Post # 323 Happy Yuletide!

December 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 323 Happy Yuletide!

I goofed and missed last Friday’s post.  With all the things I had going on that day, it slipped my mind and by the time I thought about it, it was way too late.  I was going to tell you what we were planning for our Solstice Ceremony which was Sunday.  So now, I’m going to tell you what we did for our Solstice Ceremony, which was yesterday.

Partner/Spouse and I are spiritual people, but not religious.  We identify as pagan since we follow a more earth-centric discipline rather than a faith-based Judeo-Christian discipline.  We’re caretakers of the earth and the spirits of the earth and the universe.  We pay close attention to the changing of the seasons and the feasts that are concurrent with the changes.  There are four major feast days, and four minor feast days.  The winter solstice is a major feast day.  It’s the shortest day of the year.  It’s the time when the dark and cold hold the land in its grip and doesn’t seem to want to let go.  Nothing grows, and only those people who were fortunate enough to put surplus food and fuel in storage will live comfortably to the next warm season.  Days get imperceptibly longer as the world struggles to renew itself.  It’s the crone time of the year.

At this time of the long darkness, people unconsciously turn to brightness.  Large fires, bright colors, large feasts are common.  Giving to the less fortunate, taking care of your family and neighbors, all these things are essential to success as a community.  The saying “It takes a village . . . ” is never truer than during the dark time of the year.

Several weeks ago, I signed up for an event taking place for the Solstice.  Someone “figured out” that the actual moment the solstice arrived would be Dec. 21 at 6:03 pm.  They were trying to get people all over the world to light a candle at 6:03 in their own particular time zone, thus creating a wave of light around the world.  I liked the idea.  Our Solstice ceremony was going to be planned around that particular event.

On Saturday, I figured out what we were going to have at our feast.  On Sunday, we went and got the stuff.  And a candle.  It was a very pretty white pillar candle.  We got a beautiful candle holder that looked like it came from an art museum.  We did a lot of running around on Sunday, bravely facing down the crowds.  I got a new bike helmet.  We got all the groceries for the next couple of weeks.  We both got hair cuts (three little spoiled rotten girls and an ineffectual mother spoiled that little episode.) We didn’t get back home until the afternoon, and there was still things to do.  The groceries had to be put away.  Solstice presents had to be wrapped and put under the Christmas tree.

yule tree

And the components of the feast had to be made.  I decided on a ham.  We haven’t had ham in a long time and it just sounded good.  I put it in the oven at 325 for two hours and glazed it at half hour intervals with a combination of raspberry jam and dijon mustard.  It was so good!  I also made potato fans, Cesar salad, and pretzel rolls.

We had a guest over and we were all looking forward to lighting the candle, starting the feast, stuffing ourselves senseless, and doing a small gift exchange later on.  About 4:30, I looked around and thought, “Oh, crap!”

“Who’s got matches?” I called out at large. “Or a lighter, or some other method of starting a fire to light the candle?”

No one.  We don’t have a gas stove, but an electric one.  It’s easy enough to get a flame going if you feel like filling your house with smoke and having all the smoke detectors going off.  And with all the people in the house exhausted from the running around in the morning, and the closest place to procure a match or lighter some fifteen minutes away, it was pretty unanimous.  No candle lighting for us.

Ah, well.  It was a good thought.  Then Partner/Spouse said, “We can light a candle.  Those!”  He pointed to a set of electric candles we had set up for decoration.  They would cast a light and that’s what the whole thing was about anyway.  Problem solved.

At 5:30, I took the ham out of the oven, put the potatoes and pretzel rolls in and started work on setting the table and making the salad.  Finally, all was ready, and at 6:17 we sat down to a wonderful meal, good wine, happy friends and family, and good conversation.  Until about 6:26, I glanced at the clock and yelled, “No way!  We missed it!”  We forgot to light our candle at 6:03.  Again, oh, well.  Whaddaya gonna do?  We lit them late and hoped that would count.

yule log 2

We had a great time, didn’t dwell long on disappointments, and enjoyed the rest of the evening.  I’m sure the spirits were with us and fully understanding of human foibles.  We had our dogs, our warmth, and happiness.  It’s hard to get much better than that.

Happy Solstice!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!

and Enjoy!

Yuletide

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