"This sabbath represents the rebirth of light. Here, on the longest night of the year, the Goddess gives birth to the Sun God and hope for new light is reborn. Yule is a time of awakening to new goals and leaving old regrets behind. Yule coincides closely with the Christian Christmas celebration. Christmas was once a movable feast celebrated many different times during the year. The choice of December 25 was made by the Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD because this coincided with the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice, or Return of the Sun."
Last night, out on a long snowy Winter Solstice walk, we (the hound and I, of course) came tromping up a hill where there is a house with its back yard facing the slope. A big pine near the back deck was all decorated and lit up with enormous red bulbs. There was a party going on. The revelers were all inside but we could see them milling about. I expected to hear Christmas music, but the blaring tune was Aretha. Aretha Franklin was singing so loud we could hear every word over the party noises and from a hundred yards away. "Whoa, babe (just a little bit) A little respect (just a little bit) I get tired (just a little bit) Keep on tryin' (just a little bit) You're runnin' out of foolin' (just a little bit) And I ain't lyin' (just a little bit). (re, re, re, re) 'spect."
Then, across the back yard near the edge of a wooded greenspace and deep ravine, I saw a big deer in the semi-dark, watching us. The dog went into his hunter stance. The deer turned and stared, unmoving. Noone inside the house ever saw him before he bounded off into the trees. He was beautiful leaping through the snow. All that muscle and hoof and light and wildness right there in front of us.
My favorite holiday is actually Valentine's Day. I love the excitement of Christmas for my kids, but Valentine's Day feels like Christmas without the pressure. (And I adore writing secret love notes). When my husband and I were dating, I arranged for us to spend a Valentine's weekend away in one of the most amazing and magical places I've ever been. My friend was renting a treehouse while he worked for the Forest Service -- an actual treehouse built about 50-feet up around two or three fir trees. It had a little tiny sitting area, a kitchen, and a miniature sleeping loft. The place had a little deck with a rope rail and even a composting toilet with a seat connected to a pipe up on the deck. It was heated with propane if I remember correctly. We spent Valentine's weekend there in that treehouse near Mt. Adams in Washington state. It was located near a National Forest and completely isolated. There was the moon and the stars and us -- left to our own whims and fancies amongst the branches. We ate chocolate and drank champagne and went for long walks into the forest. At night, the tree sang in harmony with the cold wind in the firs. The loft rocked a little, bending with those sturdy trunks. I stayed there once in the summer also -- slept out in the open on the deck. It was like being a kid and a forest nymph and an adventurer all at once.
Happy ChrisChanuKwanSolstice to you all. May you awaken to new dreams, leave old regrets behind, and celebrate in the light!