Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Our Solstice preparations have been overshadowed by storms.  I don't know if we're going to thaw out enough to lure company over, but one way or another we'll have our usual vigil.  We stay up all night waiting for the sun to rise after the longest night of the year.  This year the party starts on the morning of December 21st and continues until the morning of December 22nd.  I allow myself naps during daylight, but at sunset I meditate on the last rays of sunlight, and I won't sleep again until the sun crests the horizon in the morning.  

First light can be a rather ambiguous situation if its cloudy, especially if it's snowing.  Luckily we have resources online to tell us, to the minute, when the sun will rise.  I use local flight info in case I can't tell when the sun is up--pilots have to know exactly when first light appears, when the sun actually rises, and all that.  On the shortest day of the year, pilots who aren't permitted to fly at night will be severely curtailed.  I guess they'll have to stay home and drink hot chocolate.

Friends are welcome to come over.  We have both modern and traditional goodies on Yule.

Why Yule instead of Christmas?  I left the Catholic faith a long time ago.  Even as sanitized and de-Christianized as many Americans make it, it's still a Christian holiday.  I both respect my Christian friends, and my decision, too much to celebrate a neutered version of what was in turn a neutered (and then put in funny clothes) version of a pagan holiday.  

Much of what informs my spiritual practices comes from what I've learned about the cycles of day and night, life and death, and the seasons.  Celebrating the solstice fits with that.  We do the whole shebang--open gifts, call friends, and sometimes I even get holiday cards out on time (not this year, though!)  It's the yay, the sunshine is coming back party, rather than the virgin birth thing or the B&E saint thing for us.  Whatever your faith, I hope December 21st is a good day for you, and that you have a peaceful and hopeful night.  Come the first light of December 22nd, the days will get longer and will eventually snowball (ha ha) into spring here in the northern hemisphere on our gorgeous, jewel-like planet surrounded by the stars of our home, the Milky Way Galaxy.  


Kai Jones said...

I will be lighting Hanukkah candles on Sunday and Monday nights, to celebrate killing the people (Syrians) who tried to force us Jews to celebrate their holiday instead of our own.

It's the anti-diversity holiday!

Kami said...

It is an odd time on the calendar, this thing we call 'the holidays.' Hanukkah is one of the most mysterious, to me, and one of the more powerful and haunting of the holidays. Happy Hanukkah!

The Moody Minstrel said...

As far as I'm concerned, the celebration of the winter solstice is the celebration of the winter solstice, regardless of what you call it. Since ages past, many if not most cultures have had some kind of major festival at this time of the year, whether it was the Roman Saturnalia or the Germanic Jul (Yule), or whatever. The Christians basically borrowed and then annexed an already-existing holiday.

Maybe it's wired into human instinct to celebrate at the time of the winter solstice, just like it has already been scientifically proven that music (or rhythm at least) is wired into our instincts.

Pastafarians can call it "Ragu Day" as far as I'm concerned. We can still celebrate it together.

Speaking of which, can I pretend to be there? (Said with moistening eyes...)

The Moody Minstrel said...

Oh, I forgot to mention:

You've been (no doubt pointlessly) tagged. Check out the Snabulus blog for details.

Anonymous said...

Lemme drop a link for some time experts..

The longest day maybe ain't what ya think. I'll leave the IERS out for now!


Kami said...

Moody, I'll check out the taggings! Actually I think I saw one of them, directed at anyone who read the entry, but I haven't had time to respond.

JimBob, you know, I think you're right in that because the Solstice is at about 4am here in the Pac NW on the 21st, that the longest night of the year actually starts on Saturday night. Hmm. Well, it's not like anyone will be able to show up for the party! We're snowed in.

The thing about solstices is that they move around a bit compared to our 365 days a year calendar. They can land anywhere from the 20th to the 22nd, and my default is the 21st. I should check into these things more carefully.