This post should go live right at sunset here in Rochester, NY. When it does, I should have about an hour and a half left at work before I run home, pick up Hubby, and head to the covenstead to prepare and share some tasty stew and share in one another’s company. What better way could there be to face the longest night of the year than with good food and good company?
Some days, I think many Wiccans and Pagans (or maybe I’m just incorrectly generalizing from my own experiences) forget the importance of community when it comes to the Sabbats, especially this one. Traditionally, this was the time of year when people in Europe were staying inside and out of the cold as much as possible. They relied on the food stores they had managed to gather up over the warmer months and hoped and prayed it all held out until they could start growing food again. And they relied on one another to make it through that process. If your neighbor was running on supplies, you gave them as much as you could simply because you might need your neighbor to help you with as shortage next year.
To the best of my knowledge, no one is my coven is in danger of running out of food this winter. But we do rely on one another in other ways. At least some of us do tend to suffer from seasonal depression at this time of year, and I think having the group to turn to on nights like this is a comfort that helps us to navigate through the emotional lows. It also hopes give us hope that just like this longest night, this will pass, the days will grow longer, and our moods will brighten along with those days.
That is something to celebrate. Or at least something to think about while we eat yummy stew and ride it out together.
1Happy Summer Solstice to any readers from the Southern Hemisphere. Sorry, but as is my tradition, the rest of the post will focus on Yule, as that’s what I’m experiencing right now.