I have known TLC since they were founded in 2000 and served with some of their members on the National board of directors for CoG as well in conjunction with my time on the board of directors for the Orange County Local Council of CoG. Many of them have become like family to me.
Being able to attend their Yule Celebration with their local pagan community is something I try not to miss. Tonight was a wonderful experience and a really good event for Chris’ first time to meet all of them. They had nearly 100 people attending, lots of Yuletide décor, cheer, and a fabulous feast!
The drive, when traffic is good, is just over an hour. However, as it always seems to be, there was traffic all the way until we got out of Orange County just as we reached Riverside County. Once we got past the county line the drive was easy. Unfortunately, it took us about an hour and a half to get past the crummy traffic. Over all it took us about 2 hours to get there and we made it just in time, just before ritual began. *Whew!*
Once we got inside we were immediately greeted with warm happy welcomes from my friends. Chris, once again, got to experience more fandom as my friends went on about how happy they were to finally meet him, that they’d been watching our romance blossom online through Facebook and were quite excited about our impending nuptials. He’s always taken aback by their reaction to him. From his perspective he has zero clue, he doesn’t know them, never met them before, and no idea why they’re so happy to meet a virtual stranger. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t like it, I think he doesn’t really understand how truly wonderful he is. If only he could see himself the way I see him.
Their ritual was quite elaborate; there were many players of parts. Each quarter had three people as well as members in the cross quarters. Instead of a single priest and priestess they had narrators and a lord and lady at each quarter.
It was also quite the light show! They utilized a Christmas lights within key components of their costumes to highlight key attributes (such as a lighted wreath on the head of Lucia) as well as various ways they lit the quarters by colors, the cross quarter’s music stands, and the holiday décor for the venue.
After each cross quarter and quarter representatives were introduced we were then asked to visit each quarter for a blessing. I also stopped along the way at the cross quarters and got hugs. Why not? Hugs are blessings too! 🙂
After everyone had their turn they asked all the kids and “those who are young at heart” to come to see one of the quarters to receive a Yule present. Once they were finished with giving out gifts the members of each quarter took their turns exciting the circle while the song, “Return to Innocence” by Enigma played. Once all the main facilitators exited ritual space one of the members, dressed as an elf, started dancing along to the song in the middle of the ritual space while we sat there enjoying her happy cheerful dance. When she was done we all cheered and laughed!
We then proceeded to stuff ourselves full of delectable home-made food everyone brought to the potluck. Oh, so delicious! One woman made the most tender brisket I’ve ever had the privilege to enjoy. Someone made these amazing happy cookies, but I only had one, they were almond flavored cookie dough wrapped around a maraschino cherry, baked, rolled in powdered sugar and decorated with tiny frosted holly leaves at the base of the stem that stood out of the cookie. I thought it was cute so I took one. I sat there pondering how they made it and wondered what they used to make the “stem” not realizing a real cherry was hidden inside! Oh, such a wonderful surprise!
Many of my friends in TLC are also very active with the Renaissance Pleasure Faire here in Southern California. Faire Folk, as they’re affectionately termed. One of them sat with Chris and I and told us a very fun tale in his best Irish accent, had us on the hook through this silly long tale only to end in a naughty punch line. It was good. When I remember the whole thing I’ll put it up sometime.
While we were listening to the story everyone else was playing Holiday Bingo. It’s regular bingo, but instead of numbers it has pictures, such as “G Ice Skates”. It was cute, but we opted not to play.
Frankly it was already 10pm and we were waiting for the raffle! Chris had bought me a few tickets to use and I placed them all on hopes of getting an Egyptian Hieroglyphics book. Of the 50 different items they had it was the one thing I liked the best. Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but a nice lady did.
Chris and I helped clean up before taking the long drive back home. All in all I had a wonderful time sharing in a delightful evening and catching up with everyone! Thank you Jack, Stachia, Christine, DarkMoon Wolf, Penn Dragon, Glenn, Zenah, and everyone in TLC for a fantastic evening!
Oh, oh, oh! I almost forgot… One of my friends, who’s clearly been out of the loop on my most recent news asked if Chris was my SON! Granted, he’s 14 years younger than me, but unless they know better, most people assume I’m at least 10 years (sometimes more) younger than I actually am (I’d like to take this moment to thank my Asian heritage for passing along those age-defying genes). The weird part is that Chris is often mistaken for being older than he actually is. I laughed and then corrected him.
Also, I’d like to make a Public Service Announcement… If you’re sick, STAY HOME! Don’t come to these events and infect everyone around you. It’s rude and aggravating.
This PSA has been brought to you by The People Who Are Tired of Catching Your Yucky Germs! Thank you!
Ok, perhaps it’s not really so random…
A pagan song seemed fitting at this point. This is a song I enjoy singing in circle (or out).
“One Spirit” by Spiral Rhythm
One spirit / In the dark/ Like a candle/ Wavers
Many spirits/ Joined as one/ Burn with the power/ Of the blazing sun
There is strength in/ Community/ A circle empowering/ You and me
The circle binds/ Yet sets us free/ In the Goddess name/ So mote it be