Mid Winter Celebrations

Solstice Morning Sky
I hope you all had a Wonderful Solstice, Yule or Christmas, however and whenever you celebrated. 
I think it's fair to say we've given it a pretty good go by fitting as much in as possible so far! After my usual grounding, I decorated my altar with holly and mistletoe and lit many candles to welcome the returning light, I celebrated Solstice morning on the 22nd by standing in my garden at the outdoor altar staring up at wild dark and cloudy sky, whilst the wind whipped my hair around my head and howled it's greeting, no amazing sunrises here for us but it still felt important to mark it and witness the turning point in the wheel. I did try to shield a candle - the tea light I had been given at the Solstice Ceremony last weekend to light over the solstice, but the swirling skies and heaving trees appeared to conspire to deny my request for light. Undeterred I asked Goddess for Solstice blessings for me and mine and definitely felt that the winds were blowing away the old and making way for the new and making way for a time of contemplation as we move through the darkness of the winter and begin to look for the lightening days of the spring at Imbolc.
I didn't manage to see the sunset as work took over
Solstice Supper
but where I was it would have been difficult to see anyway behind the clouds and drizzle! Before we sat down for our Solstice Supper which was bubbling away in the slow cooker, I delivered some presents to some friends grandchildren - plates with a space for Rudolph's carrot and a mince pie for Santa etc as a solstice gift from me and early Christmas Present for them, which seemed to me to tie in beautifully with the sentiments of the day, of blessings and of looking to the future and merging traditions and  customs of old and new beliefs. I seem to have read a lot about this recently online, I touched on it last week when I said that unfortunately I'd come across some Christian bashing on Pagan sites and this week there have been some arguments about what a true druid, follower of the Avalonian tradition, witch, wiccan or Heathen should believe in, when and how they should celebrate etc...I took myself off those sites and pages  pretty quickly - believe me! Hence my tactful heading this week - Mid WinterCelebrations! I wonder if these people would actually argue about this face to face about this or whether they are just brave behind their keyboard?

Solstice Altar
Anyway as my house and family are a melting pot of many tolerant beliefs and religions and recent articles that I have read suggest that Yule and Solstice were celebrated for more than a few days, I have also embraced the the celebration of Modraniht in my own way and my ancestral mothers have never been far from my thoughts over the last week. This continued connection to them has made them seem so close to me and whilst I haven't seen any spirits I have felt a strong and wonderful energy around me and my altar, where I have spoken their names to Ker and honoured them and their memories.  To celebrate at Solstice we had our fabulous 'Solstice Supper' -  Yule Chicken and Mid Winter Cheesecake....well ok Chicken casserole and vanilla cheesecake but I taken the time to lovingly prepare it and asked Goddess to help me when I made it, speaking my intentions to celebrate the solstice with my family as well as asking the hands of the ancient mothers to guide me and bless me whilst I cook, I swear it always tastes better and has more compliments when I do this! Ker must walk with me from the fields to the kitchens. With my lovely daughter I decorated the table with white and silver and lit lots of candles, before we sat down to eat, talked about Yule, Solstice and Christmas beliefs and traditions, before making merry with a few glasses of cava and just about qualifying as being musical by playing a name that tune game involving kazoos!
The Returning Sun

The following morning, after the longest night of the year, we were blessed with a spectacularly bright sunrise, a sure reminder that the light is returning to the land, even if only by a few minutes each day, leaving me ready to celebrate the Christmas period full of joy and hope with my loved ones ...and celebrate we did! I have been blessed with 3 days of celebrating with our families at our house, at my parents, back here again - days full of laughter, games, memories old and new, joy, presents, food and drink as well as a few  tears for those who couldn't be with us this year, but comforted by love, surrounded by family and I'd like to think we were in the company of a few spirits that weren't found in bottles!
So now some quieter time for some withdrawal and contemplation, whilst one of my cats snores gently and rhythmically behind me - plans for the future and a chance to reassess and redirect my focus on life, where I hope to visit and go this year, plans for holidays, the allotment, birthdays, study, written and  craft projects - you name it, are all whirling round my head, thoughts growing and taking shape and ideas nudging at the edge of my conciousness! With all this contemplative energy, reviewing my year, assimilating what's happened, evaluating it, learning from it and looking forward - it's easy to see where the custom of new year resolutions originated from.

I hope you've had a Wonderful and Blessed Yule 
and find Joy in the Returning Light
Blessed Be x x 


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