Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Solstice!

Thursday, December 21, 2006
4 comments

If I had the time, right now I'd be building another sweat lodge out of saplings and blankets in the middle clearing in our orchard. Then, tonight, I'd light a big bonfire and invite some friends over to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Today is the shortest day of the year and tonight will be the longest night. From here on, the days will lengthen and the nights shorten, until the Summer Solstice in June.

In the aforementioned sweat lodge, we'll spread straw and blankets on the ground. Outside at the bonfire we'll fetch white-hot fire bricks out of the flames with a garden fork. These will be carried into the sweat lodge and dropped into a hole dug in the center. Sage leaves and water sprinkled onto the bricks will create massive clouds of steam, super-heating the inside of the lodge and making all inside perspire. This method of cleansing the body by sweating out impurities is ancient. It's been done here in North America since long before European settlement. If your interest is piqued, here's a bit of history about sweat lodges.

A few years ago I built a comfy little sweat lodge out in the orchard and we passed into the New Year inside its steamy confines along with a few intrepid friends. That lodge is long since fallen down and returned to the Earth, but the Winter Solstice brings out my pagan caveman urges to build a new sweat lodge, make bonfires, build brushpiles, cook meals in a Dutch oven, split firewood, and clear trails. These are all things I will endeavor to fit in during the holidays. They are a nice antidote to e-mails, cellphones, digital everything, and even, ummmm blogging.

Happy Solstice to you from all of us here at Bill of the Birds.

4 comments:

On December 21, 2006 at 11:14 PM Anonymous said...

Happy Solstice to you too! Sweat lodge magic still remains in the orchard! Smell the sage?
Nice MODO at attention, last post. Your photos rock.
S.

On December 21, 2006 at 11:27 PM Mon@rch said...

Happy Winter Solstice everyone!

On December 22, 2006 at 7:09 AM Tarzan's Jane said...

A little dash o' caveman is goood in a husband. Unk! Ragnar make lodge! Cook in fire! Sweat feel good!

(My word verification code: Smenita.

On December 22, 2006 at 10:44 AM Rondeau Ric said...

A happy solstice to one and all.
RR


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