Fires burn indoors, friends gather for Solstice inspired celebrations those with a child of light or the birth of the sun god in deepest winter.
In these dark days doom and gloom dominate media. In Ireland, since the begining of the recession years, it is as if we are a country in mourning. Perhaps a world too. Loss is hard to ignore in the depths of winter. Permaculture looks at destruction as part of a cycle back to life and we permaculturists can be relentlessly, irritatingly, up beat folk at times.
I think this comes from our engagement with a design approach that is solution focused and practical. A less known side in permaculture people that I meet, is their stoic ability to look at some of the world's most serious challenges in the eye, and live to tell the tale. This may be as John (an inspirational permaculture practioner) in west Cork says about how he keeps going, "because I believe there is a little green Frodo on the way to the gates of Mordor!"
Or maybe its because connected to nature often deeply they must face their grief feelings. I recently attended an event for a national grieving day that was a kind of positive funeral celebrating the lives now lost of the multiple species dying daily at alarming rates. It included a fire burning outside on a cold hillside overlooking Kiliney bay and was timely for me as I experienced a personal loss. We sang and through small symbolic offerings into the fire releasing a shower of sparks that floated up to the stars. It is a tight-rope balance, a dual time where we celebrate in the dark, and still look ahead to spring.
Festivals of light the world over have this function. Kindling the little bright lights, feasting on the stores from summer, gathering close to those around us, to sing and have the craic. It seems that these fires helps hold the space for the next stage in the cycle.
Enjoy your festive fires.