At sundown on December 21st each year, members of the Friends of Serpent Mound host a ritual “Lighting of the Serpent” at Serpent Mound State Memorial. With the help of volunteers, they carefully place over 1000 luminary bags around the perimeter of the prehistoric effigy, creating a magical display. In a non-denominational solstice lighting ceremony, visitors are invited to light them from a sacred fire, providing a festive atmosphere as volunteers serve free refreshments.
The mystery and majesty of the giant effigy mound makes the perfect setting for this annual event, a wonderful way to celebrate the winter solstice. The Friends of Serpent Mound believe that the mound is aligned with the sunrise at the winter and summer solstices. The park usually closes at sunset, but park hours are extended for the Lighting event.
The annual Lighting of the Serpent starts at 4PM on December 21 each year (rain or high wind date is the next day) as the luminaries are set out by volunteers and visitors. A sacred fire is lit, and at 5PM everyone gathers around the fire for a presentation about winter solstice traditions throughout the world. Next, the luminaries placed around the Serpent Mound are lit, dramatically outlining the undulating earthwork.
If you’d like to participate, The Friends of Serpent Mound recommend bringing a flashlight, a long taper candle, and perhaps a plate or package of holiday goodies to share. The event and refreshments are free, however the park’s owner, Ohio History Connection, charges $8 per car for parking.
Serpent Mound State Memorial is located at 3850 State Route 73 near Peebles, Ohio. For further information, check the Friends of Serpent Mound website, www.serpentmound.org . Friends of Serpent Mound also have a Facebook page, useful for checking if you have doubts about the weather, or to join the Friends of Serpent Mound community.
Steve Boehme is a landscape designer/installer specializing in outdoor living spaces. “Let’s Grow” is published weekly; column archives are online at www.goodseedfarm.com. For more information call GoodSeed Farm Landscapes at (937) 587-7021.