Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Musings

Pic courtesy of my dad

Here it is already. The Winter Solstice. The longest night of the year, and the shortest day. In certain Circles, today is Yule, with the attendant traditions of gift giving (acknowledging the gifts that will be given to us in the coming year, though we may not realize it) and hanging offerings from trees. Today is the day we pass from death into life, from darkness into light. With today as the sun's "birthday," the days will slowly become longer until the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. The Holly King is defeated and transformed, and the Oak King is born once again.

We have two Solstices and two Equinoxes during the year, each of them exactly opposite from each other on the calendar. The gods'/God's/Goddess's (etc.) balance is perfect, our opportunity to contemplate and incorporate this act of nature into our lives perfect, as well.

At Samhain, or Hallowe'en, we celebrated the Return of the Beloved Dead and the Last Harvest. Old ideas and things that just didn't work for us anymore should have been laid in their graves at that time. Traditionally, that is the time when the fields were left to rest, when the Earth appeared dead. Agricultural societies had (hopefully) had a good harvest and enough food put by to last the long Winter, and they would rest, too.

Of course, we now have fresh tomatoes shipped from places that are now enjoying their summer, and with the economy being what it is, we're lucky if we can get Christmas Eve off. Let's put that aside for a moment and enter into the spirit of the season, anyway.

Here at the Nest, it's been storming off and on all weekend. This morning, as I watch the sun rise, more dark clouds are blowing in on an icy wind, but there are still patches of sky to be seen as dawn's glow spreads. School and teaching is over for me for the time being, and it's time to prepare for next year. I'm contemplating what worked and what didn't, which shows are likely to yield fruit for my growing business and what will be the most effective use of my time. Somewhere in there, I'd like to keep my marriage happy, work in friends and family, and get back to regular exercise and meditation.

Once again, I struggle with balance, just like everyone else.

It's an appropriate time to think about these things. (Why do you think there are New Year's resolutions?) Just as the ground seems lifeless on the surface, there is still life beneath, waiting to emerge when the ground is ready and warm, come Spring. Just because I'm not running around like a madwoman for the next month or so, doesn't mean that I can't enter into that contemplative time, reconnect with Spirit, and listen for the new life that lies beneath the altered pulse of my days.

Tonight, if you wish, take a moment to light a candle, either alone or with loved ones, to welcome light back into the world and into your life. Be open to whatever gifts you may receive in the coming year. In some of the more modernized pagan traditions, such as Wicca, most Solstice and Equinox ceremonies end with three wishes. Yes, I know it sounds like Aladdin's lamp, but it isn't. The three wishes are made for oneself, someone you know, and for the world. So maybe before you walk away from the candle and have drinks with friends or share dinner with your family, you can think about the things you wish for others, and say a quiet thank you for what you'll receive this year.

Welcome back, Oak King. It's good to see you again.


  1. that was simply lovely...thank you.

  2. That was written so poetically, it was really a beautiful piece. Well done!

  3. :) I knew I loved your blog for a reason. I raise a glass to you my dear.....



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