Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reinventing the Wheel: Mother Hulda's Night

A peculiar juxtaposition: Fire & Snow. All of it for Mother Hulda.
A peculiar juxtaposition: Fire & Snow.
All of it for Mother Hulda.

I wish I had the opportunity to keep better records than I have been recently. Things have shifted dramatically, so many demands leaving me scatter-brained, without time & completely exhausted. But, I must remind myself that even the smallest something is more than nothing. Baby steps. This is how we will build tradition.

Yesterday, Saturday October 13th. The snow resolved to arrive in earnest. This was no first frost, nor was it a spitting, sputtering "warning shot" as Hubby calls them. No, this snow stuck, allowing Little Lad to dart in & out of the house collecting snowballs (to eat?) for several hours before we had to put a lid on it.

All day I kept thinking of the Grimm's Fairy Tale "Mother Hulda." It has always been one of my favourites, second only perhaps to my childhood standard, "Sweetheart Roland." As the flakes fell & the breezes blew, we chased off to a frigid but jovial pagan community walk on the Coastal Trail, then later more chasing, this time to a very cozy pagan community mask-making workshop. I thought of Mother Hulda & her bedding -- fluffing, shaking, making -- as we scurried about beneath her storm. 

What the phone saw: First Tenacious Snowfall 2012.
What the phone saw: First "Tenacious Snowfall" 2012.

By evening, I felt a strange resolution that this should be "Mother Hulda's Night" -- the night of the first  tenacious snowfall. (There is no measure for this, it is something you just recognize.) "We'll add it to the Wheel," I said. 

But what do we do to celebrate our new fangled Mother Hulda's Night?

Curl up, all together (dress code: jammies) & read the story aloud of course. But what else, what are the symbols, how do we show our recognition? 

Ah, wait. The frosted glass & silver dish. Earlier in the week, Hubby arrived home with a pretty little dish stamped "Celtic Quality Silverplate." He is a fan of collecting odds & ends, particularly silverplate & he truly relishes the hunt. (Sterling is even better, but who can find it anymore?) The edge of the dish is stamped with an unusual pattern which looks something like emaciated oak leaves, but is probably really supposed to be thistle. At first glance, however, I had mistaken the pattern for snowflakes. At the time I wondered, "...what will become the purpose of this special dish?" but last night I knew. We would light a beeswax tealight in that dish as a beacon & place it in the window to signal our affection & appreciation for Mother Hulda & all that which keeps the Wheel turning...

Interesting. When the candle was lit, the "leaves" aka "snowflakes" looked suspiciously like wheels. Oh, I love it when symbols pile on top of one another! Soon after the dish & candle were set in the window, Little Lad ran in with a handful of snow. "For Mother Hulda's Night," he said as he handed it over. We placed it in a little plate beside the silver dish. I can always depend on him to know what to do. 

Then, to the bed we went. With ceremonial sleepwear donned, we clambered under the covers (some clambering more than others) & curled up with the trusty laptop because none of us could locate a single one of our four copies of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Not so romantic, but, next year we'll iron it out. How will this traditon change, develop, evolve? When will it happen? I would like to say I can't wait, but I can.

To read the story (in a variety of languages), visit "Mother Hulda" at the Grimm's Fairy Tales website.

"The headpiece of Mother Hulda." by Walter Crane  courtesy of University of Rochester Library.
"The headpiece of Mother Hulda." by Walter Crane
courtesy of University of Rochester Library.

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