Because the world was invented by people in the northern hemisphere, and globe manufacturers can't get their spheres the right way up . . . many of them forget we're even down here or that the Winter Solstace is in fact today, not 21st December.
We may not have Stonehenge to prance around in wode and sandals or wicker men to burn but we can still partake in the solstace rituals. Winter is well upon us and it's friggin' freezing by Aussie standards. It's the shortest day and whilst I'm a lover of the cold, I've had enough, my tether is tensed, my nerves are freyed and my temper short. I even dodged DrummerBoy's pub gig tonight because it was wet, and cold and I'm having a wintery sulk. I'm sitting here in me trakky dax and me fave chunkyhoody cardy and me muvvers day slippy socks looking for all the world like a medieval surf (hope nobody drops in). I'm thinking I might light a bonfire, paint myself celtic and do a Billy Connolly in the buff once the flames begin to leap. Then again, my neighbours, distant as they are, will be sure to complain about the overweight pagan streaker distracting them from the telly.
In the absence of company to dance around a fire with, I've discovered a winter ritual that is supposed to welcome the solstace and warm the cockles. First, we cleanse the home with herbs, soaps, incense and the like and wash our hands in warm water with gold sprinkles. (I'm not making this up) Good job Grandad's on holidays, he'd be sneezing from here to kingdom come. Then we chant mantras calling on the univers and spirit guides to assist "Please mighty ones, make the fan on my heater more effective." Then, we light a candle, one with seven knobs apparently. I think that refers to bumps on the stem, not several phallus sticking out of it although the imagery is very warming indeed! Then, we light an 'image' candle in either the female or male gender, then a couple of pyramid candles (we seem to be mixing cultural metaphors here). After all this praying and knob lighting, we work through the seven knob candle burning a little bit (down to the next knob of course) for the next seven days. Then we draw a red circle on the floor (not on my grey loop pile you don't) and bring in a couple of logs and some ears of wheat for the duration of the 7 day ritual.
I dunno, all this talk of knobs and burning . . .I'm feeling quite warm now.