Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blessings of the Solstice

What I love about this time of year, is that, because I celebrate both Yule *and* Christmas, it's like having several holidays all in one week. Many pagans celebrate both holidays, whether because of family obligations or choices, or merely because Christmas is so ingrained in our culture, and there are so many ways of taking part in the festivities, that it seems silly not to take part. Whether you enjoy stringing lights in your trees, decorating with greenery, exchanging gifts, baking cookies or singing carols, there are so many wonderful things to do to keep our spirits uplifted at this dark time of year.

My husband and I exchange gifts on Midwinter day, and have a special meal (today, rib eye steaks with fried mushrooms. sauteed kale and roasted fingerling potatoes). It was too cloudy here to see the eclipse, but I'm sure the energies will continue to be felt for the next month.

I enjoy throwing parties and attending them, too. Sadly I don't have a Yule ritual to attend locally and am too far away from my coven to attend their Yule rite, but I think there are ways to observe the holiday and feel the magic without performing ritual. Harnessing the energy of this full moon for meditation, creative work or renewal of vows (to oneself, to others, to our work or art) is also a way to make Yuletide a powerful festival.

I'm looking forward to at least one more holiday part this year, at New Year's. I know there will fine food and drink, music and singing, and possibly sitting in the hot tub in the open air under the stars (or the snow). I'm thinking of proposing a wassail ritual, too, because the party hosts planted a small orchard of fruit trees this year.

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