Important Pagan Celebration Tip: Always bring a flashlight to an event where you need to walk a forest path at night that's lit only by lanterns and candles. If you find yourself walking over a plank bridge above a bog, you'll be glad you did.
Yes, I've been out celebrating the longest night of the year with a fabulous outdoors Solstice celebration.
This is our blazing Yule fire, twenty feet tall, warming our faces and sending impressive sparks shooting high into the night sky. There's no way you can justify that extra sweater you put on around THIS blaze.
The pageant, as always, featured a battle between the forces of summer and winter.
Here is Winter, personified by a scowling and boasting Viking carrying a stormy metal face. Sure, he's technically the bad guy but we love to hate him. :)
Here he comes, heralded by fireworks and enthusiastic booing and hissing from the gathered crowd.
Luckily for us, the forces of Light and Summer gave Old Man Winter a good battle this year and all his sparklers actually stayed lit until he'd actually overcome Winter. The local pagans have been working on this problem: the Sun was magnificent! Put up a really good fight! Of course, he more or less HAS to win after all.
Every year for the last twenty-six years, the solstice pageant here has brought nearly two hundred revellers of all ages (and assorted dogs) together for the pageant's play in which a Child and assorted forest creatures, and lots and lots of children from the audience (who become Summer or Winter Children) become part of the battle between Dark and Light.
Mother Nature eventually shows up to straighten out the whole mess, and we all go on to dance merrily around the bonfire. It's an event that makes me smile.
Later, we walked down the path to the river. A flute played wild and sweet music from somewhere in the forest. At the river's edge, we each lit a candle on a little wooden boat and set it afloat down the river carrying a special wish. It was a magical sight to see those candles floating in a shimmering flotilla, lighting the water as they bobbed and swirled in the eddies.
Everybody does something special to celebrate this season and this solstice celebration is a tradition that is dear to my pagan heart.
I feel very festive.
Happy Solstice! Merry Christmas! Happy Winter Holiday of Your Choice! I'm good with all of it.