The full moon hovered brightly over the land last eve and Yule was nigh. The 12 days of Christmas was originally the 12 days of Yule. Festivities, bonfires, hearth fires, the yule log, the decorated trees, feeding the birds and other wildlife, exchanging gifts, and checking on the elderly and homebound fill the days of Yule leading to new year.
It is a quiet morning here in my cozy home. Father Sun peeks through the windows while climbing to start the day. I sip my warm coffee, the earthiness and steam filling the air. We keep the lights on the tree on often. Just sitting in my rocking chair watching the glimmering lights, scanning the many ornaments that hold place as story tellers, makes me joyful and calm. I put a Christmas album on. My favorite is Andy Williams. The presents are piled on the bed ready to be wrapped in paper and bows.
The birds outside sing and dart about. The fat squirrel looks at me through the window. She is out of bird seed. Sweet thing; I wish blessings on all the wildlife. A young eagle landed in the tree the other day and we sat together for some time. The geese fly overhead noisily, their synchronized flying like swimmers in the sky. Upon this great landscape of earth is such a lovely place to live. I am thankful each day for health, for life, for family, for this cozy home where the hearth fires burn.
Yesterday I did ceremony on my friends who are getting married beneath the full moon by a fire outdoors. Today I get the honor of officiating their wedding. Tomorrow we are off to my cousin’s, the next day to our friends’, home again for Christmas eve and my children will all gather here. Santa knows to come to Grammie and Pa’s house. Christmas morning will shine bright with the love of family. A late Hannukah celebration with family and my daughter’s birthday round out the festivities before the new year dawns with promise and light.
What are your plans for the holidays, my Friends? From our home to yours, I wish you the happiest Christmas and a blessed Yule. May you be with those you love and may peace fill your home.
The nights were dark and starry. Cold as the winds blew and the people of the time stayed indoors, lamps and fires lit, families gathered in the dimly lit homes of the land.
The solstice was coming soon and across the lands the sun would shine a bit more each day. This was a cause for great celebration among the people. Twenty-thousand plus years before organized religion the families of the ancient lands bundled up in furs and lit lanterns and went from house to house bringing light and song to their neighbors.
The spring prior the God and the Goddess conceived and on December 21st the Goddess would give birth to the son of God, the sun. The Holly King and his reindeer came around with gifts in exchange for a bowl of porridge. And during the twelve days of Yule fires were lit, celebrations were had, and light was spread by all.
The newer religions of today borrow the same concepts of celebration and light. What can we do today to celebrate Yuletide? Spread light around you. Compliment strangers and friends. Check on elders and see if they are well fed and if they need company. Invite folks into your home for a warm pot of soup and a game of cards. Give simple, handmade gifts. Set up twinkly lights and a Yule tree. Sing and rejoice for the Sun God is coming and will brighten each day.
Can I be everything? Can I recognize the ribbons of similarity running through each divine celebration and realize they are all intertwined and so similar that our entire life is a joyous journey overlooked by the Divine? Can I be Amish and Catholic and Jewish and Messianic and Methodist? Can I be Buddhist and Hindu and Wiccan and myself? Can I celebrate Hanukkah, and Beltane, and Christmas too?
Love God, Love ourselves. Are those not our only commandments? Those can certainly be taken from meditation to maypole. Those that use their books of designated scripture to pick out what they wish and translate it how they wish, to feel pity on others and make themselves feel better are sadly stuck in chains. That the One created all people and traditions and colors and life is bigger than we can fathom. I breathe in the excitement of all this.
I love all people to a point of heartbreak sometimes. I love to read about different cultures, different foods, different religious celebrations, different lives, and the knowledge that our lives are all simply intertwined in much bigger forces makes us all one enormous family.
Just as I am Irish, English, Scottish, Dutch, Cherokee, German, Black French, and who knows what else, I am every religion too as I embrace the ways the world celebrates. I have had amazing physical healings, have seen miracles beyond description, and my faith is deeply rooted. I am as comfortable in an American Indian ceremony as I am going to confession as I am remembering my loved ones at Samhain. So many beautiful traditions and ways to worship. The world is not black and white but rather grey. No, not even grey, but a kaleidoscope of color. Celebrate.
Two of my favorite people have birthdays. Who could have told me the intense connection and recognition of a new soul that I would feel upon seeing the small creature born from my daughter’s womb? I think I must have known her in a past life, I think I understand her completely. I am enthralled by her feisty personality, her silent communication (just like her mother’s), and her mischievous smile, in a person two feet tall!
Was it really two years ago that I announced her birth? Our princess, Maryjane Rose, is two years old the 8th. A tea party and mass gift giving will ensue. Five sets of grandparents will gather, three could not make it, a huge family adores this little girl. We are so blessed to have her.
And behind the scenes, snowed into a hospital two years ago, holding a new life, a new life for us, was Doug who spent his birthday cradling his first grandchild. My partner in all things from business, to celebration, to mourning, to farming, to family, to friendship. He is my stability and a part of my very soul.
So, happy birthday my dear Maryjane and Doug (Papa). Wishing us all many, many more years of celebrations of life and love and family!
We went and visited our friends, Lisa, Lance, Brandon, and Brett, on their homestead. Maryjane is such a little animal lover and horse whisperer already. Her friend, Tuvia (Lisa and Lance’s grandson) was there to play with her and together they visited with cows, chickens, horses, and dogs. A farm girl in the works!
The aftermath of the cold was sobering but not surprising. Everything in the cold frame was gone. I just received this cold frame as a barter for a class so I am still new to it. Should I have packed it with straw? Covered it with a blanket? Brought everything in?
The bees activity couldn’t help but remind me of Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail”. “Bring out your dead…” kept ringing in my mind as the bees studiously brought out dozens of dead bees, one still moving. “I’m not dead yet!”
We went to a lovely birthday celebration for my future son-in-law and Maryjane’s daddy, Bret. It was his 18th birthday. This young man is just wonderful. He is a devoted partner to my youngest daughter, Emily, and a doting father, who I rather fear is going to spoil that little girl rotten (if Grammie and Papa don’t beat him to it!). He is finishing high school and going to college full time to be a diesel mechanic. Very proud of the family they have become. It was fun getting together with his rather large family at a nice restaurant and celebrating.
Outdoors temperatures have rose to the thirties and forties and it feels like a heat wave! I sat outside for a moment with my face to the sun taking in the warmth and the light. I love the sun. The animals are cuddling together to keep the warmth and all is well and peaceful at our little farm.
I hope this finds you, dear reader, safe and warm and healthy in your own homestead. And with less than a week before Thanksgiving, I ought to turn off the Christmas music, and start preparing for the Thanksgiving meal. I am blessed to have friends and a few of the kids joining us this year. We all have much to be thankful for.
Through it all, is there nothing more lovely than family and friends? Despite our heartbreaking moments this weekend, it was also a weekend filled with celebration.
A year ago Saturday I posted one of my all time most popular posts, And A Child Was Born, about our first granddaughter being born. What a blessing. No one could have told me how intense that love is for a child born to one’s child. She has filled our house and our lives with so much happiness and fond memories. How grateful we are that, even though they are teenagers, Emily and Bret decided to keep and raise the most beautiful princess, Maryjane Rose.
Doug’s birthday was Sunday and we all headed out for pizza with our kids and their boy/girl friends. Then onto an amusement center where we wiled the hours away with bowling, laser tag, and ski ball with friends and family. A nice change from the solemnity of the farm, I tell you!
It is entirely possible that we will be adopting a day old bottle baby goat kid tomorrow. I shall keep you posted.
Thanks for being a part of our lives, if through sharing our small town, joining in our family memories, are blood related, or through script, I love being a part of such a large community of friends, talented writers, and family.