Last weekend Wonder and I celebrated Yule on the Brookberg. We were there last June for Midsummer, this time for the opposite side of the wheel of the year: Midwinter. The country estate in winter is different, but beautiful nevertheless.
When we arrived nobody was there, so we couldn't park the car inside. We put it outside and crawled under de barrier. We took a long walk around the lake, the scenery is amazing. By the time we got back, others had arrived and we could pitch the tent. We were the only ones sleeping in a tent. We had brought a heater and plenty of blankets, so we wouldn't get cold at night. Wonder decorated the tent; we had our own cosy place to stay.
It was good to be there again. The place has something calming, you just don't want to rush anymore. Most of the people we already knew, some were new to us. Renée had come and to our surprise two other friends we didn't expect were there, a nice surprise. The group felt warm and close.
We cast the circle next to a willow tree near the lake, a very special place. The cattle felt attracted and came close too. The weather was cold but not freezing and it stayed dry all weekend. In the morning a thick fog was almost hiding the lake. Somewhat later I took this picture, which I have as my desktop background now.
Saturday afternoon the group built the sweat lodge and prepared everything for the fire. For the stone ceremony everyone took two big stones to put in the fire and later heat the sweat lodge. The first stone was charged with a wish/intention for yourself, the second one for a group of people that could use some extra good intentions. Without knowing it Wonder and I had chosen the same people for our second stone: a dear friend of us and her family. She is twice blessed. :-)
After something warm to drink we prepared for the sweat lodge itself. At first it was a bit chilly in the nude, but that changed very quickly. It was very hot, but I enjoyed it as much as the first time. Ben2Bears thanked Mother Earth and spoke about the meaning of Yule.
Then we each told why we were there and with what intention. I was there to go back inside and make contact with myself again, learn to accept and honour myself. It's a big issue, I've been struggling with it all my life and it won't be done at once. But I want to think of myself as important and worthy as I think of others. Pfew...
In the sweat lodge I lost track of time, but afterwards I heard we had stayed there for 45 minutes. It was a special and magical experience once more.
After the sweat lodge ritual it was time for dinner. Boy, was I hungry (and thirsty)! Everyone had made or bought something, so there was more than enough. I tasted a little bit of everything, yummy! After dinner we sat and talked amongst ourselves.
Late at night we went outside for a drum circle around the fire. Wonder and I didn't drum this time, but we enjoyed the sound of the others on a blanket near the fire. The group was called inside just when the fire was at its best, pity! Inside we did a crystal ceremony. It was wonderful, but during the meditation I dozed off and almost fell asleep. Oops! Not that strange though as it was near 2am already.
When we went to the tent, the generator was off but it was still warm inside. We were very tired so it didn't take too long to fall asleep. I haven't been cold at all and I slept great! Around 5am I had to walk to the toilet inside the building; that was cold but back in bed I was warm again quickly. The alarm went off at 9am, but we stayed in bed and slept a little longer. We were last at the breakfast table.
Some people had already gone home. Renée had left saturday night, because her hubby has the flu. Others left after breakfast. The remaining people cleared away the mess. Next we closed the circle to end our gathering. It has been a splendid weekend!