One of my favorite Solstice ritual readings comes from the album Beautiful Darkness with Jessica Radcliffe, Lisa Ekstrom and Martin Simpson. The song, Kolyada/Old One, sums up perfectly the Winter Solstice and the longest night for me. I recite it yearly during my ritual.
Since I'm obviously derived from some pale and mostly angry lineage, I am drawn to music and myth of this sort. My mind's renderings of gods and goddesses are mostly untamed and alive amongst the woods and mountains of the world. They are the bringers of storms and the harbingers of hearth and fire itself.
I find it more difficult to locate history and myth for what I'm drawn to. While there is endless information on Greek mythology, Roman gods and goddesses, Nordic myth is only slightly more common than its Slavic cousin's story weaving ~ simply two different classifications of Europeans, yes, but given that geographical magic varies from South Carolina as opposed to Arizona, I feel like it matters. Anyway, because I was curious about my favorite Solstice music, I went searching. I found an interesting article containing Kolyada from The Songs of the Russian People by William Ralston and Shedden Ralston. Good reading if you are interested in Slavic history and myth.
I long for many things as the morning after Solstice rises. I played music well into the night, went to sleep to it actually, and will continue to be hypnotized by those sounds until Imbolc. For me, although the Longest Night has passed, I'm still deep in the earth right now, still down at the bottom of my soul, searching, wandering through the hallways of myself, not yet reaching for the world above.
My prayer is for understanding. For knowledge. For growth.
On the Longest Night, as time stands still, so close to the edge of never and forever...let us breath softly and speak to the fire in our souls. Nurture it and hold it close as the night wraps us in silence and walks us down that spiral staircase to the basement of our being, belonging, our roots. We will not race for the Sun in the morning. Instead, we will linger with Darkness a bit longer, slowly ascending toward the light while speaking in whispers about what lies beneath. Keep us whole in our journey into ourselves and let us emerge evolved yet familiar in spirit and strength.