Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday Ramble - Calling the Sun Home

Days grow ever shorter and darker.  Skies are grey and cloudy for the most part and most weather forecasts predict snow. Rivers, lakes and streams in the eastern Ontario highlands are freezing over, and an icy north wind cavorts in the rattling eaves of the little blue house in the village.

When night falls, I pull draperies closed and shut out the gloom beyond the windows, taking refuge (and much pleasure) in small seasonal rites. I brew pots of tea (one after the other) and stir mugs of hot chocolate, concoct fiery curries and jambalayas, draw and read, plot gardens for next year (more roses and herbs, perhaps a whole Medicine Wheel garden), craft grand and fabulous schemes which will probably never see the light of day.

Hallelujah!, there is more light just around the corner, and there are brighter times ahead. We are nearing the end of November, and in three weeks or so, our days will begin to lengthen again. It will be some time until there is real warmth and light here, but we will be on our way, and for that reason, Yule just may be my favorite day in the whole turning year. When it arrives, there will be celebrations and silliness, candles, music and mulled cider to drive away the darkness and welcome old Helios back to the world. He is still here of course - it's the earth's seasonal wobble that makes him seem more distant than he actually is at this time of the year.  We and our planet are the ones in motion, not the magnificent star at the center of our universe.

Beginning this coming Sunday and continuing until Yule, I will be lighting a candle at dusk every Sunday in an observance called the Solstice Sun Wreath - four weeks and four candles, the fifth festive candle to be lit on the eve of the Winter Solstice. Now in its fourteenth year, the practice was begun by the late Helen Farias, founder of the Beltane Papers and adapted by Waverly Fitzgerald of the School of the Seasons. In lighting my candle, I join a vast circle of friends and kindred spirits like Waverly, Beth Owl's Daughter and Joanna Powell Colbert in honoring the fruitful darkness and calling the sun home. May there be peace, contentment, abundance and rude good health for all of us!

Magpie creature that I am and ever a passionate collector of seasonal lore, I am very interested in your own "before Yule" practices.


Wendi said...

Lovely post - thank you for the reminder that the darkness doesn't last. :) When I was a churchgoer Advent was my favorite season. I loved the ritual of lighting the candles, the liturgy surrounding the coming of the light, and the anticipation leading up to its arrival (return). Now I enjoy simpler secular traditions - Christmas music of all sorts (classical and popular), a small tree with beloved and familiar ornaments, and lights strung everywhere inside and out - little white twinkle lights that evoke the beauty of the stars. I wish you well, Cate. Enjoy the season!

Tabor said...

Perfectly lovely ritual. I will light it for those who do not see the sun.

Angie said...

What a beautiful post, and I'm so glad you mentioned the candles starting this Sunday. I plan to participate in the lighting of the candle each Sunday.

sarah said...

Beautiful photo, and words also. I love your candlelighting tradition. Sadly it would not make much sense here, as we delve into summer, but I will smile to think of those of you in the white and gold and cold north doing it <3

Anonymous said...

I love this ritual. It made me google Hanukkah to see why my extended family lit the memorah. Ah, it was the festival of light. Of course, that makes sense. It's all about the light in December. Thank you for this.