athenagrey: (Athena Grey)

And so the Wheel of the Year has turned to Yule. Although the candles blazed in a riot of light, I am slow to turn away from the center and begin the spiral back out into the light. Don't wait for me. I'll be there by Imbolc. I promise.

I won't deny that this Yule is a strange one. Some traditions were imperative, like baking Jannie-esque ritual cakes and decorating the hearth. Others, like the dozens of small delicacies for the Yule Eve feast, didn't make sense for an evening spent alone.

One old tradition that I welcomed back was going out on the bluffs to watch the sunrise over Long Island Sound. It wasn't a dramatic sunrise. The sky changed slowly from iron to pewter to dull silver. The tide was rising near high, and the water pounded the rocks below me. A bitter wind from the east kept blowing my hood off and threatened to send my blanket aloft like a kite. An octet of ducks floated like corks in one of the more sheltered inlets.

Last night's tarot reading reminded me that this IS the bottom point. I've been here before, and I recognize the landmarks. This is the point where you realize that the fall didn't kill you and that you have solid rock beneath your ass. This is where you survey the damage and begin to put things back together. This is a point that is filled with hope.

The blessing from the reading was The Lovers. This card represents choice more often than it represents love. To be blessed by choice is a good thing, especially because other parts of the reading indicate that I have the wit to recognize which choice is right for me. It's not the one that the world would expect me to choose, either. *wink*

So, I wish you the blessings of this season, and remind you that it IS Saturnalia.
athenagrey: (Default)
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Dancing the Sun back home

Last minute rehearsal of holiday chants and songs at the piano. I love that in cold weather, Temple of Ara holds its rituals in a cosy and well-appointed dance studio. The founding High Priestess teased me that the ritual cakes were 'so L.A.' I suppose the were. Humble disks of butter cookie, brushed with orange marmalade and gilded in 23 ct. gold leaf. Jannie's love of creating rich and exotic pastry lives on in me.

ToA has a very loose framework for rituals, and you never quite know how they are going to unfold, except that reverent mirth is a big part of the tradition.

As I sit writing this, a beautiful raven is perched in the Aerie's maple tree. He has come to absorb the last bit of solstice darkness and hold it in his gleaming black feathers until we need it again at midsummer.

The tiny altar was beautiful, encircled by a HUGE evergreen wreath and then by a ring of white candles. Unlit. Waiting.
read on for the memory of a beautiful Yule celebration... )
Be Blessed this Yule!
athenagrey: (Default)
On more than one occasion, I have joked that being a witch entails a lot of housecleaning. It seems that each Sabbat, as my family observed it, begins with a period of cleaning and renewal. Yule is no different.

This is the dark time of the year, the Dreamtime, the time of quiet contemplation of the things that lie deeply within the heart. For me, it is still a time for grieving, of turning of the wheel of the year without Jannie's steady hand to guide me. I'm on my own now, not quite a crone in my own right, but growing into my wisdom. This is where the path grows steeper, where I must stop and catch my breath while the impetuous ones run ahead.

And so at home in the Aerie, I am conscious of the dark time, and very grateful for what it entails. As a witch, I am not caught up in the frenzy of Christmas. I have my own traditions to follow, and sometimes they cross paths with the mainstream, before diverging into something more organic and calm.

I have been polishing brass and scrubbing the hearth. This is how I prepare for Yule, which I celebrate at the hearth. This is the time for poking into the dark corners and clearing cobwebs. This is the time for sitting on the floor in the dark, looking at the tree branches buffeting back and forth in the wind. The spiral has wrapped tightly inward and I must listen--listen--listen.

I haven't felt this calm in a long time. The last years of Jannie's life drained my energy. I had to be strong, and I had to be in charge. I was pulled in so many directions at once, and I knew that no matter what I did, she would still die. It was a question of how well she could live during that time. I did all that I could and I regret none of it. NOT ONE THING. In these past eight months, I have been learning to relax, learning to indulge myself again, and learning how to fill the days that are both blisfully undemanding and sometimes terrifyingly empty.

Soon, the pine cones that grace my mantle will be joined by a garland of evergreen, and the figure of the old Holly King will be unwrapped and placed on display.

Soon, I will come to rest in a clean and orderly Aerie, pausing in the darkness.

Soon, the hammered copper Sun will hold in his hands the first light of Yule, and then I will begin unwinding the spiral gently into the light.

I wish you days of peaceful contemplation.


athenagrey: (Default)

June 2012

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