Good morning, friends! I’m up at my favorite wee hour–four o’clockish–and have just had a big old cup of coffee. I usually drink tea but every so often will treat myself to something a little more leaded because, well, I really love coffee with lots of cream. It is a major boost. It has substance. Coffee is a beverage with balls of steel and tea is kind of like its 90 pound weakling of a cousin…you know, the one you can sit on the couch kvetching with but who’s no earthly good in a fight.
How is everyone? I have to admit to feeling a little sorry for all y’alls because for me, the holiday is over! Wheehee! We will still have a buffet at my folks’ on Christmas Eve and see Les Mis on Christmas Day and go to Scott’s sister’s for the afternoon/evening, but the stress is entirely behind me and it’ll just be a pile of fun to hang with loved ones and see an epic movie.
Our Yule celebration on Thursday night was absolutely wonderful. We had our kids over and a couple of extras as well, nine peeps in all. The motto was Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (For Tomorrow We Die, ha ha, get it?) and we did just that, except for the dying part. I’d spent at least two weeks, if not three, making preparations of one kind or another and it was a total joy to see it come together like it did. Even rolling with the punches… for example… I wasn’t going to get a tree but then the opportunity for a free one arose and, well, hey, free! So I chose a lovely little guy and we put him up in the living room and then I couldn’t even believe my reaction, which went something like, UGH, get that dead thing out of my house immediately! (Weirdly enough, talking with my daughter-in-la Amber later, I discovered that she’d had the same reaction to their tree. Interesting.) So we trundled the tree out to the patio, where we could still see it from inside, and I strung on it little clear lights and big old-fashioned colored lights and popcorn and fresh cranberries and pine cones dipped in peanut butter and bird seed, and the birds and the fluffy fat squirrel have been feasting on it ever since. That was an infinitely better choice! For inside the house, I stuck a cluster of fir branches into a pitcher, decorated it with lights and red cardinals and assorted folderol, and placed it on the Yule altar along with other beloved and symbolic objects. So beautiful.
It was very important to me to carve out a sacred space during the evening as well, so I created a little candle-lighting ritual for after dinner, to emphasize the return of light (as that’s what Yule is about: welcoming the sun back after the longest, darkest night). It’s our first year celebrating Yule instead of Christmas, so I was a little nervous about the candle-lighting circle; I’d never done it before and wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to say, but that turned out to be the best part of the evening, bar none. I’ll tell you a little secret something too, which I’ve been holding dear. A few weeks back I had a dream in which I was in a classroom filled with students. The teacher came in (a young enthusiastic black man with dreads and wire-rimmed glasses; what a great representative of the teacher archetype) and as I stood at my desk he said to me, “I see you are a cleric because you’re holding your thumb this way.” He demonstrated by bringing his thumb close to his hand. There was other stuff in the dream as well, but all beside the point so I won’t go into it.
After I woke, I looked up thumbs and found that they generally represent strength and talent, and as you probably know, a cleric is a priest or religious leader, someone with holy orders. I was so encouraged to be given this message by my subconscious, to be reminded of an aspect of my life’s purpose. And on Yule, as I turned off the lights, encouraged everyone to sit on the floor around the candles I’d placed on a tray on the ottoman in the living room, and began to explain what we were doing and why we were doing it, all my anxiety melted away and I felt absolutely, comprehensively, 100% in my element. I could have stayed there forever. I read a prayer, and we did a call and response in which I would read a line and everyone would respond with “Light is reborn” as we took turns lighting candles. In the end we were gathering random candles from everywhere just so we had more to light. I think we ended up with twenty-six but even if we’d had twice as many it wouldn’t have been enough! I wrapped up our circle with another prayer, and still we sat, basking in the glow of candlelight and talking about how we could each bring light into the extreme darkness of this particular time in history.
I loved every single second of it. Then we turned on all the lights and had dessert and coffee and laughed at funny stories we told about ourselves and each other until well after midnight, even though people had to work the next morning. WHY they would schedule work on the Last Day of Existence is beyond me… but, actually… I guess it’s no joke because I’m just now remembering that some schools cancelled classes for the day. My son Jess was saying that while we may not believe in the apocalyptic hype, some others do and thus will create a very real atmosphere of fear and anger and despair. I believe we’ve been experiencing that. It’s a scary time but I’m not going to give in to fear. I’m going to continue to let love overwhelm me–for the people who’ve been murdered, for the parents and families of the victims, for the shooters and stabbers and bombers as well because they were in incredible pain to do what they did. We’re all in this together. It’s important to remember that.
Best wishes for a great rest-of-the-year if I don’t post again before the beginning of next. Enjoy yourselves thoroughly and remember to be grateful for what you have because it could be gone in a flash. AWOLNATION says in their song Jump On My Shoulders, “Seriously, it’s not supposed to be easy, that’s why it feels so fucking good,” and they couldn’t be righter. Life is set up in opposites for us humans because that’s the best platform for growth. In great darkness a commensurate amount of light can arise, even brighter because of the depth of shadow. Let’s do our best to bring on the love. Blessings!