In preparing for the season of Yule, I follow the age old traditions of all the women who have gone before me.
Preparation is everything.
This begins in the home and involves casting an eye over all that will be of importance during this sacred time of gathering.
I am driven with the desire to instil a sense of order upon Bealtaine Cottage as the Midwinter festivities approach.
There is a history to this festival that precedes the usual image we hold as the collective ideal…that of a more recent celebration, Christmas.
The Winter Solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years.
It was celebrated by my Great Grandmother who lived in the cottage above.
Indeed, Newgrange here in Ireland, was constructed five thousand years ago, as a homage to the Midwinter Solstice, so this festival of Yule was immensely important to our ancestors.
This was because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months.
Food and wine was ready to eat and drink ,as fruit fermented and animals were slaughtered as feed stocks dwindled.
Even during the morning, parts of the interior of this Irish cottage can be dim during the months of Midwinter.
Light is what our seasons are measured in.
Light was and remains the important aspect of winter and our ancestors realised the connection this had to all life.
That connection, that sense of knowing the elemental forces that governed their lives, was so important to them, that many monuments were erected to this end.
Here in Ireland, Newgrange is the most important, monumental reminder we have of this elemental connection.
So today has been a day of tidying and ordering…cleaning the area around the cottage, sorting wool, and listening to gentle music as I go.
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