This post will be short, but I have a piece in the Eternal Haunted Summer Winter Solstice issue and am doing the requisite “hmm, I have a poem out” self-promotion PSAs.
I have also been posting dictionary entries for my conlang Tveshi on Twitter and making roundups of them on my Pangrammatikê blog. Vocabulary terms include things like winter solstice and some phrases for describing gods, which includes vocab like centerless circles. It’s related to circle dance iconography and to the uncertainty principle.
The Noumenia happened earlier this week, along with Heliogenna yesterday. I left Helios offerings on the long-dark night before the solstice. My girlfriend and I exchanged gifts last night while we waited for a roasted duck to cook.
Part of me always experiences dissonance at this time of year — I love it when people say happy holidays, but it’s uncomfortable that Christian privilege means that our culture acknowledges holidays of all traditions only when they coincide with Christmas. We have holidays in every lunar month. The festivals of this season are no more or less important than the entire lunar year.
I wonder sometimes about holiday greeting cards, too — they’re not objects (to my knowledge) in polytheism, so how could we adapt them to our needs in a similar way to our adaptation of prayer beads? Would they be business cards with prayers on them to be read for specific festivals before burning, good tidings to be sent through the post for the Hellenic summer new year, Anthesteria, and other major festivals, or something completely different?
It is definitely the time that prices are marked down and when the ethical void of modern pathological consumerism rears its ugly head in a crown of tinsel and LED lights. I admire the minimalist simplicity of Martial’s Epigrams regarding Saturnalia gifts — most of them useful presents with a definite place in a person’s home. (Yes, I know I’ve tangented from Hellenism to Religio Romana.) It’s a stark contrast to the general consumerism of the season, where we’re pushed to purchase possessions that we may not need, transforming our homes into claustrophobic temples to consumerism instead of making space for the human and divine relationships and Stoic simplicity that (I believe) helps people along the road to aretê.
The gift of clarity is the best thing we can give ourselves. We need all of the mental space and purity we can muster to rebuild and remodel traditional polytheism for the age of silicon and Zeus Astrapaios. It’s from this space we carve out for ourselves as a sanctuary against the noise of the streets and agorae that we will actually complete work worth our time. It’s the fusion that interests me, a recentering and rebalancing of the self on sacred ground.
And to that end — I did find some nice winter holiday things online:
- These winter solstice greeting cards with suns on them
- These cute bunny cards with winter solstice tidings
- A bay wreath from this Etsy shop
I also have tomtes and a Yule goat. It was really sweet, actually — my mom sent me a Yule goat after we learned about them earlier this month. She loves goats, and we’d always just done saffron buns and the Saint Lucia thing to celebrate our heritage growing up. My tomtes and Yule goat are beneath my bay wreath. I’m 30 now, and I give zero fucks about the unintentional syncretism because Yule goats are super cool.