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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Becoming Yule

I never had felt that the seasonal markers should be affixed to just one day. Looking out to the past, I sense that in the far gone days, we were not so tied to clock and calendar and moved, planned, plotted and planted more from a sense of when it was right. Years of watching the weather and the signs given by the plants and animals around us and the sky above -- without the distraction of an overabundance of "man-light" and technologies of entertainment -- would have, I think, given my ancestors a good sense of the cycles. And, as they reached the fullness of the dark of the year, their senses would have prompted them to begin the rituals of the season, calling back the sun, turning the wheel on towards summer and taking whatever steps they felt necessary to protect their homes, families, kin and communities against the cold and dark (and whatever wild or evil lurked there and plotted harm). They had survived thus far, so perhaps a small feast of thanks for the abundance put by might have been in order.  I do not know, for of course I was not there, but my spirit says this reads as truth.

In my own life, I am thankful that my path leads me easily to incorporate things of the spirit into the everyday doings of life. Squeezing all of one's spiritual life into one day -- or a few hours of one day -- just never worked. I chuckled, once, upon hearing a friend... the wife of a Christian minister... talking about her husband having shared his thoughts about some of his congregants, who came to the Sunday meeting, paid their tithes and perhaps -- but not terribly likely -- sometimes attended a mid-week meeting and seemed to expect their pastor to "be holy for them" the rest of the week.

No, holiness is not something one can delegate. So "as above, so below" and the converse as well. And following spirit, the run up to the rituals of Yule and the daily doings of the dark side of the year move at their own pace. Some years, spirit moves me early on and there is a flurry of activity that might rival a more contemporary celebration of the season (minus the consumerism and conspicuous consumption, which have never been big in my life). Other years, like this one, I wonder if Yule will pass unmarked and the days all get eaten up with more mundane, yet no less necessary, aspects of life.

This year we will, it appears, have no tree. We had wanted to start a tradition of decorating a potted tree to plant outside once spring came. However, it appears at this point I have waited too late to find such a tree. In any case, the house is in upheaval with renovation projects, the living room crowded with new tools (spinning wheel and loom) and work space for my hex painting and even a bank of cages for our newly acquired fiber bunnies (lacking a barn or sufficient outside shelter against our winters, they will be inside this winter) and were I to find a tree, I am not sure where I would put it! 

However, "happenstance" brought me to a source of mistletoe. Ordered and delivered, it told me that this year the wards would be renewed and talismans placed once more at the corners of the land and entry ways to the property and our home. I stuck a pair of pruners into my bag and after a couple of days of being carried around, today I had the time, energy and "push" from above to clip the necessary twigs from our birch trees. This is something that, typically, I do each year. However last year I was so weak from anemia from an (at that point undiagnosed) issue that walking that far, even with my staff to lean on, was out of the question. Thank the Gods that my problem was found and the medical community was able to address it and I have returned to reasonable health... at least for an old woman with bad knees.  LOL  I will post a picture of the talismans when they are completed.

Commercially available Julbock
I have also been prompted to make a Julbock and bought several small (and surprisingly expensive!) bunches of wheat for that purpose. However, the time has not yet been right for me to begin soaking the straw or to print out the instructions and attempt this new craft.And yes, I will post a picture of this first attempt as well. I would love to learn to do it well enough to produce instruction with pictures and a video as well. All I have found thus far are written instructions and, of course, many pictures of the completed Julbock.

Today, however, I began to feel "Yule" coming, and coming together. I have to work that morning at my mundane job, so the rituals and events of the day will be less than were I to have the entire day. I an still not sure about the supper meal, but feel it lurking just beyond the reaches of my mind. I know, though, that there will be mead to toast the Gods. That came to me today, as I stopped by the natural foods store to resupply oats for my breakfast and was prompted to browse a bit, not sure why until I turned a corner and saw a display of local Maine mead! It is not commonly available, as are some of the other local wines and beers, so when I see it, I know to buy a bottle.

I also know that I will be doing some garden planning this Yule season. Quite "coincidentally," on the new moon last week, I took the first steps toward becoming one of the local farmers to supply a buying club in a nearby town. My friend, who is a member, had notified me of the potential opportunity earlier, when he found out that one of their supplying farms would be bowing out, due to the farmer's health issues.

I had been "truck gardening" and supplying our needs, as well as taking produce to several farmers markets as a collaborative venture with a friend. Last fall, my lack of energy and issues with the collaboration led me to draw back from that thread. I committed to growing only for us last year, hoping I would have the energy to do that. Now, with my health back, I was wondering what I would do with the extra produce. Being at my morning job 4 or 5 days a week means that I really need to spend more time here, working the land and doing other necessary things. Farmers markets take a big bite out of the day, not only picking and processing the food, loading and driving to the market and setting up your booth... then you spend hours "babysitting a  parking lot" as my buying club member friend says. So, when I was given the opportunity to meet with club members and see a bit of the operation, and especially when the scheduled meeting coincided with the Yule New Moon, I saw the hands of the Powers That Be at work. 

At First Quarter, this week, there is another meeting (day before Yule) in which they will officially set things up for the coming year and I will be at that meeting. So, I suppose the first order of seeds (catalogs seem to have begun arriving earlier than usual this year, also!) will be placed in another week, with serious intent!

And thus far, thus goeth my Yuletide forth, into the coming year. So Be It.