I want you to put all your unshed tears
and unsaid words
and unsteady breaths
into a jar.
So when I open it,
I’ll be able to know
who you really are.
Love eternal. 2013.
Sometimes sarcasm can be a great teacher. You see, the shooter’s mom was a gun owner. He used her guns in the massacre.
Canadians baffle scientists.
“Columbine High School had an armed guard when two students went on a murderous shooting rampage there in 1999, and Virginia Tech had an armed police force with its own SWAT team equivalent when one of its students killed 33 people in 2007.”
This time of year, there are a lot of different celebrations going on for many different reasons. Hanukkah, Ramadan, Christmas, Kwanzaa … and Winter Solstice, or Yule. When people say, “The reason for the season!” and point to the birth of Christ, I always scratch my head. The reason for the season is actually, well, the seasons. The rotation of the earth.
On the winter solstice, which usually falls on December 21, the earth’s axis tilts away from the sun in the northern hemisphere. This makes the winter solstice the longest night of the year, and after that, the days start getting longer again. It marks the halfway point of the cold part of the year (fall and winter) and is the official start of winter as well.
So, how do you incorporate simple changes in the season into your life, and why is it a holiday? More so, how do you celebrate Yule, especially with kids?
Well first, a little history can help understand the celebrations across the board. The ancient Egyptians celebrated the Sun God Horus during this time, bringing in decorations of palm fronts, and putting up star-like symbols of the sun.
Romans celebrated Saturnalia all week long, focusing on the god Saturn to encourage prosperous agriculture. They’d exchange lavish gifts, feasting, and hand over the Freedman’s hat (also known as a Liberty Cap or pileus) to their slaves and serve them dinner, though the slaves still had to cook. The hat is on a few state flags, and has a wide history, but you may also recognize it as a special hat of certain tradition as well. (Hello Santa!)
Norsemen believed the sun was a great wheel of fire that would roll away from the earth and back, and they’d encourage and celebrate the return of the sun with great bonfires and large logs to burn on home fires (Yule logs). They would decorate with bows of evergreen and put ornaments like the sun(often many-pointed star shaped) out in the treesall around, to attract the sun back to the earth. Many cultures, both modern and historical, celebrated with fire and lights, to both light the longest night and to welcome back the sun. Germanic tribes worshipped Odin, went waissailing (caroling!), put out fruit and candles, even ON trees! Christmas lights, Kwanzaa candles, Menorahs, and Yule logs are still a very common celebration of the sun, fire, and light.
A lot of Pagans and Wiccans have a fun story of the battle between the young Oak King and the Holly King. The Oak King, representing the light of the new year, tries each year to usurp the old Holly King, who is the symbol of darkness.
This is the dude who bought this lion as a cub in the 60’s, and then when it got too big, he let it into the wild. 10 years later, it was like the alpha male in a nature reserve in Africa and was really violent. The guy went to see it, and it walked up to him and gave him a hug.
Most Beautiful thing ever.