Winter Solstice in Whitby
The winter solstice is nearly upon us and whatever is going on in the world, the earth still spins around the sun and we are bound within the cycles of nature.
It’s cold and dark now but this is old time, deep time, burrowing in, relective, restorative time. The seeds of next year are buried deep, waiting to germinate under the freezing cold winter landscape. Now is the deep in breath, the great pause. A slowing down of tempo, a withdrawal needed by everything for gestation and renewal.
Our ancestors knew that matters of the spirit were inseparable from matters of nature. They made time for rituals and offerings to the old Gods, to the spirits of the earth and heavens. The winter solstice on December 21st marks not just the shortest day and longest interval of darkness, but the turning back towards the light. The Oak King defeats the Holly King and rules for the next half of the year - until Midsummer's Day.
Candles, firelight, music, halls decorated with holly branches, red berries and mistletoe; mulled wines, wild meats and dried fruits marked the celebrations and brightened up the long dark hours.
I have come to love this time of year after a long season draws to a close. This last year was the busiest ever and I am grateful to everyone who booked their private Guided Walking Tours of Whitby, Whitby Ghost Walks or turned up on one of my many Ghost Walks in Robin Hood’s Bay. And to the schools who booked me for storytelling events - one of my favourite things. But the year also left me exhausted, grumpy, losing my edge, trying too hard. I’ve had a much needed break and now can begin the knitting for next year which will include the welcome addition of another fantastic, professional ghost walker and tour guide to ensure the continuation of a full programme of events. There are a few walks between Christmas and New Year which I look forward to and then the period of withdrawal will continue until walks resume in February. All details will be posted on the website in January.
Every event I do, every walk is different according to the group, to the people who come. I have met the most wonderful people in this past year, and I would like to thank all of you. The walks are intended to inform, entertain and offer a simple experience here in what is left of this most beautiful and ancient of places. They can’t be everything to everyone but I hope that most enjoyed it. I would like to thank all of you who came with bushy tails, goodwill and in good spirit and I leave you with this famous Celtic solstice poem:
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the gentle night to you,
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of the Light of the World to you.