I took the tree down. It absolutely kills me to do that; I’ve had the house decorated since Halloween, and a lot of the decorations get transferred over, so for a whole quarter of the year, this place has had the symbols of the season all over it. And then one hits January and the act of removing all this becomes a symbol in itself. I suppose a part of me feels like I’m taking down memories; this has been one of the most dramatically transforming quarters that I’ve ever experienced.
October seems so long ago, but this is the time when things start to shift and change more than we expect. Midwinter is a celebration of everything we’ve reached, and my god, the changes in my life have been extreme, and frankly, they’re going to become more extreme yet, ideally in a positive way.
Even in occult traditions, this is rather a sparse time of year, yet I refuse to see this as anything other than to be grateful for. This is the space that we need, the silence that lets us speak. It’s the lead in to Imbolc or Candlemas on the first of February, the night of remaking vows. Oh, vows and promises; sometimes I think that the only vows and promises that one can make under the Candlemas night are the vows we make to ourselves, but there are others. I don’t mean vows of eternal love or fidelity, perhaps. Certainly not fidelity as it’s traditionally as I’m fiercely non-monogamous (and of course, there is fidelity of a different kind there) and as for love, who can promise to love forever? But what I can swear to is to defend those I love with my heart’s blood if it’s needed. To be the very spirit of the lioness herself when those I care for need me.
These are the days that let us build our futures. Silence is the thing I am most afraid of in the world, the loss of adventure, to be imprisoned in the cage of day-to-day, trapped in linear existence on the escalator to the little retirement party, the increasingly empty days. But now, I’m finally learning that the silence is full of a song, a savage and wonderful melody, right on the edge of the senses. Or perhaps a story, a story about other stories.
The little reminder that the fear is just a game our society made up to help a particular system operate, but we all got stuck in it and forgot that we were the ones who made up the rules. Magic, myth, art, love, sexuality; these things allow us to rewrite that text and make it something better, something stronger, something that belongs to the cold spaces and the wild January nights just as much as it does the glory of midsummer, or Christmas Eve, or Halloween. This is the time when we have to run wild in our own skins, when the decorations are in our eyes. When our memories and our love will make light and song in the dark places.
I asked who can promise to love forever – I can. I do. For all this world, my love, “all that will survive of us.”
(And if you think you’re one of the people I’m talking about, you’re very much correct)