Down with the bays and misletoe ;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall :
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind :
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
So many goblins you shall see.
My journey of authenticity has long had me celebrating these ancient days associated with the sun, with planting, with the seasons - celebrations of the turning of the Earth and its profound effect on how we live our lives. Today, in the US, the groundhog saw his shadow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter. I always find it quite funny as we have 7 weeks of winter remaining before we are officially into spring. Living in Tennesse, I sometimes feel we have an unfair advantage to many other parts of the Western world as we truly have four glorious seasons. And, though I really detest winter - in that I can never be quite warm enough - I love the opportunity for introspection, the chance to slow down and hibernate, and that the Earth has time to do what it needs to do to prepare for the next season of growth.
The children and I discussed the significance of the day and after preparing a traditional feast of Shepherd's Pie (yes, I know I'm obsessed) and shortbread cookies, we lit beeswax candles and all went round the table sharing what we were grateful for. Part of my gratitude is the garden space we created last summer which I began planning once again today. I spent the time between putting the potatoes on to boil and taking them off to mash circling items from my seed catalog which happened to arrive today (there are no coincidences). The notion of fresh swiss chard, ripe tomatoes and yellow squash will take me through the next few weeks until the sun begins to warm our days.
There are many ways to think about this time of the year. Many faiths and traditions that recognize this time in February when we look to the light to sustain us through the cold winter months. Regardless of how you honor it, how you utilize it, relish in the darkness while looking toward the light, plan for the planting and then the harvest, go inward and reflect while you can for soon spring will arrive and your days will once again be filled.