Winter, The Season Of Wonderment~
All around the world, in every culture there are traditional celebrations associated with different seasons of the year, often corresponding to harvest cycles, solstices, equinoxes, sun cycles, and phases of the moon.
All life revolves around cycles. The changing of the seasons and the wheel of the year correspond to processes which occur in human life as well as in nature.
We can observe them in the rhythms of the human biological clock, the rising and setting of the sun, the phases of the moon, times of planting and harvesting, the cycles of human and animal life from birth and maturity to old age and death.
Due to our urbanized way of life in the west, we have become disconnected from an awareness of these natural cycles. Unlike our ancestors who lived close to the land, we don’t live our lives according to the laws of nature, but according to the artificial laws of “society”.
When we understand that what is happening to the world around us is also happening inside us, we connect better to the natural cycle of nature and in turn better outcomes and rewards are ours.
Winter is simply a hibernation time for all things to rest and prepare for a new season.
Celebrated around December 21st, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night.
Yule is a solar festival associated with the solstice.
Yule has its origins in the ancient pagan holiday. Yuletide is from December 20th to December 31st and refers to what is known as the “12 days of Christmas”. It is a festival that has been celebrated for centuries in many different cultures throughout Europe and the rest of the world, from the Celts to the Norwegians, the Scandinavians and the Romans to the Hopi Indians of North America. Early rituals were performed to speed the return of summer and to bring about a time when food would be more readily available.
Scents of bayberry and pine came down from the tradition of the Yule Log. Holly, mistletoe and ivy have been standards for this season all through time. And, of course we all know the history of the Christmas tree.
Sage Hill has settled comfortably into the hibernation phase of the season. The landscape at first glance appears to be lifeless.
Upon closer observance one can see the birds flitting in and out of the white pines, rabbits quickly nibbling at the last of the lettuces, and today a rather large Snapping turtle appeared in the Bog...hopefully he is on his way to other points.
The Best Things in Life Have History~
Do you know that pomegranates, olives, grapes, and figs have been cultivated in Palestine since Biblical times?
A passage in the Book of Deuteronomy speaks of “a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates."
The pomegranate grows on a small tree with bright green leaves. The fruit looks like a large apple and is filled with many seeds and a red, juicy pulp.
They are delicious...but be warned; they stain your fingers and your clothing.
Herbs and Spices are front and center during this season. The warm spices such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and mace-all have a place in the cakes, cookies, drinks, and breads...don't forget the Cayenne pepper as a warm spice. Sprinkle just a tiny amount into a cup of hot chocolate and stir until dissolved...renders just a hint of a bite...yummy good and so good for you.
Herb of the Season
My favorite herb for the season is Lemon Balm....just awesome on breakfast fruits, in rice pudding, and hot cider.
How to use:
Strain and drizzle over fruit.
For puddings: Heat the amount of milk you will need and add 1/2 cup of dried leaves. Let simmer (don’t boil) for about 10 minutes. Strain and use.
Hot cider: Just add a few leaves to a simmering pot of cider along with a cinnamon stick and an orange cut into sections.
Christmas is a perfect time to start a tradition, something that envelopes the whole of the family, something that has meaning and will always spark happy thoughts and memories.
Let us remember to be aware of those who are less fortunate than we may be, and to act in a manner that will relieve, if only for a day, someone's need.
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Merry Christmas to you all~
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