Can you feel a little magic in the air tonight?
Yes, I know - the astronomical Solstice is actually in the wee hours tomorrow morning...But that still makes this Midwinter's Eve, and whatever our faith tradition, the perfect time to slow down and take time to honor our connection to the earth, to our ancestors, and to each other.
Although my own tradition has been more... well, I guess conventional would be as good a word as any to describe it, in recent years I've grown to appreciate the ancient festivals which celebrate the earth and her seasons. And while I'm sure there are those whose traditions are solidly one or the other who would disagree, I find there is more in these celebrations and observances that brings Christians and Pagans together than there is which divides us.
So after a bit of a kitchen disaster this morning (long story, and I'm over it, hehe) I decided to spend the day immersed in things which honored the day. The first order of business was to spend a bit of time outdoors, gathering holly and ivy for the table. After shaking off a touch of unseasonably warm winter rain, I placed a large bunch of it in a pottery crock our daughter made when she was in high school...
Sometimes the simplest things are the most beautiful, don't you think?
Next, I began a new painting - a midwinter painting of an arctic wolf and snowshoe rabbit, set against a background of evergreen trees, with the northern lights in the distance. I'll hold off on showing a photo until the painting progresses a bit further, but I'm so pleased with the concept, with its progress, and with the notion that it's infused with a little solstice energy. (Patience, patience - pics soon, I promise!)
But the sweetest task of the day (literally and figuratively) was making my Grandma Cline's Star Cookies. The recipe is actually published on page 141 of the Gooseberry Patch "Old Fashioned Country Cookies" cookbook, having been contributed by my Mom many years ago. The story is in there too, which goes like this: When we were very little, my Grandfather had my siblings and me convinced that he went out each night and hung the moon up in the sky, and that my Grandmother made the stars. These cookies are a remembrance of that, and of her. They taste like my childhood, and I can't let the season pass without making them.
They're wonderful cookies to make with children too - bowls of different colored icing, and assorted sugars and sprinkles covering the dining room table. They were a part of my childhood, my daughter's childhood, and I hope someday her children's as well.
As always, candles burned and music played as these tasks were accomplished, punctuated by phone calls from dear friends who always make me smile. Altogether a perfect Midwinter's Day - or Midwinter's Eve Day.
As I write this, there's only an hour or so to go until astronomical Midwinter, and I have much to accomplish tomorrow (including that painting)...So I'll say goodnight, but not before sharing a favorite tune to mark the day. Give it a listen, I think you'll like it...
Wishing you a Happy and Blessed Midwinter's Eve!