12/22/2010

Wassailing The Trees On Winter Solstice

Trajectory of the sun on Winter Solstice
Today was the winter solstice, or Yule, as it was known before Christianity and Capitalism co-opted it. Now it is all about presents and an approximate birthday, but it used to be about our connection to, and appreciation of, nature.

Yule was a celebration of the end of the dark half of the year and the beginning of the light half. Trees figured prominently in this celebration. People would do what was known as 'wassailing' the trees, because back then we knew the true value of trees and forests. It had nothing to do with money, and everything to do with living in harmony, and survival.

Big leaf maple waiting for the sun
So like a good pagan I went for a bike ride today, and wassailed the trees. I toasted them with clear cold water, thanked them for their sacrifice, and drank to their continued good health.

We are fortunate to live in such an abundant land here on Vancouver Island. I am taking time today to be grateful for this bounty, and to celebrate the return of the sun and the gifts it bestows. Gifts like the biggest trees on the planet.

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