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The Solstice Wreath
Sandra Michaelson Brown

The grim news has come to my attention

That something in the world has come unfixed –

Owls no longer haunt the fir-lined alley

Appearing out of dreamtime as we pass,

Indeed, whole souls are missing, as if being

Has itself gone dim –like an old man's seeing.

A vital light is missing from this world, by which I mean

That ephemeral gold that spins the seen

And unseen worlds together. In my life

I don't expect to see a springtime swelling

Of the shriveled nut so many human spirits

Have become. What's to be done?

This is the winter solstice of an age,

Although the season's worst is yet to come.

What's delicate and true has come undone:

Is the only fitting answer a pure and focused rage?

Today I wove a wreath of bone and fir

and filbert withes, wound in sacred holly,

incense, cedar, from an ancient tree

I wove, affixed a star, and spoke a spell:

"Let this circle stand as the gate of winter

sure passage to the days of lengthening light."

And then I whispered names into the fragrant bough

Lacing love like a scarlet ribbon through the fronds.

Long I wove and dreamed back friends and kin,

each great soul calling back the sun

and thought at last, "My life here is not done."

and some bright star rekindled from within

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Winter Solstice sunset at my own personal Gate of Winter.

I always brighten up when the days start to lengthen, even though I know it's now winter begins.
Here comes the sun.
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If you look close, you might see the hummingbird hovering on the right side of the feeder.
Very nice…. we had a fire out in the back yard last night, with a small group of quiet and good friends.
Spiced cider, mulled wine. Not a bad night.
I like extremes. I got snow, but not a whole lot else.
Hummer hanging around at the gate of winter - he must really like you. He should have been in Mexico by then. But I don't know about the northwest - results may vary.

Celebration fire at the winter solstice goes back to the dawn of jocko homo. The first time I ever set foot on my property was the winter solstice. It was a foggy, drizzly day. My wife and I spent the day in the woods there (didn't even have keys to the house yet, and didn't care), and had a small fire on a bed of slate, fueled with holly. Paintshop later smoked out the Green Man therein.

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There are some hummingbirds of the Anna's variety that have come to like the Puget Sound area. So much so, they no longer migrate. I've had the feeder out without fail every day since a year ago late July.
I see at least one bird every day.

I have a pic or two somewhere of a poor, little, freezing bastard out in the old hedge grow surrounded by snow in single digit temps…
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The following winter, we had a bigger fire where the center stone of the stone circle (previously pictured) is now. They build fires, but much bigger, maybe twenty feet high, on the levee upriver from New Orleans on Christmas Eve. You can read pieces (written by idiots) in the Times Picayune about this tradition, wherein the fires are attributed to "lighting the way for Santa Claus". They never heard of Stonehenge.

Santa who?
"Santa, pass us that bottle" (right at the very end of an otherwise preachy but appropriate piece) ...
Bruno Rygseck
I visited Newgrange (in Ireland) in 1986 but that was in the summer… magnificent place.

Another of my Christmas Favorites.
Father Christmas…

"Santa, pass us that bottle" (right at the very end of an otherwise preachy but appropriate piece) …

I'd always heard that as, "Hey, censor, …" and thought the irony was delicious. Damn. Talk about having your childhood illusions destroyed.
I visited Newgrange

An experience to be envied! I watched a live feed on the Internet one solstice (don't remember which, but it was probably winter) of the sunlight going to the heart of Newgrange and lighting up a spiral on the wall.

Stone circles work both ways, summer or winter, if they're aligned right (you can see the spring and autumn equinox stones to the left and right of the center stone as well, in the picture above). But in the underground ones, and with some of the ancient temples of Egypt, obviously only one day of the year makes it work like it was intended.
I'd always heard that as, "Hey, censor, …" and thought the irony was delicious.

The first version I found today was Jesusy (don't get me wrong, Jesus is just alright with me) and that line was indeed cut out. Not like Jesus didn't drink wine or anything. For me, Bruce Springsteen sings something like "wrapped like a doucher in the roller of the night" (don't like the song anyway). Someone told me once what the actual words are, but it didn't take.
Manfred Mann nailed that doucher's song.
Artemis, that mirror-image green man in the holly is truly cool.
Just one? Look closer. The Green Man goes feuille morte, you know. Often mistaken for the devil, too - focus dead center.
Indeed…all kinds of faces in this shot…really nice work. The cat-like fella right above the holly face is off the hook. The face in the dead leaves below, is subtle, beautiful and spooky at the same time, with that butterfly jaw thing going on…a bit of Mothman Prophesies perhaps. Nature spirits revealed, eh? How'd they feel about getting spotted?
I've always wanted to set some stones like that. Farmers around here get picky when you try to put a stone back into the field they spent their youth hauling out of. I do try to use the natural landmarks, telephone pole, house, smoke stack, but it's just not the same.
I used telephone poles and such for years when I was transient and in no position to alter the landscape.

My stone circle is scaled down from the dimensions at Stonehenge. Most of the stones are small, used only to define the circle. It took a year's worth of observation of the rising and setting sun on the appropriate days to set the locations of the larger marker stones for the solstices and equinoxes. It may have been more than a year - no guarantee of clear skies on the appropriate days. There are plenty of stones on the property, but they're not as fine as the ones in and near a big creek nearby (those having been shaped by the water and all). The biggest one (not in any of the pictures - it's for the rising summer solstice) was dragged up from there using a chain and a pickup truck.

You have a good spot Kirk - obviously, as with my place, the mountains cause your first and last views of the sun to be well off from where they would have been on flat terrain, if the such as Salisbury Plain, but a circle is still a circle and the thing will still work, even if the markers wind up being a little cattywampus with each other when viewed out of context with the sun.
I like the face in the center of the holly fire image too. It startled me when I first saw it - a cat gargoyle with wings of fire. At the top is a sphinx moth, too.
Nature spirits revealed, eh?

Indeed. Check out the eagles in a cross-section of a piece of fruit:
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How'd they feel about getting spotted?

They don't chase you down and beat you like Sean Penn with a paparazzi, but it's probably best not to piss them off if you can help it.

QUOTE(Artemis @ Dec 22 2011, 08:06 PM) *

The Green Man goes feuille morte, you know. Often mistaken for the devil…

Only by those who have no respect for his elders.
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