Thanksgiving has come and gone. In a fitting shift of energy, snow once more entered my world, swirling through the air, sprinkling the grass like powdered sugar, and filling my family with excitement. It is interesting how our modern comforts have turned this time of year into something joyous. To our northern ancestors, there was real danger in the winter, physically, of course, and spiritually. Snuggled in our heated homes with plenty of food and access to more just a car ride away, it’s easy to forget the threat of snow.
And yet we remember the importance of coming together. I did a lot of that this weekend. My family gathered to feast and visit. We shared our food and drink. Outside, the Cailleach was waking up and chilling the world.
Now I’m home once more and am thinking about the Winter Solstice. As is traditional, I am plotting to bring in evergreens to remind me of the green world hidden under the snow. That’s one of my favorite Yuletide traditions, really. Despite the cold and the now downplayed threat it brings, there is still the promise that it will end and the green will return. It is part of what makes the cold season so beautiful to this modern Druid. It is fleeting and must be enjoyed. It’s like the fire we dance around in the summer – something to be celebrated and respected at the same time for it’s creative and destructive properties. And here in the North Country, winter is a huge part of life. Some people up here complain about it to the point where they become tedious. The cold season is part of this land and everyone who lives here. The Cailleach is part of this land and touches each of us. It is best not to fight it but to embrace it – the light and dark of it together.