Welcome Winter

At 5:23 PM, EST, the Winter Solstice occurs and the darkness begins its journey back to wherever the darkness comes from. I think it’s somewhere near Washington, D.C., but I could be wrong. It might be Mar-a-Lago, Florida. These days it’s hard to tell.

Anyway, back to the Solstice. Welcome Winter, I bid you:

Joel Gray, Cabaret

Photo courtesy of ABC Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!
Fremde, étranger, stranger
Glücklich zu sehen, je suis enchanté, happy to see you
Bleibe, reste, stay
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!

Although today is a rainy, rainy, rainy, (Have I mentioned it’s raining?) day, the ducks were busy doing what they do best: sloshing around in the water and eating cracked corn.

Mallard Ducks

Neither rain nor sleet nor wind and snow shall keep the ducks from filling their crops with corn.

I have a ton of beaks all of a sudden. When they take off they leave a gust of wind in their wake that even blew my baseball cap off the other day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another hungry horde blew into my little corner of the river. A flock of American robins came through and cleaned out the berries on the hardy bushes in my yard. Who said robins are heralders of spring? This crew announced the arrival of winter.

And now for the interactive portion of this blog post. See if you can find all the robins in each photograph.

I also gained a flock of Mourning Doves. I guess the word got out this is the place to go if you want to eat well.

Okay, back to the Winter Solstice. I won’t bore you with the details about how the solstice marks the the point when the sun shines directly over the Tropic of Capricorn or that the Earth is tilted on its axis by 23.5 degrees and that it’s the tilt of the Earth, not our distance from the sun, that causes the winter season. Here’s a diagram for all the nerds in the audience.

 

I also gained a flock of Mourning Doves. I guess the word got out this is the place to go if you want to eat well.

Mourning Doves-birds-songbirds

I hope they leave a five-star review on Yelp!

Okay, back to the Winter Solstice. I won’t bore you with the details about how the solstice marks the point when the sun shines directly over the Tropic of Capricorn or that the Earth is tilted on its axis by 23.5 degrees and that it’s the tilt of the Earth, not our distance from the sun, that causes the winter season. Here’s a diagram for all you nerds in the audience.

What I will tell you is that this is a wonderful time of year to take stock of the past months and the blessings you have received. It’s a time to revisit where you’ve been, not physically, and where you’re going, again I’m speaking metaphorically, and I know typing is not actually speaking but I am talking while typing this so, in fact, yes, I am speaking.

How does one go about celebrating the Winter Solstice. Well, there are the traditional ways such as lighting a Yule log and chanting, sitting in the dark and reflecting on the past year, or, my favorite, hold a Yule Blessing Ritual. All you’ll need are two different colored candles in shades of the season: gold, white, silver, red, or green, a cone or stem of frankincense, cinnamon, or myrrh incense, (If you don’t have the incense, don’t worry; the Goddess is very forgiving.) and a quiet place. Before lighting the candles, close your eyes and allow your mind to journey deep into your DNA to that place where your ancestors reside. Think about their lives at this time of year, how they lived without electricity or the Internet or supermarkets. Travel back to a time when all they knew was the frozen ground beneath their feet and the warmth of a fire to ward off the cold, biting winds. Despite the darkness of the night they knew the light would return to the earth, bringing with it life.

christmas-candle-evergreen

The Winter Solstice welcomes the return of the Sun.

Next, open your eyes and light your candles while reciting:

As the earth grows colder,
the winds blow faster,
the fire dwindles smaller,
and the rains fall harder,
let the light of the sun
find its way home.

The last part of the ritual is the most important. Go to your closet and remove an article of clothing to donate to your local homeless shelter. It’s preferable to choose something that will offer warmth. Fold the item neatly and bless it by asking that it keep the wearer safe and warm.

After the ritual you get to drink some mulled cider or eggnog and enjoy some Celtic Yule Cakes

dccc69a468c6531834b846d5e7419ee6--white-chocolate-cupcakes-white-cupcakes

1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 Tablespoon Milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup softened butter
2 eggs (beaten)

Beat eggs, butter, vanilla, orange zest and sugar together. Add flour and baking powder. When well mixed add the tablespoon of milk. Pour into a cup cake tin lined with a baking cup and bake in an oven preheated to 375º F for 15 to 20 minutes. Decorate with buttercream frosting and shaved white chocolate and powdered sugar. Enjoy!

You might also like to try making some Icicle Cookies

celtic-yule-cakes9
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
2 ounces white chocolate, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Then beat the sugar and butter together in another bowl, until it’s fluffy. Beat in the white chocolate, egg, and vanilla, then add the flour little by little. When it’s well blended shape the dough into a disc and refrigerate it for 30 minutes, wrapped in plastic wrap.

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease or line a cookie sheet. Take a heaping tablespoonful of dough, form it into a ten-inch rope, and fold in half. Then twist it around so it looks like an icicle, leaving a big loop at the top if you want use a ribbon to hang for decorations. (Otherwise it can be a smaller loop–it will still look like an icicle.) Taper the end. Make more ropes and repeat, and before placing on the sheets, roll in the colored candies or sugar. Place 1 inch apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes (Don’t let them get brown!) Cool and eat, or hang if desired!

grandpa-2810809_1920

While your stuffing your face with sweets, how about making up a plate of goodies and dropping it by your elderly neighbor’s house or apartment?

Before you tuck yourself into your warm, snug bed, make sure you look up at the sky. Even if it’s cloudy, the full Cold Moon is up there, along with the Ursid meteor shower.

If you do see a falling star, remember to make a wish. If there’s nothing you want I’m still waiting for Keanu Reeves (hint, hint, hint).

Anyway, that’s it for me. I’ll say farewell and that I wish you a blessed Winter Solstice.

IMG_2564

 

Blessed be :}

 

 

About tinthia

Wondering, searching, and wandering, I'm a single mother with a desire to get it right in my lifetime. The flow of the river feeds my inner goddess and fuels my soul. Blessed be. :}
This entry was posted in Life on the Concord River and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s