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Winter Solstice/Yule

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  • #46

    I've been thinking about the toilet as a place of offering and actually, many native and/or early spiritualities honoured two places within the dwelling as of the most importance: the hearth, and -- you guessed it, the toilet. The place of "removal of waste" was seen as a portal to the Underworld and thus sacred to those Gods. In many ancient cultures, the eldest woman in the family was responsible to maintain "ancestor" altars in each of these places, and to make full report on the doings of all family members. Offerings were made and blessings requested as part of common daily household spiritual practices which were known from Western Europe to Japan.

    It is easy to forget that the ancients did not share the modern horror of mortality. They tacitly accepted many things that we today spend a lot of time and money trying to obscure. The needs of the body, the follies of youth and the indignities of old age... So actually, your suggestion would likely have been considered perfectly poetic to the ancients.

    Thank you for sharing!

    * Three first parts of Understanding: An Eye to see what is; A Heart to feel what is; and a Boldness that dares to follow them. *


    • #47
      I really haven't studied about ancestor altars, and a quick google didn't give me any results like you've shared. Can you share more information (or links) on this idea of having an ancestor altar in the bathroom?
      If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
      If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.


      • #48
        Cheddar and equinox, thank you so much for sharing your Solstice celebrations with us. They sound lovely. I was especially struck by this line from you, cheddar:
        Originally posted by cheddarsox
        An open heart is enough, and the universe takes care of the rest.
        That's going to be good wisdom for me to hold onto as what promises to be another hectic year swings into gear. Thank you.

        Lunacie, what a bummer that your ritual was postponed! When will it take place, do you suppose, and will the ritual be altered at all to reflect that it's taking place after the Solstice?

        Glad you enjoyed the slide show. Our yard is now buried under several new inches of snow, showing only the faint outline of a labyrinth. And that, too, is beautiful in its way.
        If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
        helps you feel your life protects you,
        cradles you and connects you to everything.
        Dar Williams, "The Hudson"


        • #49
          I've been sitting here speechless.

          First this slide show of all sorts of people finding their way in the darkness of the year. Then talk of heartfelt ritual by people I know from reading your posts. And I look back at my elaborate altar and little ritual and am suddenly happy.

          Whoever says I need to hear a divine voice to be awake and alive has got it all wrong.

          My sister doesn't really celebrate the holy days but she did want to light a candle at sunset to hold the darkness at bay. I enjoyed lighting our candles. I thought of how historically fire did hold back the darkness. When I turned off the lights and watched the dancing flame of my single candle I felt a connection, not just with the past, but also with all the others who greet the darkness with flame.

          Bright blessing to all who read this.
          The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
          --Bill Watterson


          • #50
            Delayed Reentry...

            Sorry I've been away so long, my friends. I hope it hasn't been too much without me, Windsmith. I'm hoping to be more and more present as the year goes on.

            As Windsmith knows, but others of you don't, my Winter Solstice took a different turn this year. I would've been excited to find a new way to celebrate the transition from dark to light... but the universe found a different way to share the meaning of this part of the year with me.

            Right before Hallow's Eve, our cat, Basha, was diagnosed with a severe illness, and I spent much time caring for her, which took my heart and mind away from many other things I do. It was an up and down ride that seemed sometimes to be buoyed by the miraculous, and sometimes to represent a drop into the crevasse of fear and grief.

            Since then, I've been given many lessons about illness and death--seemingly appropriate for the part of the year that happens between the dark end of harvest time and the longest dark of the year. Elderly and very sick friends at our church died, one had a mild stroke... my mother began pondering her death, and her handling of her mother's death many years ago.

            Then, at Solstice, we had to say goodbye to Basha, our kitty companion of over 11 and 1/2 years and our first animal companion after our marriage. On the darkest night of the year, that darkness came to us. Our little girl is buried in the back yard, and is now resting under a warm blanket of snow that has been building over most of the intervening week between her death and now.

            It's been very hard, as deeply as I valued her and value all life, human or otherwise. But the process has indeed offered lessons and new perspectives on death and life and what we do and don't do for those we love. And it's all about love.

            And as if to say, "Here's another angle..."--on that same night, a dear friend's son and his wife birthed their first child. Dark into light.

            Cheddar's right--while ritual is comforting and I find it to be a beautiful expression of my beliefs, we don't really need to do anything. Sometimes just opening your heart to the universe allows the universe to open to you.

            Peace, friends
            Last edited by Eleisawolf; December 29th, 2007, 06:09 PM.
            Working for Peace Pruning the Rambles

            :hahugh: Banner made by me :hahugh:
            Definition of skepticism: Don't believe everything you think.

            In wildness is the preservation of the world ~Henry David Thoreau

            Pantheism Path Forum Guide

            In memoriam, Basha: 4/1996 - 12/2007 * * * In memoriam, Tika: 9/1996 - 3/2008


            • #51

              I'm glad you checked in...been wondering about you. Life is just sooo BIG sometimes...


              In a love affair with sunshine

              Live this day like an altar to what you believe


              • #52
                BUH! I forgot to bump this before the Solstice! Bad guide; no biscuit!

                So...anyone care to share anything delightful that they did?

                Y'all may remember that my wife and I stayed up all night for the '07 Solstice, and that it did not go all that well. This year, we did a modified version of that ritual. Just before sunset, we went into our bedroom with all of our necessary accoutrements and cast and called. Other than a trip downstairs to dish up dinner when it was done (we started it at about noon, in the crockpot) and a couple of others to go to the bathroom, we didn't leave the bedroom the rest of the ritual. I know this is how most people's rituals go, but ours usually range all over the house and yard and sometimes beyond, so this was a very deliberate choice on our part, symbolic of the introspective nature that the holiday has for us, and the way the world seems to close in on itself at this time of year.

                We made art, did divination, balanced Deep, Meaningful Talks about the season with meditative silences. When we needed to sleep, we gave ourselves a "dreamseed" to carry with us. I had some...fascinating dreams, to say the least. We woke up a few minutes before sunrise, "saw" in the light (no windows on the East side of the house does complicate this a bit), and devoked. All in all, a much greater success both spiritually and physically than last year.

                Then we made the worst brownies ever, but that wasn't part of the ritual.
                If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
                helps you feel your life protects you,
                cradles you and connects you to everything.
                Dar Williams, "The Hudson"


                • #53
                  Here is a link to some Yule/Winter Solstice recipes

                  In a love affair with sunshine

                  Live this day like an altar to what you believe


                  • #54
                    Happy Winter Solstice 2009

                    Hope you all had a wonderful solstice!


                    • #55
                      I hope you all had a wonderful Winter Solstice/Yule. I stayed up all night.

                      "Madness takes its toll, please have exact change".

                      -Jessica [aka Whitewolf]sigpic


                      My Paganspace page:


                      • #56
                        the sun should rise soon -- we'll be ringing it in! (: blessed solstice.
                        little zombies by p. robertson
                        i was by zetta


                        • #57
                          We were on vacation in Chicago over Solstice, and that night we went to Buddy Guy's Legends, a blues club downtown. Best spontaneous Solstice ritual ever.
                          If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
                          helps you feel your life protects you,
                          cradles you and connects you to everything.
                          Dar Williams, "The Hudson"


                          • #58
                            Another Winter Solstice rolls around for us'ns in the Northern Hemisphere. Is there an evil hand afoot ahead (sorry. Could not resist)?

                            Our Solstice plans are in flux, but there will be lunar-eclipse-watching, and time with all the lights out, and "dark divination", as the Missus calls it.

                            This has become a somber holiday for us, The Night We Give the Dark Its Due. We sit up with the darkness, we ponder its challenging gifts, we honor and explore the darker parts of ourselves. It is a reclamation of wholeness in a time and culture that would prefer to turn away from the dark or drive it out completely.

                            Anyone else?
                            If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
                            helps you feel your life protects you,
                            cradles you and connects you to everything.
                            Dar Williams, "The Hudson"