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The Gift: A Yule Story
Article ID: 12225
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,715
Times Read: 3,419
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Author: Lady Abigail [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: December 23rd. 2007
Times Viewed: 3,419
Living with my Great Grandmother was what I consider one of the greatest blessings of my life. She was beautiful in spirit and heart. Her wisdom was filled with understanding and an insight that allowed her to see within one's very soul. She blessed me with not only the gift of magick, but also the wisdom to seek out the truth and see beyond what others imagine and the facade we wear to disguise who we truly are.
It was early in December, the air cold and clear. I didn’t seem to notice the cold as I walked with my Great Grandmother that early morning. We walked along the path that took us to the dirt road that would lead us into town. The sun was shining brightly in the deep blue sky and seemed to make the world sparkle as it melted off the frost from the morning.
I was so excited; there were few things that my Great Grandmother ever needed to buy, so going into town was almost like an adventure. It was nearly the holidays and brightly colored street decorations had been placed on the streetlights. The aromas from each shop seemed to call my attention and add to my excitement.
I loved going into this little Ozark town, for to me, it was like a great city. I loved the noise and how the man behind the counter always gave me candy while he filled my Great Grandmother's order. I liked watching the people as they rushed to whatever seemed to be of great importance. It had always held such wonder for me, that was, until this day.
Walking down the street toward the corner grocery store, I noticed that some people changed sides of the street as we began to walk toward them. Not such a big deal, just strange, since they crossed right back as soon as we passed.
Then I noticed that people left when we entered stores. Again, not so strange, just that they seemed to stand barely outside the door, looking in at us.
I didn’t think much of it; just felt it was a bit peculiar.
I ran to open the big glass door so I could be the one who made the bell ring as we went in. The store was filled with people picking up goodies for the holidays and chatting with each other.
As we walked toward the counter, the store became strangely quite. I could hear the bell ringing as people left the shop.
I noticed one young lady, who was bundled in a big heavy coat, smiling at my Great Grandmother and me as we walked along. I think she may have even winked at me. Then she turned and walked out of the store without saying a word.
As my Great Grandmother placed her order with the man behind the counter, I noticed a little boy about my age standing at the shelf of toys. I was always excited to see other children, not to mention the toys. I slowly walked over to where he was standing and timidly said, “Hello.”
He turned and looked at me, and with the honesty that only children seem to have, said, “I can’t talk to you; you're wicked. My mother said not to talk to you or I would get whipped.”
With that, he turned and ran toward the door.
‘Wicked, ’ that was only a term used for bad people. Not me. How was talking to me, a little girl, going be wicked. I was only five years old at the time.
I ran back to my Great Grandmother and grabbed tight to her skirt. She looked down at me and as if to share the pain I was now feeling.
She picked me up and gave me a hug as she softly wiped away my tears and said, “My little one; you are not wicked. Wicked, is only in the minds of those that have hearts of stone. Your heart is good and filled with wonder. But some people are just too blind to see.”
Soon, the man behind the counter handed my Great Grandmother her bags and we began to walk from the store. Again people turned or walked away as we passed. This time, I didn’t like it. This time, each turned face, each back, and each step away gave me pain like when that little boy called me wicked.
I wanted to run, I wanted to leave that store, that place, and never go back.
As we walked back toward home, I hurt. The little town I loved had changed. It was no longer filled with wonder and excitement. Now it was a place filled with faceless, spiteful people that pointed and whispered behind your back saying mean and hurtful things. Even the day, so bright and sunny before, now seemed terribly cold.
As we walked, my Great Grandmother explained to me that fear was the reason some people acted so full of hate. They were afraid of what they didn’t understand. They feared things different than what they had learned. They were so afraid, that fear would not allow them to accept those unlike themselves. To accept anything beyond what they believed, they were afraid, would somehow make them weak. They had been raised in believing that anything different was wicked and bad.
It was up to me how to accept these people. If I allowed their fear and hate to get into my spirit, then I accepted what they believed and made it true. But if I knew it was only foolish fear, then I could forgive them. That seemed impossible to me.
It became dreadfully cold, as night began to fall. Frost was starting to climb up the windowpanes in my Great Grandmother's small kitchen. I watched carefully, trying to see the snow fairies as they painted their designs of feathers and snowflakes on the glass. The night was so black that I could not see past my own reflection in the window.
It was not yet truly winter; we had not called unto the God of Winter or asked the spirits of the longest night to call back the sun. Yet, winter was here and I could hear him howling through the trees.
My Great Grandmother, holding an armload of firewood, called me to help her close the kitchen door. The wind was now spitting bits of snow and rain, blowing even harder against the house. Putting down the wood, she said we should be ready for company that night.
I could not even guess who would be coming, especially on a night such as this, but I knew if my Great Grandmother said someone was coming, it was true.
Before long, ice was starting to form and hang from the eaves of the house. It was covering everything in heavy layers, making the world look like it was made of glass. I could hear tree limbs cracking and breaking as the ice thickened and they gave way to hammering winds.
My Great Grandmother and I made ready the extra room. She cleaned as I placed fresh water on the nightstand. We pulled the handmade quilts from the big trunk and carried in the coal pot to warm the room.
It was getting very late, and I began to drift off to sleep in the pile of blankets my Great Grandmother had placed on the floor next to the big stone fireplace. But I wasn’t rushed off to bed since the storm was too loud to allow sleep. I could hear my Grand Grandmother in the kitchen as she mixed and readied for the guest.
I don’t know how long I had been asleep when a thunderous banging awoke me. I jumped to my feet and ran into the kitchen. My Great Grandmother and a man were helping a lady get into the house and out of the cold. It was the young lady from the store that had smiled at me. She was covered in snow and ice, her face pale and wet. Her big heavy coat cracked from the ice as they helped her pull her arms out and set her in a chair next to the fire.
It was then I realized that the coat was not big or heavy, she was. She was pregnant and she was in labor. It was time for what my Great Grandmother called the birthing.
This was the company that we were expecting and the reasons everything had to be prepared just right.
As the man and my Great Grandmother helped the young lady into the extra room, my Great Grandmother told me to quickly make her a cup of tea with the special herbs she had already mixed that were on the kitchen table. I poured the water into the cup carefully, and then added the muslin bag of herbs.
I could hear the young lady crying and screaming from the extra room. It scared me, but I knew this was a part of having babies, since my Great Grandmother was a healer and midwife.
I carefully carried the tea into the extra room and placed it on the nightstand. My Great Grandmother was calming the young lady, telling her to breathe off the pain. The man was setting in the wooden rocking chair beside the bed trying to hold the young lady’s hand. As I remember now, he looked worse than she did, at the time.
Once the young lady had calmed, she was given the special tea to drink. It would ease the pain and help in the birthing. I was told to get the brown paper so it could be placed on the bed as my Great Grandmother put the leather straps on the steel frame of the headboard. These were for the young lady to hold during the birthing.
Soon the young lady had calmed and even the pains, now one on top of the other, did not cause her to scream. My Great Grandmother would send the man to check the fire or refill the coal pot whenever the pains grew too strong. She would have me make tea or bring the things she would need for the birthing, but she never left the young lady’s side.
Soon, My Great Grandmother called to me to bring her the baskets she had readied which were warming behind the kitchen stove. As I ran to bring them in, I asked which one she wanted.
Laughing, she said, “We are going to be a- needing them both.”
Standing at the foot of the bed, I saw my Great Grandmother cleaning the tiny baby with cloth. She handed him to his mother and took string to tie off the cording. Just then, the lady cried and water was everywhere.
My Great Grandmother, in a calming voice, told the man to take his son while his wife finished her work. He looked as if he was going to fall to the floor. My Great Grandmother said that I should help him hold the baby and make sure the baby was wrapped warmly.
It was only minutes until the second baby pushed her way into the world. She was still and blue. I watched as my Great Grandmother cut the cording and began to work on the baby. She wrapped her in blankets and rubbed her body, gently patting her on the back and puffing breath into her.
As she rubbed the baby, she told her that she needed to come on into this life since her new parents had been waiting for her.
I heard the young lady crying as the man was saying it wasn’t meant to be.
My Great Grandmother just keep working on the baby as she told them, “Hush now, you're going to confuse her.”
Then, just as the light of day began to come in the window of that room, it was filled with a forceful cry from the new baby girl. Soon, the two of them were crying as if they were reminding each other of who they were.
My Great Grandmother handed the baby to her new mother and I watched as everyone in that room stood, amazed at the wonder of life. It was purely magick.
We had company for a few days after that, the man and the young lady and the two new babies. They stayed with us until Yule, and then the weather allowed them to go home. It was so strange, I didn’t even think about presents or decorating. I was too busy helping and enjoying my new friends and those two beautiful babies.
As I watched those babies in the arms of their parents, I began to understand what my Great Grandmother had said.
People have to learn to fear and to have hate. Maybe if they are like this family, more will learn understanding instead.
That evening, when the house was quiet and it was again just my Great Grandmother and me, she came from the kitchen with a big box wrapped in bright colored cloth. It was my Yule gift. I had forgotten. The weather had not allowed the sisters or family to come for a Yule celebration. I jumped and ran to open the box and inside was my first doll that came from a store. I hugged the baby doll and climbed into my Great Grandmother's lap.
I understand now that the truest of gifts I was to ever be given was the time, learning and wisdom I received in the loving arms of my Great Grandmother.
It never mattered to my Great Grandmother who came to her for help. It would not have mattered if the young lady had been one of people who turned their back as we walked by. She would have helped and did whatever was needed because she was true and her spirit was true.
May your holidays be filled with magick, truth, and love--as we all seek the wisdom held within all.
Blessed shall we be.
Copyright © 12012007
High Priestess of Ravensgrove Coven
Greenfield, IN area
Copyright: Lady Abigail
Copyright © 12012007
Location: Greenfield, Indiana
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