Posted on Leave a comment

Remembering …

  Today I said goodbye to Ron Davis with family and friends at his funeral service. He was 20 years my senior; and he and his family were a cherished and constant presence in my childhood and youth.  As often is the case; the pain of loss is lessened by the reconnections we make as we gather to remember the stories and the presence of the loved one we are laying to his well deserved rest. Many memories were shared; and my father and Ron’s father (both had already passed over) were in some of the pictures shared and brought back many memories.

After the service and reception, I stopped at the cemetery where my parents, both sets of grandparents and Ron’s father are all buried to lay swags on their graves and visit them in both physical and spiritual space. I have been flooded with memories–most of them comforting and happy–all day. It is important for me to make the pilgrimage to their resting place to feel a sense of connection and to honor that connection.

It seems fitting that on the shortest night of the year we celebrate the life well lived; and on the first day that the Sun resumes her path of increasing light; he is laid to rest on Earth; and starts his new journey in the otherworld–be it heaven or some other wonder-fulled place of rest and renewal. Many of us have lost loved ones at this time of year–it is natural time of culling in the wild and domestic herds; and seems that  humans follow the same tendency. As sure as the earth is dormant and sleeping now–we know she will awaken in glorious abundance and beauty in the spring. How can the same not be true for us?

Rest well my ancestors and friends–I look forward to the time we meet again.

Blessed Solstice Night,
Deb

 

Posted on 5 Comments

Sowilo The Sun Returns This Solstice Day 2010.12.21

036

Ahhhhh, the Sun returns on this longest day. We lifted our eyes to the hills and we saw the Sun arrive in all her golden splendor. How reassuring to people’s of old that the Sun stopped its progress across the sky and started its return signaling that warmer days were ahead. Especially in the lands of the Rune Readers—where the Sun nearly disappeared in the deep Northern winter. People lighted their homes with candles, created blazing bonfires on the hills and in their hearths in acts of sympathetic magic to encourage the Sun to return. It really was a matter of successful crops, enough fodder for the herds, and literally life and death. Part of the feasting in the deep winter was practical—the animals that would not make it through the winter became the feast—leaving more grain/grass for the younger and stronger stock to survive the winter. Sowilo is the life giver; that which banishes the darkness, heals and nourished us. All that lives on Earth owe their existence to the Sun.

Our family practices a Pagan Advent, and we gather on the 4 Sundays before the Winter Solstice. I learned of this tradition from my dear friend Joanna Powell Colbert—who is the creator of the Gaian Tarot and hosts absolutely Fabulous Santa Lucia Parties every year. Every culture has a story about the return of the Sun—and our family gathers together to read several stories and light a candle for each week of advent. On Solstice we light all 4 candles of Advent and a middle candle for the Solstice Sun.

 007 

Tonight it is just my husband Michael and myself. We read the stories of Solntse and Grandmother Spider.  We sang Santa Lucia and the lyrics that I rewrote to the tune of “Angels We Have Heard on High”. The second verse was inspired by the northern myths and features Sowilo. The third verse was inspired by the Japanese story of Amaturasu being lured out of hiding in her cave.

As the seasons turn around, darkness starts to lose it’s hold.

Longest night turns in to day, lighting up the sky with gold.

Mo-ther, Mo-ther, Mo-ther Sun

Bring your rays to warm us;

Mo-ther, Mo-ther, Mo-ther Sun

Bring your rays to warm us all. 

Thaw the lands that She has stole,

Isa Queen of Frost and Snow.

As you have since days of old,

Ransom them with Rays of gold.

So-wi-lo, So-wi-lo, So-wi-lo

Bring your rays to warm us;

So-wi-lo, So-wi-lo, So-wi-lo

Bring your rays to warm us all.

Hidden deep within your cave,

Darkness reigns there is no day.

We laugh and dance with gaity,

You peek out, yourself to see.

A-ma-tur-a- su, A-ma-tur-a- su, A-ma-tur-a- su

Bring your rays to warm us;

A-ma-tur-a- su, A-ma-tur-a- su, A-ma-tur-a- su

Bring your rays to warm us all.

—and then we gave thanks for the promise of another year. Health, joy, mirth, rebirth. Welcome Yule! Welcome Yule! Welcome Yule!