Friday, December 18, 2009

The Winter Solstice

As I have mentioned recently, I love this time of year. I love listening to Christmas music. I love decorating the house and trimming the tree. I love the crisp winter air and the crunch of new fallen snow under my boots. For me, this holiday season is about family and love and all the great things about life. And, of course, it is another turn on the Season Cycle that continues to connect me to the myth of Persephone.

Since moving to Atlanta, Matt and I travel for the holidays. This has spawned a tradition for us. When we exchange gifts with each other we don't like to pack them up and haul them up to Michigan just to open them and haul them back. So for the last 6 years we have celebrated Yule, or the Winter Solstice. On or around December 21st we will have a nice dinner at home, some wine and open our gifts to each other, including stockings filled with fun toys and candy. We really enjoy that tradition in our little family of two.

The winter solstice is a magical time of year. As I think of it in terms of Persephone's story, we see her descend into the Underworld each Autumn Equinox to spend the winter with her husband and ascend back to her Mother with the coming of the Spring. But the winter solstice marks the very middle of her time with her husband. From this point on, she knows that the time they have to part is getting closer and closer.
I imagine on the solstice, Persephone and Hades sit down to a lovely dinner and exchange gifts with one another. Maybe they even go for a walk in the night hand in hand in the snow beneath the twinkling stars and a canopy of leafless trees caused by Persepone's very absence in the world.

"Over the ground lies a mantle of white
A heaven of Diamonds shines down throught the night
Two hearts are thrillin' in spite of the chill in the weather

Love knows no season, love knows no clime
Romance can blossom any ol' time here in the open
We're walkin' and hopin' together."

Just like the young lovers in "Winter Winderland", composed by Felix Bernard with lyrics by Richard B Smith in 1934 (one of my perrenial favorites indeed), Persephone and Hades spend every waking moment with one another. They know spring is an inevidibility that will pull them apart again.

So, In the words of Blues Traveler in their song "Christmas",

"If it's Chanukah or Kwanza, Solstice Harvest or December twenty-fifth
Peace on earth to everyone And abundance to everyone."

Whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, spend some time to show the people you care about most how much they mean to you. Our time is not infinite and you just never know what the future brings. It doesn't have to be with fancy gifts or a lot of money, everyone loves the gift of time well spent. During this long winter, just love one another.

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