December 20, 2013

Friday Ramble - Yule

After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force... the movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results.

The idea of RETURN is based on the course of nature. The movement is cyclic, and the course completes itself. Therefore it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. This is the meaning of heaven and earth.

24. Fu / Return (The Turning Point)
The Ching, Book of Changes

Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and one of only two occasions in the annual cycle when the sun seems to stand perfectly still for a brief interval.  That is just what the word "solstice" means, that the sun is standing still.  The sun (of course) doesn't move at all, and it is we and our planet who are in ever turning motion around the star at the center of our universe.

"Yule" is one of those words which seems to have been around forever.  First we have the Middle English yole, then the Old English gel (or geola), referring to an old pre-Christian feast lasting twelve days and celebrated around the time of the winter solstice on December 21 (tomorrow). That Norse or Germanic festival later became "the twelve days of Christmas.  The Middle and Old English forms of this week's word are likely related to the Old Norse jōl, the Swedish jul, and the Gothic jiuleis], all possibly originating in a Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root meaning "to go around," perhaps referring to the turning of the year from darkness back into light.

The eve of this magical turning back toward sunlight and warmth is the best of times for stillness and reflection, and so we are spending it quietly, or as quietly as frenetic holiday times permit. It is rather cold for a fire on the shore of the lake this year, but there will be a trip out to the woods, and time spent among the snow capped highland cedars and spruces. There will be grain and apples and freshly cut cedar browse for the deer, suet cakes and seed for the birds, gifts of wine, maple syrup and heirloom family fruitcake to friends.  Then it's home to fresh salmon, risotto and greens, followed by music, firelight, candlelight and gallons of tea.  A sorely injured left knee will not permit dancing this year, but from my favorite old Morris chair, I shall be tapping my foot and my cane to whatever festive music is on the CD player.

Joy on your journey and bright blessings at this turning of the light.

6 comments:

Hilaire said...

Hope you have a magical Christmas and every good wish for 2014.

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

Happy solstice to you and your loved ones!

Pienosole said...

And the very same to you!

Carmine said...

Solstice blessings and peace to you and your loved ones.

Rue said...

May your knee heal so that the dancing can return! Happy Solstice!

Kameshwari said...

Happy Solstice and Blessed Returns!