Getting Ready for Sunwait 2021

I must confess. For years, when I first learned about Sunwait, I handled it about the same way that (also for years) I handled the existence in my town of Kennedy’s Fried Chicken. I was wrong (on both counts). Hear me out. LOL. 

When I moved to my town in 2009, there was — and still is– a Kennedy’s Fried Chicken on our main street. I laughed about it and called it a knock-off of Kentucky Fried Chicken and thought no more about it, save that I’d snicker occasionally when I drove by. Well, a few months ago it was almost midnight, I didn’t feel like cooking, and we were hungry for chicken. The only thing open was Kennedy’s. I broke down and tried them and… OH MY GODS had I been missing out. The food was really good, and the service fantastic. Moreover, since it’s also halal, I suspect a ton more care goes into the selection of the meat than at the better-known KFC. I was forced to eat crow …and a metric ton of chicken. Ha ha. My experience with Sunwait was much the same…minus the chicken. 

I poo pooed it for years as a knock-off of Advent. Then, last year, my household decided to keep the Sunwait cycle. I don’t remember now why we suddenly decided to give it a shot. I think a friend of mine had mentioned her own family preparations for it on twitter and since I respect her, I thought that maybe I’d see what it was all about too. It was amazing. It completely transformed the way we approach Yule. Once again, I was forced to (metaphorically) eat crow. All of this had been completely unexpected too. 

The thing that I found so remarkable was how well it prepared us for the Yule season. We eased ever so gently through the weeks preceding Yule into the full dark wonder and mystery of this holy tide. By the time Modranacht (Mother Night, the night before Yule proper) finally arrived, we were already in the head and heart space to enter into the rites and rituals fully and with much greater understanding than in any previous year. I was just shocked. 

It really made me think about how many of our holy days, feast days, ritual cycles have gotten lost in the [forced—never forget that] conversion of our ancestors, in the flow of time, in the rank secularism of modernity. For instance, I was just talking with my assistant and we were speculating on whether or not there was a similar cycle of rites leading into the summer solstice. It would make sense if there was something that allowed for the same type of mindful descent into that celebration as well. One has to prepare to enter holy space and to experience holy places, times, and rites after all. There is so much more work to do in restoring our ritual cycles. 

Some people are actually starting the celebration Sunwait tonight (Wednesday), but we do ours on Friday, because it is such a lovely way to conclude the working week. To be honest, Sunday would probably be a more logical day to hold this rite, since it is Sunna’s day, but that doesn’t seem to be the trend anywhere that I’ve encountered yet. 

Anyway, we’re going to have our first celebration this Friday, and I shall post mini-recaps each week, just like I did last year for our first Sunwait. Are any of you, my readers, celebrating this? Please feel free to post in the comments. 

Sunna by W. McMillan

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on November 10, 2021, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I feel as if Summer Solstice’s lead up was probably not as robust because it was a busy time in the agricultural cycle, the comitatus, for trade, and for things/moots (though timing varied across the summer based on local variance). Whereas by yule, the land is resting. You might still be tending to the livestock not slaughtered yet, but there’s no ploughing, no sowing, no harvesting. People weren’t really traveling for trade or battle. Long, long nights, short days, and the cold. So a lot of time inside, in the dark with just you and a flame. Probably lots of time for weaving, that probably was one of the lead ins (meditative trance weaving?) leading to mother’s night.

    Not to say there wasn’t some sort of lead in at summer solstice either. Probably little mini rites as certain harvests, and the summer fruit came in. Or as people came and went for battle, trade, etc. So I really see Charming of the Plough, Eostre, and Walpurgis as the lead in there already. It sets the flow. Walpurgis sort of captures the fertility aspects of the season, but also the looming season for war if there were to be battles too. My impression is its a busy season so it;s a quick something, then back to work, until summer solstice and then a BIG thing then, and back to work.

    mmm, although at least in Iceland the misseri calendar may show some clues to that. Meteorlogical and astronomical patterns in Iceland related to weather and their latitude, meant lunar time keeping wasn’t really a good solution for them. The 930 althing agreed to a defined calendar: 52 week year, composed of 30 days a month, divided in half for summer (starting in spring) and winter (starting in autumn). But this still doesn’t fully account for all the time needed for a rotation around the earth, so they introduced a concept somewhat like our modern version of a leap year with extra DAYS added to the summer solstice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mint Crotchety Groundhog

    > I was just talking with my assistant and we were speculating on whether or not there was a similar cycle of rites leading into the summer solstice. – Professor Ribakov (Б. А. РЫБАКОВ – ЯЗЫЧЕСТВО ДРЕВНЕЙ РУСИ, etc.) would say yes. See for example calendar on p. 180 listing the summer holidays lineup according to his interpretation … And yes – his linguistic exercises can be painful to watch but from what I understand he was a pretty solid archaeologist.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love it. I’m so glad you tried Sunwait and it worked for you and yours. Praise the Gods and may you and your family be blessed my darling friend

    Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: