Thursday, December 20, 2012

Solstace solitude

            
                                                            ~~the Dark Woods

Winter, is just beginning, the days have grown so short, the nights so long, and a chill has settled in to stay for awhile, a long while.
But on this day when the night is the longest it will get, night will finally looses its battle to the the returning sun. the wheel turns again and the sun shines a little longer each day. the the silvery iciness warmed golden by the strengthening sun, crisp whites and vivid blues of the night skies blend with the reds of sunset and sunrise, and the promise in the greens of pine , spruce, holly and mistletoe.

There is a ancient legend about why evergreens stay green.  At the time of the winter solstice the sun was feeling weary and he told  the plants and tress that he was going to rest for a brief time and then he would be back, spreading light and warmth very soon.  the sun left and very soon the earth became very cold, the the plants and tree became frightened and began to cry for the sun to return, they shuddered in fear and dropped their leaves, they were so sure he would not return.
the firs, pines and holly which grew farther up the mountains could see that the sun had moved very far away, but was still there. They tried to explain this to the other trees, but the other trees insisted that the sun had abandoned them and wailing and moaning they dropped the remainder of their leaves.
Gradually the Sun returned to the earth and the land became green again.  When the Sun saw  that the trees had shed their leaves, he was very disappointed.  He had kept his part of the bargain, but that the trees had not, and from now on they would shed their leaves each year to remind them.   As a reward for their loyalty the sun let the pines, firs and holly he let them keep their fine greenery year round.

If you can walk in the woods or fields, even for a few moments to experience the solitude of winter gathering in the sights and rare sounds, the earth speaks to us when all else is quiet.

In Norse tradition enemies who  met under a bough of mistletoe, would lay down their weapons, at  least for awhile.   A hope that survives to this day.   On this day when the sun stands still, and we welcome back the sun and our hearts a hopeful, we spend time with family and friends in celebration of Yule, and the solstice. Might we be lucky enough to make a few new ones.

Beneath the tree of light and life,
a blessing at this season of Jul!
To all that sit at my hearth,
today we are brothers, we are family,
and I drink to your health!
Today is a day to offer hospitality
to all that cross my threshold
in the name of the season.

~~Patti Wigington



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