Waiting for the King

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to write for this blog. So much is going on in the world. There is so much I could draw attention to or draw out into discussion. Sometimes I think I should be more newsy, but I don’t really have any desire to be a “poor man’s” The Wild Hunt. Jason and the PNC folks do news much better than I do.

I’ve been using this season between Hallows and Yule to do some deep introspection. Although Hallows marks the new year in the Wiccan tradition, it doesn’t feel like a new year. Really, Hallows marks the end of the old year, and we walk in shadows, in deep expectancy, until Yule. It is a sloughing period, where we shed the old, leaving our debris in dark places to decompose and return to nature. We, quite literally, walk in the land of the dead.

Part of me feels like everything is on hold. In stasis. From the moment the leaves began to turn the air has been filled with a hushed anticipation. We are waiting. A comment this morning from a colleague regarding Yule suddenly pulled it into perspective for me this morning:

We are waiting for a King.

I know. It sounds like it sprung from an Evangelical hymnal. But it’s true. The Wiccan God has been dead since Lammas, and how long ago that seems now! At Samhain he spoke to us from the land of the dead, granting us communion with those who have gone before, but the Lord of Death is vastly different from the Lord of the Wild, from the Sun King. He is dread and mirthless. He may give comfort, but surely it is of the cold kind.

I miss the warmth. The sunlight seems thin, ragged, these days. The earth seems so barren. This year especially. With the leaves bare of leaves everything seems exposed and cruel. It is a coldly beautiful and magnificently unforgiving landscape outside my windows.

I’m giving myself permission to long for the Sun King this year. To yearn for the Child of Promise. I’m setting all thoughts of Christianity aside and immersing myself in the season without regard of whether my impulse or language resonates too well with that other tradition. We were here first, and I claim the natural religious inclination of my soul as my birthright, regardless of what other faiths practice. My concern is not with them but with Wicca.

I’ve been contemplating the Pagan concept of salvation as temporal instead of eternal. My soul is in no great danger. There is no infinite punishment or reward awaiting me. No grand battle between opposing forces in which I must take sides. There is life and the inherent ebb and flow of the cosmos. Balance is my tenet, and when the scales tip too far it is my soul’s inclination to right them. It is a fascinating thought to think that we need no savior for all time, but a savior for today. For this moment. We need a navigator, a course-corrector, a load balancer, a compensator.

Less than two weeks to the Solstice, we are out of balance. We have been drawn too far into the darkness. We cannot maintain this course. It is too cold. Too dark. Too bleak. We will lose hope. We will freeze. We will starve.

We need to change our course. We need to return to the light. To the warmth. We need to return to balance. We need a savior. Not for eternity. Not because the world is bad. Not for all of history. We need a savior for today. We just need the scales to be tipped back into our favor.

So in this hushed silence we are waiting for a King. The Unconquered Sun. For all her strength, wisdom and love, the Goddess can’t keep the balance alone. They need each other to make this world go ’round. Just like we need each other. Just as it takes a world full of Gods to keep the harmony of the cosmos, so it takes humans working together to ensure humanity’s survival.

So maybe as we look forward to the rebirth of the Sun at Solstice, we are not merely waiting for a King, but perhaps we are also waiting for each other?

Apollo by Giovanni Tiepolo


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About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

    Beautiful, Star.  Thank you for posting this.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bishopinthegrove Teo Bishop

    I love this post, Star.

    As useful as it is for Pagans to have Pagan journalism–and I love what Jason does at TWH–there is a real need for Pagans to engage one another in honest, subjective, experiential dialogue about their personal experiences of religion and practice. You do that brilliantly here, and I think it is a wonderful direction to take Pantheon, should you choose to. 

    In any case, I hope to read more about your personal experiences in Wicca. Thank you for sharing them here.

  • Nicole Youngman

    I’m always a bit ambivalent about the whole yay-we-have-the-sun-back symbolism–it’s SO focused on specific temperate zones of the planet.  It’s HOT where I live for probably 7-8 months out of the year. We don’t miss the  height of summer–that’s OUR time to hide from the weather. This time of year it’s really chilly, and a lot of our old houses are uncomfortably drafty, and it’ll freeze a overnight a few times, and yes we’re always glad when it warms up again and the days get longer. And yet…when that happens, it means oh shit, it’s gonna be HOT again soon. I had a great conversation with a Wiccan friend yesterday about how to adapt the Pagan Wheel of the Year to account for local conditions & would love to see more people talking about it. How do we maintain mostly-universal celebrations amongst Pagans (for those of us who want to) and still acknowledge what the weather/climate is actually like where we really are?

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Thank you for writing this, Star…I certainly know what you mean.

    But, only a few more weeks (actually, no–less than two!), and the tide will turn, the scales will tip, and we shall begin inching back to light.

    I’m already warming up for “Gaudete, Gaudete Invictus natus / Nobis matre ex Nocte, Gaudete!” when Sol Invictus’ birthday rolls around on the 25th; and, we’ll have Antinous Epiphanes to celebrate on the 21st; and, the seven days of Saturnalia starting on the 17th as well…Hurrah for so many holy days around this time of year!  We need every single one of them!

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    That’s the trick, isn’t it? I can’t write from the perspective of someone who lives on the gulf coast, or on the Virgin Islands, or in Australia. At least, not with any degree of competency or accuracy. In the same way I can’t truly write from a GLBTQI, African-American, Vodoun, or Canadian perspective.

    The problem with being such an inclusive group of faiths is we tend to lose our own voice. There’s a time and place for inclusion, and a time to speak from the heart. We have to remember when someone is speaking from their own heart instead of being comprehensively inclusive, they aren’t being exclusive, but merely true to their own vision.

  • Clockdug

    Phenomonal post. Thank you so much for sharing some of the beauty of the  Wiccan calendar!

  • http://twitter.com/lunamoth42 Luna

    Star, this post resonated with me a lot. I’m not Wiccan, though I started there, years back, and it informs a lot of how I practice today. I agree with Teo’s comment, and feel there is a need for dialog in the community that isn’t soaked in the political 24/7, where the discussion is focused more on the religion or spiritual than anything else. There’s plenty of venues for the “anything else” out there.  So I’m glad to see posts like this that aren’t “newsy”. :)

  • Roger


    What can I say other than “Thank You.”

  • Limnaia

    Without wishing to butt in here, surely the solution is to persuade more people to talk about exactly that. I know I’d love to hear it.

    These kind of personal reflections are exactly what I like about Patheos. I don’t have a real life community, so I want to hear how different people do things and how the many different threads of their life affect their practice.

  • Jack Heron

    If I end up absent-mindedly singing that in church this year, I’m holding you personally responsible. I’ve already got some weird looks for singing your ‘Pancrates’ under my breath when shopping!

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    You sing “Pancrates” while shopping?!?  ;)  That’s hysterical, and you’ve made my morning!  If you do sing them, get video of it, please!

    The full lyrics of my version of “Gaudete” are on my blog entry from Dec. 25th last year, and they’ve also just been published in my newest book, Devotio Antinoo…While I can’t say the same for “Pancrates,” I think the lyrics for “Gaudete Invictus natus” easily are a match for the quality of the original.

  • blackpagan

    I love the long, dark, cold days, and I actually get a little bummed out at winter solstice knowing that the days will start getting lighter again. Even though I live in the Northeast.

    I just like to put that out there to see if anyone feels the same way. No one ever does!

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    I have found myself busting out an “Ave Hadriane!” at odd moments myself…

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Oh, that’s smile-inducing as well!  :)

    I have to admit, I can’t really hear the original version of that song any longer, whereas it is possible for me to do so on some of her other ones…”Hadriane” makes so much more logical sense, to begin with!

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    I do like the darkness of this time of year a lot–extreme light sensitivity means that whenever the crack of dawn happens and there’s a bit more light coming in, I’m awake, and it’s hard to get back to sleep.  So, that aspect of this time of year is quite lovely for me…I could do without the cold that accompanies it, but we can’t have everything!  (I live in the Northwest–despite being pretty cloudy year-round here a lot of the time, still, the light factor is present whether there are clouds or not.)

  • LezlieKinyon

    you might enjoy this description of the God (somewhere I have the writer’s info, but I am not sure where):

  • val bobincheck

    I was just enjoying the article and scrolling through the responses, when I started to wonder if alot of the “holiday depression” that is discussed at this time of year has more to do with feeling “unbalanced” then the fear of failed expectations of a “merry christmas”.  I probably could do a better job of putting the thought into words, but have just finished proofing a paper on Anderson’s “Imagined Communities” and am suffering brain burnout!  lol

  • blackpagan

    Mee too, I’m sensitive to the dawn’s light and since I always like to have the windows open for fresh air, black out curtains aren’t really an option for me.

    What I’m going to do next summer, when the sun is at its height and the nights are short, is to try to align my sleeping schedule with the dark hours. In other words, go to bed by 9pm right when it gets dark and awaken around 4am when the sun begins to light the sky. I think it might go easier that way.

  • http://profiles.google.com/emkatcreations Kat Emralde

    Love this post.