On the evening of Sunday, January the 3rd, I was like the knuckle-dragging primate on the left in the picture above: a happy primate, but knuckle-dragging nonetheless. Weeks of overeating and overdrinking had taken their toll on my energy levels and general intellectual agility. I would generally agree with Jack Faust that Christmas is about “love and intoxication”, though I’d broaden it to love and hedonism.
Now some would object to this and say it’s not a very spiritual way of looking at the holiest holiday on the calendar of the occidental world. And, indeed, due to all the late nights, heavy food and drinking, I didn’t really recall any dreams for several weeks (whereas I usually record several a week in my dream diary). And I’m sure my psychic antennae were somewhat dulled, too.
But that’s also in tune with the Christmas myth cycle as well. Waldorf pedagogy (which is based on Anthroposophical principles), encourages parents to begin dimming the electric lights in the house in the mornings and evenings after Martinmas (November 11th). This is meant to let your children (and you, for that matter) actually experience the darkness, cold, and silence coming on, and not denying it through artificial illumination and electronic noise. For several years now we have very deliberately illuminated the house with candles in the early morning and in the late evening before we go to bed. You’d be amazed at how differently you perceive the progress of winter that way, and how precious daylight becomes to you.
And then, when the darkest hour of the year passes at the solstice, a miracle occurs! The light bursts forth from the midst of the darkness. Every one expresses their love for one another. The abundance of the universe pours forth. I can feel it. I can see it. It’s amazing each time.
And after the party is over, after my tummy begs for a break from the feasting, and my brain begs for a break from the drinking, I slowly wake up from my mid-winter slumber, and entertain new plans, and think of the things I will do when the warm weather comes again.
And one of the events of this new year is that the company I work for has decided to take us on a three-day “workshop” in Transylvania. For those of my readers who are sketchy on their geography, Transylvania is in the northern part of Romania. It used to be a collection of odd ethnicities scattered over the mountains in little villages: mostly Hungarian and German (Saxon). When the powers-that-were drew lines on the map to set national borders, this bit ended up in Romania. Oddly, because it was a backwater, it is where Hungarian culture is preserved best to this day.
The word workshop is in quotes above, because there will be precious little workshopping, and lots of eating, sightseeing, folk-dancing and hiking. I love my boss.
And for me, I will be keeping my ears, eyes and inner senses open for the mystical/magical Transylvania. I have packed my talismans of the Olympick spirits, along with candles, incense , a crystal ball, and a flashlight with extra batteries. I’ll see what I can communicate with.
And perhaps, in the dead of night, I will hear the sound of wolves calling from the mountain tops.