'Prepare to be immersed in the heat and vibrancy of Florida's natural world, full of such sensual detail that to read it is to breathe it in.' -Jo Shapcott [review of Greyhound Night Service]

Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old

For the past 20 years or more, my sister has had the tradition of pizza for breakfast on Christmas Day. It all began when she asked Santa for a hot pizza. I don't remember which year that happened but I do know my brother and sister and I were all still young enough to be in awe when the desired pizza turned up, yes hot, in the early hours of Xmas morn. Skip ahead many years to Xmas eve 2007...I was with my family for a rare winter visit and found that my sister confidently (now somewhere in her mid 20's) still asked for a pizza. Santa was probably somewhat helped along in the mission when siblings spent Xmas eve night with our parents. I was surprised to find the tradition still in place and even more surprised to find a pizza at the foot of my bed too when I awoke. The next morning we were munching on cheese n sauce as planned.

Now it's 2010 and Christmas will be a little different this year. Our plan is to 'do' our family Xmas on Solstice instead. For those of you non-pagans or non-Earth-centrics, Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year (or the longest dark, however you look at it). It is when we remember the mystery and message of the dark and also celebrate the beginning of a shift to light on the rise and thus, new beginnings. This morning I woke with the light, to the shortest day, after a restless sleep. It helps to know that in the wee hours was the first full moon lunar eclipse happening on winter solstice in over 500 years. So I have woken after this mega event in the sky and to the potential of a day filled with family tradition, taking place on a day when I usually only see my friends. On solstice, my ritual group always celebrates with a big fire, food and memories of the year. This year I'm trying out the combination of family and ritual in a new way. Our celebrations moved to Solstice because we'll be travelling to visit others on Xmas eve and day.

This suits me wonderfully, so much so, I feel like some mystical coincidence of timing shines down on me: the usual Christian holiday that I was raised with combining nicely with the adopted Pagan holiday of my adulthood. And where does the pizza come in? I must admit I'm a bit confused about the timing, and so is Santa it seems. Perhaps the pizza will still show up on my bed or my sister's bed on the 25th. No pizza so far today, which leaves me wondering what to have for brekkie, while I hum the tune of my favourite Solstice song: The Christians and the Pagans.

Happy Solstice, Happy Eclipse, Happy Christmas Week.