by Richard De Angelis
'Twas the night before Yule, when all 'cross the heath,
Not a being was stirring, Pagan, faerie, or beast.
Wassail was left out and the altar adorned
To rejoice that the Sun King would soon be reborn.
The children lay sleeping by the warmth of the hearth,
Their dreams filled with visions of belov'd Mother Earth.
M'lady and I beneath blankets piled deep
Had just settled down to our own Solstice sleep.
Then a noise in the night that would leave us no peace
Awakened us both to the honking of geese.
Eager to see such a boisterous flock,
When we raced to the window, our mouths dropped in shock!
On the west wind flew a gaggle of geese white & gray,
With Frau Holda behind them in her giftladen dray.
The figure on her broomstick in the north sky made it clear,
La Befana was approaching to bestow Yuletide cheer.
From the south came a comet more bright than the moon,
And we knew that Lucia would be with us soon.
As these spirits sailed earthward o'er hilltops & trees,
Frau Holda serenaded her feathery steeds:
"Fly Isolde! Fly Tristan! Fly Odin and Freya!
Fly Morgaine! Fly Merlin! Fly Uranus and Gaea!
May the God and the Goddess inside of you soar
From the clouds in the heavens to yon cottage door."
As soft and silent as snowflakes they fell,
Their arrival announced by a faint chiming bell.
They landed like angels, their bodies aglow.
Their feet left no marks in the new-fallen snow.
Before we could ponder what next lay in store,
There came a slow creaking from our threshold door.
We crept from our bedroom and were spellbound to see...
There in our parlor stood the Yule Trinity!
Lucia, the Maiden, with her head wreathed in flame,
Shone with the radiance for which she was named.
The Lightbringer's eyes held the joy of a child,
And she spoke with a voice that was gentle, yet wild:
"May the warmth of this household ne'er fade away."
Then she lit our Yule log which still burns to this day.
Frau Holda in her down cloak stood regal and tall;
The Matron of Solstice, the Mother of all.
Under her gaze we felt safe & secure.
Her voice was commanding, yet almost demure:
"May the love of this family enrich young and old."
And from the folds of her cloak showered coins of pure gold.
La Befana wore a kerchief on her silvery hair,
The veil of the Crone who has secrets to share.
In her eyes gleamed a wisdom only gained by spent youth.
Her voice was a whisper but her words rung with truth:
"May health, glad tidings, and peace fill these rooms."
And she banished misfortune with a sweep of her broom.
They then left a gift by each sleeping child's head,
Took a drink of our wassail, and away they sped.
While we watched them fly off through the night sky we laughed
At the wondrous magick we had found in the Craft.
As they departed, the spirits decreed...
Merry Yule To You All and May All Blessed Be!
* * * *
A bit of seasonal humor. Being a Jewitch, I have to plan my Christmas day Chinese food and moviegoing.
Which Sean Bean Character Are You?
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Can I ask a question? Is it not allowable for a literate person to have disliked Faramir in TTT and ROTK (the novels)? How come when I state that I do not despise and loathe movie!Faramir but rather respect him, having found Tolkien's Faramir a hopeless do-gooder (and Boromir a revolting buffoon), I get treated as if I must be a brainless 12-year-old with a crush on Legolas?
I understand that some texts are sacrosanct to some people, and any deviation from Tolkien-canon is going to get certain people absolutely hysterical. I thought I might feel that way when I heard TNT was making a four-hour miniseries of The Mists of Avalon, a book that literally changed my religion. And I watched it, and yeah, it utterly decimated what really mattered in the novel, but you know what -- it's a miniseries! It's a piece of commercial entertainment! It's not the definitive version and certainly not the only valid interpretation of MOA, and even if there are 12-year-old fan girls who may have watched it because of a crush on the guy who played Lancelot, maybe they'll read the books, maybe they'll think about the barely-touched-upon history of the Goddess, maybe they'll form their own ideas based on it. Or maybe they'll just have enjoyed it and that'll be enough for them. It's too bad for me that no one can make the definitive miniseries of how *I* see The Mists of Avalon -- at least, it's too bad for me -- but that's not the director's responsibility. It's not an act of sabotage if he decided to focus on different characters and events than I would have.
Peter Jackson had nine hours in which to condense books that probably could have been made into a 20+ hour production and still required cuts. He had to find some way to show quickly Faramir's desperation to do something right in the eyes of his father. And dramatically -- quite apart from Tolkien-purist considerations -- I think it's very powerful seeing him tempted and rejecting the Ring; it strengthens the link to Boromir that's pretty weak without the flashbacks (I know people are ranting about various other changes that could have been replaced with those, but I think that's a different argument, and in any case I don't think it's a make-or-break choice for the film).
I've been a lifelong SF/fantasy fan; I wrote my M.A. thesis on feminist utopias. But although I understood and appreciated his contributions to the genre, I was never a Tolkien fan until Peter Jackson brought to life the human characters whom I never could stand. I don't understand why certain people cannot accept that it is possible for intelligent disagreement on such topics, rather than pronouncing themselves the True Intellectuals [TM] with the only valid opinions. So go ahead and hate movie!Faramir if you want, but for heaven's sake do the rest of us a favor and stop implying that it makes you smarter, deeper or more literate than those of us who don't.