Yule Sumbel in the Forest
It was a mystical foggy day, the rain only a light mist and the tall trees veiled in grey. We Heathens, and Witches, and Pagans met in the forest and on the way in along the dirt road I saw a small doe who stopped to stare at me with her dark liquid eyes instead of running away. We covered the walls of the outdoor log shelter in tarps on the outside and tapestries on the inside. The beams hung with lanterns and antlers and were covered with boughs of fir and holly, fallen to the forest earth with the recent winds. The floor was strewn with more evergreens whose needles released their pungent resins when crushed under our feet. More tapestries for table cloths and tables covered in candles. We turned the log shelter into a mead hall and lit a big fire in the stone hearth to keep us warm for the cold dark night.
The sun set and we all gathered for the sumbel. We offered grain to Sleipnir and then passed the mead horn to toast the gods and spirits, then the ancestors, then to boast, make oaths, sing songs, and tell stories. Bright faces lit by the fire, the scent of evergreen and woodsmoke, the howling of coyotes just outside our make-shift mead hall, and a full moon hiding behind the thick fog in the sky. After the solemnity and stories of sumbel we ate and drank our fill from the feast table. Eyes bright with mead and ale and bellies full, we brought out the drums; the quick complex beats of many djembes and the deep booming of the frame drum accompanied by a rattle, wooden flutes, and sometimes a song.
Magic and mead and music. Wassail!