It’s Monday morning, the day after the annual Day After the Lucia Party. We’re exhausted, full and very grateful. All weekend, we had a house full of colored lights, evergreen boughs, scrumptious food, sweet songs, hot drumming, firelight and candlelight, funny stories and scintillating conversations. We were wrapped in a cozy blanket made from the warmth and love of our chosen family and tribe.
The feast, as always, was amazing, organized and served up by Sister Elaine Mermaid (an incarnation, I believe, of Sister Ruby Rosarita Mermaid), Sister Nora Laughs-A-Lot Mermaid, and Sister Giving Love Mermaid. There was salmon caught right here in our own bay last August; ham, turkey and Swedish meatballs for the carnivores; and tasty vegan, vegetarian and raw food dishes for guests of those persuasions. No one lacked for anything good to eat. (That’s the Old Mermaid way!)
Santa Lucia made her annual appearance, arriving out of the dark night wearing a blazing crown of candles, once more offering us the gifts of warmth, light and sustenance in the form of lussekatter — lucy kats — cats of light. Our Giftbringer this year wasn’t our usual Mother Berta or La Befana or even the Holly King, but instead was a surprise guest: Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid! She told stories of how she and her Old Mermaid Sisters create sanctuaries everywhere they go and encourage others to create them too. She gifted the Lucia guests with “the sun, the moon, the stars and the Old Sea . . .” and handed out gifts that had been dusted in magical mermaid seadust. She seemed to be a huge hit with the crowd, so who knows, she may even show up again next year!
Sister DragonSong Mermaid. Sister Bird Mermaid and Sister Juels Mermaid led the crowd in singing paganized versions of Yule carols. My own sweet man Craig sang his new tune — a revised “In the Bleak Midwinter” — and an old tune (a crowd favorite), “Solstice Night.” Ah, sweet music. Babies were kissed, candles were lit and prayers said in the outdoor shrine to She Who Watches. And prizes were handed out to those who counted the correct number of mermaids hanging on the Yule tree (the answer was 12 . . . or maybe 13, depending on whether or not you counted the gilded poppyseed head that resembled a mermaid.) Baby Ava Mermaid’s proud new grandpa gifted her with a baby-sized drum — Baby’s First Djembe!
Upstairs in the Sweet Room, an Old Mermaid Journal was left out for guests to draw pictures in or write down their thoughts about Lucia, Yule or Old Mermaids. This morning, I see that it’s full of drawings and notes. I’ve posted my favorite one above, “Lucia Mermaid” by young Sister Chloe Mermaid. On the Day After the Lucia Party, as the hosts and hostesses were relaxing by the hearthfire, we realized that Chloe has been to a Lucia Party almost every year of her young life
(she’ll be 11 next month). And we talked about the year’s passages, saying farewell to Dean (my dad), and welcoming four new babies to the tribe: Kaya, Ava, Robert and Oceana. They’ll all grow up going to Lucia Parties too!
Last night around 8 PM, the last guests (co-hosts, really) had left and the kitchen was as tidied up as it was going to get. Craig and I turned off all the lights except for the colored Yule lights, lit the altar candles and stoked up the fire. We cuddled on the sofa, nestling into the silence that reverberated with the sights, sounds and feelings of the weekend just passed. The night before, sixty-some people had celebrated here and welcomed the Return of the Light. Now, there was just the two of us. So sweet. So blessed. So grateful.