Here it is, the longest night of what has been a long, increasingly dark year for most people. I bought myself a little garnet pinkie ring, and figured that was the extent of my Yule celebration this year. Until this weekend, I had not played any of my Christmas CD’s or DVD’s or gone hunting for any of my Christmas books, like When Santa was a Shaman or Marley’s Ghostor The Hogfather. I didn’t watch Rudolph or A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Did watch It’s a Wonderful Life, which looks more like a documentary every year.)
No, I did not expect to make much of a celebration this year, but one friend is buying me a ham dinner with trimmings and another friend dragged me to Catherine’s this week and brow beat me into trying on clothes. We mostly shopped the clearance racks but I left with three pairs of slacks and a festive red blouse. She is only working part time and has a large family to shop for, so I felt humbled by her generosity.
That was Friday. We started off the day with a big breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and I bought a box of thin ribbon candy. It was the one other thing I had on my Christmas list to me. So this afternoon I sat on the back porch and recorded my nature observations in my Sabbat journal and opened the candy–which is exquisitely beautiful and delicious. Tonight I watched on PBS a new version of The Nutcracker Suite from the San Francisco Ballet Company and sampled all eight flavors of ribbons.
And I took comfort from Starhawk’s blog, Dirt Worship, which said in part:
This year the darkness has intense. The bright hopes of last year are worn and tattered from obstructions and betrayals and compromise. Our personal health and the health of all the life support systems of the planet hang in balance, and how can we tell whether we’ve inched forwards or been sucked back into deals and appeasements worse than what went before. Last year we hoped for an end to war—this year we see war escalate. Last year we chose a road of change; this year it looks only too much like the same old road we were on before.
But the message of Solstice is this: hope does not come once into the world and fulfill itself. Hope and light must constantly be reborn, over and over again. They wax and wane, and must be renewed.
So at the Winter Turning, we rekindle hope. Let the light return!