The wind is howling outside, there’s a flood watch on the river between the ferry dock and town, and we’re expecting 50 or 60 guests tomorrow (most from off-island) for our annual St Lucia Party.
This year, Lucia comes in on the winds of change and forgetting . . .
While we usually think of Lucia as the Lightbringer “whose visit heralds the imminent return of the Sun,” this week’s storms remind me of another, more frightening Yuletide figure. The northern European crone goddess Berchta flew through the night sky attended by the souls of the dead during the dark days around Winter Solstice. (See “All Soul’s Day & the WIld Horde” by Waverly Fitzgerald or “The Christmas Hag” by Susanna Duffy.)
When we hear the melancholy call of the loon or the cry of wild geese, the screech of wind in the trees or the pounding of waves on rocky shore — who is to say we are not hearing the voices of the dead?
For this is their season, this time between Samhain and Yule, and we do well to remember and honor them. They will have a place at our table tomorrow night, and we will raise a glass to sons and mothers and beloved friends, and to the ghosts of soldiers dying far away from home.