THE WONDER explores perspectives, rituals, and observances of modern, naturalistic, Earth-revering Neopagan religious paths. Naturalistic Pagans embrace the world as understood by science (that is, without gods, magic, or the supernatural), and enhance our lives with myth, ritual and activism. Hosted by Mark Green (author of ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science) and Yucca (formerly of The Pagan Perspective YouTube channel, and of the Magic and Mundane channel). Named #3 in the top 20 Pagan podcasts for 2023! https://blog.feedspot.com/pagan_podcasts/
Monday Dec 19, 2022
Winter Solstice/Yule/Midwinter 2022!
Monday Dec 19, 2022
Monday Dec 19, 2022
Remember, we welcome comments, questions and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com
Mark: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-Based Paganism. I'm your host, mark,
Yucca: and I'm the other one, Yucca.
Mark: And today we are talking about all things related to the winter solstice and youe. Happy Yule, everyone, or whatever you choose to call it. Yep. Happy solstice.
Yucca: It's it's amazing that we're here already. I think we say that about every holiday. Really? Yeah. But we,
Mark: we do, we just can't believe we're getting older. Is is what's happening here?
Yucca: Yeah. Well, December thing seems like it just started and yet here we are already. So, yeah. But speaking of that, this is something that we've been doing for a really long.
I think that's a good segue into our first section here is let's talk about what this holiday is because it's based on something very real. This isn't just a day that we randomly assigned some random meaning to. It's something that humans. all over the world have been observing as far as we can tell, for thousands and thousands of years.
Mark: Yes. The, I, I just learned of a new New to me, archeological find in the wheelchair plane, which is where Stonehenge is and so forth. There was apparently a gold plate found with a a v incised on it, a large v, and the V is exactly 82 degrees. The angle is 82 degrees, which is the difference between the summer solstice and the winter solstice on the.
Hmm. So apparently this plate was. used as kind of a portable observatory in a way where you could shoot the sun on the summer solstice and say, okay, well it's gonna be over there on the winter solstice. I mean, for all we know, it might have been an engineering tool used to help build stone head . Yeah. Because Stonehenge lines up perfectly with the winter solstice, right?
With the sun rising on the winter
Yucca: solstice. Right. And that, that kind of structure, something that we see again all over the world, we see that in the Americas and in Eurasia and, and really all over. That's right. And sometimes it's the winter solta, sometimes it's the summer. But it's the same ideas that we have been paying attention to.
What the, the relationship between where the sun is in our sky or the it's apparent position and what that means to the rest of the ecosystem that we're in. It'd be very important to.
Mark: Right. Yeah. Right. I mean, we were talking about this before we recorded. I mean, in the, in the case of the wintertime where food is becoming very scarce, not only that, but there are fewer hours in the day to go look for it.
Mm-hmm. so. You know, noticing when the hours were going to start to get longer again would be a really big deal in terms of your survival. As we get later into history, we see that this is the time when all of the, the harvest that had not been preserved in some way by pickling or drying or smoking or salting or, you know, whatever.
Had to be eaten because things were starting to go bad. Mm-hmm. . And we need to get all those calories into ourselves so that we can survive the lean months coming up before eggs start to become available. And some of the earliest greens start coming up and the lambs start being born and all that kind of stuff.
Mm-hmm. , right? Yeah. . So it's a time That is it. It has kind of an internal paradox in it, right? It's the time to have a big party and eat a lot. So it's a time to get together, celebrate with our loved ones, share food, share, drink, share company in, and sort of keep that light alive through the darkest time of the year.
But it's also confronting the fact that things are gonna get tough. coming up in the next few months. These, these are not gonna be a lot of fun. So this is sort of the last hurrah in a way. Mm-hmm. , before we get to some very, you know, before the advent of modern supply chains and agriculture, these were times when things, things can get pretty
Yeah. It's what you've been preparing for all. . Right. Really? Yeah. Right. This is what you've been cutting the wood for all year. Mm-hmm. , this is what you've been raising the food for. This is, this is it, right? Yeah. To
Mark: get through this gap Yeah. Of the next couple of months, next three months, you know, depending on where you are, maybe even longer.
Mm-hmm. , that. Where the natural world is not going to produce easily available food for you. Mm-hmm. . And you've gotta rely on your stores. And I mean, that's an inherently anxiety producing phenomenon, right? Watching your stores get lower and lower and lower every day as you eat to survive. And trying to kind of eyeball, well, are we gonna.
are we gonna make it to the season when the birds are laying eggs and we can start to get some calories?
Yucca: Right? So it has that, all of that around it. And I think there's also a bit of in a celebration of the darkness as well, right? Yes. There's a celebration of the light in the darkness, but also that.
Quiet darkness. This is, we haven't done an episode on the dark in a few years. We did a few years back. I think that might be one we should revisit. That's true in the next couple months while we are still in this dark period. And the, in the importance of that quietness and that time of reflection and that time of the waiting and the rest, that really comes with the dark of the year.
Right. And that's the. The time around the solstice is quite literally the darkest time of the year if you aren't lighting it up with, with artificial lights, right? Mm-hmm. .
Mark: Yeah. And when you think about it in kind of grand cosmological terms The darkness is the source that the light kind of blooms out of, right?
Mm-hmm. , I mean, we start, we, we start with an incredible burst of explosive light, but very quickly everything cools off and we have this sea of undifferentiated particles at first, but as stars begin to kindle, light begins to come back into that darkness, and so it becomes, , it becomes a, a powerful metaphor for how things are born in darkness.
Mm-hmm. and, and then evolve into the the waking world. The daylight world, yeah.
Yucca: Hmm. Well, let's talk a little bit about how, what, what that means to us personally as pagans. What is that in our practice?
Mark: Sure. Would you like to go first?
Yucca: Sure. So we use the framework of the wheel of the year in our household and the winter solstice.
This is the time where we're, we're thinking about those things that we've just been talking about. But we also, this is when we're honoring the forests as. So there's a lot of, of imagery for us and smells and things like that that have to do with the forest, especially the evergreen forest. And this also happens smack in the middle of just.
So many holidays, , there are just so many holidays this week that we're going into. I don't know how my kids are gonna make it through all the holidays because we have the solstice happening right in the middle. The Hanukkah starts . So we're recording this Saturday. So Sunday night, Hanukkah starts.
So they'll do that on my side with their softa. They'll do Christmas with their grandmother on the other side. And it's just this, this, all of this activity and bustling and just the celebration and the, you don't have
Mark: an aluminum pole for celebrating Festivus.
Yucca: You know, we don't, but I think that if I suggested that to my partner that it would show up , I'm pretty sure it would, we would have it.
But the, the solstice itself in the middle of all of that is a if. , we, we do secular Christmas and solstice is separate for us. Mm-hmm. than that is. Although on the other side of the year we do do presents with summer solstice as well, but the, the presents are, are Christmas presents. But the, the solstice is more of a moment of reflection.
Right. It's a, we'll wake up and watch the sunrise and watch the sunset and be. And spend a little bit of time going out. We'll run out if there's snow, we'll run outside barefoot in our little barefoot feet and come back in and sit in front of the fire and, and have that kind of reflective moment that you were talking about earlier.
That that reflection that, that comes along with this time of year that I think is something that isn't really emphasized in the secular. Approach to this time of year.
Mark: So, yeah, I agree. I agree. I, sorry to interrupt you. Oh no. Please, please jump
Yucca: in. Yeah.
Mark: I mean, obviously the commercialization of the holidays has meant that.
it's become very much around stuff and accumulation of stuff, purchasing of stuff, distribution of stuff as well as lots of, you know, rich food and drink. Mm-hmm. , , and that seems to be MO and family, certainly family is a theme. Mm-hmm. , you know, for, you know, people gathering together, at least in the ideal mm-hmm.
Conceptualization. But it is true that the whole.
I'll, I'll come at this a little bit sideways. I'm, I'm an, I'm a singer and I'm, I've done a lot of singing of early music, medieval and renaissance music, and a great deal of what that, what the liturgical music of that period is about. And of course, it's all Christian. Mm-hmm. , but it's this, it's this contemplation of the great mystery, right.
The. The incredible thing that happened that, you know, where God made Mary pregnant mm-hmm. and, and it's a contemplative thing. It's a, it's, you know, sort of trying to grasp the mind of God in a way. Mm-hmm. , I think we, pagans have something very similar. We, we naturalistic non-theistic pagans since we're not thinking about gods at this time.
Yucca: If some, some people do have this as the birth of of whoever their God is that, you know. Right. That is part of some pagan paths. Yeah. Yes.
Mark: But I do think that in our tradition, This is the time of year when the natural world comes as close as it ever does to stopping. because of the cold temperatures, everything slows way, way down.
And what is implicit or potential for the coming cycle is only just starting to be conceived. Mm-hmm. And that's something that we can, can meditate on as naturalistic pagans. As atheopagan, because we can focus on what. Imagining for the coming cycle, what we're aspiring to in the coming year? For many of us, this is the winter solstice is the beginning of the new year.
Mm-hmm. , that's how I consider it. And so in many ways it's this sort of birth moment and at births we, we have a lot of dreams. for, for our children. We have a, a lot of things that we hope for for them. We wish them the best and we have pictures in our minds about what that might work out to be. And I think that that can be true of the coming cycle of the year as well.
Mm-hmm. ? Yeah.
So. . But you were talking about celebrating the forests and the evergreens particularly and the millions of holidays.
Yucca: Yes. So, so
Mark: many, so, mm-hmm. . So at, at a deeper level, what, what does this, what does this holiday mean to you, Yucca? What does it, what does it encourage you to do in your practice?
Yucca: This really is, this is a time. of reflection and being and I know you were just talking about the dreaming portion, but for me, that comes a, that comes a little bit later in winter. Oh, this is more of a, just being in the now. Here we are. I'm not, I'm not getting ready for anything now. Right. Got ready for the winter.
The winter is here. The wood is stacked. The, the, our water tanks are full. The our pantry's full and now, and in my work cycle too. You know, I just taught my last class for the semester. I'm not teaching well for, I do have some international classes, but I'm not teaching any of the, the North American kids until we're back in the, the new Year.
Right. So it's like, uh, no, I just get to be, just to hang out, to be, to exist, to kind of look at what, where, where I am right now, really just take stock, not in a. Planning for the future, because that will come, right? Yes. But how, but I can't really plan for the future until I'm very clear with where am I at right now?
And that's just what's mm-hmm. like on emotional level. And of course there's the practical too of, you know, don't, don't go to the grocery store without checking what's in your fridge first, you know, . So, but, so that's on a, but take that and. To for life. But this is like on an emotional level. So that's emotionally what we're doing.
But that theme also, you're talking about a family and just, just enjoying life right now. You know, it's really about that. Just enjoying, and here we are and you know, this is what we
Mark: got. That's, that's great. And, and as you mentioned it, it's, you know, I, I, I feel, I guess that I do a lot of the same. I mean, it's a time to enjoy the pretty lights and the holiday traditions and.
not particularly to do work. Mm-hmm. or or even much planning for the future. When I, when I talk about dreaming and imagination, it, that's a very pre-planning Yes. Sort of state. It's just really sort of blue skying. Kind of what, what can we imagine possibly happening over the course of the next year?
Yucca: Right. think of it kind of like still being under the blankets in the early morning. Mm-hmm. , right? Where you haven't really started to make your list of, okay, what do I actually have to do for the day? But you're kind of in that like, oh, here I am, I'm okay. I'm awake when I'm in the soft blankets.
Just thinking about everything. Dreaming about everything. Huh.
Mark: Yes. Warm and comfortable, which is so much a, an aspect of of what this holiday is supposed to be about. Mm-hmm. , , know, so many of the rituals that we do for Yule or mid-winter or, you know, whatever you call it, the winter solstice, have to do with experiencing cold and darkness.
Mm-hmm. for a while, just to really kind of rub it in, make sure that we Yeah. That we know, you know, what's really going on out there and just how harsh and and bleak, it can really be out there. And then bringing that light back into the home, back into where it's warm and sheltered and the wind doesn't get to you, and the precipitation doesn't fall on you.
And coming back into warmth and comfort again. Mm-hmm. .
Yucca: Yeah. Hmm. So what are, what is it for you? .
Mark: Well, let me see. To start with yes, there certainly is a flurry of holidays and we do have an aluminum pole on the 23rd. On the 23rd, we erect the aluminum pole and air our grievances in, in the time honored tradition of the Seinfeld Festivus.
Mm-hmm. . It's just so funny and we happen to have this old floor lamp with. Upright, that's a pole, so we just couldn't resist doing it every year. . But we do a lot of the, the sort of Christmasy yule traditions, like a yule tree and eating well and Let me correct that. Eating, eating richly heavily.
Yeah. Heavily. Yeah. Richly not necessarily. Well, although ne mayo's pretty good about making me eat my vegetables. . The, but the time of year, there's a, there's a. It's ironic because for many people this is a very stressful time of year and they feel the tremendous pressure to buy things for everyone and to deal with the financial stress of that and to do all those things.
We don't do gifts. . We would, if we had children in our lives, we would give them to children because it's really unfair to ask them to watch all of their peers getting gifts at this time of year and not getting any themselves. That would just be cruel. Right.
Yucca: Oh, and especially if, if the, the peers are doing the Santa thing where like, it's a magical, it's a magical being who's bringing you these gifts, you know?
And, and you know why I Marcos next door, get a, you know, this, the. PS five or whatever they're on. I don't know what they're on now. Right. Why do they get that? You know, and, and you know, this magical being can't even bring me anything. Yeah. Or, you know, he brings me socks. Although socks are fantastic. We're big sock
Mark: fans here.
Yeah. Boy, I, I love socks. . So, so because we don't do gifts, we're not really under those kinds of pressures and. Work stuff fades away because the whole. Commercial world other than retail, kind of takes a breath around this time. Mm-hmm. . Although that's certainly not true for many of the nonprofits that I've worked for, which are cranking out services like crazy for people who desperately need them.
Yucca: Sure. Yeah. Because people, people need housing and food and medical care and all, you know, that doesn't, in fact, much of that when it comes to medical care and things like that, that increases during the wintertime. Yes,
Mark: it does. It does. Yeah. Yeah. So, but we just enjoy doing all of our traditions and having time to, as you say, just kind of be in the moment of the season enjoying our circumstances and enjoying We, we still have a few trees that have beautiful leaves on them.
Most of them are bare by now, but some of the very late changing ones are just kind of coming into their colors now. Mm-hmm. , And we've had a few rainstorms come through, which are always a delight to hear on the roof and go out and feel on your skin. Watching the sky a lot. Mars and Jupiter have been brilliant recently.
Wow. Yeah. And,
Yucca: So many meteors
Mark: too. Yes. Yeah. I, I heard that there were a lot of geminis. I, I didn't go look for them, but I heard that they, there were a lot of meteors. Yeah,
Yucca: we spotted a couple, but it gets down into the single digits or the teens at night for us here. And Uhhuh, then Fahrenheit, so.
We, we limit the amount of outside time at, in the early morning ?
Mark: I would think so. Yeah. I mean, our our low temperatures have been mid twenties. Mm-hmm. . So not, not too bad. Bad for the plants outside, but not so bad for for but not, not nearly as bad as single digits. Yeah. So, and it's also because there is that sort of generalized.
Cultural agreement that we're all going to do this together now. Mm-hmm. , what in, in whatever flavor that might happen to be, there are a lot more opportunities to see friends and so forth. I was mentioning before we recorded I have six Yu gatherings this year. We did quite a few Saturday.
We did the Saturday Zoom mixer, Yule ritual this morning. I'm going to meet with my ritual circle this evening. Then tomorrow the Northern California atheopagan Affinity Group meets. And then after that I'm going to The, the gathering of the Spark Collective, which is a ritual collective that I used to work with a lot in the East Bay east Bay area, San Francisco region, and then on Wednesday, The Solstice, the local Unitarian, the solstice itself, the local Unitarian Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans group.
is doing a winter solstice as well, that I have a roll in and then I'll come home and naia and I will build a Yu log and burn it and do a bunch of our things. So, Six distinct celebrations and I'm, I think I'll feel thoroughly ued by the time it's all over.
Yucca: Yeah, that is, that's quite a lot. So, Hmm. And we were just talking about the actual time of the solstice itself.
So in, I'm in Mountain, so on Wednesday, that's 2 47. So for Pacific for you, that's 1 47. 47. Yeah. Yeah. And we like to set the, in our house, we set the alarm. And it's nice when it happens in the middle of the day. And when it goes off, then we'll all cheer because sometimes it does not happen in the middle of the day.
Sometimes it happens at three in the morning and you gotta wake everyone up to go, whoa, , and go back to sleep . But that's a fun thing to do, especially if you've got, if you've got kiddos, but I think kids of any age, sure, then enjoy that.
Mark: Absolutely. I think if I were going to do that and it turned out to be three o'clock in the morning or something, I think I would re combine that with the midnight Margaritas tradition from Practical Magic and do that as well, which is a lot of fun.
So where are we? What, what else have we got to talk about here?
Yucca: Well, it's always nice to talk about some suggested ri suggested, ah, that's a hard one. Suggested rituals and you know, kind of little traditions that people can try or share things that we do and see what kind of sparks people's imagin.
Mark: Yeah. Okay. Sure. Well, I am very fond of the eLog tradition. I, I think for one thing, I think it's very old. Mm-hmm. . I think the idea of decorating a special log and throwing it onto a bonfire at this time of year is probably something that people have been doing for many, many centuries. . If you don't have a fire pit that you can burn something outdoors in, or a fireplace indoors or a wood stove, you can drill holes in the top of the log and put candles in instead, and let those tapers burn down as a part of your tradition.
Mm-hmm. . But I really like to use the bottom part of last Year's Yu Tree. Oh. And. and I saved that for all year. Mm-hmm. . And then we bind it to a piece of split Oakwood so that it's big enough because the, the yield trees are only about three inches. Yeah. Mm-hmm. . So we used Twine to, to bind that to a, a piece of, you know, a third or a quarter of a log and then.
Evergreen branches and holly branches and pirate kaha with all the berries and missile toe and all those kinds of things into the, the twine to decorate the, the log. All with natural stuff that will burn. Mm-hmm. . So nothing plastic. and then we write our, our hopes for the coming year on little notes and tuck them underneath the evergreens and so forth.
Mm-hmm. . And then we take it out to burn mm-hmm. and let those wishes go skyward to wherever they will. And it just feels like, it feels like setting something in motion. Mm-hmm. , which is. . Just a really lovely feeling, I think.
Yucca: Yeah. That's beautiful. Yeah. I've seen some just beautiful U logs that people have done.
Mm-hmm. , it's just a mm-hmm. . That's not something that we've done very much, but it's, it's something that we're interested in. Right. ,
Mark: well, you certainly have the circumstances for it. I mean, you, you, you use firewood for your, for your ordinary fuel, and you've got a fire pit outside and mm-hmm. , you know, all that.
Or you could burn it in your hearth if. Do you have a wood stove or
Yucca: is it fire? We, we have a wood stove. But it's got a, a glass front to it so we can Oh, we can see. I like seeing the fire, so every day I clean the sit off of it so that we can see the fire in it. Oh, . So it'd be lovely. Yeah. And we do have the, the pit outside, so, yeah.
And all of the firewood stuff is a big part of this, this year, this time of year for us. Right. The kids, I'm sure. That was something that getting ready for the year that we had them do is make the little Kindle bundles. Oh. So as we were getting into fall and, and they're, they're so little right now.
There's not really a lot of things that they can do yet to really be uh, Significant contribu contributors to the, like, happenings of a house, right? They're four and six. Sure. But they're, they were great at tying these little bundles of sticks together. And every day when we use one of those little bundles because we also have a greenhouse that heats the house, so we don't have to have the fire going constantly.
So we do have, but we'll, we'll run it usually at night. So we start the fire up and we'll use the little bundle of sticks. They, their Kindle bundle and they get to go, oh, here's the, the bundle that I made, and, and they get to, you know, help light that up.
Mark: That's great. That's great. Yeah. I mean, engaging, engaging children in, in the industry of the house.
I think is a really wonderful thing. I, I mean, so long as it doesn't turn into an endless list of chores that are just drudgery and, you know, sort of child labor. Mm-hmm. ,
Yucca: Yeah, we don't want like Cinderella type of scenario. . Yeah. .
Mark: But you know, giving them an opportunity to feel like participants in all the stuff that makes the house go, I think is just a really wonderful.
Yucca: Well, I think that's really important for, you know, just our sense of, of belonging and port and importance. And I think that that's something that we can extend to when we're talking about the holidays, right? Is that everybody get to have something that they feel that isn't too stressful, right?
Because sometimes people don't need more on their plates if they already have a lot to be doing. But something that is important that doesn't just feel. That they get to be part of that, that, that they're responsible for and that, you know, they bring this to the table I think is something lovely to do with them.
Yeah. With anyone. Yeah. Absolutely. So one thing , you were just talking about the eLog. One thing that we do is we make a lot of sew it for the animals. Oh. And we have little silicone molds, which are they look like little trees . And, you know, you can, you can find recipes online for Sue it, but it, it's really not that, that hard.
Right. You. You know, we use lard or tall and you get your fat and then you mix in your seeds and your berries mm-hmm. and all of that. But we'll make these little ones that, you know, they're a few inches across. Mm-hmm. , and then we'll hang the twine from it. And we had tried putting ornaments in our trees.
Before, but the birds just so they attacked the ornaments and it didn't work out. Oh no. So now we're making them the little seit blocks and hanging it up in the tree as our decoration, like our outdoor, that's tree.
Mark: That's great. Yeah, I could see they actually use Mylar tinsel in the vineyards here to help keep birds away because apparently they don't like it.
Little flashes of light. They, they, they don't like the little flashes of light. So I can understand why they were attacking the ornaments. Get that thing
Yucca: outta here, . Yeah. Well, and, and we have a lot of bird. We're a little like a bird oasis here, but it was the J's in particular, they were like knocking them down and could see they didn't like 'em at all.
So, uh, and I didn't want to put anything like tinsel out cuz I was, I was worried they might try and take that and use it for testing or eat it or choke on it. Right? Yeah. Wanna make sure that there's nothing that would be dangerous to them. . Right. And then I don't want the, those little pieces getting in the wind and mm-hmm.
Getting, messing all over the place. So I think whatever our celebrations are, it's important that we're being respectful and responsible to, to all the other life around us. Of course. Yeah. And that's another thing we try and do is, is not by a bunch of junk that is just gonna get thrown out, right? Mm-hmm.
Mm-hmm. , . So, so making little things for the gifts, you know, making little clay things and smell this time of year, I think smell any time of year, but I really associate. Some of the smells of like the Cinnamons and like frankincense is another. The cloves. Yeah. All of those are just so wonderful.
And the pine, we'll take we'll actually go and take needles cause we have a lot of, of pinon. Pine is the main tree that we've got here. It's like this little pygmy pine and we'll bring in the, the needles from it and sometimes the sap and you put, put that in boiling water on the stove. And you could do this with your, with your kitchen, you know, your electric or or gas stove as well.
It doesn't have to be a wood stove. And that just Fills the house with that smell. You can put other things in as well. If you have a little bit of cinnamon from the kitchen or your clothes, any of those, like pumpkin spice ones, those are gonna work really well in, in that. Yeah.
Mark: Nice. Very nice. Yeah.
What was I going to say? There was something that went along with that.
Yucca: Was it smells
Mark: or were we back on the birds? No, it, it was back on the birds. Yeah. We, we have a lot of takers for our bird feeders at this time of year too. Mm-hmm. , the, the birds that don't migrate. It's it's not nearly as sparse here as it is where you are, I'm sure.
Mm-hmm. , but still we get a lot of customers this time of year. Yeah. We have a regular feeder that we put sunflower seeds in and then we have No. Is it sunflower seeds? Yes. It's sunflower seed pieces. Mm-hmm. . And then we have a hummingbird feeder as well that we put sugar water in.
Yucca: Oh, so you still get hummingbirds this time of year?
Mark: We do. Yeah. We have hummingbirds here that don't migrate. Oh, wow. Because it's, it's mild enough that they can, they can take it through the winter. So
Yucca: yeah. Ours are all in Costa r already. Uhhuh ,
Mark: they're, they're long gone. We have, we have pretty large populations of Canada geese here that don't migrate either.
They just hang out. Annoy everybody and eat amphibians and do what they do. ,
Yucca: I love birds. Me too, so much. They, they, they give us so much in entertainment. .
Mark: Yes. That's
Yucca: very true. Yeah. We have birds and, and we've got chipmunks that live around here. And on the warmer days, I think the chipmunks, they don't do like a full hibernation here.
They, they kind of wake up and come out in the warm days and, and they have like little wars with the, the birds around here. They'll chase each other back and forth and fight over who gets what, you know, what seeds and Oh. And we will also, we have we'll sprout some seeds for. Our animals too. A lot of bird seeded.
You can just take it and the same way you would sprout, you know, anything else that you would in the kitchen. You just mm-hmm. , soak it in the water and change the water out every few days. Or you could put it in a little bit of soil and we'd take that out and give them a little bit of green in the winter.
Um hmm. And so now we've got, that's. We've got a whole variety of folks who come to visit,
Mark: so probably gives them more sugar too. Once, once the, once the plants germinate, they start generating more sugar, whereas the, the seed is largely fat.
Yucca: Yeah. You know, it's definitely gonna change what the composition is.
We'll, we'll do a mix, so not just the sunflower, but like the millet and the all kinds of things for them. Yeah, we like, we, we spoil our birds. , , so
Mark: I'm sure they appreciate it.
Yucca: Oh yeah. But water is actually the most important one. Oh, I understand. Depending on where you live, where we live, water is, is not easy to get.
This time of year it might be a little bit different where you are, you're in a wetter, I mean, you're just coming out of your dry season though. But, but giving them fresh water, that's really the tricky fine thing to find this time of year. So that's another one of the kids' jobs is they go out with the you know, we clean out the bowl every day so that we're not letting any, we're not spreading any.
Diseases between the animals. So they go out and change the, they bring out a new fresh bowl of water, and then they take in the old one. We wash it up and get it ready to take out for the next day. So that's something that they can do as well.
Mark: Wow, that's great. Yeah. Yeah. So it's, it's a simply a lovely time of year.
Mm-hmm. , I, I really enjoy the, the, the yule season. The many, many Solstice traditions that have grown up around it. And of course, we've only scratched the surface of all those traditions, you know, throughout the world that people have celebrated as a part of observing this important moment when the days start to get longer again.
And there is some prospect that eventually there will be more food. . Yes. Uh uh and. I don't know. In, in a way it sounds when, when you compare this sort of romantic dramatic story that Christianity has about Christmas and the meaning of the birth of Jesus and all that kind of stuff, the, the idea of describing this holiday as one that's basically about the food supply.
Mm-hmm. sounds a, it sounds a little. A little dull by comparison, but a little underwhelming, to be honest. Yeah. But realistically speaking, that's what's going on. We're, we're organisms and we, we like to eat. We don't do well when we don't, and this is the cycle that we're born into. So, I think it's a, a wonderful thing to reflect on years past and the conditions that people managed to survive through, um mm-hmm.
in order to bring us here.
Yucca: Right. Yeah. And, you know, that's, that's what our great, great, great grandchildren are. You know, it's just gonna keep, hopefully keep going. So
Mark: hopefully, yeah. Yeah.
Yucca: and it's, it's lovely to think about that connection to all the other humans that have been, right, right. That have gone through something similar.
I mean, when you're at the equator, it's a little bit different, um mm-hmm. , but the higher and higher your latitude is, whichever way you're going. The more, the more and more noticeable, the bigger and bigger a deal the solstice
Mark: becomes, Yes, I was watching a YouTube video yesterday by a woman who lives in the north of Sweden and winter winter's intense up there.
Yeah. I mean, there's very little light and she, at one point she put a chair outside and sat in the sun and she said, you. . You know that feeling when you're very thirsty and that first sip of water hits your mouth. Mm-hmm. , that's what it's like when the sun hits my skin at this time of year. Mm-hmm.
It's. You know, you, your body is just so starved for, for the sunlight. Yeah. And of course she takes vitamin D supplements and all that kind of stuff, which they do as well. But there's nothing quite like sunlight. We're, we're built to like it.
Yucca: Yeah. Yeah. I was actually just talking with one of my students earlier today who's from a same part of the world, and he was saying that that day, is four and a half hours long for them when they get to the winter solstice.
It's about nine and a half for us, which feels short. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , but four and a half hour day once. Wow.
Mark: Yeah, it's about nine where I am. I'm, I'm considerably north of where you are.
Yucca: Yeah. I'm just about 36,
Mark: so yeah, I think I'm, I think we're at 42. You're that
Yucca: far north? I think so. Oh,
Mark: okay. , maybe 40.2. I don't know.
I haven't looked somewhere that, yeah, . Yeah, somewhere. Somewhere in there. So, yeah. And my hope for all of our listeners is that you have meaningful observances if that, if that's what you want. And if not, that you have a good long break. Mm-hmm. , and a, a relaxing and restorative time because I do think that this can be a restorative time if we don't drive ourselves crazy with busyness.
Yucca: Right. If you have cats, make sure to get some cat snuggles in Oh, time of year
Mark: for that. . Yes. My cat is sleeping just over there, just like four feet away from me. Mine's
Yucca: on top of my keys. left the keys on the table. He's right on top of them. So .
Mark: So listen everyone, we have really enjoyed spending the last it's, I mean, we're coming up on three years now of doing this.
And thank you for taking this journey with us around the course of the Wheel of the Year for 2022. It's been, it's really been a great cycle and we've had wonderful comments and feedback and input from listeners and we're really looking forward to doing more of this coming up, starting next week.
Yucca: That's right. So happy solstice.
Mark: Happy Solstice.
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