today is the famous end of the mayan long count calendar…the end of the world of the 4th sun, and a new beginning.
oh, and solstice too!
ziona and i decided to forego the trappings of the christian takeover of this season. it seemed a rather mature decision on her part. i was fully ready to drag out the old creche, the fake tree and all the ornaments. but recently we have been studying and comparing various cultures, past and present, to learn how people in different times and places celebrated life and the seasons.
both zee and i relate far more with the ‘earth religions’ of various world cultures. she is especially drawn to the european ‘wiccan’ traditions. so this year, we celebrated halloween as samhain, the beginning of the new year, and reclaimed solstice from the corporate spend-gasm of capitalism’s version of christmas.
we made a beautiful altar on a table. it was composed of a ring (wreath) of fir branches, around which we placed four candles, one in the position of each of the cardinal directions. in the center of the wreath, we placed a basket of living sage, and some seeds we hope to plant in the spring. the whole altar represents the circle of the year through the seasons.
no gaudi tree, no flickering lights except for the stars…no massive heap of gift wrapped presents…just the gift that life is.
for the three days during which the ‘sun stands still’ we will clean the house, gathering things to give away to a place in town which distributes all manner of things to people whose income level won’t even tolerate a trip to the local “goodwill store”. we will prepare for the ‘return of the sun’, by clearing a space in our lives and letting go of things from the past.
it has been an awesome thing! to step outside of the usual horrid display of mass consumerism and truly seek the meaning we would impose upon our life.
after the three days of solstice are complete, we will celebrate the sun’s return with feasting at my mom’s home for what she celebrates as ‘christmas eve’. we will, of course, not be empty-handed. we will come bearing gifts and a few food dishes for the table. and upon returning home we’ll light the first candle in our special spiral candle-holder, which holds eight tea-light mini candles…one for every week until imbolc, the next important holy day of the ‘earth-religion’ circle of the the year.
oh yeah, imbolc was also taken over by the christian and corporate entities. others know it as groundhog day or st. brigit’s day.
so, just thought i’d share this alternative way to mark time.
i always say “the meaning of life is to give your life meaning”
and if that’s true, fulfillment lies in the midst.