It’s December 22 on the calendar. Last night’s Yule Celebration was filled with quiet expectation, the candles glowing in the Dark gave me hope for the coming Light. A small Yule tree, twinkling with miniature lights and hung with dried sunflowers, adorned my indoor altar—along with a lit, pure white candle that I crafted at the last Spring Crossroads, a stick of jasmine incense and a single wooden offering bowl.
This year I played “Wintersong” on the stereo in the background, humming traditional Christmas Songs, as I meditated on the gift from the Goddess of the birth of the Sun. The exchange of gifts is an important aspect of these Winter celebrations.
As a Crone now, I have a more difficulty staying awake all night so I set my alarm to watch the Sun rise. We had a warm spell here in Ohio and the frosty air had receded a bit, so I bundled up and went to the field behind my house to greet the new Day. The sky began to lighten, and I sipped my coffee and waited, the steam from the cup wafting up around my face.
Slowly the sky to the east turned from velvet black to the deepest lavender. I could almost hear a host of angels rustling around in their choir waiting to herald in the new born day. And that sense of waiting permeated everything. I love that time of morning when I can sense the world, still snug and warm in their beds, has yet to jump into the busyness of mundane concerns. It must be the aura of leftover dreams that float on the air. It is a time of crossroads, between sun and moon, a peeking into the Hedge, when the veil is yet a little thin and possibilities dance almost visibly on the air. As pink edged clouds reflect the nearness of sunrise, I begin the Priestess Litany.
I come to the East.
I ask the winds to carry away
Preconceptions and muddy reasoning.
At this moment of sunrise
And the dawning of a new day
I come to Thee seeking
I raise my cup of coffee, my symbol of awakening right now, and toast the Goddess in her labors to bring us Light.
In my family, my children and grandchildren know that I am a Wytch. They know that my personal celebrations are different than theirs, and I am very lucky to have that. Many Wytches don’t have the luxury of sharing such a personal journey with loved ones. I offer them the hope that I feel, and the wish that they may find a peaceful resolution.
To me, the path of the Hedgewytch can be lonely and frightening in that solitude. We seek the solitary road to explore the nooks and crannies of the Other World in order to find ourselves. There are dark places with very little light that may harbor fears and regrets in the form of demons that haunt the shadows, just waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting Seeker. I can offer this. Find your Lantern, your Goddess, your inner Divine spark, and keep it strong. If the Light grows dim, turn to teachers and friends, spiritual family. Connect daily with that Spark, and be fed from the power.
Looking toward the East, I see the first hint of the new day. The Sun has crested the horizon, a mere sliver for a few moments. The birth is in process, and I feel exhilaration. Knowing that my neighbors are still in bed, I begin to sway and dance, and careful not to spill my coffee I release the fears of the receding Dark. This is something that I have done alone for many years. Back in the day, when I led a coven, I encouraged my students to do this, but never required it. It has become one of the personal moments that I share with the Goddess, midwife-ing Her as she has done for me. We share in this dance of life, She my Mother, showing me the way to birth my own life, and I her Daughter, watching Her with loving eyes as we turn the Seasons together.
The whole day is a sort of ritual for me that started the night before. I spent the morning making cookies and preparing for the family Christmas, which will be Saturday night. Around noon, I took another moment to go out to see the sun. We have many gray days in the Mid-West. But today was good and even if it’s cloudy, I know it is there, so I step outside and find a quiet corner near my outside sacred space. There’s an old tree stump near the back of the property, and when Donna and I were looking for a house to buy, this was one of the things that sealed the deal for me. It sits in a small clearing surrounded by quite old pines and just shrieked ‘altar’ to me. Altar it is.
Standing near that old stump facing South and the sun, I continue my Litany.
I come to the South
I ask the fire and the full light of noon
To bring me courage and energy.
Burn from me petty anger and smallness
I come to Thee seeking right action
In all that I am called to do.
After a few moments of meditation and gratitude, I return to my preparations.
This afternoon, in a quiet moment, I decided to do a divination for the coming year. I always think of my dearest friend Brighid when I pull out my Tarot. All those many years ago, she is the one that brought my attention to the fact that I was a Wytch. I remember the day I went to her house and she and some friends were playing the “guess the card” game? I’d always known I had some pretty good psychic ability, but I was shocked into seeing what I could do with it when the cards showed it to me.
Dinner was a simple affair, soup and homemade bread. The temperatures have dropped back to the normal low 20’s again, and the meal was comforting as Donna and I shared it together.
After supper, I went back outside to continue my Litany.
I come to the West
I ask the still waters to bring peace and tranquility
I ask the moving waters to wash away
the busyness of mundane concerns.
I come to Thee seeking wisdom.
Since the Crow is my own totem, I remember him and his gifts. I see the Crow connected with the West because of his myths and legends of being a light bringer, going into the dark to bring back the light. As the sun sinks into the Western sky, and the darkness approaches, Crow is there. Yes, he is a Trickster sometimes, but sometimes humor and shock are needed in times of darkness. And he does like shiny new toys, attracted to the glitter that peeks through the underbrush. The up side is Crow helps me find the gold among the ruins that sometimes occur in my life. The down side is that I have to guard against wanting shiny new things myself. I have to pay attention to that, because I do love to shop!!
After an evening of conversation and reading, I prepared for bed and in the silence of the night I finished my Litany.
I come to the North.
I ask the earth and stones for wisdom,
stability, and endurance. Absorb from me
all stolid heaviness. I come to thee
seeking growth and the quiet of they night.
I come to the Center.
Let me never forget
that all things find their source in
spirit and to spirit shall all return.
I come to thee seeking balance.
I come to the silver light of Moon,
the golden light of Sun.
May I, this day and this night,
find my path and walk it with
grace, serenity, hope.
This Litany was written by Grey Cat and my teacher gave it to me thirty years ago, and it has been one of the few things that I have retained in my toolbox the whole time. On my way to bed, I stop to write this post and to wish you peace and joy and hope.