Midwinter Promise. Liz Ellis
Ancient peoples may have feared the end of the world as the darkness threatened to overwhelm them, whilst parlour games & baubles dominated Victorian Midwinter celebrations. Today we are more likely to send an e-card, and be jostled for bargains in an increasingly consumerist world.
Although our individual understanding of Midwinter differs, our shared experience of this time of year, spans the ages.
The promise of Midwinter is the return of light in the darkness, the rebirth of the Sun, the birth of the ‘Divine Child’.
To mark our ‘Midwinter Passage’, we offer you this Pathworking, which we rediscovered just a few days ago in a very old copy of Quest Magazine (Dec 1987). We first took this path 27 years ago, and have worked it on more than one Yuletide since. This working does not have to be carried out on the Solstice itself, but can be performed at any time during the festive period.
For those who may be interested in our last Midwinter offering it can be found here……https://sangrougeterreblanc.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/the-gift-giver-father-winter/
Solstice is at 23:03 GMT or grudgingly UTC. In the UK on Sun 21st. We will be extinguishing all lights and candles at 23:02, spending a minute in reflection then re-lighting at just past the solstice. You are all warmly invited to participate along with us. Not forgetting those followers in the Southern Hemisphere who will celebrating Mid-Summer Solstice, who may wish to refer to our past Mid-Summer posts, which can be found in our archive.
However you are marking Midwinter this year we wish you blessings of the season.
*For those of you have expressed an interest in our SRTB Preliminary Magickal Course, we unfortunately have to inform you that due to family bereavement, the publication of the course and the launch of an accompanying website, have been temporarily delayed. However, we intend to resume this project in 2015. Thank you for your patience.*
Blessed Be SRTB
A Yuletide Journey. By Dame Dingly Dell. (Quest Magazine Dec 1987)
Reproduced exactly as published.
Sit comfortably and breathe slowly & regularly. Soon become aware that you are walking toward the door to the inner depths of your mind. You are going to seek the meaning of the Winter Solstice. For this journey you are warmly dressed in Green & Red, and you wear soft leather boots which will grip the snow, and keep your feet warm & dry.
There is your door and beside it hangs a long red hooded cloak, this is your own and you put it on. You have the key….you have it always with you. Open the door and step through, closing it behind you. Study the back, for this is the door through which you must return when your journey is done. Is it the same on both sides?
When you are ready, turn and find yourself in a beautiful corridor. Beautiful because of the great craft with which the walls and ceilings have been made from the living rock. The floors are smooth and the walls are painted in Gold & Silver, Red & Green. The dark blue ceiling shines with light which appears to come from stars, but whether set into the ceiling or actually there, you are too bemused to tell. The air is warm & there is a scent of cherry wood fires coming to meet you…… and is it possible…… the smell of mince pies and hot punch? The sound of music and laughter is before you and you step out of the passage into a magnificent room. A great staircase winds up and standing in the curve is a Christmas tree, decorated with Silver and Gold and Scarlet. Filled with happy people and the children laughing with joy, secure in love & beauty about them.
They are not all alike these people, they are of all races and colours, their dress is of the ages. A set of people are dancing ‘Sir Roger De Coverly’ at one end of the room. A table, long with a white cloth, is covered with all the delicacies of Christmas. There is a steaming punch bowl, and everyone smiles and greets you with a Merry Christmas.
Chandeliers, lit and sparkling, pick up the lights on the great tree in the curve of the staircase, decorated with Gold Silver & Scarlet. You have arrived at the hall of merriment, where the best parties in the world take place. You are given a glass of punch and a pie, but you do not remove your cloak, your journey has not yet ended. At the far end of the room is a small archway and you make for this, calling out greetings as you pass. As you go through the archway, the sound and the light dies away. Your footsteps crunch on crisp frozen snow and the light of the new half moon shows you a coldly Silver countryside. There is a path leading to woods in the distance and you follow this.
You are glad of the warmth from your boots and cloak, and your middle is still warm from the punch. Your feet seem to leave the path and you are traveling at speed backwards through time. You see the feast of Yule as the Angles & Saxons saw it. You see the Romans and their Saturnalia, and then your flight slows. You see a small stable in which a child has just been born, you recognise the child of the age to come, and ask & receive a blessing. As you rise you begin to travel back, you see Mithras, the returning Sun born of a virgin. Now you notice the earth covered with more trees than before and you come to a stop in a wood of Oak, Holly, Ash & Thorn. You follow a track and find that the animals of the wild wood are with you. Foxes, rabbits, stoats are with you. The wren, robin and owl fly before you, and the snow begins to fall. It is bitterly cold and you are glad of the warm cloak and boots. You push on and find yourself in a clearing beneath a flat hill. All about are small round huts, with conical shaped roofs. The leather doors of the huts are closed tight against the snow and you know you are in another time. For some reason you climb the banks to the summit of the flat hill and find a flat lawn, and at irregular intervals wooden posts have been set. They have strange markings and there is a rough stone implement on the top of one of them.
You are puzzled and walk round, wondering what manner of place this is. You become aware of a great presence close by and hardly daring to look up, hear a deep voice. “Welcome my children, your journey has led you far, what seek you?” Looking up at last, you see a robed figure crowned with magnificent antlers. There is no need to be afraid, you are a true servant of the Lord & Lady, and here is the Lord Herne, as he always promised. You answer, “Lord, I seek to know the meaning of the Midwinter festival”. Herne looks at you for some time, “During your journey through time you have seen many things, why should you seek to know more?” “Lord, it is a festival, the meaning of which is lost in our time”. “So, he pauses….wait and see”. The snow stops and dawn is near. A man and a woman dressed in furs come out of a hut, and climb the bank. They do not speak but go to a place behind one of the tallest posts and wait. You notice that they face South East and that two posts are to the left of the one they have chosen. More men and women have crept out of the huts, each warmly clad, all looking anxiously at the two on the bank. They wait silently. The sky in the East gets brighter and you watch in wonder, as the Sun rises between the two smaller posts. The Man & Woman raise their arms and give a great shout, this is echoed by the others who begin to rejoice. Children pour out of the huts and soon you are watching a happy impromptu festival. People dive back into the huts and come out with bundles, which they shyly offer to each other. The children are given little toys made from wood and leather, and fitted with new boots and leggings.
A feast is prepared with much joy & laughter. “Do you understand?” asks Herne. “I think so. The year has turned and the days will become longer, so that they know Spring will come”. “Even so,” replies the Lord Herne, “as you say in your own Midwinter rites, although the worst of the weather is yet to come, the days will never be so short again, and they do celebrate and give presents like you. Now come”. He gathers us up and soon we are travelling fast, back passed Saturnalia, past the the birth of the child of the East, the Celts, Angles, Saxons and Yule, past every Christmas that ever was, until we are back in the bright hall. We pass silently through, some of these people do not know the secret, then walk the corridor glad of the warmth. There is our door, and we go through locking it behind us. Take off your cloak and boots, no need for them now. Go to your chair & sit…………. wake up……….. Merry Christmas !!