Wintermaesse: An Introduction to a Season of Change

To survive,
Let the past
Teach you—
Past customs,
Leaders and thinkers.
Help you.
Let them inspire you,
Warn you,
Give you strength.
But beware:
God is Change.
Past is past.
What was
Come again.

To survive,
Know the past.
Let it touch you.
Then let
The past

∞ = Δ

The Book of the Living, Verse 64

Verse 64 from The Book of the Living speaks of both learning from the past and letting go of the past. This is one of the first stages in the process of change. I want us to look to some past traditions for celebrating this time of year and learn from them, but then to let go of the past as we reshape and create our own traditions for celebrating the coming season.

Over the next few weeks, I am hoping to write and share a series of articles about Wintermaesse: A Season of Change which presents a viewpoint on how to engage with this season of the year from the aspect of being an Earthseeder, a Shaper of Change, a Shaper of God. This whole process was sparked by a few things.

First was probably the presidential election and its results. Trying to understand what happened, why it happened, and thinking about how to react to it, all set gears in motion, and not just for me, for many people. One of the reasons Trump won, seems not to be because of racism or bigotry, though they certainly played their part parts in the campaign, is that people want change, change in how society works, how their lives are, and how they feel they have lost their voice in the changes that have occurred and the direction they are headed. It was a reaction to changes that they felt were leaving them out that lost the election. It was a failure of change to include a vision of a positive future for everyone and to communicate that vision in such a way that those who were feeling left behind, got it. 

The second event was reading a line from an essay or meme that said, “Advent is the time before Christmas when we are waiting for God.” And as I often do now, when I read “God,” my mind responded with “God is Change,” which when put into the context of the original statement became “Advent is the time before Christmas when we are waiting for Change.” So more gears began to spin as that thought took shape and form and bounced off the thoughts about the season and the post-election blues and Earthseed.

I’ve not quite finished thinking  through all this, but I wanted to go ahead and start sharing it in the event that it can be useful for celebrating the season and for us to look forward and not just be stuck in what just happened. My plan is to do a piece for each part of the season with discussion, any relevant Book of the Living quotes and one or more activities for individuals that go with each part.

I am entitling the series “Wintermaesse: A Season of Change.“ The last part is obvious, but what is “Wintermaese?”  As far as I know, I originated the term a few years ago. Wintermaesse = Winter (obviously) + maesse, a suffix that has been shortened to “mas” and comes to us from the Old English. Maesse (sometimes written as masse or messe) means festival, feast day or mass. Thus, it can be seen that many saints had festivals named after them, using their name, e.g. “Michaelmas” was the festival of St Michael and Christmas was the festival of the birth of Jesus (Christ). Following in that vein, Wintermaesse would be winter festival.

I have been using Wintermaesse to include the time beginning with Black Friday and extending to New Year’s week, the last day sometimes changing depending on what New Year’s activities I am involved in. It includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Pancha Ganapati, Kwanzaa, Yule, and the many, many other winter holidays. I have not sought to celebrate them all, but most have an element of recognition of the solstice, the transitory triumph of darkness over light, and the rebirth of the Sun and the rising triumph of light. In many cultures, it celebrates in one form or another, the concept of Change. Since it is often a season of fire and light festivals, I have used that metaphor. It seems appropriate. Fire changes the future by burning away the past, fire changes clay into porcelain, fire forges implements of war and peace—fire changes what it touches. Here is the breakdown on what I hope to present. I’m looking forward to discovering and exploring these topics. I hope you are too.

Wintermaesse: An Introduction to a Season of Change (this article)

  1. Looking for the Spark: Waiting on God
  2. Gathering the Wood: Contemplating Change
  3. Laying the Fire: Preparing for Change
  4. Kindling the Flames: Winter Is Come, Share the Gift
  5. Tending the Fire: Maintaining the Process

2 thoughts on “Wintermaesse: An Introduction to a Season of Change

  1. soon is the time to Shape God.
    It’s difficult to see this election as anything more than settling into sameness, and giving sameness too much power.
    but I suppose even that is a change. We must be ready to Shape. I hope that Americans are ready, as not to be burned by changed.

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