Merry Yule!!

Okay, so I know it’s a couple days early, but I figured I’d get this written while I still had the time to do so.  Also, for some strange reason, my keyboard is rather sticky… which makes me fairly unhappy as that means one of the kids spilled something on my laptop… again.  Oh well, I suppose I shall power through it like I do every other time this happens, lol.

So the holidays are pretty tough for me this year.  We’ve seen some pretty major upheavals in our family since last December, which are never any pleasant.  We’ve got one set of family members with divorce looming over the horizon for them, and it’s really painful to watch it happen.  I guess I have an ability to look outside of their situation and can see both sides, which is both good and bad.  I can’t say I’m either for or against either of them, as I love them both… but I am in an awful place as being the one in the middle trying to console both sides.  It hurts so much to see so much pain and to know there really is nothing I can do to make it better.  Of all the times I wish I had a magic wand I could wave and make everything just magically better, now is it.

Not only that upheaval, but the one in my own personal situation.  I’ve been hurting so much, and while there are good days, there are still a LOT of bad ones.

Last year, I met someone.  A really wonderful person who became my friend and liked me for me.  And due to circumstances and my own inability to step out of my comfort zone (aka face my fear of the unknown) I lost that friend.  Sort of.  The friendship is changed, different.  I don’t get to talk to them much anymore.  I got so attached and then it was all torn away.  I’ve lost a few friends during that time period, and it still hurts a great deal.  I loved them, those friends… but in the end, I guess my love wasn’t enough for some of them.

That’s the thing about me… when I give my love – my heart – my friendship – whatever… it’s forever.  It’s not “oh I’m pissed at you, so now you’re dead to me” sort of thing.  Sure I’ve felt like that before, I’ve been mad at people I’ve loved, but it doesn’t make me love them any less.  That’s just who I am.  I’ve been villainized over the past 8 or so months.  People who I thought knew me better – didn’t.  I don’t think anyone has a CLUE what goes on in my mind at any point in time.  The few things I’ve shared here, or on facebook, or through email, or in person… not even a fraction.  I’m terrified to let anyone know what’s really going on inside me.  There are days that I swear I am literally locked inside the madness of my own mind, and I don’t know which way is up or down.

But there are a few that even though they don’t agree with my decisions, have still stood by me, and I am so very grateful and thankful to them.  I don’t think they have a clue how much I thank the Gods for them everyday.

I still miss my lost friends though.  A few years ago, I lost the best friend I ever had due to something that wasn’t my place to comment on.  It took year before we even spoke to one another again.  But back then, I literally CRIED for weeks over that loss.  It lessened over time, but the loss is still keenly felt and I still have moments where I reach for the phone to talk about the latest episode of our favorite sci-fi shows or whatever.  I don’t have that anymore.

It’s the same with this other person… \the loss is a near physical pain.  It sucks.

Wow. Now this was supposed to be a happy post, and look at what turn I made! Sorry, the holidays have always been a hard time for me.  It’s supposed to be joyful and bright and filled with love and laughter… and while there ARE those things, sometimes I can’t help but lament the sad things.

So let’s just change the subject, shall we?

What should we talk about then? *drums fingers* AHA! I’ve got it! Let’s talk about the Winter Solstice, or Yule.  What is it?  Well, most people the world over recognize it as Christmas, but it’s traditions and celebrations go way, way back into history long before the birth of Christ.  The ancient Romans would celebrate Saturnalia around this time of year, celebrating the death of the old god of time, and the birth of the new year.  It’s where we got our modern day image of Father Time and Baby New Year.  Interesting, yes? How about this as well… want to know where the Christmas wreath came from? Again, ancient Rome.  During the times when the early Christians were persecuted, whenever Saturnalia came ’round, the Romans would hang boughs of evergreen wreaths (not pine like we do today) around their homes. To avoid detection from the Roman officials, the early Christians would hang them as well, and the practice stuck.

But a LOT of our Christmas traditions come from Pagan Scandinavia.  Our modern image of Santa is actually derived from a Coca-cola advertisement, but you still see the older traditional images of St. Nick in flowing robes of green and red, his head adorned with a crown of holly leaves… yes, that comes from Scandinavia.  Decorations on the tree? Yup, Scandinavia again.  It’s even theorized that our image of a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer is actually derived from Odin’s eight-legged steed Sleipnir.

But the one thing… the ONE THING found most common in ALL cultures the world over at this time of year, during the Winter Solstice is the rebirth of the Son/Sun.  Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, and in some parts of the world, the sun doesn’t seem to rise at all.  Imagine how terrified our ancestors would have been.  So began celebrations in order to encourage the aging son to return to light the world once again.  We celebrate the rebirth of light.  We celebrate the rebirth of life.  We celebrate triumph over adversity.  Of knowing no matter how bad it gets… there is a light at the end.  The light ALWAYS comes back.  Great feasts and parties were held in celebration of the return of the God of Light.  It is no mistake that the Church decided to place Christ’s birth December 25, with so many other cultures already celebrating the birth of THEIR sun god, what better way to convert than to tell them that it was REALLY Christ they were celebrating.  Probably one of the easiest conversions ever, I think.

When I was younger, this time of year held a special kind of magic for me.  It was the ONE time of year that everyone stopped for just a moment and was kind to everyone else.  I used to hand out Christmas cards in jr/sr. high school… mostly to people who didn’t like me.  And it would puzzle them endlessly as to the why.  “Why would you give me a card?”  And I would smile and say “Merry Christmas!” and walk away.  I would write some message or another wishing them a bright holiday filled with love and laughter, and personalize the envelopes with little drawings for each person.  I had enemies, sure.  I had people I loathed… but underneath it… EVERYONE deserves a merry Christmas, or happy holidays, or whatever winter celebration they had… everyone has the right to a smile and warm wishes.  I don’t think in all those times, I ever received a card from anyone aside from maybe a very dear friend… but it didn’t matter to me.  Still doesn’t.  It is my sincere wish that everyone out there, whatever your faith is, that you have a blessed holiday.  May you find warmth, love, light, laughter, good food and friends and family.  Why? Because you deserve it.

So, um… yeah, these are just my random ramblings for the Yuletide season.  May it be bright, with peace and goodwill to all mankind.

Blessings,

~ Ravenna

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