Thoughts on blending Solstice and Christmas

I grew up Unitarian Universalist, in a Northeastern (USA) community.  After Thanksgiving, as the days grew darker and shorter, and the temperature grew colder, we would begin to decorate the house and count down the days to Christmas.  In those days, the 1960’s TV shows taught us that Santa was coming down our chimney, and, that Jesus was born on December 25th, in a manger, in Bethlehem.

I don’t recall going to Christmas Eve church service on a regular basis as a child.  I just remember decorating the tree.  I loved the way the tree looked when we got it all decorated, and I loved how it smelled to have evergreens in the house.

As I write this, I realize how deeply personal these holiday celebrations are for families.  These celebrations are laced with family stories which contain sorrows and joys.  As a child, (and an emphatic one at that,) I knew there were family sorrows, but didn’t know what they were, because they weren’t spoken of.   Now that I am older, each year, I learn more about that aspect of my growing up.  I understand more about why my mom acted the way she did each December:  She would pretend she didn’t want to make a big deal out of Christmas each year,  but secretly, she loved every bit of Christmas.

And I’ve come to realize I’m the same way, but without the sorrows.   For years, I’ve tried to convince myself, that I don’t want to make a big fuss about Christmas. But you know what?  I love it.  I love putting up the tree, and  the decorations.  I love collecting shells and things and making decorations out of them.  I love sitting in the living room with all the lights out except the tree’s and just enjoying the glow.

20141225_062546I love making cookies.  I LOVE eggnog.  These days, we buy the pasturized nogg at the store and add our own rum.  But I have a fabulous family recepie that begins with 12 eggs.

I love teasing gift ideas out of my dear family.  I love locating gifts.  I love wrapping gifts.  I love opening gifts.

And these days, I love celebrations with friends.  The CUUPS group at my local UU Church usually holds Solstice celebrations, and I love to gather with everyone in the evening and sit out on the porch and sing the Solstice Songs.  My favorite one is,  We are, by   Ysaye M. Barnwell , a member of the group, Sweet Honey in the Rock,  and it goes ,  “For each child that’s born/ a morning star rises and sings / to the universe who we are /… / We are our grandmothers prayers / we are our grandfathers dreamings / we are the breath of the ancestors / we are the spirit of God…”

And then, a few days later it is Christmas Eve.   My Husband and I attend the service at the UU Church and sing Joy to the World and Silent Night.  This is my Church Family, it is a small community and I love these people.  After that, we go home, eat something — next year, it will be my turn to cook — and then we go back out later in the evening and attend his church.  It’s bigger and more christian, and there are more people.

There’s an awesome pipe organ and organist.  we sing the same songs, but the pipe organ infuses the songs into me.  It is powerful and awe inspiring and I love that experience of feeling the songs, best of all.

Savor the Peace of the Holiday Season, Dear Ones, for as long as you can.

~Whale Maiden~

~~~ ♡ ~~~

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere. You just need to explore the magic of your land. What is it saying to you? What are the seasons, where you live? What do they mean to you? How are they celebrated?

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden. All Rights Reserved.

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rescuing a frog

This may be a two-part story; I don’t know yet.

I was in the kitchen working on something behind the refrigerator when I heard a “SCREECH” coming from the back yard.  A moment later, I heard it again:  SCREECH!   Thinking that it was a baby bird in distress,  noted the location of my two cats as we all went out to the porch and then to the back yard.  I strode over to the Orchid tree and stood under it and waited.  SCREECH!  Ok, I was in the right area.  I looked up, scanning the leaves and twigs to see if I saw any thing — no birds, no mice — then suddenly, it SCREECH-ed again and then something fell out of the tree and hit the ground.

My one cat sat near where I was standing, but he seemed to know to leave the critter alone.  I stepped closer and saw that it was a tree frog.  I picked up a little twig and tapped the frog on the butt, to see if he would hop.  He didn’t.

I scooped him up with my fingers and he held onto my thumb.  I looked him over closely.  He was breathing.  He seemed to have scraped the skin over the top of his left eye.  Everything else seemed to be ok.

I took him into the house and got a paper towel for him to sit on and went out to the porch and sat down.  I smoothed his scraped skin near his eye back into place with my finger nail.  I sat calmly and figured the warmth of my hand was a good thing.

My daughter has a friend who raises spiders and snakes.  We called her up.  As it happens, she was driving near our house and came over.  She looked at Frog and agreed with me that he was probably shook up and maybe a little shocked.  She said we could put him in a box of some kind with air holes and a wet paper towel and let him rest for a while.

Maybe he’d eat some cat food…

Photo later.