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Saturday, December 21, 2013

In Praise of Winter and Long Nights

It is Solstice day today and my mind is full of thoughts... of thinking forwards and thinking backs...

Unfortunately, I am not in a position to give the day its full due. Matter of fact, I have been pretty lax for the past however long of giving any of the moons (full and dark) and the quarters and cross quarters their due. One commitment I am making for "the rest of my life" (post-retirement) is to bring that part of life more into alignment with my desires.

However, for now, for today, I make do. In the past I have focused on Frigga and her Ladies, one a day, for the 12 days of Yule. In the past, I have had the time to at least make a good stab at getting the house in order and clean so that during those days I can honor the time by NOT working at those mundane chores. That was then, and this is now and NOW I am trying like a madwoman to catch up on the backlog of hex orders (a good thing, overall.. but the trend of multiple orders of signs... up to and including orders of 6 or more!) was something that I was not prepared for and has kicked my butt almost into next year. I don't even have the time to think on how I am going to deal with this change, if it continues into the future, let alone DO whatever needs to be done to make that happen. That will be for after the signs have all shipped and before I reopen orders for 2014.

Today, in addition to painting like crazy (I am thankful for the YouTube video I saw yesterday, with
Steve McNallen of the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) http://youtu.be/PKQmpVHi2Uc . While I am not on that particular path, I do appreciate his take on the 12 days, focusing on the Noble Virtues. He started with Industriousness! And boy, I will be appreciating that virtue today, for sure.) I will walk the boundary of our land and deploy the birch charms that I make each year to help mark the borders and renew the warding. Normally I have been using mistletoe, also, but my mistletoe contact never invoiced me nor sent my order. Anyone have a good contact for about a half a pound of the stuff, to be delivered the first week of December, to Maine?? I need it to be REAL and loose... nothing decorated up in bunches or those dreaded "kissing balls."

Our turkey was butchered a couple of days ago, and unlike Thanksgiving day, I DID remember to resupply with celery. Stuffing just ain't right without it, in my world. So I shall stuff and roast the bird, remembering that I will need to remove the legs and put them back in the oven for a bit. Heritage birds cook differently; I have found that using a hot fire for a shorter period works well, but the legs do not get done in the time required for the remainder of the fowl, so either into the microwave or back into the oven they go. We'll have winter squash, and carrot salad (orange, in honor of the returning sun) and cranberries from our native bogs as well as potatoes and greens  ... all veggies from the garden. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate in the dark of the year with bounty from our land, brought to the table by the blessings of Sunna, the Gods, the Elements and our own Industriousness!

There was a poem forming in my head as I arose this morning, but in the cold bedroom, it escaped before I could capture it. However the thoughts remain: One must not "wish away" ones life, whether it be by longing for the warm, long days of summer on the shortest day of the year or -- as I would be more prone to do -- wishing for the quiet, the cold and the celebration of the completion of the year's work at this time of the cycle. Whether one relishes the long days of summer or the long winters' nights, both are necessary in the cycle. Somewhere I read, long ago, that "there must needs be balance in all things." But in our busy, modern, often urban lives there can be little room for the natural balance of light and dark, of busy and still, of noise and quiet. Nevertheless, it IS necessary. Find the time to be still, to be quiet. Close the drapes, turn off the lights. Unplug the appliances (or just flip the breakers). Your food will not spoil in an hour or two without power. Turn off the mobile devices too. These days those little glowing dots of light, the constantly updating clocks ticking off time... spent or frittered... are everywhere. But it is worth the effort to make/take the time and effort to find... to rediscover... quiet. Oh, if you are where most of you likely are, there will still be sounds about.... the howls will be that of sirens not 4 footed predators in the night and the background whoosh will come from the rush of traffic, not the wind in the trees.... but you can make it still where YOU are and reconnect with the spirit of the night, the quiet dark, where you sit safe in your cave as we have for centuries.

Do it. You may be surprised by the result.