With the longest night of the year now upon us, we enter one of the truly universal human experiences of our planet- calling back the light.
In the halls of the North, amid the popular images of feasting and feats of strength, this was the solemn night of the Mothers. Tonight alone was solely for the family. It was the only night that a stranger needing shelter might be turned away from the door. This is the night that births the coming year, and speaks wisdom and warning to those who can listen. Some stand vigil. Some seek dreams. Some commune. Silent night, Holy night.
If you haven’t yet done so, you’ll likely be decorating with greenery and red berries and why not? Evergreens remind us that life goes on. The tree in our living room- a graceful red cedar, my personal preference- was knocked over in a fortuitous tractor mishap at my brother’s workplace. I’ve brought it inside and decorated it with sparkling glass ornaments and shimmering lights and tinsel to provide a shelter for the spirits on these darkest of nights. It is well occupied. Deck the halls.
The days will pass and the light will slowly begin to return, first only a few minutes, then more, growing back to the overpowering force that drives spring and summer and all agriculture. But that is months away. For now, Winter is only just setting in. The growing light whispers a promise into the frigid air that eventually, all will come around again. We will tell the stories of spring even as we now tell the stories of Winter, with perchten and Frau Holle and the Hunt and the Yule Goat and Oaths over the boar’s cooked flesh and about our Gods and our Ancestors. Sing we now of Yuletide.
I wish you a season of abundance and joy. I wish you the sacredness and rejuvenation of darkness. I wish you the illumination and vitality of light. I wish you wise counsel. I wish you beauty. I wish you stories and songs and presents and the presence of what matters. I wish you a happy Yule season and a prosperous New Year.