The Winter Solstice

At the urging of my students, Clan Bradan will attend a public Winter Solstice ritual in Hampden tomorrow. My students are curious to see how other pagans celebrate Yule, also known as the Winter Solstice. I’m apprehensive and excited at the same time. I’ve been to a number of outside pagan events before and have withdrawn because like any community, there are egos and agendas to negotiate.

ImageThis is my lovely Yule tree (before the cats destroyed it).

I’m older and a little wiser (I think) but as a Mentor to this small group of wide-eyed witches, I am fretting over what they will get out of the ritual. Though they are experienced with moving energy, we’ve never worked on this scale. Others, or even my students, may realize that I have sheltered them to some degree (and for a good reason). I will be introduced to their new friends as their “High Priestess” (gah!). That idea is troublesome.

When I was younger, I wanted so much to be a “High Priestess.” I thought it was the be-all-end-all of my spiritual journey. Now that I’ve been through a number of evolutions (and devolutions) on my path, I couldn’t care less what title I’m given. I could be “Queen of Quite A Lot” or “Lil’ Miss Princess of Paganism” for all the good it would do me. Now I just see myself as responsible for the people I’ve taught. I’m hoping that what I’ve taught shines true within each of them.

I see them as my children in some ways. I have encouraged them to look at other view points, to form their own opinions (backed up with painstaking research of course), and to spread their wings. They have taught me in ways that only students can. I can’t walk with them every step of the way and that is probably a good thing. Walking with them tomorrow is going to test me.

Will I be found lacking? Yep, the whole insecurity thing. I know it isn’t about me, but that doesn’t make the apprehension go away. I’ve been tested and have failed or have been found wanting on several occasions  and when I had least expected it. Will I stick my foot in my mouth and embarrass myself or my students? They aren’t just students, but friends, so that would be a huge disappointment for all involved.

Example: I took my son to his friend’s funeral a couple of years ago. His friend had died in a car accident on the way home from a party.  The young man hadn’t drank or used drugs. The tragedy was caused by inexperience. His mother had asked me if I had allowed my son to attend the party. I had said “No, I think I’m too overprotective.”

Okay. Grieving mom blames herself for her son’s unfortunate death. Think about how she’d take that comment. Yeah, you’ve got it about right. She was hysterical and in the words of Harry Dresden, “My gast was truly flabbbered.” I had spoken of my own short-coming in the matter (I had thought if my son had been with her son, this wouldn’t have happened) and she had taken it as a judgment against her. That, my friends, is Foot-In-Mouth-Syndrome and I have an epic case of it.

So I’m a bit nervous, but I must go out and investigate! I promised Sarah to write a post about how ritual might feel to people at different levels of experience so I’m going to go forth and ask lots of questions. Hopefully, I won’t be tasting any shoe leather tomorrow night. And if I do, it’s not like it’s the End of the World, right?

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