For those of you that don't already follow Ms Dirty - why the fuck not? - this is her Midwinter Magic challenge. As I've said before - I'm in.
OK, well now I'm busy researching my Midwinter/Yule feast, and I feel a headache coming on! For a start, there's a whole raft of ancestry in my background I don't know about (my dad's paternal line, my grandmother's maternal line) and what we DO know is spread about all over the place. On my Dad's side there's definitely Irish ancestry, on my grandfather's there is Welsh, German, Italian, Spanish, northern European (Finnish/Danish/Swedish - we don't know which, we just know from SOMEWHERE around there) and Devon/Dorset (that's southwest/southern English) and as I'm including the hubby and Witchlets in this, he's got Roma/Eastern European/Irish ancestry as well. BUT.... and this is a HUGE EFFING BUT - I need to honour the ancestors I work with and commune with on a daily basis (and I SERIOUSLY don't wanna piss off my Nana, Great Grandma and my beloved Great Uncle Roy!). So, to accommodate Great Uncle Roy, who lived and worked in farms in Dorset and Devon, (and was a great cider drinker and maker of all sorts of alcoholic beverages, including rather illegal distilled ones), we shall be wassailing our (currently barren) apple tree. Depending on which book you read, or which web-site you peruse, dates for wassailing orchards to ensure a good harvest seem to be somewhere between New Year’s Day and Twelfth Night, but I’m throwing that out of the window at the moment and bringing it forward to the Solstice. Hell, if it goes down well, we’ll wassail the mo’fo again on Twelfth Night for good measure!
We’ll be having roast duck for my Nana (she did home-raised goose for Christmas Day, but duck was a favourite for a dinner when the family arrived for their week-long stay over the festive season) and that's as far as I've got!
There are a few more things to get in somehow; the last of the blackberries (sauce for the duck perhaps?), my first ever harvest of cobnuts (that’s hazelnuts to all those not from the rural areas of southern England!), some form of starter that everyone likes, (there is fuck all chance of getting the kids to even TRY my home-made chicken liver paté ), some serious sexual shenanigans to orchestrate (nothing like fucking to remind you that you are alive in the midst of the death-like sleep of the winter countryside), and a child-friendly “Return of the Light” simple ritual to formulate to do with the Witchlets. And a fuck-me-sideways dessert with chocolate 'cause I'm NOT doing a special meal without chocolate; the family would lynch me.
We’re pinching some of our savings to buy new crockery, a table runner and some napkins this year. The ancestral place setting will be on Hekate’s altar (which she is graciously sharing with The Old Woman/Mother Elder all Winter; and as a psychopomp herself she will be petitioned to bring the ancestors forth for their meal) and the meal will be served in the evening of the 22nd December (the astrological solstice, and hubby’s day off!)
I’m also wanting to do something with bringing evergreens into the house too, but I’m not sure what yet. Basically, this year I’m building a family tradition from scratch and there will be stuff that works, and stuff that doesn’t, so I’m packing it all in and seeing what gets the best response from the OKW’s family (alive and dead).
Right, my head is positively spinning (from research, typing, and a very large spiced rum I’m seriously fucking enjoying now my lunar month of alcoholic abstinence is up!) so I’m off to… oh, I don’t know, do something else. Probably sleep!
If you’re in for the Ms Dirty Midwinter Magic challenge, I’d love to hear about it. E-mail me, tweet me at @OldKitchenWitch, Facebook me, or leave me a comment below. Right, me loverlies, I’m off.