December 21st 2012 was a frantic time for many across the world. With fears of Armageddon, aliens, solar blasts and much more people around the world found themselves either fearing or celebrating the end of the world. As December 21st, better known as the winter solstice graced the mountains of Nicholas County, West Virginia where a small group of women gathered to celebrate the rebirth of life and the true light of the world. This is celebrated due to longer days beginning and the spring births of nature.
The ladies asked to not be named but spoke candidly of their practices and the meanings behind them. “We don’t care what others think about the craft. Anyone with an open mind who actually learns its history and traditions will see that it is a loving way of life that is simply in tune with nature. We use our candles and spells the way a Christian church uses its cross and bible.” L.M. said. “Our chants are like hymns only we don’t sing them” L.M.’s daughter N.M. giggled with all the free spirited joy of a tween. The ladies gathered around a fire of selected logs and joined hands to say a prayer before celebrating the night with blessed wine (and soda for N.M. much to her disappointment), making woven crowns out of thin bendable sticks with ribbon and dancing the night away.
Each year the ladies informed me that a different member picks the prayer they will all say. The prayer chosen this year was by J.T. She said she found it on the internet and loved the message that it sent. As the ladies joined hands they all began to speak. “There are those who fear the night, there are those who don’t see light. From a thousand million suns since the multiverse began, rain upon us purest light radiance fine and radiance bright. Blessing us with starlight’s song bring the new and heal the wrong. Velvet darkness old and wise draws up all into the skies. Let your hopes and fears now flow to the heavens, make it so give all to the starry night. Let what once was wrong be right when you flow, so crystal clear starlight’s music you can hear starlight messages you sense from the world which never ends from the realms of beauty free bringing stellar harmony now to you, and now to me. Lifts us, loves us, lets us see universal tapestry wonder filled infinity living light awakes in me so it is, so shall it be.”
Over all the experience was very uplifting and carried a message of communion and love throughout the gathering. Each lady seemed to truly enjoy each other and the continual message and mood was to be good to others and nature. As each lady began to leave, there were giggles about “husbands enjoying a house to himself for too long” and children needing tucked in. December 21st 2012 was anything but frantic for these ladies and the thought of the world ending never crossed their minds. They showed the strong bond found in Mountain women and why West Virginia continues to be a state of hidden variety.