On this evening, the longest night of the year, we say farewell to Belenus as he dives below the horizon once again, on His longest journey in the dark. As the light faded in the early evening I offered thanks and well wishes as he began his travel through the dark below, eager to again feel his light once more after a long-awaited sunrise.
The evening here in California was extremely nice. It was warm and calm, His warmth having settled upon us and tucked in with a blanket of clouds, though the night also felt eerily quiet and still.
This first night of Yule is also a time to honor the mothers, those who give birth and nurture and teach, those who give so much of themselves so light can be kindled further generation after generation. We give thanks to you, O mothers, on this long night.
The lantern is lit, the heart of the altar, the font of the Gods. From this flame I capture the heat for the first light of Yule.
On this, the first night of Yule, when the world prepares to wait out the longest night and seek the return of the sun, we pay honor to those who waited with us in our times of trouble and celebrated with us in our triumphs over adversity.
Tonight, we honor the Mothers of Old.
Mothers of our lines, Mothers of our Hearts,
Mothers of my Mother’s Mothers, we invite to our fire this day.
Those who celebrated our joys, those who despaired beside us in our trials and heartaches,
Those who toiled to keep us healthy and well, those who gave so that we might receive,
Mothers, we honor you.
We give to you this gift
An offering of wine is given. (what mom doesn’t love wine?)
That you may be filled with the nourishment with which you filled us
And the warmth brought to our lives every day.
Mothers, accept our offering.
Earlier in the day, as I knew my schedule would be complex and stressful (late night, early morning at work… Making room for Yule somewhere) I took time on my commute to sit and pray and honor the many mothers in my life today. What follows is a copy of the sentiments shared before the sunset today on Facebook.
“This evening, as we light the first light of Yule, we honor the mothers. Mothers that are, mothers that were, mothers yet to be, the very heart of birth and nurture. Be their names known, their faces set to memory, or no, tonight it is they who recieve gifts and blessings, as they gave unto us so that we might find joy and prosperity in this time we have between the stars and the waters.
Terri Jarvis brought me into this world, her first child, with such spirit and a warm heart, surrounded too by her mother and my grandmother, the honored and wise Janet Whitbeck, who guides us still from the waters deep below the earth.
Honor too goes to Karen Whitbeck, my mother’s sister, who had a hand in shaping my youth more than she likely knows.
Linda Watson-Jacobs you were a mother, a grandmother, a wise woman, a hearth-warmer. You absolutely did not need to take a second child into your home but when I needed shelter you provided. There are never enough thanks I can give for your work and support.
Laura Bertrand too, a dear old friend of many years, now herself a mother to a beautiful and terrifyingly smart young boy. Blessings and bounty be upon you, little bird.
Brightest blessings be upon the mothers of my heart as well… Raltia, Autumn, and Nyehba whom I miss dearly and pray her spirit is at peace.
Let me also honor with such love and gratitude the hard working hands of Grey Catsidhe, a mother who never ceases to make me smile.
Of course I would be heartbroken to not mention Lauren Neuman who has, indeed, been a mother to the great, warm tree that has sprouted from my heart this year. The one who introduced me to Druidry, the one who spoke with me hours upon hours, who listened as well as taught, who formed a circle of inspiration with me as my branches grew and we grew together.
To all these mothers of my blood, of my heart, or my spirit… To those named and unnamed. To the mothers of today and the mothers of old and the mothers of my mother’s mothers we honor you, we thank you, we give you these offerings so that you may feast and know sweetness and know kind words as you have provided for us.
To all the mothers, we love you. Thank you.”
I then realized, to my horror, I had forgotten one very important person…
“I suddenly realized after carefully crafting words of love for the many, many mother trees in my life that I forgot one of the largest evergreens in the glade.
Permit me a moment to honor Debbie Gehman, mother to two wonderful children, bearer of my life mate, wife to a caring husband, for without her I would likely be loveless, homeless, crippled, or worse.
Deb, you’ve been a powerful force of care in my life for so many years now and without you I fear I’d not be here today.
Please don’t disown me for somehow forgetting you.”