The Cailleach has Come, We are Ready

Friday, December 22, 2017

The year is drawing to a close and it seems that the Cailleach has finally made her way to Los Angeles.  Though her staff cannot freeze the ground here, she has done all she can to make it colder, and the temperature has dropped just enough to be felt significantly.  I have come down with the sniffles, our skin is dry, and we are finally wearing jackets comfortably outside.  To show our appreciation, we will leave whiskey for her on the porch on this Solstice night.

Tonight is a night of great magic for me, and it has traditionally been a night I spend alone to reflect on the year that has passed and prepare my mind and body, and be hopeful for the year ahead.  But now that my immediate family is growing and I share my home with someone I love, I will spend this night around a fire, not alone, but still reflecting.

The ancient Celts believed that the sun stood still for 12 days (which is where we get "The Twelve Days of Christmas), and would keep the Yule log lit for the duration of this time.  They would also ceremoniously gather mistletoe from the oak trees nearby, and decorate the house with greenery to remind us that nothing is every truly dead and that seasons are but a cycle, as are all things.  The contemporary hustle and bustle, and glitz of Christmas, which I do love, are not present this night.  This is a night of somber contemplation and quiet.  We light candles this night in hopes that light and warmth will return after Winter.

If you live in a rural region or have planted crops, it is now that you bless the earth on which they grow, to prepare for when your crops will be planted and ensure that they will grow healthy and strong.  Make a batch of mulled wine to keep the cold at bay, and if you're smart (like me) you will leave a cup of whiskey out for the Cailleach on your doorstep or windowsill, and she will be kind to your this Winter.

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