This was the “Love Song to the Natural World” honoring the Winter Solstice that Gary Phillips offered to our Gathering the Tribes celebration last night. Like all lyrical writing, it is meant to be read aloud. Especially, I think, the commitment at the end.
I hope you will add your own voice to this promise. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, and we are dawning. ~ Beth
Let us all stand and say: “Welcome the Light!”
Tonight we hang in balance.
Like Mother Night we have been made pregnant by the Great Darkness and now we sit in vigil to birth the waxing year. If the sun agrees to return to us it will be 14 seconds earlier than yesterday, holding like a tiny seed the promise of summer.
We welcome the ancestors into our circle; we welcome into our community and spirit the whole of creation around us, the earth that sustains us and the stars above and the creatures of the field and wood.
Overhead Orion dominates the sky, facing Taurus, the Bull of Heaven. We sing to the string of pearls called “Tres Marias,” testifying for a thousand years to the fierce loyalty of women, to the 7 Wandering Children of the Cherokee we call the Pleiades, to the departing figures of Castor and Pollux, the pole stars of Gemini.
This morning the sun entered Capricorn and Venus is afoot in the sky with mischief. The moon is waxing gibbous and raising power for her explosion into Cancer on the 28th.
Hold on to your hats and genitalia.
It is the Eve of Saturnalia.
Lady of the Wild Things, we honor you:
Red-winged hawks are making a harvest of first-year squirrels now that the leaf cover is down and wood chucks and eastern chipmunks have dug to their winter sleeping lairs. Noisy flocks of crows and blue-jays and robins gather at the margin of fields.
The winter forms of the Hop Merchant butterfly have drunk their last drop of the year’s sun and rest in diapause. Tiny screech owls are calling from the woods on still nights and soon yearling bucks will lose their antlers.
Marbled salamander have risen from below the earth to mate and now females clutch their eggs at the edge of watering holes and wait for just the right night, just the right rain, to release them into the world.
The forest floor is bright with winter’s light and now the subtle magick greens appear: crane-fly orchid leaves, rattlesnake plantain, wild ginger, partridge berry, running cedar, pipsissewa.
We are entering the orange cast phase of the Eastern Red Cedar, when the tiny brown cones begin to color and prepare for February sex.
Not only the conifers have color; look to the evergreen angiosperms: our hollies and groundsel trees and native magnolias. There is still fruit hanging from the tree and vine in December: catbrier, sumac, rose-hips, trumpet-vine, coral-berry, sycamores and mistletoe, which is a bright garland of the Green Man.
The winter buds of witch hazel, tag alder, winged elm and maple are about to swell and break dormancy and enter into the great dance of procreation.
May we too break dormancy and bloom, mine the darkness and welcome the Season of Light, Saturnalia, Dionysia.
May our words congregate and fly like the winter visitations of brown creepers and hermit thrushes and ruby-crowned kinglets, our yellow-rumped warblers, our Juncos, our purple finches and white-throated sparrows.
Bonefires are burning on the hillsides of Saxony and the Goddess is afoot, talking to field and lake and wood.
Join me now in an ancient litany of hope, of welcome, of commitment:
Let us kindle our fire this solstice in the presence of all the holy ones…
But with the presence of the holy fire to empower us and inspire us.
May there be kindled within us this evening
A flame of love to our neighbor,
To our foe,
To our friend,
To our families,
~ gary phillips