What a Yule season this year! So busy with work and fitting social events into it all too! Tuesday I went to Granville Island with a lovely herby witchy friend for some last-minute holiday shopping. The market smelled amazing – fragrant with evergreens in the florist stalls and spices, fruits, earthy mushrooms, coffees, cheeses, and cured meats… Then it was off to bookstores, paper stores, the music shop, and all our favourite artisans. Her hubby picked us up after and we found chocolate and then Guinness and lunch… yes in that order.
Yesterday on the eve of the Winter Solstice I went to the mountain for some wildcrafting as it was a gorgeous sunny day. I visited my favourite trees and harvested boughs of cedar, juniper, and western hemlock and also found the juniper berry motherload. Then it was over to a witch’s house on the mountain for tea to warm my cold hands and cheeks. We talked of magic and our seer’s gifts while watching the bushtits, junkos, and fat brown wrens devour suet in her yard.
That night it was off to my neighbour’s Yule ritual. A lovely gathering of witches celebrating the darkness under a dark cloudless sky full of stars. We bathed our bare feet in a bath of candles and evergreen sprigs. Our bare feet circled around a cauldron and crossed from the dark half of the wheel to the light. Our bare feet crushed cedar and hemlock, toes stained green, releasing the smell of deep forests and childhood memories of christmas trees. We scried into the fire lit in the cauldron in hopes to see visions of our futures. Then it was back to the mundane world for homemade meads and fig liquor with a veritable feast and the giving of gifts. We all left with smiles on our lips and love in our hearts.
Today, on the day of the Solstice, I made myself my very own feast. I cracked open a three-year-old bottle of sugar pumpkin spice mead (which tastes like a dry white wine) and mulled it with a honey mandarin, a small lemon, fresh ginger slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns, honey from a local beekeeper, and some of the Rocky Mountain Juniper I harvested yesterday. It was divine, ambrosial. I say was because I just drank the last sip. I roasted up some chicken and veggies, made myself a beet and goat cheese salad, and put together a plate of sweets – chocolates and cookies friends gifted me.
Then I lit the candles at the ancestral altar and invited the ancestors of my blood to dine with me and share in the bounty on this shortest day and longest night.
A blessed Winter Solstice to all! May it be full of love, laughter, mischief, and plenty.