Saturday, November 28, 2020

Calling the Sun Home

Herons, geese and loons have departed for warmer climes, and waterways in the eastern Ontario highlands are freezing over, little by little. Skies are grey and cloudy for the most part, and weather forecasts often have the word snow in them somewhere. In early morning, an icy north wind rattles the eaves of the little blue house in the village and sets the whiskery trees in motion.

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. I experiment with recipes for curries and paellas, sketch and read, plot gardens for next year (more roses and herbs, perhaps a Medicine Wheel garden), craft grand and fabulous schemes which will probably never see the light of day. I do a little dancing from time to time, but my efforts are closer to lurching than they are to anything else.

Hallelujah, we are nearing the end of November, and in a few weeks, days will begin to lengthen again. It will be some time until we notice a real difference, but at least we will be on our way - 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 tomorrow and until Yule, I will light a candle at dusk every Sunday in a practice called the Advent Sun Wreath Circle, four weeks and four candles, a fifth festive candle to be lit on the eve of the Winter Solstice. Now in its sixteenth year, the observance was crafted by the late Helen Farias, founder of the Beltane Papers. Helen passed beyond the fields we know in 1994, and her creation was carried on, first by Waverly Fitzgerald and since 2004 by Beth Owl's Daughter.  Waverly passed away last December, but I think she will be with us in spirit.

Tomorrow night, I will join with a circle of friends and kindred spirits in far flung places, with companions like Beth, Joanna Powell Colbert and many others. I am not so wise myself, but that is quite all right. Together we will honor the earth and her fruitful darkness, and we will call the sun home. This has been a difficult year. May there be light ahead 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.

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