Heigh-di-ho, campers! How is everyone? I hope splendiferous. I’ve been seated on my contemplation chair, rocking away and reading while I sip my cooling tea, listening to the small sounds of a house-before-waking and enjoying the crackle of my ambient fire. I woke very early from a long and involved dream and hurried into the living room to record it as fully as I could before it floated away in ragged pieces. I think I got most of it and ever since have been leisurely turning each gathered fragment this way and that to examine its meaning. But I’m in no hurry to figure it all out–a gratefully impossible task anyway. I like that most things are impossible to figure out. At best, we can run our hands along the edges and recognize the shapes. That’s good enough for me.
The holidays are upon us, have you noticed? For me the season starts with Samhain, is bisected by Thanksgiving, and culminates in Yule. New Year’s Eve is a non-event since I’m not into making resolutions, consider each day a new beginning, and don’t like getting blotto for any reason. Also, I tend to be early to bed. Halloween and Thanksgiving were great this year, especially the latter, which was celebrated with our entire family including some extras who feel like family, so it was just MORE family and therefore more awesome. Plus there were little kids running around and that shook everything on its head and that’s ALWAYS a good thing. We were playing air hockey with coasters on the dining room table. Little kids remind us we’re alive and that the world doesn’t revolve around us.
This year, for the first time, I am entirely eschewing Christmas, which has to me felt increasingly like a clangy, grasping, stressful, media-driven event, void of meaning. I’ve been telling my family all year that I am simply ‘not doing Christmas,’ but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that what I want to celebrate is Yule, the pure unadulterated form of it.
Yule is ancient… natural… a celebration of the changing of seasons, the return of the sun. It’s about feasting and love and gratitude and connection with the earth and ourselves and each other. It can include any of the elements of Christmas but the focus is not on The Presents. This might be hard for people in countries other than America to understand because to you, possibly, Christmas isn’t like that. Christmas might be more like my description of Yule and if so, you’re lucky. I remember hearing an interview with Lucy Lawless, who’s Australian, in which she was talking about having had to stay in the U.S. over Christmas one year and how crazy Americans got during the weeks leading up to it. “Why do you DO that to yourselves?” she cried in dismay. Totally, Xena. I’m over it. I’ve been over it for a long time but this is the first time I’m doing something about it.
So I’m gathering Yule ritual ideas and prayers and lots and lots of candles, including a large yellow pillar to represent the sun. We’ll meet as a family on the longest night of the year, Dec 21 (barring the end of the world, of course :), and eat roast beast, carrots, and potatoes and heavy homemade bread full of nuts and seeds and I might even try my hand at Yorkshire Pud. Pumpkin cheesecake for dessert, a brand new vegan recipe that’s absolutely delicious. Whatever other foods people want to bring. Cider and wine and beer and coffee. In a week or so I’ll make an altar dedicated to the winter months and the return of the sun and put up a small fir tree covered in lights. Everyone in our family loves thrift store finds so I think we’ll have a gift exchange wherein people can trade for what they want, like a white elephant party, totally pressure-free.
When I think of all this, talk about it, write about it, I’m filled with excitement and none of the past dread associated with Christmas. We gotta do what we gotta do, I guess, and thankfully, my family is game. Or they just love me a lot and know how to humor me. Either way, I’ll take it. :) Also, this frees the kids up to spend time with their partners’ families over Christmas, since we’ll be out of the equation. I think we’ll spend a quiet Eve with my folks, go see the new Les Miserables on the Day and then meander over to Scott’s sister’s in the evening. Sounds like some kind of an awesome plan to me. I hope yule (couldn’t resist) have a wonderful holiday too, no matter how you celebrate it! Love~