Tis The Season of Release
“Unconquerable God of Life, I loose Thee
into this world of man. Extend your
influence to every corner, like your
wandering vine, and expediently remove
all obstacles that no longer serve me
from my path so that I may embrace my
proper course and well-being. Blessed Be,
O Bull-Horned God of Ecstasy and
It's that time of year again! There are gifts to buy, trees to decorate, and parties to attend. Truthfully, there's so much to do during this time of the year. Even though it's one of the biggest holidays of the year (if not THE biggest), few of us actually get a chance to relax and unwind.
It's quite easy to forget that normal life goes on, and, unfortunately, for many people, that harsh reality comes crashing back rather quickly in the New Year. Whether we strayed too far from our diets or our budgets, there's usually some form of reality check come January. That's one of the reasons that New Year's Resolutions are so popular. During the lull after the holidays, people want to get back on track and make the rest of their lives as magical as they were during the Yuletide Season.
However, witches have a different way of looking at this season. Sure, we get caught up in the holiday hype too. Who wouldn't? But, rather than wait for January to reset our course, we do it before the Winter Solstice, so that we can enjoy the holidays and still get a headstart on our future successes.
By acknowledging the natural cycles that are all around us as we celebrate, we see those activities as magical events that "encourage" the light to return, bringing warmth and vitality back to the land and to us as people who live on that land. At the Solstice, we reach the darkest point of the year, but throughout the Yuletide season, each night gets a little shorter and each day gets just a tad bit longer. The evergreen boughs remind us that even in the coldest times of the year, there is still life surging forth. It is irrepressible! And the joy and mirth of our festivities chase away the burdens of the previous year so that we can start fresh on our goals in the new seasonal cycle.
I have been talking a lot about this play of different seasonal energies at this time of year with the witches I am currently mentoring in Uncrossing Your Roads. As we approach the Winter Rite, we have each sat before our Lamps of Art and contemplated our previous year's cycles. We have asked ourselves where we succeeded and where we may have missed the mark. Where we didn't do as well as we might have hoped, we released our doubts, fears, and insecurities and allowed the sacred flame of the Male Mysteries to burn them away. We have also looked ahead to the coming year and set our intention to springboard off of those previous successes so that we can continue to craft the lives we want.
Now, unburdened by past "mistakes" or "failures," we can fully take advantage of the returning light and the energy it brings to the season to help propel us forward instead of fighting against the current to make up lost ground come January. This is what the Winter Rite is all about for us in Gala Witchcraft, as you can see by the hymn to Dionysus that started off this email.