In a week, it's a holiday I celebrate - my biggest holiday of the year, actually - Yule. December 21. The longest night of the year. It is the day the Sun is farthest away from the Northern Hemisphere.
I just want to share my perspective / the way I see things around this time of year. Thank you for indulging me.
A bunch of years ago, I started re-evaluating my life to see if the way I was living harmonizes with my heart and my intentions. I suppose this is an ongoing thing for me. But one of the things I learned about myself was that I love Mother Earth and Mother Nature. And I did some research on Yule - the Pagan holiday celebrating the Winter Solstice. And I decided it harmonizes with me as a concept.
We can all see the days getting shorter, the nights getting longer. Many people buy a sun lamp (I got one this year too, for the first time!). It helps to combat "Seasonal affect disorder." That's a time when people feel less happy than usual because they don't have the big amount of sun in their lives.
So my kids and I have come up with some ways to celebrate Yule that resonate with us. It's a simple and nature-forward inspired holiday. I can't speak for how others celebrate it. But I can share how we have celebrated it for the last 5 years, and you can see if you would like to do this next week, too!
First off, I love pinecones. I collect them year round and put them in various places around my front yard. They are my pinecone collection. I love the way they look after it has rained - all their colors come out and they are extra beautiful.
For Yule, there are usually pinecones under some Virginia Pines on a path not too far from our home. So I pick up a few pinecones. Then, on December 21, my boys and I go out and watch the sunset. Just acknowledging that the shortest day has just happened, and the longest night is straight ahead of us.
As the sun sets, we think about things we would like more of for the upcoming year, and things we would like to let go of for the upcoming year. We write these thoughts on tracing paper scraps. Then we roll up the papers and tuck them into the pinecones.
Also during the sunset, I have done smoke cleansing of my boys and they do it for me. Taking a dried sage bundle and light the tip of it on fire. Then we "wash" off the essence of whatever is old and needs cleansing from us. Wash us in smoke.
After that, we head home and start our Yule fire. We put our pinecones in to help start the fire, and we watch the papers burn. Then, we settle in for a nice family evening. The fire burns, we get warm apple cider with cinnamon (yum!) and my boys each open a few gifts. Every year, I give them a sketchbook. They love this and look forward to it every year. They use their sketchbooks all year long. I have always encouraged them to do art and I am grateful to say that they love it.
Then, I have one other gift that is nature-themed for my boys. This year, it will be handmade pottery mugs made by a local artisan. So many artisans this past year had their fairs and shows cancelled and they couldn't make a living. So I looked for several months at different offerings offered by local artisans. I found some beautiful earthen ware mugs. One for each of us.
You can see the mugs at this site, in case you would like to also support crafters and get something beautiful for your morning tea or coffee or hot chocolate. Or your hot cider on Yule!
So, I just thought I would share the way I see things around the holiday season. This year I am hitting the reset button on Christmas too. I haven't celebrated Christmas in a few years, though I grew up with it. We will see how it goes this year!
I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season - no matter what you celebrate!
Blessed Yuletide Season from me to you and your household.