December 15, 2013

Calling the Sun Home

Outside the windows, snow is falling, falling, falling, and an icy wind prowls through the gutters, shaking the eaves of the little blue house in the village, coating the bare trees with meringue and discharging clouds of white into the air.

I pull the draperies closed and banish the darkness beyond the windows, taking refuge and delight in small seasonal rites. I brew pots of tea (one after the other), pummel loaves of bread, concoct fiery curries and spicy cookies, draw, read and dream, plot luxuriant gardens for next year (more roses and herbs, perhaps a whole Medicine Wheel garden) and forge grand schemes which will probably never see the light of day.

As dark as these times are, there is light around the next bend in this winding old road - in only a week or so, days will start to lengthen.  Hallelujah! It will be months until it is truly warm and light here again, but at least we will be on our way, and Yule just may be my favorite day in the whole turning year.  When it arrives, there will be celebrations and silliness, pomegranate wreaths and swags, candles, music and mulled cider to drive away the darkness and welcome old Helios back to the world. The Lord of Light is still here and dancing in his appointed place, but the seasonal wobble of the Old Wild Mother (Earth) makes him seem more distant than he is at this time of the year.  It is we and the hallowed earth who are in constant spinning motion, and not the magnificent star at the center of our universe.
Between now and Yuletide, I light a special candle each Sunday at dusk in the timeless observance called the Solstice (or Advent) Sun Wheel. The tradition was initiated many years ago by the late Helen Farias and is continued every year by my soul sisters, Joanna Powell Colbert, Beth Owlsdaughter and Waverly Fitzgerald, to name just a few radiant woman spirits.  It warms me to think that in lighting my golden beeswax pillar as the sun goes down, I join a grand and gently glowing circle of friends and kindred spirits in honoring the fruitful darkness and calling the sun home.

Do you have a seasonal observance of your own?  Elderly magpie creature that I am, and ever a passionate collector of timely lore, I would love to hear about your own "before Yule" practices and customs.

10 comments:

Cindy said...

My yule time delights are many: Candles everywhere, every night. An extra big nightly feast for the raccoons, squirrels, and birds that grace my yard. Decorating a yule log to be burned Christmas Eve, baking, baking and more baking. Forming homegrown rosemary and holly into small wreaths embellished with a simple ribbon. Having a Winter Solstice party where we build a bonfire and welcome the light. Caroling. Simmering wassail. And building a snow woman, complete with cranberry stained lips. And we hug, a lot. Well, that goes for year round, actually!

Lilian Nattel said...

this is so beautiful both the photo and the text, it brought tears to my eyes. I have been keeping track of sunrise and sunset in a small notebook.

Kameshwari said...

At my home in Santa Fe, I like to rise early, several hours before the sun begins to illuminate that part of the planet. In those hours, I light candles and light a fire in the fireplace that has been prepared the night before. For about ten days, I enjoy this self-serving time to dance with the elementals of the deep night.

On the day of Winter Solstice, my partner and I drive to a Pagan Community in Albuquerque, where we participate in an all-night festive evening called Long Dance.

This year, I am not in Santa Fe, and am taking time to visit with friends in Palm Springs, CA. My mornings are early, with a daily guided meditation that I am using in the morning. The meditations come from this Twelve Nights of Solstice program: http://catcaracelo.com/twelve-nights-of-solstice/

As part of my Palm Springs Ritual, I'll be attending a Saturday night Solstice gathering, where people gather around a beautiful grid of crystals and candles. There will be drumming, chanting, singing and silence. This program is followed by fellowship and a potluck.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

I'm honored to be invited to an annual Solstice party with women who celebrate the divine feminine. After a pot luck, we'll since goddess songs, and some traditional Christmas songs, and then exchange wishes for the new year, and then exchange gifts that have sat on the altar the whole evening (nobody knows what's inside the lovely packages!)

Rain Trueax said...

I don't do anything special other than observe it with joy. My kids though have Solstice celebrations and one of them usually a party. This was a great post :)

Rain Trueax said...

I did include a solstice celebration though in my novella, A Montana Christmas and put some of the rituals that I consider part of bringing back the sun.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

My husband and I (along with our dog, Ginger) take nightly walks around our neighborhood and enjoy the lights and decorations our neighbors put up. Christmas trees sparkle from inside houses, colored lights run along eaves and bushes, candles glow steadily in dark windows, and some yards have lit up Santas, angels, and manger scenes. Above it all, the stars twinkle through the tree tops. Those brilliant starry night skies are my favorite sight of all.

Inside at this time of year we love to light the fireplace, light candles, read, watch seasonal films, and go to bed early. There are big pots of chili, beans, soups, and stews. My husband and I are quietly grateful for each other, our good health, our pets, and our families. We have so many blessings and it's good to remember it at this dark time of year.

Oh, and we also like being extra generous with feeding the birds and squirrels during the holiday season. We put out extra suet, peanuts, and seeds so that all the little creatures are well-fed and happy.

Shell said...

I love to be right beside you as you brew pots of tea, make cookies and dream of gardens for next year. I so long for a simple day like that..someday I'll be back to that again.

Debbie said...

I am so enjoying evenings with my lit candle(s), spiral Advent wreath, and Mary on her donkey making her way. A quiet, calm, gentle reminder that life continues . . .

<3