I have been enchanted by the idea of a 'winter solstice season' rather than a one-day or 12-day event. By expanding the December 21st date a few weeks before and after, I have been given the gift of time, relaxation, rest and greater enjoyment than ever before. The entire space and pace of Yule seems to have changed for the better.
"shine light into the darkness" is my contribution to India Flint's Gardens of the Heart poetry and cloth exhibit to be held at the Woollen Mill Artspace in Lobethal, South Australia in February. When I volunteered for the project, I was given the assignment of a few hand-stitched words (of my own choosing) for the second line of a three-line poem, to be stitched together and hung by India and her volunteers. An amazing sight it will be. Details here.
Shining light into the darkness is something to aspire to.
Fermented elderberry honey that I started in the fall and brewed until recently -- I'm not sure that it tastes any different than unfermented honey but hopefully it teems with invisible probiotic helpers.
The assembling of mostly home-made gift packages, each with a small peppermint essential oil soy candle, a bit of peppermint bark and a little poinsettia plant.
It had been many years since I'd gone into full production like this for Yule gifts. I think we scared some of the neighbors when we came to their doors bearing gifts in the dark.
Autumn altar gradually morphing into winter altar.
Roots to nourish and deepen my ancestral roots -- I imagine my people nodding in approval as I cook with them.
A lovely, solitary, winter tea time.
Plants are Magic by Rebecca Desnos is a magical publication, indeed. I recently ordered the first three volumes -- to date I've only read the first article in the first volume...but I've read it three times. I've been savoring Rebecca's beautiful writing about unusual, traditional dye methods beginning with making healing cloth by dyeing the cloth in medicinal (anti-bacterial) dye-baths -or- projecting pure intention into the dye-bath for well-being and healing. Another unusual practice (in our culture) is to continually dye and re-dye clothing to refresh both color and healing qualities. I see a whole wide vista opening up before me now.
Einkorn is a cookbook/guide for the ancient variety of wheat known as Einkorn. I am excited about this because it could serve as yet another connection to the foods of my ancestors.
At the beginning of a new year I look forward to having something new to focus on and use as a guide of some sort. Before deciding on a new focus though, I decided to enter the season of winter solstice by simply reflecting on light in the darkness.
I wrote myself A Litany of Light for the Winter Solstice Season in the manner of old-time church litanies, inspired by John Matthews in The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas. The response for each line of my litany is a little different than most -- rather than a phrase of words, it is to simply reflect in silence for a few seconds.
A photograph album with a good number of black pages intact once belonged to my parents and probably grandparents before them. It feels pretty old. I love it so much and plan to use it to take me through the new year. Who knows what will happen.
To all who read this, I wish you many wonders and miracles in the new year. xo