The Spirit of Yule has been flickering and evasive this year, more a will ‘o the wisp than anything brighter and more definite – but the atmosphere always draws me in eventually, and, if it doesn’t, I fly to the Inner Realm of Seasonal Joy and bring a box of it back with me!
Present-shopping has, now, been done – and, by a glittering sprinkle of delight, I will see that great late-December Triumvirate – Winter Solstice, the start of my birth sign and Yule itself – in Glastonbury. For all that I had, initially, hoped to be in before Samhain, this new timing works perfectly.
I shall have the excitement and pleasure of buying, and decorating, a small tree – and the yearly ritual of the stocking!
My opinion is, and always has been, that you are never too old for either a tree or a stocking – and the tradition handed down from my parents (who carried on doing the tiny presents in one of Dad’s huge woolly socks until we were well past eighteen!) has been grabbed eagerly and happily by Daughter Number One.
My own lad (and his lass of nearly three years’ duration) are both now adults in the technical sense – but I haven’t let that get in the way. In fact, once I knew the removal date, I nipped out and had a thoroughly enjoyable few hours choosing and buying small stocking gifts for them both. These, currently in bags with the Young Things’ initials on them, will be wrapped and stuffed into agéd wool receptacles once I am in situ (and, no doubt, surrounded by a chaotic gallimaufry of possessions and items of furniture).
Once arranged, two lower ‘legs’ of colourful and plumptious excitement, this ancient form of present-giving will extend its warmth and cheer and wondrous rasp of material against eager fingers into another year, two more ‘children’ (who will, I am sure, pass the message on to their own offspring) and a continuum of love, a Yule rite like no other.
I love giving, always have – but it is not, at heart, a matter of material gifts; it is more about distilling and sharing the magical atmosphere of special times; it is the hot and beating heart of love; it is the presence as much as the presents; it is capturing the spirit of this time of year and using that loan to create Light.
It does not matter what name you give it – Christmas, Yule, Son, Sun – as all gods are one god, all goddesses one goddess. What does matter is the spirit with which we receive these festive blessings and our willingness to pass them on to those we love most in the world.