Grace Turns the Wheel at Winter Solstice

 I am keenly aware of the importance of timing when it comes to the seasonal turning of the wheel. Timing has little to do with actual days during which winter celebrations are supposed to take place – at least for me. Time is fluid and open to whatever surprise Nature might bring to my door. Beyond that, my dreaming life usually directs the process. 

I begin after thanksgiving when I tip the Balsam greens I will weave into wreaths choosing a warm day that “feels right”. This year after tipping my greens they just sat there because we had a very destructive winter storm that hurt many trees, and I didn’t feel like weaving my balsam into “the circle of life” until after the chaos had passed. By this time it was mid December. After I wove the wreaths with prayers for trees, animals, and humans, the sanctity of the Earth, dreams followed along with the writing of this year’s solstice ritual.

 Dreams, experiences thoughts come showing me the way. I am sometimes surprised by my intentions or the need to let go of something. Even after completing the writing, my rituals remain open ended. I never know when Nature/or a dream/or an experience in nature/ a person will intervene with a new idea.

This year, my young friend Marcus joined me for a first celebration. When Marcus came into my life he changed me. As he was leaving that first day, last spring, he used the word kinship to describe what had happened between us. I was frankly stunned by such a flood of feelings that they threatened to drown me. How was it possible to feel this way? I must be projecting… how could it be that I had finally found someone who had been lost to me for a lifetime? I felt it, and couldn’t believe it.

 Time would tell, I reminded myself, grateful to be an elder (aging has its benefits)…and it has. There is something so real and so true between us, something that binds us beneath words; this young man that I love like a beloved son – grandson.

So making the decision to celebrate ‘our’ ritual seemed utterly natural. We lit candles, and placed stone bears in a circle on the table he made for me, a table complete with cedar roots! We spoke our words into a room full of star -like candles, with a warm fire burning in the woodstove. We shared deeply personal feelings so honestly, so effortlessly, just like we always do…

When it was over and we had said goodnight I sat there in the darkened room amongst the flickering candles and open fire giving thanks for a moment in time I could never have imagined happening in my wildest dreams. I couldn’t comprehend this depth of sharing with a young man 50 years younger than me. Filled to the brim, my body/mind/soul/spirit overflowed, a fountain flowering in gratitude.

what would I do without him?

The next night I had a dream about having neglected to include an intention that pertained only to me, so two days later when the time was right, I celebrated once again including my new intention. I lit the candles and arranged a few bears on the table with roots; a merry fire lit up the opposite side of the room and all my animals – my dogs and bird were with me as I spoke aloud words of release and repeated earlier intentions,  while including the last in the whole. For the second time in one week I experienced the deep peace that ritual brings when the door opens to the Great Unknown…Grace cannot be explained; it can only be experienced.

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