Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice 2011

It is the time of the Winter Solstice and I am on an extended vacation for the next three weeks. I want to first wish everyone a very pleasant and happy holiday season. Be safe, be warm, have a feast, and give a tribute to the Sun God (in whatever form you might perceive him), whose life is renewed this day for another year. I have always loved this season, no matter where I have lived or under what religious regimen I was subjected.

Growing up, I never really got too deeply into the Christian aspects of this holiday, since the wintry weather, the spirit of the changing year and diminishing light had its own magick for me. While I might find myself dragged into a church on Christmas Eve or Day, the whole religious aspect of this holiday was always quite unreal to me. I found the images of Santa Claus, his elves, the reindeer and the sleigh, and the giving and receiving of gifts, along with the colored lights, decorations, songs and the ubiquitous Christmas tree and wreath to be quite magical and wonderful - and I might add, tangibly real. Although I didn’t believe in the customary religious considerations of Christmas, the magic of the season was something that truly inspired me! However rotten things had become in my dysfunctional family life, all of that seemed to be forgotten for the weeks between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. After that, things went back to being grey, colorless, boring and at times, frightful and abusive. (No wonder I found such a haven in the study and practice of magick!)

Much of that magic has disappeared now that I am middle aged, but I find that it’s still there, under the surface, waiting to come out. As a pagan, I can easily relate to the various secular tropes of the season, but the whole ‘birth of the savior’ theme is quite alien to me. Rather, I see it as the rebirth of the Sun God, but I suppose that the Christian theme is analogous to the pagan one. Every year during the holiday season I find myself looking for something special, miraculous and amazing. I guess that’s where the giving and receiving of gifts comes into the traditions of this time, and it’s something that I still very much practice. You give gifts to those that you love and care about in the hopes that it might touch them in some special manner. Conversely, you hope to receive something very special and meaningful from someone that you love - something that you will remember for many years. It is the magick of that moment which makes everything that happens during this holiday season so much more significant and special, even if nothing special is externally received from anyone. I suspect that the real true meaning of this mystery is to be found deep within oneself, and also deep within the mystery of the season itself. This year I am going to be seeking out something special for myself. It won’t a present or a gift received from someone, but instead it will be some undefined quality that will give me a special and meaningful joy.

Also, this season is the second anniversary for the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal that I performed two years ago. It was in December of 2009 that I performed the core of this ordeal, and it was a year later that I determined what I needed to do to complete it. I will certainly be taking up my specially consecrated ring and going into the magick circle, saying a Mass, and calling my HGA to commune with me. I will seek to be grateful for all of the good things that have come my way, and the fact that I am still employed and employable, and that there is plenty of food and drink, good cheer and friends to share it all with. I will be thinking about all of the Solstices of the past (and there are many to think about), and I will also be thinking about what I should do in the future. It would seem that in terms of my magickal and spiritual development, I am at a very pivotal point in my life. I have accomplished much, but there is so much more to develop and complete in the days and years ahead. Since I am no longer young, I don’t feel as though I have an unlimited amount of time to complete my life’s objectives. Anyway, I will be taking some time out to commune with the ghosts of my past and future as the holiday season expands and wanes, to become only a fading memory in the hearts of most, but not all.

Thankfully, the winter has come upon the Twin Cities in the gentlest of ways, softly announcing that winter is here, even though there has been very little snow and most of the ground is bare. November had some warm days, and even now in December, it isn’t too cold yet. I hope that this mildness continues, even though I know it won’t. There will be snowy and cold days yet to come, until late April of next year ushers in the transitional (and brief) time of Spring. I will be waiting for that change with an open heart and pining soul, since three weeks of my last summer were stolen with a terrible cold. I intend on reclaiming those days by getting outside and communing with nature more intensely this coming year, when the sun returns and the warms breezes of May arrive.

May you all have a blessed holiday experience, and may your cookie jar be filled with the cookies of your choice, of course!

(And don’t forget to love your kitties, if you have any.)

Frater Barrabbas

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