Return, Return, Let the Evergreens Burn

Resurge and Reemerge, come back dear sun, and warm the land again...

The Solar Virtue, the first god, the old god, the spirit of the sky, the great one referred to by so many of our ancestors.  It is the life giver, the illuminator of both day and night, bestower of lunar light, bringer of famine and plight, lord of justice, rule and right, god of music, math and second sight, eater of self and eventual devourer of this world.  It is our sacred star, the holiest to us because it alone shines the light upon which we depend.  Evolver, blessed bringer of fire, crown of the Horned, when our declination is such that the sun is less present, we feel it deep in our primal bones- perhaps many living things do.

One’s perception of the season depends on their culture, their religion, their country, themselves.  Where I live, on the west coast of North America, winterstide is rather particular, with a vibe that translates across the land, across peoples.  The colors of white and gold, red and green, silver and bronze; the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, evergreens and roast; the icy mornings and short days- this is what Midwinter feels in my life.  It’s a spicy, savory, sweet taste, a chill in the air that is unbearable some nights.  I like nut spice flavored rustic winter, not peppermint candy cane consumer Christmas.  The woodstoves and the wooly sweaters, the baked goods and sad stories of the frost and ghosts of the season.  I like the part where the sun returns, and mornings become bright again.
Spirit: Ivy

Spirit: Holly

Spirit: Mistletoe

The Sun shapes how I mark the days and the seasons, personally- something that’s always kept me grounded, feeling connected to the terrestrial sacredness, to tangible reality when I live so much of my life in the otherworld.  Most modern pagans have some kind of sacred calendar, some “wheel of the year” that they use to mark the changes of moon and tide and season.  These days, that wheel usually consists of the 8 sabbats.  But what about folk witches like me?  Beltane isn’t May day, and Imbolc, like Mabon are not the names used to mark those tides in the world I’m living in.  My sacred calendar contains many branches; holidays, holy days, feasts, moons and celebrations.  Like many pagans, it’s the equinox and solstices that interest me most- the worship of the sun being so deeply rooted in our veins calls to me.

This year, it will be more reflective than usual, a time to meditate on the sun’s return as symbolic of healing renewed and the promise of something after the cold, the dark and the silence.  I’ll candlewalk around the home and deep in the wood, guiding the spirits as I go, letting the light glimmer on the frost, letting it guide me through the dark night as the sun does through the day.  I’ll build a maze from the boughs and light it to its heart and wander. I’ll pop hollies in the fire and bind wreaths all together.  A candle will be lit and, barring ill omen, will remain so until after midnight on the solstice.  The home will smell like nutmeg, the wine will be red and the days will be painfully short as we wait for the sun to return.

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