Hello dear readers, yes I know “Where have you been Dookes?”
Life is busy, hectic, interesting and really quite good….I’m not complaining at all!
I am struggling though, to find time to do any writing, let alone keep this blog updated. So please forgive me.
Today is the Winter Solstice and as a result I’m very happy in a Druid-like way. Lacking time to get very creative and write a new post I’m going to break one of my own rules and rework something that I wrote previously, but hey it’s my blog and my rules!!!
Have a great Solstice everyone.
“Now is the Solstice of the year.
Winter is the glad song that you hear.”
It doesn’t take much to make me happy, which might seem a bit strange for a chap who owns two big Harley Davidson motorbikes, but it’s true. Today, for example, is one of those things that no-one can own, hold, buy or claim; take note Mr Musk! It’s the Winter Solstice and I’m a very happy Dookes as a result!
It’s probably fair to say that this has become my favourite day of the whole year!
In our Northern Hemisphere it is the shortest day, when the Sun barely shows itself above the horizon and then for the briefest possible time! Sunset today is just before 16:00hrs!
Stennes Stones Orkney
The Solstice marks the turn of the seasons when the days begin to grow longer and the warmth of Summer begins its long return journey.
It’s also the real beginning of Winter.
I written before how the relevance of this turning point has become stronger for me as I have grown older; I understand the ancient people who venerated the turning seasons and the Celestial Calendar, I celebrate their wisdom and align myself to their beliefs.
It appears that since the dawn of time our forbears have found reason to celebrate a festival of light in the depths of the darkest day of the year. So why not have a party to celebrate the ending of one celestial year and the beginning of a new one?
Sounds good to me, but then I am a Welsh Wizard/Dewin Cymreig!
Let’s not forget that many other cultures and religions around the world also celebrate festivals at this time of the year and have the rebirth of light firmly as their focus.
The Christian Church has celebrated the birthday of Jesus Christ, Christmas, on December 25th since the 4th Century when Pope Julius I chose the date in an effort to replace the Roman Feast of Saturnalia. People have compared the rebirth of the sun to the birth of the son of God.
It’s also interesting to reflect that the origins of many “traditional” Western Christmas decorations such as the Yule Log, Tree and Wreath can trace back to pre-Christian times.
Familiar decorations of green, red and white cast back to the Wiccan traditions and the Druids. The old Pagan Mid-Winter Festival of Yule also included feasting and gift giving, doesn’t it all sound very familiar?!?!
When I was younger we always did the usual Christmas decoration stuff, including a highly non-authentic artificial tree! My late father did little to dress the tree, but had his own take on the whole decoration thing that he insisted on doing himself; every year he would garland the house with boughs of green holly and evergreen, it was only then that I truly used to feel that things were being done properly. I suspect that my Celtic blood has a lot to do with this and I still carry on that tradition today in Dookes H.Q.. I adore the house smelling of pine and other evergreens! Yesterday, on the eve of the Solstice I was out in the glorious Cornish countryside gathering the greenery to decorate our home. It’s done now and I feel very happy and at ease with it.
Many Pagan religions had a tradition where it was customary to place holly leaves and branches in and around dwellings during winter. It was believed that the good spirits who inhabited forests could come into their homes and use the holly as shelter against the cold; whilst at the same time malevolent forces and spells would be repelled.
Mrs Dookes also enters into the spirit of the season with her splendid handmade evergreen wreaths. This reflects another pagan tradition, the wreath’s circle has no beginning or end and the evergreen represents life in the depths of winter. The circle of life.
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, The Solstice, Dongzhi, Yalda, Saturnalia, Malkh, any other festival that I may have missed, or just looking forward to having a restful holiday, have a truly wonderful time and maybe spare a thought, or penny, for those less fortunate.
Thanks for joining me this year, we haven’t ridden much, but i have a feeling that 2023 is going to be some ride and i look forward to sharing that with you all!
I hope you will saddle up with me for more adventure and opinion than this year!
“Praise be to the distant sister sun,
joyful as the silver planets run.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.”
Catch you soon.
With grateful thanks to Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull for sharing the Solstice over many decades!