2016 was a special year.
Was, still is.
In my October editorial, I mentioned the remarkable (as in quite noticeable) work of Death this year.
It's been a year about Letting Go, and a year where the line began to blur between the pop culture and the alternative culture, to some extent. Kids everywhere embraced Goth apparel full-throttle, started a new moody/ambient synth-pop band every week, and showed off their wild sides with posture collars, bondage-inspired harness-like bras from their neighborhood's lingerie store, and any other affordable accessories from the local sex shop.
Everyone's shadow-side is coming to the light, it seems.
Oh, and everyone's also a witch these days.
It's apparently the cool new it-thing.
Now, will these tokens of the Darkness Within remain in these kids' Instagram feeds in the year to come?
Maybe not, and maybe so.
For as long as embracing the darkness comes to them as a means to better understand themselves, and leads them to evolution, these kids'll be fine.
In the end, what matters is that the Darkness Within is not shut out or repressed, like it once was. What matters is that we can believe in a society evolving into a better openness and understanding of what makes us humans whole: from our darker to our lighter aspects.
And so, as the alternative culture and the pop culture seemingly begin to find balance alongside another, we can give 2016 its last hurrah and choose to be the radiating light of the party -no matter how Goth we are.
As Yule itself is the celebration of the return of the light, and the Sun, and its warmth, and of general rebirth vibes, I came up with a few tips and tricks on how to radiate light this Yule. Get inspired by these traditions almost as old as time, and give them your own, refreshing, XXIst-century twist:
- Celebrate the gradual return of the Sun by lighting as many candles as you see fit every night. This'll automatically bring light and warmth to your room, apartment or home.
- Welcome apple cider vinegar, ginger, honey and turmeric as daily tokens of your diet, along with as many oranges and grapefruit you can take in a day, to guarantee a clinic-free winter.
- Sing aloud and play music -whether caroling with your brothers and sisters, humming along to your favorite album in your car on your way to your next family reunion, or jamming with your friends during your last band practice of the year- the way the music will resonate in and out of you is sure to warm you up and help you re-energize.
- Find some time to have guests over, even if it's just for tea-time, and have as hearty of a meal, or an abundance of snacks, at the ready for them. Better yet, organize a pot-luck and have everyone share a specialty of theirs. Indeed, most, if not all traditions of Yule from cultures past involve indulgence in the most elaborate, decadent meals of the year, and this would be regarded as a way of projecting the desired plenitude of the next year's harvest.
- Try at least one traditional recipe. Yule tastes of very specific spices, namely cinnamon, clove, and star anise. Mulled wine, for example, is very easy to make, and a guaranteed success when served in a wine glass decked up for the holidays. A simple ribbon will do, and your guests will thank you for the extra festive touch, and its ensuing TLC.
For without light and warmth radiating from you to you, how can you dream to shine upon anyone else?
Many people have been going on about how 2016 has been a bad year -a bit of a sad perspective, really. As I mentioned before, 2016 has been a year of Letting Go, that's for sure, but this can only make way for the New. And for some, letting go hasn't just been about people or things, it's also perspectives, ideas, beliefs or concepts that we let go of. Ever heard of a rebirth?
I say light a candle, treat yourself to a cuppa, and take a moment to think of all the good stuff 2016 has brought you. That oughta make you smile.
Watch yourself enter 2017 with eyes shining bright, and plan out your year according to what you want to achieve for yourself in this beautiful year to come.
Remember Life will make sure nothing goes according to plan, and so as long as you commit to the goals you're setting out for yourself, they will achieve themselves regardless.
Love and light to you, and happy Solstice.