Wednesday, December 10

gathering for the solstice

Yesterday was a gorgeous day of wintry sun, just the sun I like. I wrapped up the Wildflower and we strolled along the bayside to see if anything wanted to come home with us - for the Winter solstice arrangement I make every year. This was the first such expeditions out with my little girl. I wasn't sure what to expect. In England it had been cones and large oranged leaves and holly.

We found many pine cones and pine leaves, and a handful of some type of nut. Also an orange-berry plant that was almost a mediterranean version of holly. I will go back for that one as only a small group of berries had fallen. But it felt like it was calling to me. We also picked a few sea-smoothed pebbles and stumbled across a sole weather-preserved pomegranate.

Someone I know asked why we just didn't get a big tree, to decorate with tinsel and baubles. I explained that we didn't celebrate Xmas so it wasn't relevant. And although this had a similarity to it, I enjoyed the naturalness and simplicity of the found bits of nature. It was the tree idea in its origins.

Over here, and in DIY Dad's family, they celebrate Xmas on the 7th of January, from the Orthodox calendar. Although the Mr celebrates he is a non-be;iever, so it's only about tradition. Every family goes out in search of their oak branch or branches. I remember last year seeing branches sticking out from the back of almost every car a couple of days before. They also sometimes pin a small oak branch on the front of the family car. Of course, they would deny any pagan connections, *chuckle*

It's a simple symbol. Unadorned. It's the tree idea back to its origins.

The solstice has no religious connections, it is not encumbered with beliefs. It is nothing more than the cycle of nature. Connecting to nature, we connect to everything that is Life. Connecting to its cycles is connecting to our own rhythm and process of being human and being of nature too. To remain in the connection, we do not take the growing, but instead only what is fallen.


So in a similar way to the Orthodox oak branches, and to the original Christmas trees, we invite nature into the house. To symbolise the change of the seasons. The relationship of light and dark, of Light and Dark, of cold and warmth, of growth and rest, of death and rebirth.

I'm very okay with the lack of glitter and plastic.


  1. Anyone who refuses to believe the pagan origins of most if not all Christmas traditions is in serious denial! Hello -- sun in the darkness! Hello -- mistletoe! Hello -- Yule log!

    Thank you for sharing some of the Balkan/Orthodox traditions, it's fascinating. I struggled for a long time as a girl reckoning why we had pine trees at Christmas when we were surrounded by evergreen oaks in a Mediterranean (So. Calif.) climate. I'm a big fan of adapting traditions to your locality and climate when possible.

  2. what a beautiful tradition. we do both. a tree and the collection of goodies from outdoors. we light candles almost every night, but especially on the solstice. we've got a couple of small pumpkins in the window now holding candles and it looks beautiful. on the night of the solstice we'll light more candles and make an offering of oranges and cakes to Father Sun and then we'll take a bath with whole lemons and yuzu floating atop the water. the boys love this part especially. i love this time of year.
    happy solstice.

  3. Anthromama - I feel that combining the habitat with family traditions is the most special and powerful.

    ladybug-zen - the bath ritual sounds so much fun.
    I aalso light a candle on the day.

  4. we too celebrate winter solstice. we prepare fresh fruit/veggies/nuts and leave them in the woods nearby as an offering to the animals. love the bath idea.
    happy solstice.

  5. That's really beautiful. Such a lovely way to celebrate it.

    I adore Solstice, (Summer and Winter). It's a sabbat that really important to me. Can't wait for Summer Solstice - we're planning a bit of a picnic among other things.

  6. Thanks for your thoughts -- I would really love to hear more about how you celebrate -- I will admit this is a learning process for me and we really want to gather lots of information. I am excited ...


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