It’s Christmas Eve.
Life has been so hectic that I have not had a chance, until now, to wrap up the 2016 Yule bLog. I kind of left it hanging at the end of the last post. Which ended with promises that I will not be fulfilling in this post. Promises to write about issues that demand more Time and Care than I have available today. So, they will wait until there is more Time.
For now, I just want to reflect for a moment on what I have learned from the process of writing this year’s Yule bLog posts. I said, at the outset, that it was a tool for self-discovery. A way for me to work out where I stand in a world where firm ground is hard to find. A world in a state of profound flux. For me, writing is always a journey of self-discovery. I never quite know, when I begin, exactly where I will end up. What ends up on paper is often a surprise to me. It’s like the writing has a life of its own. I am just a conduit. I just have to be open to the process and let the words come. This year, more than ever, this has been the case.
I began the Yule bLogs writing about Brexit. I never intended to. It’s hardly festive. Had, on the face of it, nothing to do with the Season. And I was shocked by the depth of feeling that emerged in my writing. Something deep within me had been stirred by the whole circus that surrounded (and continued to surround) Brexit. And, once awoken, it was not going to be ignored. The shaggy beast of awareness had been shook from slumber and was demanding that I follow where he was about to go. Shackled to him publicly, I was in for a rough ride from which I could not back out.
This year’s bLog was harder to write than ever before. The things I had to say were often not easy to express. Unearthing them was a difficult process. Dealing with the consequences of their unearthing was no less challenging. The Brexit bLog ignited strong feelings on both sides. Friendships were tested. Some went to earth rather than risk conflict. Fresh alliances emerged. Old friendships were rekindled and refreshed. I learned that expressing my views candidly in a public forum caused a reaction. And I think that that is, in the end, a good thing. Open debate conducted with respect is healthy. And a better model to the mud slinging, back stabbing and duplicity that seems to have taken hold of mainstream politics. I learned that being open and honest about who you are and what you believe makes you stronger.
And so I began to dig deeper. Tried to get right down to the core of my beliefs. Tried to find for myself what were the roots from which the rest of my particular worldview grew. Leaves may wither and fall, branches may be cut off – new ones will grow to replace them. But cut off the roots and the entire plant dies.
So, I went on a journey. Via Trump and Standing Rock, I stumbled on. And any faith I had left in Party Politics to instigate the changes we need to make crumbled on the way.
Turns out that the roots that feed me are spiritual rather than political. I don’t think traditional party politics can answer the questions that we now need to ask. Our politicians and political systems are tied to notions of nation states. But our problems are global. The days of the statesman-like leader are gone. We have to be our own leaders now.
Turns out I am an anarchist at heart.
And a pagan.
I’m comfortable with that.
What I can no longer be comfortable with is the hollow commercial shell of Christmas. It seems not to matter to me much any more. If I get the things I used to like about Christmas by celebrating Yule instead, then why should I bother? Even more so with New Year. It seems that I am instinctively shifting my allegiances away from the Roman Christian calendar towards something more seasonal, more connected to Natural cycles, something more pagan.
Which doesn’t mean that I have become the Grinch. I like to see people enjoying themselves, having a good time. I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas, if that’s your thing. I’ll join in. I’ll dance at the party. Hell, I am sitting here typing this in a Santa onesie! But, I know now that there’s another party going down around this time of year. One that feels to me more true, more meaningful, more ME. And that is where my heart is.
We celebrated the winter solstice quietly this year. Just a few friends, a fire, some food, some music. It felt more appropriate than the big parties we have had in the past.
The next morning, as I walked the dog, the sun shone low but bright through the bare branches of the winter trees. It felt like a new beginning.
Have a Cool Yule.