I’m taking a day off from sharing book quotes today to wish you all a Happy Winter Solstice!
Recently, I’ve been musing about the meaning of heathen rituals surrounding the seasons. I’m not sure why it came up in my life, perhaps it is a search for connection to the world around me, or a simple nod to my Nordic and Irish ancestors. Maybe, like many of us, I’m yearning for some order to the chaos.
The journey is only beginning, but I’m already falling in love with the magic and wondering where the road will lead. I do know that it feels warm, right, and beautiful.
This morning, while scrolling through Instagram, I found Josua Hrodgeir Rood. His introduction video inspired me to continue my exploration of ancient ways when he said that wherever we are, “breathes the old gods.” The myths and sagas are inspired by that land, the story of humanity is told through the climate and the landscape, what we can see and feel from that place and time on the earth.
I’ve never been out of the United States, let alone Scandinavia or Ireland. I was raised by Christian American parents and grandparents, so to say I’m returning to my roots feels a bit false. My most noticeable roots are here in California and my ancestors span all of Europe. Those more distant roots are vast, deep, and far flung.
Today, I live in the California desert. I grew up in Anaheim, California. When I first visited here with my husband, I felt instantly at home, the “I’ve been called” kind of home. We moved here with our children twelve years ago, and I cannot imagine living anywhere else. I love the sparse landscape, the way I can see the sun and moon and stars move across the sky. I love the cold of winter, the lack of water, and the intense heat of summer. I love the rocks and cactus, along with the creatures that call this place home.
I guess, in a way, I can feel the presence of the gods in this area, and they comfort me. Since I moved here, I feel closer to nature, more relaxed, and I’ve never needed anti-anxiety medication like I did in the city where I was born and raised.
When “American Gods” came out on tv, I was fascinated. The show left me wondering once again. Is there more? I ordered the book immediately after watching the first season of the show. Reading it I found that it relied too heavily on already knowing much of the mythology to be helpful to me. But the story gave me a taste of something. I wanted to find the meal it came from.
This morning’s travels through social media, websites, and a short text conversation with my brother made me think of it all again. Yes, books have been ordered. What if, instead of a war between the old gods and the new, we created something entirely new? What if the modern American gods could blend in with the gods of the land we sit on and the gods that were brought here by all the immigrants over the years?
I’m starting to believe that’s what is happening right now, all around us. There will continue to be chaos for some time before we get the hang of things. We don’t need to throw out technology and advancements that have brought us so much enrichment and plenty. We don’t need to go back to the old ways. We need to ground ourselves in where we all came from, share our stories, and use technology and communication skills to weave together all we have learned.
Technology has brought us together, showing us the universality of our beliefs across lands and cultures. When each of us brings our light to the fire, the fire grows bigger and brighter. What will happen when we bring our light to other planets and star systems? Chaos at first and then a bigger fire.
May the long night of winter solstice remind you that the darkness may reign for a time, but the light will always return to conquer. Peace to you and your house.
Curious what I was up to at this time LAST year? Click back to Christmas 2020 to see.