CONNECTING WITH WINTER
& CELEBRATING WINTER SOLSTICE (Dec. 20-21)
Connecting with Winter:
Solstice Celebration 2015:
On Solstice eve we feasted and waited for the dark to descend. We would go all night without any light but the fire, the better to connect with the longest night (around 14 hours of darkness).
We awoke before dawn on Solstice Day, after having slept in front of the fire. We lit candles on the library shelves around the room, to greet and encourage the returning Sun.
When we heard the cawing of the crow, and saw the first bird at our bird feeders (a downy woodpecker), we considered it dawn.
Winter Solstice, by Rosamunde Pilcher.
One of my favorite novels that I reread almost every December. It reminds me that even if you think you've lost most of the people who are dear to you, you can still find family in the most unexpected places, even during the holiday season.
The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About that Which Can Never Die, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD. This whole book is wonderful, but I particularly like the sub-story that starts on p. 40, "That Which Can Never Die," about a fir tree that wants to be chosen as a Christmas tree. It is good reading in front of the fire on Solstice evening.
The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas
by John Matthews. A lovely book with inspirational photos and ideas for celebrating the Solstice.
The Snowflake: Winter's Secret Beauty
Text by Kenneth Libbrecht & Photography by Patricia Rasmussen. An amazing book full of close up photographs showing the designs of actual snowflakes.
Winter World: the Ingenuity of Animal Survival
by Bernd Heinrich. This book about how animals survive Winter is on my to read list.
The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice by Carolyn McVickar Edwards. I just bought this, so can't say much about it yet, but the introduction captured my attention by describing the first city to be lit by street lights.
Winter Solstice Music:
December by George Winston. Solo piano music. Windham Hill Records 1982.
Celtic Christmas: A Windham Hill Sampler. A program of traditional carols and newly composed pieces inspired by the spirit and beauty of the holiday season, 1995.
These are the traditional movies that we often include in our holiday celebrations. You probably already know them. Watching them makes us happy.
Love Actually- The love lives- happy and sad- of several people at Christmas time, showing that love, actually, is all around. It can be a little hard to follow the first time because it has so many story lines, but it definitely grows on you. I also love the soundtrack from this movie.
It's a Wonderful Life- Frank Capra's black and white classic about learning how much one person's life can mean to others.
The Family Man- Nicholas Cage is a wealthy Wall Street Trader who tries to helps a disguised angel at Christmas time and is turned into an average family man for his troubles.
Like a ruby bright
set in February snow
- Mary Ann Rasmussen