The other night the sky was on fire.
Like a forest fire.
Like a sun that wouldn’t surrender.
Like a necklace of flames.
Like the lakes were embers
Like the violet sky was a queens dress of velvet
Like the trees were spears.
And it felt as the beginning of christmas.
As if christmas is a celebration of the sun
Last year we decided to skip christmas. The mindless reproduction of societal norms and standards, we came to question that, we came to question everything, we wanted to live on PURPOSE.
Clearly we can’t participate in the feast of consumerism, buying artefacts nobody needs for money we don’t have. And why go through all the hazzle and fuzz, couldn’t we just sit in our chairs, relax, don’t do it?
As a matter of fact do we not have the freedom to do just that? To NOT get all worked up whenever there’s a holliday coming? A feast? Run, go get the easter eggs, fetch the christmas table cloth, dance- as if your life depended on it!
Only… couldn’t we just stop doing that?
I suffer from something I call holliday depression. I get it around christmas, easter, birthdays, whenever there is a reason to celebrate I just want to fall to the ground and disappear. Don’t mention anniversaries. Or mothers day! Argh! Die!
I don’t know why.
I question why. I question everything.
(except the sun)
“Why should we celebrate christmas?” he asked “You look like a walking ghost and the kids gets all worked up, everything is just one big mindfuck. Couldn’t we just skip it?”
Christmas was just something we did. Something everybody did. We were raised to do it. But what does it MEAN?
Moving into the wild was a challenge, a showdown. Wouldn’t it be strange to move into the wild and then to just continue all of the traditions? Mindlessly. Not really knowing why?
Couldn’t we just be?
No rituals, no traditions, no imposed values, normative demands, couldn’t we just exist? As a tree? X-rayed by the sun?
So we decided to skip christmas.
THE CELEBRATION OF YULE
In Danish christmas is called “Jul”. The word for wheel is “Hjul”.
There is no linguistic proof to this (so let´s call it Unverified Personal Gnosis) but I feel like christmas (hence forward called yule) is a celebration of a turn of the wheel.
We used to celebrate yule on solstice the 21th of december. At this time the sun is reborn, in the uttermost dark she will gain her strength back, the days will be longer now. In the coldest, darkest… we celebrate warmth, summer, sun. Because everything is connected and yadi yadi but that’s just how I feel.
Besides I’ve been a practising heathen for more than 10 years.
However; when moving into nature my spirituality changed. I didn’t need special places for it, special words, no rituals or traditions. I guess my spirituality became mundane. My faith became a matter of walking the talk. Believing that you have the power to change. To do.
Appreciating that sunset was an act of worship.
Scolars call it “unio mystica”… that special feeling you get, sometimes, of being connected to the wider, the broader world, the whole. You can induce this feeling, enhance it in churches, by artefacts, rituals, celebrations. But you can also just feel it.
Maybe we don’t need yule anymore. Maybe we don’t need traditions to remind us of community, feast of the heart, gift giving- and maybe we don’t need it in a spiritual perspective neither.
THE YULE CALENDAR
In my culture (the Scandinavian) there is a tradition of a Yule Calendar. Parents hang a big sock by the bed of the child. Each morning the child will find a little gift in the sock. The gift will be from the “nisse” (pixie, elf, gnome). The child is then supposed to place a bowl of porridge on the loft, in the barn or wherever the Nisse of that particular household resides.
The mutual gift giving between this world and the other world is in this way consolidated. Standardized. This is common tradition and most Scandinavians households will do this all through december until the 24th.
(Socks, shoes, clogs are heathen symbols, they symbolise the forefathers, the footsteps, the line that walks on into the future)
The yule calendar has become much more than a sock though. Every evening there will be a television show for the kids, a christmas tale in 24 episodes. It’s a big thing. It’s a coherent narrative.
Often christmas is being treathened and all of the creatures (both Nisser and kids) will work together to save christmas.
Off course big business has made yule calendars of their own; chocolate yule calendars, Lego yule calendars, all kinds of yule calendars, yule calendars on every street corner. Yule calendar emails. Yule calendar competitions.
MY YULE CALENDER
This narrative won´t be coherent. And you can´t win anything. Not even a piece of chocolate. Or a lollipop. Nope.
And I don´t know the ending of this yule calendar yet. Will we celebrate yule? In spite of all that I just said? Will we loose all of the traditions? Or will we carry them onwards? What gifts do we offer? What do we receive?
I don’t know.
We are in the middle of a giant transition, a tremendous transformation. I don’t know who I am anymore, having lived in the forest for four years now… I don’t know. As an author not knowing the story is the most scary thing I can think of. This moment in time, this moment in our story… is essential, dangerous, important. Just as yule is supposed to be. Don´t you think?
Shouldn´t that moment- when the sun is reborn, when we turn the wheel- be kind of…. radiant?
So I will share this december with you. Each day I’ll post. Might be recipes, might be interviews, might be just pictures. Might be special, sensitive, fragile, strong. Might not be. But it´s what I have to offer. It´s a story.
Like a gift.
Like a question.
Why do you celebrate yule?