Dark Time of the Year

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Here we are in the quiet time of the year. In the Middle Ages, we’d be in the roisterous 12 Days of Christmas, and coming out of the long month of Advent fasting; these days we are exhausted by the holiday partying that has been going on all December and ready to “nest” in a quiet week after Christmas and before New Years. This gives us an opportunity to think back over the past year, and forward to the coming year.

We all speak of the “veil thinning” at Samhain (and Beltain), but it isn’t just one dangerous night, it’s like the ebb and flow of the tide, coming in and going out, the season of spirits crossing over more easily begins (for some) the Full moon before Samhain and continues until after Yule. That’s quite a “high tide” of spiritual activity. In the dark of winter, it was dangerous to go out because you might fall victim to the Wild Hunt. Even safe at home you had better remember to make offerings to your house spirits, those creatures who help you every year.

The traditional story is of a housewife who buried the lump of butter in the porridge one Christmas Eve so that when he came to get it, the Nisse thought she’d neglected to add it. In annoyance, he killed the family cow. Then he went back and ate the porridge, discovering the hidden butter. It was now too late to save the cow, so he magickally switched a neighbor’s cow for their dead one. In the morning, the farmer went out to milk and discovered his neighbor’s cow in his barn. Returning it to his neighbor, they found the exchange that had been made, and eventually figured out it was because of the error of the wife. So make sure you let your house or barn wight know that they are appreciated! “

The light is returning, but we have yet to reach the latest sunrise of the year (that happens around two weeks after Solstice, whereas the earliest sunset happens about two weeks before Solstice, making Solstice the shortest DAY of the year.) This is a great time of year to pause and reflect and try to be in touch with the spirits of many sorts while the veil is still thin.

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