Preparing for Winter Solstice

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I went for a small ramble this afternoon with the intention of eventually going to the elderly old pine tree on this property.

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I wanted to remove some pinion resin from its generous trunk for my midwinter observance, I was thankful to find just enough.

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The scent filled my senses with all things of Yule inhaling it profoundly connected me to the deepest earth, to roots, dampness, darkness, family and the underworld.

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Inhaling pinion is to me is a natural part of experiencing Winter, I have always associated pine with this time on the sacred round. I cannot wait to burn this at the Solstice and have Natures sweet perfume waft around my altar, honouring this time, the ancients, the bones, the flesh, the sinew, and the veins of rebirth.

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I took a baby pine surrounded by its needles after a prayer to the beautiful tree for my altar.

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My focus turned to the ground where I was grateful to find just one small cone that lay there not too far from my feet, I swept down to pick it up with both care and caution, as they can be so sharp. What a precious little cone for my offering to Pan.

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These Nature takings connect me to my Scottish ancestry and the Caledonian forest of the British Isle.

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Though less than one per cent of this original forest survives today in scattered remnants, maybe it has because of its names sake. The forest takes its name from the Romans who referred to Scotland as Caledonia, which derives from the early Celtic word ‘caleto’ which meant strong.

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Here once again we stand at the strong and stable part of the round, in the Earth Quarter, as we await for the sun to be reborn.

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Now I turn my direction towards this unique land and move on after stopping to greet some cows whose curiosity has drawn them in my direction. I now need some Australian Casuarina Pine to balance my altar offering, I desire pines from my past and my present, I wish to honour the ancestors of this land and this nation where I stand as well,  on the bend of the William’s river, and I walk towards a Casuarina and reach up high for just the right piece I give thanks and remove this small branch.

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With pinion cupped in the palm of my right hand, a pine cone held carefully between my index finger and thumb, I also manage to put my other digits to use holding the pine needles from both trees. With a feeling of satisfaction I head for home.

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On the journey I remember that my new friend Mario who is a hunter and taxidermist has sent me a couple of skulls that I hadn’t opened, that are the skulls of hares, one of these is for me, and I get excited knowing this will complete my altar offering here today.

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When I return I find my beautiful hand carved pentacle, that a Piscean carpenter and High Priest called Brian made, I bought it from him when I lived in the USA over a decade ago now. I smile because the men that are both a part of this offering both earn a living working as carpenters, and here I am sharing my stories of trees.

This pentacle was made with such love and it once had an emerald placed in its centre, till my cockatiel bird was wandering on my altar one day and decided to eat it, and I watched in both horror and humour as the emerald disappeared into his beak, and was gone forever, he is a true gem!!

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I’ve now put everything together on the pentacle and placed this on my altar for reflection and focus as the week ahead winds towards Mid Winter and the rebirth of the sun yet again, a time for celebration as the days will once again become longer though colder and I will have the time to once again tend to my gardens and restore the damage done.

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Yuletide Blessings to all.