Hi Everyone here is this weeks blog,
I hope everybody has had a lovely Christmas and that you are continuing to enjoy the holiday season.
I celebrate Christmas with my family as well but just before Christmas I have a day very special to me The Feast of Lights in my household or mid-Summer, Summer Solstice/Litha to others.
Therefore this blog is Pagan in it’s themes including the optional impression. If that is not your cup of tea you’ll want to skip this blog.
If your staying, thankyou and I hope you enjoy this blog.
Take care all
Feast of Lights
La Niña embraces the heavens
Her lliclla thick, obscuring the sun.
We shan’t see the dawn
Not a crimson streak
Nor orange bloom of it’s glory.
The day cast with a cooler light
The breeze a southern chill.
Yet the majesty of the sun
Glorified in the towering sculptures of clouds.
Tree and shrubs
Are full of leaf and flower.
Wheat and barley
Have bowed their heads.
Full with seeds, ready for harvesting.
The land has browned, despite the rain.
Only pockets of green remain.
Yet vegetables grow, fruit ripens.
A harvest still to come.
The wind blows
The air crisp with delight.
Teasing with a feast to come.
Laughter still rings
Flows down hills into valleys.
Spirits are high as lanterns are mounted
stars and sun disks gilttering gold.
Strings of lights surround window frames.
Candles nestled in sills await dusk.
Draws out the day
To be the longest.
Reflecting the brilliance of the sun,
We celebrate with joy and song.
We celebrate with food plenty.
We are blessed.
We dance with strength
We dance with warmth in our hearts.
Sprits are renewed the soul rejoicing
The glory of the Sun
A treasured gift of God.
Lanterns all sorts and colours
Begin to glow brighter and shine
Reflecting the colour
The beauty of all summer’s delights.
A feast of early evening light.
The clouds part to allow the sun a hail and farewell.
Amber and golden rays
Draping the valleys to our humble home.
Smiles beaming bright as the suns last light.
On this blessed Mid-summer’s eve,
We delay the sun’s passing
With a feast of lights.
© 2010 Tikarma Vodicka
* La Niña is a weather pattern that brings cooler temperatures, often more rain and lower temperatures.
*An lliclla is a wollen shawl worn by Peruvian women
*A tagine is a traditional Moroccan slow cooked stew and the name of the dish it is cooked in.
Poetical Impressions Mid-Summer/Feast of Lights, December 27th 2010
Very early one Mid-Summer’s morning well before dawn a family woke.
A small fire was lit to warm themselves and provide light. The mother cooked a simple breakfast as provisons and cooking pots were packed into a cart. Two bundles of fire wood were also made. One for the families cooking and one as part of the families contribution to the bon-fire that would be made that evening. Two little children held bunches of flowers and the mother carried a wreath made of dried vines and flowers.
They waited in the courtyard of their collective for the rest of their community and set out with them travelling to a barrow that contained the bones of their ancestors.
Travelling with them was a treasured bull and the community priests who served their regions.
They arrived at the barrow to see the other two communites they shared this scared space with also arriving.
The priest readied themselves for dawn and children played and women gossiped as they made small fires and readied stews. The men folk exchanged stories about their villiages and traded hints and tips on animal rearing and crop growing.
As the first rays of the sun carressed the horizon the communites were gathered together outside of the entrance to their barrow. An Elder for each community was chosen to enter the barrow with the priests and lay down the bunches of flowers and wreaths in the grave beds where their ancestors lay.
The priests and elders emerged and prayers were spoken. There was silence as the communities watched a ray of golden light from the sun trace it’s path to the barrow and enter through the passgeway illuminatng the whole barrow and setting the entrance aglow.
The priests prayed some more and made devotions to their sun God.
The community was reassured their loved ones who were recently desceased were now taken up in the ray of the sun’s light to the afterworld.
There were a few tears but much rejoicing. The communities moved to fields near to their respectives villages where they reunited with friends and other family members; talking, laughing, dancing, playing music and preparing for the large bon-fires that would soon light up the night.
Every community had contributed fire wood for the bonfires. Children excitedly helped stack the piles of wood and men made torches that would be carried around the cropping fields.
As dusk began to approach, the exictment was almost fever pitched. The smells of food hung in the air and joviality was high.
Again the communites were gathered as the priest prayed for prosperity and protection for the communties and their fields and livestock. The community’s elders stood by the bonfires and as the last light of the sun touched the horizon the bonfires were lit to much cheering.
These were the times when beliefs were becoming more complex. Religious themes and mythologies more rich. To our ancestors, life with their ancestors was normal. Barrows to lay their dead were made in prominent areas where their ancestors could look down on them and protect them. For our ancestors, life and death were one.
While we can’t know exactly what they did back then, we can see a glimpse through the festivals that survived and the placement of their scared sites and burial mounds. Many were aligned to be greeted by either the Mid-Summer or Mid-Winter sun.
For our ancestors, Summer was a joyous time. There was plenty of light, the air was temperate and there was a bountiful supply of food. Life was at its best.
Mid-summer bought about the first change. They knew that Solstice would hail an end to the longer days and the cold would slowly creep back in. The days would slowly begin to grow shorter.
Crops were about knee height and there was anxiety that they would not grow tall enough and reap a large enough harvest for the communites to survive the winter. Livestock too was needed to be healthy and breed that there would meat and milk throughout the harder days.
At Mid-Summer the fires were lit in a last attempt to hold back the night just a little longer.
Our ancestors believed that fire was cleansing and purifying and bestowed upon them fertility and health. The young boys and girls would jump the fires as they were first lit in the hopes of marriage. Cattle were driven between fires to ensure their fertility and health. Men would go around their fields with torches to drive away evil spirits and ensure a good crop. For many communites, they believed that the height of children jumping the fires would be the height of their grain fields.
It was a night of great joy and celebration as much as it was night to protect their future intrests as they knew how.
Many thousands of years later as I sit on my hill here in Strathalbyn I have a stange nostalgia for those bonfires. In the southern parts of Australia, fire and summer do not mix. We have firebans that don’t allow us such pleasures. Instead, I compensate with a feast of lights. Fairy lights, candles, lanterns. As many as I can, as my little community remembers our ancestors and we too try to hold back the night with our lights as we take joy in the beauty and wonder that is Summer is Australia.
I hope you all have a most lovely week to come. May the lights from many a Christmas celebration fill you warmth and a smile and may you all enjoy your eve seeing in the new calander year!