I’ve been saying for weeks that we have to make sure that Winter Solstice doesn’t get lost in the Christmas shuffle; that we need to remember the importance of our holidays even through the secular celebrations. This has been a relatively frequent topic of discussion for Lugaid and I, as we seek to develop our own family and hearth traditions. I was a bit lost with Solstice, even as I planned the Grove’s public ritual, because I wasn’t sure how the folk would relate to it, or if they would even find it relevant. Through all of this, I had entirely forgotten to create an additional ritual for my “hearthways” project.
We at the Grove have been busy. We met on Saturday for a private dinner, a Norse oathing and boasting ritual organised by Mórag. Lugaid and I cooked a large pork roast with an herb rub and glaze, other friends made a range of wonderful side dishes, and there was of course, mead. As we sat around the table, giving offerings to the Kindred, sharing our intimate oaths and boasts, I realised that this is the additional ritual that I was looking for.
Our Grove is like a family (perhaps a dysfunctional one :)), and to take the time to create a beautiful meal with them was something that is definitely needed at this time of year. We shared things that were important to us – in a secular context, you might call them New Years’ Resolutions; for us, having said them in front of the Kindred and each other, they are binding, and we can help each other to achieve what we set out in our oaths and make them attainable. We celebrated our accomplishments – good grades in school, creative endeavours, enduring relationships, including my and Lugaid’s upcoming marriage.
We exchanged presents, laughs, and love, hugged each other with promises to see everyone again the next day for the public Solstice ritual… where we honoured Eithne, shared more food, and celebrated with more folk.
Blessed Winter Solstice to you and yours, friends. May your hearthfires burn warm and bright.