(I think I’m dating myself by speaking in lolcat. I mean. That was SO four years ago. All the cool kids these days speak doge. Basically I’m internet-ancient.)
The world just will not let up. As soon as I was finished with my finals I had to do holiday shopping (so far I’ve only done my kids. have not even begun to think about other people yet. oy). Then a water filter sort of exploded under my kitchen sink which – in the grand scheme of plumbing issues – wasn’t THAT big of a deal, but it left me without water in the kitchen for a few days while I learned how to fix it (almost) myself (a friend helped by replacing the waterlogged wood for me). THEN. I got a mysterious pain in my side which I still don’t really know what to do with, but it was briefly accompanied by a fever so I had to decide whether to go to the ER or not. The pain is still around, the fever is gone and the pain is very different now, but I’m still not really sure how to handle this. In between all these things I’ve had two fairly major paperwork things to accomplish which took up a lot of time and energy.
I know. This is the most boring kind of entry ever. (Does it help to know that I nearly just wrote “the most borking entry”?) I just can’t help myself because I MEAN REALLY WITH THE NEVERENDING STUFF NEVER ENDING WHAT EVEN THE HELL ALREADY? Someday when I look back and think to myself, “GOD why was I such a big whiner in 2013?” I will have these entries to remind me that 2013 was, indeed, a fucking motherfucker.
But this is the longest night. Figuratively (DEAR GOD I HOPE) and literally. The sun is reborn today and the Northern Hemisphere heads back towards summertime.
I think there are two aspects of Paganism that really speak to my soul. The holidays that coincide with the beginnings of each season are the most powerful to me spiritually because they mark a literal cosmic moment in which the Earth’s position in the solar system and on its axis cause an effect on Earth’s seasons. This morning, at 9:11 in my time zone, the Earth was tilted at its farthest from the sun and began to wobble back the other direction. To know that, to picture it, to meditate on it, connects me to the Universe like nothing else. This is how I feel the glory of Nature on Earth and beyond – through science. It is humbling and exhilarating all at once. Connecting with nature, Earth, the Universe, in every way from a simple hike to a holiday celebration is what feeds my soul.
The other aspect is the spiritual and psychological work. This is where metaphor and myth come in. Gods and goddesses, I believe, are as real as you need them to be. In mythology they are facets of the human psyche and the stories are the keys to understanding who we are. To say a prayer, to burn some sage, to participate in any ceremony is holy because it is stating an intention. An intention to connect with the Universe (or any name you choose to call your Source), to cleanse your energy, to focus on the past, present, and future. This is how I do my work to grow emotionally and spiritually.
My life has been chaotic so my ceremonies have been simple. We watched the sun rise on his birthday; this year Bethany’s family joined us. We feasted on bacon and sausage, biscuits with clotted cream, coffee, and cherry cider. I find prayer in every little action. In decorating the tree. In taking pictures of the sun rise or of our breakfast. In wrapping gifts and setting them under our artificial tree. In walking around at night with the neighborhood, looking at all the festive lights, guiding humanity through this dark time of year. But simple ceremonies are no less valid than elaborate ones, and, in fact, I find that looking for prayers in my every day actions increases the meanings of the prayers themselves. Looking for prayers is another prayer.
And so the days grow longer, even though we won’t notice that right away. I am hoping this will apply metaphorically to my life as well. Because I am tired. And I have a break from school right now, but it is only for a few weeks and I am afraid that won’t be as much time as I need to finally catch up. Or to, you know, stop my body from developing a new problem every week. And if not, I guess we can just give in to my elderliness and celebrate my 80th birthday in February.
Happy Solstice! Here’s to sunny days and celebrations (and quiet moments) with friends!
(PS. This was actually a 7 Days post. It’s the last run. Ever. *sniff* That last picture there is my official 7 Days post today.)