Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice!

Today is the winter solstice... the shortest day of the year and the longest night!

Many ancient cultures (and modern cultures that remember) celebrated this day of darkness by celebrating... light! As a heathen savage, I have my own solstice ritual wherein I hang moons and stars from my ceiling.

My stars and evergreen boughs. Check out the gorgeous drawing of Legolas, Aragorn, and Arwen. My immensely talented souls sister, Tara, drew that for me! :)

A close up. Yes, my ceiling is covered with pictures of Johnny Depp.

Why? My ancestors (the Celts and Britons, amongst a few others) celebrated the return of light on the winter solstice. Celebrating the stars and the rebirth of light was a cause for much merriment, and a little anxiety in case things didn't go as well as they should and spring didn't return after all. John and Caitlin Matthews have written lots of books that delve into Celtic and British pagan culture.

These pictures of the moon were all taken on December 12th, when the moon was the closest to the earth that its been all year, appearing even larger on the horizon.

As with most pagan (and I use that term hesitantly since it's like saying "African" -- it canvasses a huge number of individual beliefs and cultures) holidays, the winter solstice celebrates the sacred act of birth.

The Christmas song "The Holly and the Ivy" is a Christianized version of a pagan song. We no longer have the original lyrics, but the holly and the ivy are symbolic of the female and the male, and the song sings of each growing and mingling and seeking dominance. Both plants also remain green throughout the winter, symbolizing everlasting life -- the same symbology of the evergreen Christmas tree which we welcome into our homes each year, and adorn with light. Yep. Even Christians worship trees!

Well, I'm off to bless a yule log with some wine then throw it into the fire.

I hope you're all well and wish you a solstice full of light!

A random picture of a gingerbread man that my classmate's 3-year-old son decorated and gave to me at one ofmy professors' parties. "He's decapitated and eviscerated," I commented.

"Just how I knew you'd like it," my classmate said.

"Emasculated, too," my friend Max pointed out. Good times man, good times!

Mackenzie's Momma -- I'm so glad you liked the pictures! :D And I think I have heard of "semester at sea"... I know some of the tall ships also take people on for a month or two. It's something I'd definitely like to try! And I'd love to see your snow pictures. :)

1 comment:

Mackenzies Momma said...

that was a really informative post, thanks!

Uh, one of these times that I walk by the recipe I'm going to remember to grab it and email it to you I *swear*.

Happy new years!