About Me

I was brought up in a family where the celebration of Christmas was taken very seriously and entered into with huge enthusiasm. We lived in a three hundred year old cottage with open fires, low, oak beamed ceilings and uneven floors that could almost make you seasick. My mother would take great delight in decorating the interior with lots of natural greenery – swags of ivy interwoven with scarlet garlanding trailing up the stairs and along the corridor, bowls and jugs full of holly and bay and, of course, at a time when the synthetic tree was the height of fashion, we always had a floor to ceiling living Christmas Tree.

My mother had always been fascinated by the many older seasonal customs and was keen to learn how they first came into being and also to bring them back into use. Our way of life rather supported this harking back to an older age, for not only did we live in an old cottage tucked away amidst farmland and woods in its own secluded valley, but from choice we pumped water from our own spring and shunned electricity preferring candles and oil lamps instead. So as a child, I lived the historical folk research which was so close to my mother’s heart. Over fifty years ago I was comfortable and familiar with hanging a Kissing Ball or Bough as well as or instead of the traditional Christmas Tree. Our Yule Log and greenery for the natural decorations was gathered from our own garden or the surrounding countryside. food was baked, cooked and preserved in the ‘old ways’ using salting crocks, drying, smoking and candying instead of a fridge or freezer.

Perhaps more importantly, along the way I began to make the all-important connection between our human existence and the natural world, which eventually led me to some of the original Celtic spiritual beliefs and practices which are more commonly known these days by the name of druidry. Coupled to that was the fact that we were (and still are) a Quaker family – members of the Religious Society of Friends – so I was also instilled with a great conscience and passion for social justice and care and concern for my fellow human being.

I have learnt through first hand experience what it really means to grow and make my own food from scratch, make my own decorations and gifts and bring people together in a sense of warm loving community. It is the daily joy and satisfaction which can be found in even the most mundane of tasks which can transform a pedestrian life into something infused with satisfaction, pleasure, wonder and yes, a little bit of ‘magic’. It isn’t so much about returning to an old fashioned way of living as re-establishing a lost quality of life.

In the past few years I have often been asked by friends with young families how they can celebrate Christmas/Midwinter authentically while avoiding the commercialization and consumerism that blights much of our Twentyfirst Century seasonal celebrations. My early upbringing and background and my adult spiritual beliefs and practices heave led me to offer my own down-to-earth ideas, some of which will appear in this blog. I hope that there is something here to also inspire you into looking at and celebrating your Midwinter holiday in a way that is more comfortably authentic and genuine to you, whatever your religion or spiritual beliefs, regardless of where you live in the world.

If you would like to comment or offer your own ideas and experiences, I would love to hear from you.
May I wish you a very merry Midwinter!

 

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