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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Mother Night

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
That Other Holiday

It happens every year. Really, you'd think that by now I'd know better.

I'm driving home from Sunrise brunch on the morning of Midwinter's Day: fully sated, both physically and emotionally. After nearly a Moon's worth of preparation, Yule is finally here.

The night before, from the city's highest hill, we sang down the Sun, and lighted the New Fire during the year's last Sunset.

Then home again, and the little household rituals; after, out to the coven's firelight hearth-side rite. Afterward, the feast, the dances, the carols by the fire.

All night, we keep the Yule-fire burning.

Then up before dawn and out to the bridge from which we've sung up the Sun out of the river valley on Midwinter's Morning every year for nearly 40 years.

And finally, finally, off to brunch: the food, the friendship, the laughing conversation.

So I'm driving homewards, filled with a sense of consummation, looking forward to a restful nap. After a month of work and worry, finally it's time to sit back and enjoy the stillness, the well-earned Yule-frith, the peace of Yule.

Then I notice the cowans scuttling frantically, and inevitably, every year, I find myself thinking: What are all these people still running around for?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
No Night Could Be Darker Than This Night

Singer-songwriter Sparky T. Rabbit (1954-2014) wrote this song/chant for Midwinter's Eve at Yule 2010. It is one of the last pieces that he ever wrote.

The words appear here for the first time. It has never been recorded. I come to know it only because it was written as a companion piece for the first public telling of my story Midwest Nativity.

No Night Could Be Darker Than This Night has become a foundational part of our Yule Eve liturgy. We sing it in the dark at the very beginning of the rite; then we kindle the fire.

Simultaneously restrained and shocking, this evocative and poignant song beautifully articulates the stillness and mystery that is Mother Night.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Sent chills up my spine, Steven!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What Do You Call the Eve of Yule?

 Who's that rattling

pots in the kitchen?

Hey! Hey! It's Yule!

(Latvian)

 

Because the old Northwest Europeans counted the (24-hour) day as beginning at sunset, the eves of holidays take on major significance, and often have names of their own.

So what do you call the Eve of Yule?

Leaving aside the colorless "Solstice Eve," among the Names of Lore in modern English, there are three major options.

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Yule Rush

Ah, life in the Broomstick Ghetto.

In the days since Mother Night, I've several times caught myself wondering: Why are all these people still running around?

Then I remember.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Midwinter Harvest

She's pregnant, hugely pregnant.

Midwinter's Eve gathers around her: firelight and song, laughter, preparations for ritual and feast.

No one is surprised when her labor begins. After all, it's what we're here for.

We revolve around her. She sinks into her birthing-crouch.

Her cry of triumph halts our dance.

She opens. From between her legs, a freshet, a torrent of abundance.

Apples, oranges, almonds, walnuts, filberts—and one lone pomegranate—pour forth and cover the floor.

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Mother Night

“Mother Night”: a resonant name. Midwinter's Eve: the night that gives birth to the rest of the year.

To the Hwicce, the Anglo-Saxon tribe ancestral (some say) to today's witches, it was Módraniht: the Night of the Mothers. Anglo-Saxonist Philip A. Shaw relates this to the Germanic cult of the Matronae, attested on the Continent in more than 1000 inscriptions (Shaw 41). Many contemporary heathens accordingly offer to the dísir (female elves) and human foremothers at Midwinter.

The phrase (in the singular) entered modern English by way of Kurt Vonnegut's 1961 novel of the same name, the tale of a Nazi collaborator, which took its title from Goethe's Faust (1:3). “I am part of the part that was everything in the beginning,” Mephistopheles tells Faust, “part of the darkness that gave birth to light: light that in its arrogance challenges Mother Night [Mutternacht] and claims the possession of space” (Fairley 21).

Mother Night: the Void, the Primal Darkness. “Diana was the first created before all creation,” says Charles G. Leland in Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches. “In her were all things; out of herself, the first darkness, she divided herself; into darkness and light she was divided. Lucifer, her brother and son, herself and her other half, was the light” (Leland 18).

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Let no one doubt that the Asgardsrei ("Asgard's Ride") still rides the skies of the American Midwest during the Thirteen Nights, j
  • Paul B. Rucker
    Paul B. Rucker says #
    Bravo for the further explication... I attended a lecture ("Yuletide-- a Time for Tomten") at the American Swedish Institute last

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Waiting

So the Mother comes to the birthing-stool. Painted with white clay patterns of birth, she waits.

Around her the animals gather in silent expectation. They say that at midnight on Midwinter's Eve, they will speak. They wait.

They say that at midnight on Midwinter's Eve, the trees will burst into blossom. They wait.

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  • Molly
    Molly says #
    This is lovely!
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Just pulling together the pieces, Molly. Glad you like it. My experience has always been that the best stories are the most speci
  • Alana Erickson
    Alana Erickson says #
    Makes me want to get clay in my hands again and make some little figurines for yule time!
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Around Big Mama on her stool, the under-the-tree menagerie just grows every year: the Minoan bull, the faience hippo, the Proto-Ge

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