Well, I am about half way through my Yule Calendar. It seems a good place to pause for a moment and take stock. I have rambled on a fair bit on a number of themes. Let myself be led down numerous diversions and dead ends. Now I want to summarise what I have discovered so far. Nail the thoughts down with words before they slip away. Give the whole enterprise some kind of form. Something I can point towards and say, “Look. That is my Yule.”
I have always liked lists. I think that most people like a decent list. They are very satisfying. Lists are neat. They stand up straight and impose order. You know where you are with a list. They offer protection from the altogether more chaotic nature of reality.
So, let’s have a list. A summary. Of what, so far, my Yule is all about. Here is the list.
It’s about Community. The notion that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It is a time when we celebrate belonging – to a church, to a group of friends, to humanity, to Nature. The key concept is that it is not all about me/ the individual. It is about realising that we can only be our best with the help of others and by helping others.
It’s about Ritual. The key concept here again is about accepting that we are just a part of something greater. In this case, in terms of Time. Rituals/traditions are actions that are repeated again and again over Time. They span the Ages. Connect us to our Past and our Future.
It’s about Sharing. The giving of gifts. The offering of food and drink. The shared experiences. This is probably the most important one for me. Sharing is what strengthens our bonds of Community. It is the sharing of rituals that gives them their power.
It’s about Abundance. Which is how we share. Freely. Joyfully. With abandon.
It’s about Home. In lots of different senses. Certainly it is about coming together in the home with family, friends and loved ones. It is also about recognising that this planet is our home. That we are very much a part of it. That we need to look after it. I was talking with my friend, Pat, today and she was recalling a recent tv programme featuring Brian Cox in which he investigated the possibility of there being life on other planets. His conclusion was that there probably isn’t any. In his view, the appearance of life on Earth was such an unlikely accident that it is most likely a one off. Pat and I agreed that we felt the impact of this proposition like a punch to the heart. If we are the only life in the universe. If our planet is the only home to life in the universe. Then the responsibility to look after it is overwhelming. We are the only ones. No second chances. Must do better. And fast.
It’s about Seasons. Which ties in strongly with Home. An observance of the seasons. Of the rhythms of Nature. Enables us to feel connected to the Earth – our Home. It is important to come together as a Community in the Sharing of Rituals that celebrate Nature’s Abundance. So, I will be celebrating this year’s winter solstice with shared food, stories and fire. I hope that you can join me – wherever you are.