During our last coven gathering as we chatted while arriving, the upcoming holidays was the topic of discussion. We spoke of the family gatherings and work parties, the shopping and the baking. Above all we talked about the general craziness this time of engenders. One of my beautiful sisters (you know who you are and thanks for being my muse) made a very astute observation which really resonated with me. “Why,” she said (and I am paraphrasing), “is it that humans find it necessary to be so busy during the winter months when the earth slumbers and rests and her creatures slow down or hibernate.” Why indeed do we silly humans do what we do this time of year. When did we decide to stop our winter rest and party like its 1999?
As I am not a historian, I am not qualified to give you absolutes on the exact moment when people began taking their simple seasonal observations and morphed them into the holiday frenzy we have today. Could it have been the first season when we went from small, insular villages to large towns and cities? Perhaps it began in the Middle Ages when the court of Queen Elizabeth the First staged their elaborate parties presided over by the Lord of Misrule? Or was it later, after World War II when life was returning to “normalcy” and there were many reasons to celebrate (if your ancestors happened to be on the winning side, that is)? Regardless of the date somehow, some where we created a season of endless cleaning, baking, shopping and partying, which we seem to now consider “normal”. But is it normal?
Then I had a thought. Perhaps all of this stress and fatigue generating mayhem is our way of inducing our hibernation phase. We humans celebrate with friends and family to such a degree that we no longer find it necessary to quantify our choice to be insular and restful after the holiday season. All of us are so weary by the time New Year has passed we all understand the need for a time to rest and recuperate. The weather cooperates with that need by becoming colder (in the Northern Hemisphere) forcing us to hunker down in our homes, fires and heaters blazing. We wrap ourselves, in cozy blankets, sip hot beverages and fill our bellies with warm “comfort foods.” We force ourselves to continue on with only those things we must do, like work and shopping for essentials when truly we long for nothing better than our beckoning beds where we may find the joys of peaceful slumber. Hibernation phase cocoons us in her welcoming embrace whether we want it to or not. Resistance it is futile. Give in, get comfy, and enjoy your time of rest. Enjoy the normalcy after the lunacy of the holiday season.
I plan on doing just that. My fuzzy blanket beckons and hot tea with honey awaits. There are new books to read and yarn that begs to be made into socks and other creations. While the wind blows and the frost covers the ground I plan to rest and recuperate so as to awaken again at Imbolc refreshed and revitalized. As the earth herself stirs to life again in February, may you also come out of hibernation rested and prepared for what the glorious new year has in store for you.
By Terry Lynn Pellegrini 2017