Winter’s Cloak

Winter’s Cloak by Joyce Rupp

This year I do not want
the dark to leave me.
I need its wrap
of silent stillness,
its cloak
of long lasting embrace.
Too much light
has pulled me away
from the chamber
of gestation.

Let the dawns
come late,
let the sunsets
arrive early,
let the evenings
extend themselves
while I lean into
the abyss of my being.

Let me lie in the cave
of my soul,
for too much light
blinds me,
steals the source
of revelation.

Let me seek solace
in the empty places
of winter’s passage,
those vast dark nights
that never fail to shelter me.

NOTE

Rupp is a writer as well as Co-Director of the Institute of Compassionate Presence.

Wassail Song

Originally at https://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/wassail_song-1.htm

Alternate Titles: “Here We Come A Wassailing,” “Here We Come A-Caroling,” and “Here We Go A-Caroling.”

Words: English Traditional, 17th century

Music: Traditional English Wassail Song, 17th century

Source: Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old, Second Series (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., 1871), Carol #37

1. Here we come a wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering
So fair to be seen.

Chorus
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year.
And God send you a happy New Year.

2. Our wassail cup is made
Of the rosemary tree,
And so is your beer
Of the best barley. Chorus

3. We are not daily beggars
That beg from door to door,
But we are neighbours’ children
Whom you have seen before. Chorus

4. Good Master and good Mistress,
As you sit by the fire,
Pray think of us poor children
Are wandering in the mire. Chorus

5. We have a little purse
Made of ratching leather skin;1
We want some of your small change2
To line it well within. Chorus

6. Call up the Butler of this house,
Put on his golden ring;
Let him bring us a glass of beer,
And the better we shall sing. Chorus

7. Bring us out a table,
And spread it with a cloth;
Bring us out a mouldy cheese,
And some of your Christmas loaf. Chorus

8. God bless the Master of this house,
Likewise the Mistress too;
And all the little children
That round the table go. Chorus

1. Bramley and Stainer add a footnote explaining that ratching is leather that will stretch. Shaw and Dearmer, in The English Carol Book, First Series, substitute the word stretching, as does Rickert

2. Joshua Sylvester has “We want a little of your money.” 

LISTEN

Solstice Carol

The old carol “A Soalin” changed to more of a pagan mindset.
Lyrics by Catt Kingsgrave, recorded by Ravens

Heigh Ho, Fire’s glow;
West and South and North do know
In the East he rises
Heigh Ho, Fire’s glow

The night is endless long now, the snow lay all around
The pregnant moon sails brightly above the bitter ground
And on the ground we circle, our fires blazing high
Tonight we meet to raise the Sun Child to the sky

A sol, a sol, a Solstice, please you Sirs, a Solstice
Deep the night and far the dawn
Join our circle, call Him on
One for summer’s dreaming thrall, 
One for winter, dance we all.

(Heigh Ho round X2)

Come soft now, Maiden Mother, our dance is for your son
And for the turning season and life anew begun
In summer well you loved him, and served him death in fall
Your lover is the Sun now, dance we dance we all

A sol, a sol, a Solstice, please you Sirs, a Solstice
Gone the night, the day is nigh
Join our circle, raise him high
One for summer’s dreaming thrall, 
One for winter, dance we all

(Heigh Ho round x3)

Go merry met, my gentle friends, let nothing you dismay
The bright Son of our Lady comes birthing with the day
To free us all from winter’s grasp and mind us all of may
Oh tidings of comfort and joy…

LISTEN

The Christians and the Pagans

by Dar Williams

Mortal City ℗ 1996

Dar Williams Records

Released on: 1996-01-23

LYRICS

Amber called her uncle, said “We’re up here for the holiday,
Jane and I were having Solstice, now we need a place to stay.”
And her Christ-loving uncle watched his wife hang Mary on a tree,
He watched his son hang candy canes all made with red dye number three.
He told his niece, “It’s Christmas Eve, I know our life is not your style,”
She said, “Christmas is like Solstice, and we miss you and its been awhile,”

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And just before the meal was served, hands were held and prayers were said,
Sending hope for peace on earth to all their gods and goddesses.

The food was great, the tree plugged in, the meal had gone without a hitch,
Till Timmy turned to Amber and said, “Is it true that you’re a witch?”
His mom jumped up and said, “The pies are burning,” and she hit the kitchen,
And it was Jane who spoke, she said, “It’s true, your cousin’s not a Christian,”
“But we love trees, we love the snow, the friends we have, the world we share,
And you find magic from your God, and we find magic everywhere.”

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And where does magic come from? I think magic’s in the learning,
‘Cause now when Christians sit with Pagans only pumpkin pies are burning.

When Amber tried to do the dishes, her aunt said, “Really, no, don’t bother.”
Amber’s uncle saw how Amber looked like Tim and like her father.
He thought about his brother, how they hadn’t spoken in a year,
He thought he’d call him up and say, “It’s Christmas and your daughter’s here.”
He thought of fathers, sons and brothers, saw his own son tug his sleeve,
saying, “Can I be a Pagan?” Dad said, “We’ll discuss it when they leave.”

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old,
and Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.

LISTEN

Ring Out, Solstice Bells

(Jethro Tull – 1976)

Now is the solstice of the year,
winter is the glad song that you hear.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Have the lads up ready in a line.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Join together beneath the mistletoe.
by the holy oak whereon it grows.
Seven druids dance in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
joyful as the silver planets run.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out those bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.

LISTEN 

Festival of Light

by New Troubadors

(Words by David Spangler; Music by Milenko Matanovic)

LYRICS

This is the Festival, the Festival of Light

Sing for the candles burning brightly through the night

Sing for the light abroad that guides our destiny

Sing for the light of love that builds community

 

Sing for the wise ones, men and women who

Light up our way with visions that are true

Sing for our children who are candles of the dawn

Giving us the promise that our light will carry on

 

This is the festival, the festival of light

Sing for the love that shall make this world ignite

A flame with a beauty that awakes in every heart

Sing for the will that can make that fire start

 

Follow the light that leads within us to the birth

Of love and harmony, and peace for all upon the earth

 

We are the festival, we are the light

We are the candles burning brightly in the night

 

We are the festival, we are the light

We are the candles burning brightly in the night

 

We are the festival, we are the light

We are the candles burning brightly in the night

NOTES

Used many times for the Annual Winter Solstice Service.  Esp the first one in 1994.

http://lorianpress.com/troubs.htm

 

#58 Ring Out Wild Bells

 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild, wild sky,
the flying cloud, the frosty light:
the year is dying in the night;
ring out, wild bells, and let it die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
ring, happy bells, across the snow:
the year is going, let it go;
ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
for those that here we see no more;
ring out the feud of rich and poor;
ring in redress to humankind.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
the civic slander and the spite;
ring in the love of truth and right;
ring in the common love of good.

NOTES

http://farfringe.com/stlt58-ring-out-wild-bells/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_Out,_Wild_Bells

LISTEN

 

Solstice Song

Song by Denise Jordan Finley

I heard your voice upon the wind
As northerly it came
Now I see your face again
As you call out your name

When I feel your frosty breath
Tears will fall like snow
Who will melt your heart of ice
Who can only know

The musky scent of earth’s decay
Hangs heavy on the breeze
Breezes turn to winds one day
And rock the very trees

When you rage through rusty woods
Leaves will fall like rain
Who can calm your heart so cruel
Who can only name

When the ring around the moon
Lends beauty to the night
Planets circle round the sun
And bask in borrowed light

If a taste of spring should wake
What winter white would quell
Who can own the mystery
Who can only tell

Twelve Days of Solstice

Tune: Twelve Days of Chrismas

Words by by Carusone

“On the first day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
a Circle ’round a Pine Tree.

On the second day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Two pointed Horns
and a Circle ’round a Pine Tree.”

etc.

  1. A Circle ’round a Pine Tree
  2. Two pointed Horns
  3. Three Silver Cups
  4. Four Pentagrams
  5. Five Magick Rings
  6. Six Critters Fetching
  7. Seven Candles Glowing
  8. Eight Fires Blazing
  9. Nine Herbs a-Brewing
  10. Ten Stones a-Standing
  11. Eleven Brooms a-Flying
  12. Twelve Witches Dancing

LISTEN

Last Hour Ritual

LAST HOUR RITUAL – Purify People and Tools

(Find 5 people to carry tools — air = blade, fire = staff, water = goblet, earth = salt dish, spirit = rose quartz)

These tools have been used in the service of the Holy Ones. In this last hour before we strip them down and rededicate them anew, they serve us one last time in this last hour in their present form as we walk the labyrinth. As willing and able, please join us in our chant.

PREPARE YOURSELF

Prepare yourself.
Prepare yourself.
Breathe now, be now.
Open the way.

PURIFICATION PRAYER (At start of labyrinth)

May I be pure that I might cross through the sacred

May I cross through the sacred that I might attain the holy

May I attain the holy that I might be blessed in all things.*

(offer frankincense oil or plain, walk labyrinth in silence, return with same chant)

STRIP TOOLS

Return tools to altar positions.

Cat: (Remove Rune ribbon.) We invite Mystic Grove members to step forward to help remove ribbons from the staff and place new ones. (Place old ribbons in wishes bag with wishes)

Mary: By air and fire, I cleanse you. (smudge around the table of tools)

Cat: By water and earth, I cleanse you. (sprinkle salt water around around the table of tools)

Placing element stones:

Air, I place you on one side, where you can bless and protect these tools.

Fire, I place you on one side, where you can bless and protect these tools.

Water, I place you on one side, where you can bless and protect these tools.

Earth, I place you on one side, where you can bless and protect these tools.

Spirit, (rose heart) I place you around and in the center, all through, where you can bless and protect these tools as if it were yourself.

We separate you from mundane use by these words spoken in the presence of the Holy. We dedicate you to its service.*

(J take staff and draw circle around fire)

As willing and able please repeat after me:

We are here
We are here
We are here
and here is where we will worship the Holy Ones

The time is now
The time is now
The time is now
And now is when we will worship the Holy Ones
Never denying the Holiness of Here
Never denying the Holiness of Now
Never denying the presence of the Holy Ones in all Heres and Nows*

We offer last year’s ribbons and last Samhain’s prayers to the holy ones through fire. As willing and able, please lift your voices in song. As willing and able, please charge our wish bag with positive thoughts and pass to the next person before we send it on its way.

HELD IN THE HEART

(Chorus)
We are here
We are held
We are are holy
We are home

Here in the heart of this holy moment
Held in the dark of the womb
Held in the hands of our sisters and brothers
Here in the light of the moon

Here in the heart of this holy moment
Held in the light of the sun
Held in the hands of our sisters and brothers
Here in the heart of the one.

Burn the bag.

THE SOLSTICE TEACHES US

By David Breeden

The Solstices teach us
that darkness comes,
that darkness goes.

The Solstices teach us
that light comes,
that light goes.

The Solstices teach us,
calmly, silently, to be
calm, silent. Learning.

The Solstices teach us
as we circle the sun
that everything flies.

The Solstices teach us
to remember the dark,
to remember the light,
to remember time.
The seasons. And love
as we circle the sun.

So mote it be.

NOTE:

*various prayers by Ceisiwr Serith