Hello Green Man Family… Sea Wolf here, aka Carrie. I’m the one that tends to be short on words, nodding sagely next to Griffin during class (when I’m not just heckling him from the corner of the classroom). This, however, is not going to be short on words. Bear with me. What better do you have to do right now anyway? LOL.
Remember Yule a few months ago? Back when there was some virus over in China that had nothing to do with us? When we were here at the store, the biggest Yule gathering The Green Man has yet seen? Oh, it was fun! We sang, we coned, we chanted, we jingled bells, we shared mulled wine… And our Yule tree – wasn’t it amazing? So beautiful: lit candles on its boughs, and our pretty ribbons bedecking it – ribbons that carried our wishes for the New Year. It was wonderful.
After the Yule ritual was over, we brought out the trunk of last year’s Yule tree and burned it in our fire pit, as we do every year. 2019… remember when we thought that was a horribly challenging year? LOL. 2020 lurking round the corner, saying “Hold my beer…” As we burned the tree of 2019, people booed it. That was funny… but as I was putting the year to bed as I always do just after New Year’s Day, I had a different thought. I’m the biggest resident House Elf here – did you know? The way things are laid out for a big celebration is largely my responsibility. And the way those things are put away until next time is, too. I love that part of my job here. I have an intimate relationship with our Workings and the tools we use because of it. It’s all a big part of how I hold space for the Work we do. As I took this year’s tree out after removing the ribbons from it, and went to cut off its boughs to keep the trunk for burning in our next Yule celebration, I thought back to Yule just past. I thought about how we booed 2019’s tree as we burned it, and I realized it was not right. Boo the year, absolutely if that’s the kind of year you had (and we did, and we will again). But we should never boo the Tree.
We talk a great deal in our workings here about the Bile (pronounced Billy or Bee-Lay) Tree. About how we witches gather ‘round it, and we witches “hang” from it in our work. The Bile Tree is our Axis Mundi – our central piece. It’s the focal point where the Tribe or Community gathers and works together. One physical representation of this wondrous Tree is the Maypole. We gather, and dance around, and bedeck it with libation and ribbons too! Much like the Yule Tree, which is also a physical representation of our Bile Tree. It struck me as I was working the back end of our Yule work, that we keep it all year long because it’s what supports our community. It’s the place the community can always come home to, to gather and revel around. It’s a beautiful thing that we don’t necessarily tend to think much about between Yule rituals. We owe our Tree the honor it deserves, not for representing a crappy year, but for being the center that supported and upheld us during that crappy year!
So I took my musings to Griffin, as I tend to do. And as we discussed this bit of gnosis I’d received, we decided that this year, we would make the tree central to our work for the year. Not in abstract form, but in the physical form of the Yule tree’s trunk. Excited by this prospect, I hung a last bit of mistletoe from the top, and tucked it away for future use. I also, for the first time, decided not to take the ribbons to a crossroads, but to keep them with the tree.
2020 started fast and furious, and we had no time to put the tree to use before COVID 19 reared its ugly head and we had to take our gatherings online. As I did our monthly cleansing a week or so ago, the Spirits here reminded me that NOW – more than ever – we need to work with that Tree. It’s how we can hold space for you. It’s the center that supports and upholds us! It’s how we can support us all as a community in a physical sense, even though it’s remotely. Taking instructions from the Spirits, I pulled the Tree together as a working for us all. It is in a stand in front of our altar. And isn’t it awesome that at the top of this year’s tree, we have 3 tines! From one hangs the mistletoe. From another hangs the lantern as a beacon of hope in dark times. This lantern will be lit whenever we hold class or ritual remotely. And from the other tine hangs a fool’s bag I stitched of checkered red and green, holding our ribbons from Yule – our dreams, hopes, and wishes for this year. Along the trunk of the Tree, you can see the libation we gave it during our Yule ritual. And at the base of our Bile Tree, I have placed the community’s Hearth Stone. Right now, that stone holds pieces from the Ostara working we did last week. Note the egg, the flowers. I will place pieces there from all the workings we do remotely this year, until we can gather again in person. Until that day, I’ll catch ya on the interwebs.
Love, Luck, and yes especially Laughter to you all!