Here are Jan's thoughts:
ceremony is held in particular affection by the group with which I
work, for it is also our “birthday”. To this day, I do not quite
know why we selected this end-of-year ceremony to make our very first
working – my memory vaguely reminds me we had been waiting forever to
be sure we could go ahead, and then just dived in as soon as we got
word. Whatever the reason, this factor introduces an
additional level of celebration into proceedings.
I remember our
(somewhat frantic) last minute hunt for a Yule log. Since we had given
up all hope of getting word before Lights we had made no preparations
at all. We must have hunted through all the local woods before
finally finding a dry, insect free and beautifully shaped chunk of wood
gifted by an oak tree. Considering how rarely oak trees
occur in woods in this locality - and most particularly those oak trees
which will conveniently drop a branch into a rocky overhang that keeps
it dry - clearly all our hunting was worthwhile. To this
day that self-same log adorns the centre of our altar, surrounded with
all things sparkly and pretty, and lit by many candles.
These days one end of it is covered with dried rivulets of wax
accumulated over the years of working, and the seasoned wood holds onto
just a little bit more green scatter glitter every year.
the log itself are big sprigs of holly. I’m disappointed that I have
not yet managed to grow a lady holly starred by scarlet red berries,
but my male bushes supply us with glossy deep green leaves every year –
then we have to try to beat the birds to a few berry-scattered boughs
out in those selfsame woods. My own spruce supplies the boughs of
fir which build the back of the altar. We also have some
glass globes which nestle amid the greenery, and all is scattered with
crimson twists of ribbon. So far we have always had to buy our
mistletoe….but it HAS to be there. Naturally, there is also
food…we do enjoy a good munch during reports!
Flowers here are
usually substituted for a living poinsettia plant – which sadly STILL
ends up as an offering to the Gods in its demise due to my inability to
keep this vibrant plant going for more than a couple of
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