pm event costs $18 in advance, or $25 day of.

Saturday brings another opportunity to surrender to sound, via another visit to The Soup from Shane Thunder, whose 432hz Sound Healing offering uses alchemical gemstone, Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, drums, aromatherapy, and guided meditation to bring participants into a deeply meditative and rebalanced state. 7:30 to 9 pm event on Saturday, December 16, costs $20 in advance, $25 day-of.

Yoga Pants and Panting

On Wednesday, December 20, Justine Malick and Katie McLean of Psychedelic Honey, the local shop that sells original designer active wear and more, come together to lead Coming Back to Self, a yoga workshop and shopping event celebrating the new moon and winter solstice. Participants will engage the body in a core-strengthening and grounding flow full of rituals to embrace the shortest and darkest day of the year on the actual solstice. Special awareness will be brought to current themes of the cosmos and harnessing the power of writing clear intentional words to center oneself before the holiday rush and realign with core intentions. Then there’ll be time to nourish with seasonal ayurvedic snacks and tonics and to spend time connecting with one another, plus pull oracle cards.

Everyone can also peruse the consciously designed, locally made Psychedelic Honey “Bold As Love” line. That would be the one designed “With the intention to create something the original Santa Barbara Mountain Drive hippies would be proud of… if ’69’s Surfer Mag + Vintage Playboy had a love child that hipsters, hippies, and hotties could all agree is damn foxy and most importantly, Jimi Hendrix would believe is as bold as love.” Admission to the 7 to 9 pm event is $20 in advance, $25 day of.

Yoga Soup is located at 28 Parker Way. Call 865-8811 or visit

Sunburst’s Winter Solstice

Sunburst is a community of practice dedicated to personal and planetary awakening that operates out of headquarters at its Sunburst Sanctuary on Highway 1, about halfway between the 101 and Lompoc. On Saturday, December 16, visitors get a chance to experience a little of both personal and planetary joys via a Meditation & Labyrinth Walk to celebrate the darkest time of year and the return of the light from within. All are invited to go deep in meditation to remember our true nature as beings of light and to seek inner guidance for navigating through life before connecting with fellow open-hearted people, friends new and old, at a nourishing community dinner. 

Then it’s time to experience the magic of a labyrinth walk under the stars complete with colorful luminaria (the small paper lanterns comprising a candle set in sand inside a bag) lighting the way. Visitors can participate in all or part of the event, with meditation running noon to 6 pm (please come and go quietly on the hour), and dinner served at 6:15 pm ($10 donation requested for dinner). Remember to dress warmly for the Labyrinth Walk, which takes place at 7:30 pm.

Sunburst’s weekly Sunday Meditation Gathering the following morning carries a similar theme, with the topic of the talk being “The Light That Shines Behind the Darkness”. The gathering also features live music and song and silent meditation followed by homemade brunch and a guided hike, when visitors are invited to enjoy the outdoor Hopi labyrinth and gardens. Topics for the final two Sundays of the year, both on the days of special evenings, are “Celebrating Christmas In the Temple of the Soul” on December 24, and “New Year & New Beginnings” on December 31. Admission is by donation.

The Sanctuary’s final weekend program of the year is a Kriya Initiation & Retreat, taking place December 28-31, when those who are seeking deeper meaning for their lives or wanting to change directions can experience the true “Self” through Kriya Yoga meditation in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda. The timing makes it a perfect opportunity to activate your deepest intentions at a New Year’s fire and seed ceremony. Registration requested by December 20. For more information, call 736-6528, email or visit

See Your Way to a Brighter 2017

Vision boards – visualization tools that use pictures and images representing goals and dreams to create inspirational collages to serve as a tangible example or representation of the future – have been endorsed by a great number of coaches as an effective motivational device, including Santa Barbara’s Chicken Soup for the Soul impresario Jack Canfield. The idea is to already visualize yourself in the picture, and imagining that the dreams have already come true, or least serve as a frequent reminder of an important aspiration. What better time than the dawning of a New Year to embark on the endeavor?

On Saturday, December 16, certified life coach and Qi Gong instructor Laura Kate McHugh leads a Vision Board Workshop at Spiritualist Church of The Comforter in downtown Santa Barbara. McHugh offers her myriad skills in service of offering a delightful opportunity to de-stress and reconnect with spirit to create a board that is meaningful and powerful. Suggested donation is $30 for the 10 am to 1 pm event.

On Wednesday, December 20, the Spiritualist Church offers its only Answers from Spirit session of the month, as visitors will be allowed to ask up to three questions of the medium for a small donation during the 2 to 3 pm hour. The church is located at 1028 Garden Street. Call 252-8994 or visit

There no re-schedule for Radhule Weininger’s monthly Half-Day Meditation Practice Retreat at La Casa de Maria, which was postponed as the Thomas Fire advanced on the Montecito foothills last weekend. But she’ll be back at the Retreat Center along with husband Michael Kearney for her annual New Year’s 24-Hour sitting. “Prepare for the New Year with Inspiration and Purpose” takes place from 4 pm on Sunday, December 31, to the same hour on January 1 and offers Indigenous and Buddhist wisdom and nature connection, with help from Wolf and Lisa Wahpephah, to help remind us of who we are and what really matters. Call 969-5031 or visit


You might also be interested in...

  • Woman holding phone

    Support the
    Santa Barbara non-profit transforming global healthcare through telehealth technology