Friday, 26 November 2010
Tomorrow starts my season of winter celebrations culminating with the winter solstice on the 21 December. Its not chosen because of a particular day - just that I tend to begin at the beginning of december or end of november depending on what activities we may be doing as a family.
It so happens that its the weekend before the beginning of december and we are starting off with a visit to santa's magical land at the hop farm in Kent to see reindeer, elves, make some yuletide crafts and meet santa. Well, Rhiannon knows its not the real santa - after all she met him last year at lapland. But we discussed this and she showed real wisdom when she said she knew it was either his 'assistant' santa's, or maybe 'because he's magical he can make himself into many different people and thats how he manages to deliver presents all over the world on 2 nights a year'. Yes - 2 nights. She knows he delivers to pagan children particularly on the eve of the winter solstice! She also 'knows' he is santa to some children, but the Green Man, or Father Nature to us! I love my pagan daughter's innocence and her ability to understand on her own level how it 'all works'!
And so we have begun our festive preparations. Last week I made her a Solstice countdown calendar - obviously we dont do advent, but I didnt want her to feel left out. Its now hanging above the fireplace and full of choccies, marshmallows and tootie fruities in each matchbox parcel ready to open on december 1st.
We prepared the clove oranges and lemons then too - and have been drying them out on the radiators for a few days, leaving their gorgeous seasonal spicy smell to waft around the house. Over the next week or so we are making our solstice cards to give to other pagan friends. For non pagan friends and family I look out for wintery card scenes with 'seasons greetings' rather than happy xmas as we still want to wish them well for the season.
A handfull of fir cones collected and glue, paint and glitter has given us a lovely bowl of decorations and today we got the tree out and decorated it ready for the month of festivities.
You might think this is too early, but it always comes down the day after the solstice - we dont have the tradition of leaving it up over the xmas period or 12th night as this is not part of our celebrations. This is also because my eldest daughter's birthday is on january 1st and when she was little and I was married to a non-pagan, we used to do both the solstice and xmas, we always took things down before her birthday so she wouldnt feel short changed and that we were celebrating Her day - not the remainder of the xmas feast. On the 25th we will probably grab a flask of hot soup, jump in the car and head out for a good stomp through the woods, followed by a boiled egg and soldiers for tea.
There is still a couple of weeks left of school, but these are full of concerts, xmaz shows, bazaars and parties to continue the theme of celebration. We have a night lantern lit parade to join in a nearby village and are going there on sunday to a workshop on lantern making too. A panto next weekend and then a midwinter festival at the ancient Chilham village on the 18th with a solstice circle, mummers, dancing, music, pagan stalls and storytelling set the scene for the final events. On the 19th - we attend a local druid grove for the Sun salutation celebration and then on the eve of the 21st, Rhiannon will put her pillow case at the bottom of the bed as Santa will fill it with goodies for the next day.
My other grown up children and grandson will be on their way to join us for our Solstice dinner and then an afternoon of silly games - pass the balloons, a homemade solstice Pinata - we are making this at the moment with papier mache over a balloon in the shape of the new Sun. And pin the mistletoe on the oak tree. A dvd and choccies will complete the most wonderful period of celebrations.
I love this time for creative crafts and fun - may you all have a wonderful solstice season and an amazing new year to come.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Its interesting for me - this time of year always has a feel of winding up and getting ready for new beginnings to follow the endings. I feel that the time between Samhain and the Winter Solstice is a big melting pot where all the things that you need to say goodbye to (whether you want to or not!) mix up with all the possibilities of things that may or will occur. This depends a lot on destiny, fate, the energy you pull to you or around you. Or if its part of your path to experience it. This is what I tend to believe anyway.
But whether you believe in fate, chance or a little bit of both which is my way of looking at it, there is definately something in the air that indicates changes on the way. Some of it is obvious - such as stuff going on in politics, the various shifts that our country leaders are arranging Benefit and social restructures, cutting jobs and other debatable situations. The recent announcement of a royal engagement - maybe there will be a change in how such an institution will affect a young royal bride this time around.
And then there are the individual changes in our own lives. I personally always feel a shift of gears about this time as if I am hurtling downhill towards an inevitable experience. Sometimes it feels exciting and I am eager for its new energy.
Sometimes I can feel out of control and have to hang on for the ride, hoping I wont fall off and break something. But whatever the situation, in a strange kind of way it still is something I welcome.
My big change coming is in my world of employment which is quite big for me as it affects all the other aspects of my life, how I support my family, my own feelings of adequacy or lack of it, prospects for my future life experiences etc. For some time now I have felt stifled in my current work for various reasons. Mainly because as an Aries, I am always best off in work where I can use my own judgment and initiative, lead from the front and put on a bit of a show! Its been hard and maybe a karmic lesson to learn, that Ive had chains put on my ability to work this way. Ive been given a gift(?) of a person in a senior post to me who is unable to allow me to be the manager Im meant to be without putting a straight jacket on my flow at work and holds me down.
Its terribly frustrating! And Ive tried to be awfully spiritual about it. Hold them in the moment, look at it as a learning experience. Appreciate I have 'drawn this to me for a reason'. But what it really boils down to is that no matter how much I have railed against it or tried to accept it and look at the bigger picture. How much I have tried to 'think outside of the box' Or done any spiritually worthy activity to explain why I am in this predicament
Actually what it really boils down to, is I am pissed off. I have had enough and im not willing to sit in this bloody box (or look outside of it) anymore!
Ive made my plans, written my lists, sorted out my escape plan and look out steve mcqueen cos my motorbike aint hitting the wire fence but sailing clean over the top.
And I have come to realise that sometimes, the lesson isnt to be placid and look for the gift in the unpleasant situation. The lesson is to get the hell out of it and grow a pair!