Superlative Solstice from The Black House!

A Superlative Solstice!

The Winter Solstice is again upon we denizens of the Northern Hemisphere. Nature’s cycling is inspiring, always to be respected, and as our days at last begin to lengthen, the gelid outdoors contrast with our cozy indoor spaces here at The Black House in the Haunted Hudson Valley. We enjoy having a Yule Tree, as evergreens, long before being usurped by Christians, were used by pagans to symbolize eternal life—survival through the season of stasis until the earth agains warms and becomes active with life energy. Our tree is decorated with fun talismans—dinosaurs, figures from Greek mythology, star ships, cartoon characters, Krampus, Cthulhu, Godzilla as well as some vintage abstract ornaments handed down from our ancestors—and our guests enjoy perusing this collection when they visit with us this season.

Franz Liszt was known as one of the greatest piano virtuosi, and was also an excellent and visionary composer for his instrument as well as for the orchestra. He wrote a suite of 12 miniature piano pieces from 1873-6 titled Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas Tree). I’ve selected for your listening pleasure number 6, Glockenspiel (Carillon), as performed by France Clidat, as it seems to capture the sense of the beginning of the first light snowfall of the season. Please click here to visit YouTube to hear this charming, brief piece.

From our Victorian lair, Peggy and I bid a “Superlative Solstice!” to Satanists, fellow secularists, and to all around the globe who revere our Earth, who embrace science and reason, and who celebrate the myriad joys that life can offer. In the immensity of the universe, we are ephemeral beings. We choose to cherish what we are, what we think and feel, and what we accomplish, for we, as sparks or snowflakes, only exist briefly in an infinite, indifferent vastness.

May this be, for all of you, a time for deep awareness as well as celebration of the preciousness of life! May vitality be yours and, as you can, do make merry—con brio!

—Magus Peter H. Gilmore