After my husband and I decided not to celebrate Christmas this year, I've had a bit of an empty feeling in the past week or so. Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets about our decision in terms of leaving a consumerist paradigm behind and I certainly don't miss the usual frenzied shopping or Christmas card writing... but I do miss something.
The Three Ghosts of Christmas (in no particular order)I'm writing this in the hope of arriving at a conclusion and pinning down what that something might be. Could it be my religious past and celebrating the birth of Christ, a.k.a 'The reason for the season.' Nope. It is historically inaccurate to celebrate the birth of Yeshua around the time of the Winter Solstice anyway. This is a date that the church usurped to prevent the cult of the solar deity Mithras to get the upper hand. The main celebration of Mithras fell on the 25th, his supposed birthday.
Besides, we all know what the real reason for the season is now, right? Click HERE to read more if you're not sure...
I still love and revere Yeshua as a spiritual teacher but I do not believe that the Winter Solstice actually has anything to do with him.
It must be family then.... Right? Mostly wrong. I still get to see family because not long after Yule, it's my daughter's 18th and a week after that it's my 50th. We will have plenty of opportunities to get together and celebrate with family. That said, I do miss spending time with my two big kids who will not be here on Yule. Memories of them digging through their Christmas stockings with excited looks on their little faces still linger and warm my heart.
Is it possible to remember something fondly and still let it go? I can't get those moments back anyway. My children aren't the easily excitable little kids they used to be. Children make Yule happen. It's the magick of their excitment and focused attention that brings that warm glow to the home.
Is it the past then? Am I yearning for the past and perhaps even feeling some regret about not being fully present when I should have been.
That is definitely closer to the truth. My CPTSD, depression and anxiety made it very difficult for me to be fully present with my children. I do so wish things could have been different. I wish I could have had a more stable and grounding influence for myself growing up too but I have no sense of regret about that since that was never something I could control.
I have to forgive myself and realise that I did the best with what I had and the more I healed, the more present I became. My children know I love them. They don't fear me like I feared mine.
To be honest, I think it is the lack of vision that scares me. I don't have firm idea of what Yule is going to look like for the next leg of my journey. Spiritually, I'm on a new path, the path of my Sámi and Norse ancestors. Socially, the structure of our little family is changing as the children fly the nest one by one. Emotionally and physically, I'm perimenopausal and can feel myself morphing into the next phase of my life. I'm having to find my bearings...
Bring back the old ways?I don't necessarily belive in bringing back the old ways. That might sound odd from someone who is following in the footsteps of her ancestors but bear with me: I don't actually think our ancestors want us to bring back the old ways, per se. I believe they want us to bring their wisdom to the fore but in new and innovative ways that can help us evolve past the self-destructive tendencies we suffer from now...
What our ancestors want us to do is to reconnect with Nature and reclaim the wild power of Her within ourselves. Maybe something as simple as honouring the presence of our ancestors by being offline the whole day of the Winter Solstice and connecting with Mother Nature, is enough? Maybe we can allow the darkness of the season to give birth to a new, less consumerist vision of Yule traditions for the generations that are coming after us.
Oh, and I think the shroom-lovin' shamans had it right (do read the linked article about Shaman Clause!)... This is definitely the time of year to do some serious journeying on the inner planes - with or without a bit of extra help from nature. I'll probably stick to drumming as dabbling with consciousness-altering mushrooms isn't really my cup of tea. (I like my kidneys and intend to use them for another 30 or so years...)
Last but not least... The veil between worlds is thin around the time of the Winter Solstice and this is the reason why Yule is the ideal time for telling fortunes about the year ahead and doing dreamwork, as well as leaving offerings out for the disir. If you do all this from the heart and with the intent to connect to the ancients and their wisdom, then you are doing it right. You don't have to use old words or terminology. You don't have to worship any specific pantheon. You just have to keep it real.
God Jul - Blessed Yule!