I’m sitting alone by a roaring fire, a glass of delicious ale nearly finished, and all the fairy lights twinkling throughout the house. The darkest nights are upon us, regular as clockwork the Earth swings around the Sun, now our planet’s northern axis points 23.5o away from our constantly shining star. The ivy strands bedecking the walls are dark green signs of the eternal forces of nature alive even in the darkness.
This time of night’s pre-eminence has much to teach us; the preciousness of daylight hours, with the amount of things we can do outside currently restricted to a few activities, such as chopping wood, a brief walk by the sea, a few minutes staring at the sky and the birds.
Despite being alone physically I feel the warmth of my communities, electronically delivered words and pictures connect us (in addition to the more aetheric links that provide constant attachment). I see in my mind’s eye all the bonfires, ceremonies, parties, and people beside their own hearths, both with others and alone like myself. Some will have raised a glass to the Dies Natalis of the unconquerable sun, others barely aware of the imminent turn to lengthening daylight.
During these few days, the day length stands (to the casual observer at least) still. Solstice, a pause in the usual, a time outside of time. A chance to look at Life, our own and the world at large. A more homely festive day than the official New Year, a less pressured one than Christmas. This ancient anniversary gives us, whether secular or pagan by inclination, a chance to spend it as we Will.
My own ritual is described, in early 21st century style, by my facebook status: “Celebrating Solstice tonight (astronomically correct moment 2303h, or, 1503h down south). Gonna light a fire, say thankful words and direct attention to what I want to happen in the next cycle around our nearest star (ie prayers). Also, a good time to bring to mind those who existed in my past, those who will exist in my future, the ways life paths intertwine. This year I feel especially aware of how people we never meet can affect us so deeply, in their influence upon those we do. Hoping that I am mindful of how my own words and actions may spread out. Wishing a Merry Yule etc, to all my fabulous fb friends.”
We have talked of this practice of thankful prayers before on the Blog of Baphomet, and whilst I do this near enough every day at present, this night has a special significance.
Setting aside special time, sacred space, to stand aside from the tracks we run along everyday, gives us a chance to reflect upon whatever role we take in the timeless play that we can regard as the Mythic. What do you do? Not in your job, or even your family; what do you do when you perform your own unique skillset amongst the communities and groups you frequent? In your neighbourhood, in online forums, in social gatherings? I have lucky to have had my role given a title by others, as The Oracle, humorously meant yet appropriate; I say what I see, a quality which has not always made me many friends, but has kept me those whose worth I value.
Tonight, I shall take time out to give thanks for the many great mythic characters who surround me. The storytellers, the bards, the creators and organisers, the artists and music makers, the talkers and listeners, those who really know about mechanics, information flows, group dynamics, communication, style, movement, health and food, who generously share their knowledge. The tidy people who I have learnt much from in recent years, and those for whom sprawling chaos gives great joy. The kind ones, the comforters, the bestowers of gifts both tangible and otherwise. Those who have shown me the value of sharing one’s emotions. as well as thoughts. And of course those who taught me to make the fire, in so many ways.
I could give these friends names from myths, and dress their figures in the raiment of gods and goddesses, of priests and priestesses, I could compose paeans of praise to them for their glorious richness of engagement with life.
For now though as I type this in front of the fire which I lit from the candle flame which I lit as the daylight faded, I can only give what I write here now, a pencil sketch of what I might do later on.
Merry Solstice to the amazing characters who I am lucky to share this world with, those I have met, and so many I have yet to meet!
And I also think of those who I will never meet with in days to come, their memories aglow with the fires they tended whilst alive. All of us influence so many more people than we can ever know. My own intention for the next year; to bear this in mind; well, as often as possible… 😉