Three years ago, I posted Christmas Moon about the cradling of a baby against the curve of his mother’s womb. This theme has recurred for me recently, visited in dance, poetry and the memories that they bring forth.

One month ago our son quietly married his sweetheart of thirteen years:

Near Cambridge Castle Mound, November 2019; picture taken by (witness) Kim

It gives us great joy to visit the newly weds in their first owned house (for which Beloved has made a set of ash dining chairs – sourced from local trees that needed felling). And we delight in helping them restore the garden of their first owned house.

Incidentally that house (close to their Cambridge work places and their friends) was once owned by our composer friend Evan, for whom we had built a wildlife pond as a fortieth birthday present in 1990s. The pond, and descendants of the original frogs are STILL THERE!

A year ago I mentioned in a December blog the 2107 Winter Solstice celebration in which I had taken the role as the Elegist, lamenting the darkness of winter and the bareness of the trees.

Processing to ancient site on Gog Magog Down; image copyright Jeremy Peters

A few days ago I took part in a similar ritual for 2019 Winter Solstice, this time as Oak King, who meets the Holly King in a “colloquy” (battle of words) to claim his crown (from December to June, when the Holly King will claim it back…). The picture below – taken after our Druidic/Buddhist leader Suryamani had guided us through the ancient and Earth-compassionate ritual – shows me wearing the crown, and sporting the yellow/green of the oak.

These were two nylon tablecloths – our wedding presents from Beloved’s Aunt Florence over 40 years ago – and they kept slipping and sliding off me, despite the best wardrobe-ministrations of Sue-the-carrier-of-‘midwinter-fire’-dogwood, and Liz who-was-elegist-and-Guardian-of-the-North this year.

The ceremony was all the more poignant since the Holly King was voiced by Amarachandra, from Australia (far right, below). She had spoken movingly about her country’s creatures suffering from the increasing temperatures, and their habitat being consumed by wild-fire. And Jeremy our photographer had read aloud a writing* from Joanna Macy, deep thinker and inspirational environmental activist-through-collaboration.

This winter I’ve taken part in some of the activities highlighting climate change and environmental degradation, with members of Cambridge Buddhist Centre and friends, including a Silent Rebellion meditation sit in Grand Arcade during Winter Solstice weekend. Very awed to witness a supportive visit from the mime group Red Rebellion (XR) who honoured our silent sit in silent acknowledgement, and moved gracefully and poignantly among the throngs of shoppers, as part of our demonstration against wanton consumerism and resource depletion.

Grand Arcade shopping mall Cambridge, 21 December 2019 copyright Jeremy Peters

By early 2020 I will be back up north in the cool of the Highlands of Scotland, writing doggerel and bloggerel as well as essay scripts and poetry, and welcoming friends to share informal workshops and retreats.

And looking forward to another nourishing weekend up there in June with the Movement Medicine teacher Rosie Perks, whose practice, music, and companions welcomed me home to my authentic voice, heartfulness, and dance in October. Hurrah!

And meanwhile I am using this midwinter sojourn in Cambridge to renew my memory-connection with having been an undergraduate and research biology student here through the 1970s; a young parent /tutor in a Fenland community and in a Northumberland village in 1980-90s; a gardener and writer in the 2000s , and Earth-sharing dancer and Buddhist poet most recently.

And now I am on a path of further training towards my offering of safe and soothing intuitive touch (Yellow Petal Touch). Especially moving towards those (many of us) with heath needs, and those who strive towards Earth-caring and living with integrity.

Which brings me full circle, like the progression of the Earth around the sun, to Christmas Moon .

This Christmas Day coincides, once again, with the thinnest, barely visible phase of the waning Moon, before New Moon on Boxing Day (Oh, and there is a writing exercise available on the theme of Boxing Day.)

However you are, wherever you are, and with whom you are navigating the turn of the tides, the Moon, and the year ahead:

may you be well, may you continue to learn, and may you look with kindness towards what is, and with hope towards what’s to come.

* Footnote: Joanna Macy quotation that was read aloud at the holly tree on Gog Magog Downs:

“What is it that allows us to feel pain for our world? And what do we discover as we move through it?

“What awaits us there ‘on the other side of despair’?… it is interconnectedness with life and all other beings.

“It is the living web out of which our individual, separate existences have arisen, and in which we are interwoven.

“Our lives extend beyond our skins, in radical inter-dependence with the rest of the world.”

Joanna Macy