Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The Divine Circle of Ladies Painting the Town and a Yuletide Wish from Dolores Stewart Riccio
As the Harvest Moon rises over the Atlantic, it’s hot times again in Plymouth, Massachusetts for the bewitching ladies of the Circle, who embark on their most challenging rescues yet! It all begins when Cass tried to help a disturbed ex-model, Ada, to cool her flaming desire for revenge against her philandering husband, Jerry, an unscrupulous divorce lawyer conspiring to commit her to a mental institution. Just as Cass sorts out this tangled web, a kidnapping in Rome impels the ladies to fly off to save a dear friend, and, incidentally, paint the town their own brand of reckless red, as Fiona calls on the aid of the Italian strega, incurring the wrath of the Calabrian Mafia in the bargain. One exciting city leads to another when the fabulous five find their journey taking them to Venice and Pompeii as well. Between close calls with scary thugs, the ladies somehow manage to eat, shop, love, and take in the exotic sights with their usual joie de la vivre. Home at last, safe and sound, the ladies discover that Ada has got herself accused of murder, and there is a whole new set of dangers to avert with their customary blend of spunk, smarts, and spirit. “This weird, wonderful, witchy coterie is at it again.” Tom Elliott, in the Mensa Bulletin
The Solstice is the reason for the Season…
The darkness is upon us, the shortest days and the longest nights of the year. As we cheer ourselves with gift-giving, Nature gives us the true gifts of the season—our ancient faith in earth’s cycle, time to rest, reflect, and restore our creative energy, and the quiet beauty of peaceful winter scenes.
In every faith, congregants are lighting candles in observance of all they have been taught to believe. If we go back far enough in time to the earliest celebrations of the winter solstice, all those candles and bonfires and burning logs were originally intended to encourage the weak sun of winter to grow stronger, to return to its former glory, to reign over a lush growing season, the long, hot summer.
And every year, the magick worked! The wheel of the year turned, the sun shone in its full power over the fertile earth, and another harvest was created.
The holiday season, however, is never the perfect occasion that we have been programmed to expect. Things go awry that we hope we’ll laugh about later. With mayhem in mind, I have delighted in writing about Yule celebrations in my Circle books, At one merry Yule, Fiona accidentally shoots out Heather’s bay window—that was fun, and serendipitous, resulting as it did it in some Wiccan matchmaking. On another Winter Equinox, Cass and Joe got married, not without some tense moments when the bridegroom was delayed at sea. And in a later manuscript, Yule is celebrated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a kind of real-life nativity scene – Cass’s twin grandchildren are born.
Along with nature’s gifts, the friends, lovers, and relations who have made us feel beautiful, brilliant, funny, confident, accomplished, or all of the above, have given us the precious and personal gifts that bring joy to our lives, “gifts that keep on giving” all year long. “Pay it forward…”
May your holiday be filled with light, love, and forgiveness in advance for the season’s delightful imperfections.
Moon of mindlessness, of lying fallow
in fields of frozen shocks.
Moon of fingering old poems like rosary beads,
of quiet breathing under memory quilts.
Moon of reflection in icebound ponds,
of gazing at fractals in frost lace.
Moon of upstart pine and ancient oak
bearing the burdens of holy snow.
How the beauty of this world
is like a secret so old and widespread
that none believe it. Something so huge
could not be kept hidden, everyone says,
and they go on about their business
of accumulating stores and storage space
while rumors of extraordinary wonder
run like melted silver through the streets.
Moon of small fires and story-telling.
Moon of the slow-growing light,
the shadow of wings across the sky,
the womb of becoming, the birth.
From my second collection of poems
The Nature of Things, Bellowing Ark, 2011
Dolores Stewart Riccio
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