(Note: This post was meant to go up much earlier than the beginning of February, but I spent most of January being pretty sick. My apologies! –M)
It was very simple. I think it had to be.
I got the idea a while ago, maybe born out of desperation, I’m not sure. I was thinking about Santa, as I do in the gear up to Christmas, and how it wasn’t terribly hard for me to switch gears from Santa being “not real” to Santa being real, duh, just incorporeal. I probably did go through a phase where I felt maybe betrayed by the revelation that Santa as I’d envisioned him didn’t actually come down our chimney, but really — it made sense he’d ask mom to put things under the tree and in our shoes. He’s a busy guy! And she’s a very competent elf.
So I was thinking about him, as I do, and my decision to see him as one of the many gods I honor, with parents and such doing His Work in the world. And it occurred to me: I should do a ritual to him and ask him for what we really want.
Because we’re desperate. We swim in desperation. Its stink is sunk into our bones. Sometimes I think I’m more desperate than my husband, but really I think he’s just good at bottling it up so it doesn’t overwhelm him.
We live in an era and place where the dream of having a place to call your own gets you called entitled; where the dream of having kids and supporting them in their lives is considered unrealistic; where any time you lament your lack of choices, of options, your absolute stuckness in this rut of despair you are called a whiny Millennial who wants everything handed to them, and admonished to work harder.
We live in this place and time and we want to be parents; we want a little bit of earth to call our home, to raise our children in, to give them a good life. We want to do this here, in the Lower Mainland, the land we were born and raised, the land that is part of us. We both believe it would be selfish of us to have a child before we are on better footing, financially. I never want to raise a child in the type of poverty my mom and I knew after the divorce (and we were doing relatively fine compared to many) and right now, we struggle to come up with rent some months. That’s not a situation either of us want to bring a child into.
So I asked Santa for help. I sat down at our table and I wrote him a letter and asked him for 2017 to be the year we get our own place and start a family. I was specific that money was the real issue, and we’d been praying to win the lottery, or for Mr. Morag to get an incredible raise. I bled out my desperation onto the page.
I took this letter and folded it up and addressed it to him, and I put it on the fireplace with a plate of homemade cookies and a glass of milk. I left it out all night, and the next day when I disposed of the milk down the drain, it felt wrong to do what I usually do with food offerings (put them in the compost) to the cookie. I was urged to give it to Mr. Morag. So I did, and he ate it, and that felt right.
(Perhaps because traditionally it is the parent who puts the presents out who eats the cookies and drinks the milk; maybe this is how Santa gets his offerings. Through his priests and priestesses. That was Mr. Morag’s idea, and I think it’s a good one.)
The letter stays on the hearth until Epiphany, at which point I think I may burn it if I can (burning things here can be complicated; part of the reason we really need our own space). I can’t burn it in our fireplace, it being gas, but the idea of the smoke going up the chimney will remain.
I felt very hopeful after doing the ritual, and I’m continuing to hold onto that hope, despite 2017 kicking off with my desktop’s CPU frying and my shaky medication footing making it hard to human effectively (prescription expired; I’ve got it sorted now but I was without my meds for a bit and it was bad).
Desperation might not sit well with some people, corporeal or not; somehow I get the feeling that Santa really doesn’t mind it, and just wants to give. And if he can, he will, and I’m trusting and hoping and praying and having faith that he can and he will and we can get ourselves out of this hole we’re in, that we can get to a place of comfort. And yes, it does really say something about the housing market and economy of our city that “winning the lottery” is the main way we see to get to a place of financial comfort.
So I flung my desperation out there, and soon I’ll burn it, and may Santa hear my wishes and help me. May we find a place to call our own this year; may we start a family.
Ho, ho, ho.
Post Script: Obviously, it’s far past Epiphany as I post this. I haven’t actually burned the letter yet. But it’s Imbolc, so I am going to try to do so tonight.
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