Last night was Twelfth Night, the beginning of the celebration that marks the ending of the Christmas season, or the end of the Yule/Solstice celebrations. Some traditions say that for each of the "12 days of Christmas" there is an omen, and that each day's omen offers a message for the 12 coming months of the new year. By the time we reach Twelfth Night, those omens have been received, we tuck them away for reflection as the months pass, and we prepare for the work of this new year that will unfold before us.
In Pre-Christian ceremony, Twelfth Night, or Wassail, is the night when we re-dedicate ourselves to our calling. We all know what that calling is -- even those of us who proclaim to be clueless. We know, at our most quiet and internal moments, what voice calls to us, what dream beckons. Twelfth Night is the night to declare your dedication to that calling.
There is feasting involved -- Fish, and greens and potatoes and apples and King's Cake.
So, each Twelfth Night, you ask yourself -- what is calling me? To what must I re-dedicate my energies? When we make this rededication a ceremony, a prayer, it carries a lot more power than a "to do" list. It sanctifies the calling, and calls the power of the universe to your declaration. Light a few candles. Burn some incense. Play some music that empowers your prayer. Just do it, and you'll experience for yourself the difference in the energy you experience.
Twelfth Day is known as Epiphany on the Christian calendar. It is the day that Mary presents her child at the Temple. I see this story as metaphor -- the "mother" within us, which has labored to bring forth even the slightest inspiration, nurses and cares for this new light for 12 days, and then presents it to the altar, to the All That Is. Still vulnerable, still in its infancy, still in need of nurture, protection and love, this new light must be presented to the Universe because the kind of blessing needed for this light to survive, grow and thrive can't be found in the limited power of the human. It's the day we expose the dreams which are the most filled with light and potential, ask that they be sanctified, that we be sanctified as we nurture and care for the dreams that have called to us, have been born through us into the world and now must grow and mature.
What this holiday reminds me is that our dreams are holy. We conceive through a holy spirit (some call it inspiration, or intuition) that enters and lives within us - sometimes against our own will, despite our fears and refusals. Mystics in all traditions know this - that inspiration comes to us, comes through us, but has a much greater source -- it is not born OF us, but through us.
Spend some time today thinking about what those callings within you ARE, and dedicating yourself to nurturing them. Say a little prayer -- do a little ceremony -- it doesn't matter which tradition. What matters is that you realize just how powerful and magical those callings ARE, and how they illuminate the path to the most significant life you can lead, that which you are called to be.