<--- My Yule log :)
I had a conversation recently with someone about my paganism, and they asked me if I practiced, i.e. did magic. It turns out they were like myself -- we both read about our faith and its pratices, but didn't get around to being active about it. I've decided it's time for me to become a pagan of action!
I thought I had read somewhere about the wee ritual that I've undertaken tonight, but it actually must have come from my own devices. None of my sources have this simple gesture amongst their 'spells' or rituals. I must have tapped into the symbolism that we all share instinctively (whether folk listen to it these days or not...), and drew upon this reflection on the dark coming back into the light. All you need is a black candle, a white candle, a bit of peace, and yourself. You light the black candle, watch it burn, and reflect on whichever of these that suits (or all if you want!): a) qualities that have been dormant and hidden in you for too long; b) personal concerns or worries that you try to bury; c) events of the past year, good and bad (I know that the new year technically starts at Samhain, but you know what I mean...). You can do this all on one night, or on each night from the 20th-22nd. Then you light your white candle from the flame of the black, to signify the transition from the reign of darkness to light. Leave both lighting for a while as you visualise in your mind the transition, and figure out what it means for you. Then blow out the black candle, as the god of darkness has been defeated, and focus on the white, the victory/rebirth of the god of light. Reflect on the following in correspondence to your reflection(s) on the black candle: a) visualise the possibilities of your dormant qualities and talents, and putting them into practice; b) look forward to the days of light and imagine yourself overcoming current difficulties; c) think on what you want to achieve in the coming year. You can light your white candle for the following nights as a physical reminder of the positive outcome from your reflections.
What I love about paganism is that everyone has the power; I smiled to myself as I lit my candles on their brass candlesticks, thinking about how people feel the need to turn to priests and ministers in order to contact the divine. Nonsense -- organised religion removed people from the power that they already had, herding them into churches and removing from the real divinity of Nature.
Look at the solstice at Newgrange nowadays -- we used to be able to watch it on telly, then it went online with presenters that were also hooked up to the radio. Now it's merely a live video online with no commentary or pomp whatsoever. I suppose we should be grateful that we get to see it at all! Why have we become increasingly alienated from our heritage and our humanity? People need to realise that they have to take back their traditions and their spirituality for themselves, and not let people manipulate them and make a fortune out of their souls.