It is known that names can hold power. Names of people, names of places, names of things. This idea of naming children to give them strength and other attributes associated with that name also applies to concepts and ideas. Since humans first learned language we have been naming everything that is important to us. Naming something gives it an identity and defines what it is. And in a world of ever increasing social complexity, definition means more to us than ever.
When we create a name for an idea, when we define and explain a concept, we breathe life into that intangible thought form that other people can understand and get to know. But there are some ideas that frighten people because they challenge everything those people believe about the world. When we give those ideas names, people will resist learning about them, resist even acknowledging they were named, because they are afraid.
What do people do with things they are afraid of? First, they might try to run from them. That is how we are as mortal creatures. But we cannot run away from everything that frightens us. So what is left for us to do? If we cannot run from those ideas we must fight them, yes? Defeat them? How can we do that? by taking away their power- by taking away their names. The things that we fear existed long before we had names for them. Those ideas were always there, but we changed the power they had over us when we gave them names.
We cannot destroy an idea. But we can learn to understand it. We can learn to transform whatever power it holds. We can learn to transform ourselves. There is power in names. In both the giving and the taking.
Winter was a different world in the past. At the mercy of the forces of nature, our ancestors were driven to find ways to resist the elements while facing their own mortality. Without the knowledge of science we have today, they turned to myths and stories to explain what caused the storms to rage and the seasons to change. These stories were just as important to them as their understanding about living off the land.
In the northern hemisphere winter can be a harsh season, and it was during this cold season that the strength of both body and mind was tested. They spent the harvest season not only bringing in the crops, but also preparing for winter, and the cold and darkness that came with it.
It is in this time of darkness that we turn to look within ourselves. As the people of the past contemplated the forces driving the storms and seasons, we today contemplate the storms of our own seasons, and how they affect the tides of our lives.
As the seasons continually change, we can be sure they eventually start over. When we want draw back from the darkness we can draw strength from knowing that the light will follow. We move into the light of the new day with a new understanding of our Self.
I know that Yuletide has arrived when the river begins to freeze.
And it is this time of year, more than any other, that I feel hygge. Maybe it’s the gentle aroma of peppermint coming from my hot mug. Maybe it’s the soft blanket on my lap as I type this. Maybe it’s the gentle breathing of my dog sleeping in front of the fire. All of these things give me a deep sense of warmth and contentment despite the freezing winds outside.
What will those winds bring this season? Will they bring the Furious Host past my cabin on their ride? Will they bring wights who wish weal or woe? Will they bring my ancestors to keep vigil for Sunna with me? Yule is the time when Midgarth no longer belongs to us alone, and during the dark nights all realms will meet.
So come, those who wish to come; stay, those who wish to stay; and fare, those who wish to fare, harmless to me and mine. The Yule season has begun, the veil is thinning, and solstice draws near. I have a warm fire, a soft blanket, and offerings to be made.