A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘Magick’ Category

Joy to the World

Our Village

It is that time of the year where people can make a choice about how they are going to handle the season. It does not matter what religious practice you have, we are all affected by the trappings and pressure of the holidays. But there is so much more to this time of year if you look.

The sky turns dark very early at this time of year. As much as I hate driving now in the dark, I love holiday lights and decorations. Our little village goes all out and puts lights in all the trees. It makes it like driving through a faery town. They decorate our Village Hall and the park across the street. The canal goes right through town and the lights bounce off the water adding to the sparkle. We got married at the hall on a short flight of steps with a huge window overlooking the town.

Christmas vacation house

Lots of people got out this year to decorate while it was sixty. It is still warm here and no snow, which is just fine. But because it has been so nice, lots of people put stuff up early, including me. I put my angel out and decorated the front of the house.

Waiting for Santa Paws

Our front window always has lights in the plants. I add my pink deer and my Christmas tree, which is also decorated in pink and white lights. You can see them from the street. I am still working on the tree as I have a lot of lights that need to be replaced.

There are always lights in the garden as well. This year we replaced all the multicolored lights in the one shrub so it is brilliant again. This shot is from last year when we had snow.    Backyard

But think that makes the holidays the most special are the children. I do not have my own children and this time of year makes me feel the most regret of that fact. It was not my choice at all, but the combination of a selfish ex-husband and nature. And why are children so important at this time of year? Because they remind us of magick and wonder. Look at a very young child looking at Christmas decorations.

When I was very little, one of my early memories is of the town where  we lived in on Long Island was holiday decorations. Back in the fifties, there was no “you can’t put up Christmas decorations because of religion.” Matter of fact, the Jewish population sometimes had the best displays. But in town, the Catholic Church was across the street from the Episcopal Church we attended. Both churches had fabulous light displays. The Catholics had these huge golden angels that were lit from the inside of them and they literally glowed with ethereal beauty. I was mesmerized by them. When I found my angel three years ago, I was transported back to those memories of wonder and great childhood joy. (My angel is tiny compared to the ones from my childhood.) But in both cases, they remind me of the true meaning of the holidays which is love and renewal of spirit.

A green Christmas

Every year for the past three, I get the privilege of being Mrs. Claus to the best Santa that ever donned a red suit. My co-worker makes the act of playing Santa part of his ministry. He grows out his own beard which is mostly white and when he puts on the suit and bells, you swear you are in the presence of St. Nicholas himself. And you are. Jim’s love for this role goes beyond just “playing Santa”. He loves, truly loves people and children. The suit is just an extension of him and allows him to do what he loves the most. In the past, I have worked the room, gotten children’s names and passed out cookies. This year because I cannot stand for two hours, I got to sit next to him and pass out our little goodie bags. We went into a husband and wife shtick, which everyone seemed to love. And because I have been doing this for a few years, the repeat kids are used to me. So I get hugs now too. Matter of fact, one little girl who was afraid of the Big man, was very comfortable with me holding her as she talked to him. What an honor.

mrs Claus 2

And yes there were some kids who were greedy. But our Santa does not focus on the toys. He asks the kids about school and their lives. And because he knows the parents who are co-workers, he has prior knowledge and that really amazes them. And yes, there were disbelievers in the older kids who came with their siblings. But you could see in their eyes, even at twelve and thirteen, a little doubt in their minds.

Enjoy the beauty of the season. Spend some time with children if you can. It will help you to remember what this is about. Turn off the news; matter of fact, turn off the TV. I do not find that watching Michelle Obama dancing makes me feel at all joyful. Light some candles and listen to some holiday music. Read to your kids. We drive around at night and look at lights or we watch our DVD collection of old holiday movies like White Christmas and The Christmas Story and my extensive Hallmark collection. And yes, I have a Christmas Manger on my mantle. And it is there because it reminds me of the good memories of my Mother who would do fantastic Christmas presentations on our mantles. I honor her every year this way. This collection has been in the family since 1941.

creche

This to me is what the season is about: family, children, tradition, and wonder. The magick of the season is in the hearts of us all if we take the time to look. Step back from the shopping and the stress of making everything perfect. Take the pressure off yourself, because that is not what it is about at all.

 

 

Honor of B & W Challenge and Spring

c and trees

I was honored and challenged by the good Doc, Victo  Dolore and her blog  Behind the White Coat  to participate in a B & W challenge from Cordelia’s Mom post http://cordeliasmomstill.com/. I do not usually shoot in black and white, so I have to dig and edit. Here is my first image and it is perfect for what I was going to post anyways.

Today I was thrilled coming home from work. The last couple of days have been really pleasant. I am not sure why but I have an idea. I am not ready to share something personal I am working on. It is another type of “therapy”. But it seems to have some real potential for calming.

I am driving home in a peaceful manner. I always look at birds up in the sky. All winter I scan looking for my favorite bird, which is ridiculous as they are long gone come October. They are to me the sign of hope, happiness and better times.

So I look up at this rather large bird flying towards me. I thought, maybe it was a hawk….until I saw the long legs.

THE HERONS ARE BACK!

Merry Yule

little tree

Today is the Winter Solstice and we celebrate it with Yule. In my part of the world, it is very dark as the light does not arrive until way after seven am and it is dark by 4PM. Yule is often misrepresented as a counter to Christmas. It is the other way around.    Update info…. according to the below website: The solstice is traditionally celebrated at the sunrise closest to the time when the sun is stationary before beginning its transit to the north or south. This year this occurs late on 21 December, hence the winter solstice celebrations take place at sunrise on 22 December.      http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=2146414227

 

By the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 2. The actual words of the Second Council of Tours were: “There are feasts on each day between the Nativity of the Lord and Epiphany, except the three-day period on which our Fathers established for the beginning of January private Litanies in order to tread down the custom of the pagans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

Yule is a celebration of hope and prayers and blessings. It is also a solar event marked by celebrations that have continued for eons such as in the circle of Stonehenge. If I could, I would love to witness the light beam of the sun striking precisely at the same location for centuries marking the swing of the earth on its axis. In the northern hemisphere, it is the growing of the light and the beginning or the rebirth of the earth.

This time of year affects me deeply. I got married eight years ago on the 22nd. It was not a romantic reason, but a survival one. I had been facing the possibility of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I did not want to get sick and die and leave my partner stranding with no home or provisions. We were both dirt poor, in school, working crappy jobs and his daughter was living with us in my house. I wanted to make sure he would have the house. I also did not want to be unmarried, plain and simple. So we got married in a very simple ceremony at the Town Hall. I did end up with a tumor but it was not malignant. The marriage has survived although it has been difficult at times. But that is part of being married.

This “season” has been turned into something I feel is very ugly. I hate the greed and the focus on commercialism and money. I cannot control it, and I do feed into the system by shopping for presents. I used to make a lot of my gifts but I do not have time anymore because I work. I used to make a ton of cookies and candy, but I have cut that way down because everyone including me does not need the extra calories. Nothing says loving like spending hours making homemade truffles and peanut butter balls to have people turn their noses up at them and look at you like the enemy.

My biggest indulgence is in the decorating of my house and environment. I bring in greens but I have to be careful with things like Mistletoe and Holly and Poinsettias because they are all poisonous to little dogs and cats. I do put up a crèche on the mantle but that is in honor of my mother. The house is covered with lights. I have them in the windows, on my plants, on my tree, and out in the garden. The sparkle and glow fills me with joy and wonder. We love to drive around the village and look at the decorations and lights. They string white lights in the trees going down Main Street and all the little shop windows are filled with more lights. Our little town looks like it could be in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. There are rumors that it was where the movie was based on; our town and/or Seneca Falls, which is very close.

On the days I work, it is very possible for me not to see daylight at all. I counter this by making sure I have an abundance of electric lights with real incandescent bulbs on in my work space. I even have a string of lights with tinsel and bulbs handing off of it. You can see my office reflecting on the low ceiling when you enter the area on the second floor. People are always amazed when they walk into my office as it is a completely different feeling then the rest of the building. But I also have sprayed it with sage and have other “things” that change the atmosphere in there. It is my oasis of safety.

I still sit out in my chair in the cold, covered in blankets and coats. I am not out there long. But the sky at this time of year is spectacular. It is so crisp and the stars sparkle brightly. Tonight I will light candles and wish for a bright future and good health for myself, my family and friends. I will give thanks to all the wondrous things that have happened this year. I will remember my ancestors, especially my mother. This time of year was particularly special for her. She was the one who instilled my love of nature and gardens. I think if it had been another time, she would have been more into herbs and medicinal plants.

I honor the Christmas traditions for my husband and his family. So in the next weeks there will be a lot of get-togethers and feasting. Actually, that is the Pagan tradition. Their celebrations lasted for twelve days, reminiscent of the song. His daughter is back from California after nine years. Although she will not be staying with us, it will be good for father and daughter to reunite. She is staying with her mother’s family. I have to work so I will not go with him for their visit which I think is actually best. We have already visited with my family yesterday, which is always short, but sweet. We will spend Christmas with his massive family.

My favorite time is when my husband and I curl up in our chairs with blankets and little doggies in our laps, and watch old movies from our collection of classics under the glow of the tree and lights and candles. “All is calm, all is bright.” Blessed Yule everyone.

 

The Magick of Christmas

Mrs claus      Children are such amazing creatures. I was not blessed with my own. I am not going to write a depressing saga about that today. I want to share my experience with a tradition of three years and an honor I walked into to. I get to play Mrs. Santa Claus. I was part of the event committee that puts on the event for all the employees and their families. It is a lot of fun. Every year it reminds me to be hopeful and joyful. Children are so naturally pessimistic until it becomes dashed at the hands of evil. Some would say that it is called growing up. I think, somewhere in all of us, is the child who is still hopeful.
Christmas to me was never about getting gifts. There were five of us and I came at the end of the line at a time where my parent’s wealth was gone. My father and mother had begun their fall into their first bankruptcy soon after I came on the scene. I can remember my mother sharing that she allotted only $25.00 to each child. Back then, it bought a lot more. I remember two gifts the most. One was a little plastic organ, call Enenee table top organ. This was the introduction to my love of music. I was reading music in kindergarten. The other gift was a wooden bucket with my name stenciled on it. Inside was a brand new box of 64 crayons. They were all mine. I had that bucket for years. Neither was expensive but offered the world of creativity to me.
This season is a melting pot of emotions and memories. It is about the beauty of the lights and decorations. It is about the sounds of music, chorales and bells. It is about history and shared moments. It is about forbidden foods and treats. But mostly, it is about the magick. It is about the hope that things will be safe and full of love. It is a time of forgiveness and charity. I learned at a very early age that this is the time of the year where everyone can be kind and vulnerable and it is ok. I think I treasure this the most. To me, that is the magick. In the spectacular of the façade of glitter, deep down, human kindness surfaces, even if for only a short time. It is the time of the child, for all ages. We hope and pray for goodness and joy to be part of our daily lives, and I think that this time allows for healing.
My role as Mrs. Claus is to ask the parents the name of the children and then if there is a special gift they want. I then go up to Mr. Claus and whisper the information before the child approaches. Some parents do not have a clue what their child wants. That is sad. Some children are precocious and come with a list. I know that some will say this fosters greed. But it is not the child’s fault. I do not feel the need to explain how we have created this Christmas monster.
The children react to Santa with mixed emotions. We have the ones that cry and then we have the ones who keep going back for a repeat visit. One little girl who was very nervous had her back to Santa. I had already told him her name and wish, but she was reluctant to approach. Instead, she was eyeballing the cookies and milk we were serving. I was facing her. Santa called her name from across the room and her eyes turned to saucers. It was fantastic. He then said something about her wish and I thought she would swoon. She went over, not afraid anymore, but filled with wonder and delight.
There are a couple of kids who have said to their parents they know this is the real Santa. They are bombarded with imposters at the malls and other places. What validates this Santa is that Mrs. Claus is there and that he knows them. There is one very sweet little doll who insists on having her picture with me. The day ends with the last family of five. There are twins, a boy and a girl, who are now about seven. She is in love with Mrs. Claus and needs some serious time with me in an embrace. It makes my whole day.
There are many components to this holiday season. I do not care what religion you practice because I think that it is only a piece of it. I also understand that this season can make people very depressed and I have spent some pretty bleak ones myself. But I am choosing to find magick in my life and it is so easy if you look. Find the child still in you and enjoy.