Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Happy and Blessed Midwinter's Eve!

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!
♥ Carolee


Ms. ∆×∆p×≥h/4π said...

Dear CL--yes and yes again--the perfect thing for the 21st and the 22nd here in the north--Christians and Pagans--all faiths and no faith--the holly and Ivy--earth and sky--the sweet and the bitter, and all things together which can not be separated no matter how hard we try. My last three or four posts have been along the same lines...and more holly and ivy tomorrow! 'Tis the season--there's simply no 'reason' good enough to fracture facts--no rewritten history can tear us away from our earthly delights, from the magical mystery of birth and rebirth. So you keep on dancing your beautiful dance, painting your delicate forms. It's just what you were meant to do.

Much love

Ms. ∆×∆p×≥h/4π said...

I am back one more time to tell you that Loreena is singing the re-visioned version (love her haunting voice) of this ancient carol--and that the lyric to the more authentic, seldom sung one is printed on my blog tomorrow--and also to share this nice solstice summary of solstice just received from my daily dose of Garrison Keillor's The Writers Almanac:

"Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the astronomical event that has more rituals and ceremonies associated with it than any other. It is no coincidence that there are numerous holidays around the solstice, for the timing of these holidays is rooted in ancient religions. There is archaeological evidence that the solstice has been important to human cultures for at least 30,000 years; many ancient stone structures like Stonehenge are designed to pinpoint the precise date of the solstice, and many ancient peoples held festivals of light to bring about the return of summer's longer days.

The term solstice means "sun stands still." It is when the sun stays closer to the horizon than at any other time of the year and appears to rise and set in the same place for several days in a row. But while the sun stands still and tonight is long, stars may appear to streak through the sky as the Earth passes through a stream of comet dust — the yearly Ursid meteor shower — which may produce a pleasing shower of shooting stars for northern viewers near the end of the night."

keijukammari said...

I can't believe that I hadn't heard that song before I'm Loreena's big fan. Thank you for sharing. I wish you happy yule and very inspirational new year!

keijukammari said...

I can't believe I hadn't heard this song before and I'm a huge Loreena's fan.
Many greeting