The altar was set up and ready for devotion long before the sun began to make his descent in the sky. A shoe with a parchment wrapped in red ribbon in it, on it hopes, wishes, and desires along with thanks for the previous year’s blessings. Yes, there have been some as ugly as 2014 has been and I am grateful for those blessings.
You can plan a solitary ritual as much as you want, script it, write it out, and run it through your mind as much as you want, but the hands of the unseen tend to move you as they see fit in spite of all of your well laid plans. I did have the core of everything I wished to do performed however, there were things inspired that I am in serious doubt I could reproduce. I planned on devoting just St. Nicholas. That is not what happened. St. Nicholas did get honored in fine fashion, but after him a parade of Feri and ancestral Gods bounded about the Yule altar all calling my name and pulling from my soul songs that even now the tunes fade away. I promised a long night’s vigil. The unseen took that seriously.
There were quiet moments watching the candle flame flicker on it’s wick. It was during these moments where work was placed before me. I was shown the iron and pearl pentacle as one. A pearl star with iron at it’s core. It cracked and broke and all the pearl peeled away in flashing chips and flakes, the words start again echoed in my ears. Red hot iron in the shape of a star with mangled points flashed in my head and I knew that in order for the pearl to straight the iron had to be right first. Pearl forms in layers, a continuing process of coating and growth; patience and vigilance are required here. A thing I now know to point out to my students: work iron first. It is your strength, your core. While I type this a Fremen proverb crosses my thoughts: Wisdom comes from the desert, polish from the city. What is the point in polishing a mangled piece of iron???
At one point in time while keeping quiet vigil, the litany against fear cropped up: I must not fear. . . It kept rolling through my head and did not stop until it spilled from my lips. There was a tightness in my gut that I noticed as I was saying this litany. The unseen whispered to consciously let it go. I was holding fear in place instead of permitting it to roll through me and leave. It washed through in a cascade of ice then a warmth took its place as began to breathe deeply again. I didn’t notice how shallow and tight my breath had become.
During my last night’s vigil, after all the work put before me was done, I was shown other shoes with other scrolls. An omen of good things to come? Maybe so, but for now, it’s all about reshaping hot iron before coating it with pearl again.