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winter worship

Blog

winter worship

Scott Bahlmann

Dear M,

This quarter of worship addresses Kwalhioqua, my totem for groundedness and stability, and Lang Chi, the totem for familial relations and nurturing. They are both related to the earth element. Kwalhioqua is over the realms of minerals and more passive earth, and Lang Chi presides over soil and growing things. 

The aspects that are addressed during this celebration are abundance, health, and family, so it coincides pretty well with the more mainstream Christmas that falls only a few days afterwards. For the explanation I'll separate the key aspects of this worship by the totems which they address. 

Kwalhioqua's portion is abundance. The position he fits in the totem chart is practicality and being grounded, but for this holiday I celebrate that I've been well provided for over the year by giving a bit back. The form the giving takes isn't really important. In the past it's been rather typical Christmas gifting, last year it was pouches of coins, and this year I incorporated the coin aspect a bit more. I have a turtle bank, which is the animal manifestation of Kwalhioqua, and put all my spare change in it over the year. This touches on the practicality of savings, and the coins coincide with the metal aspect he presides over.

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On the day leading to the worship, I poured out all the coins and counted them on a copper plate which essentially doubles the amount due to reflection. This indicates the prosperity of the coming year, and the coins serve as my budget for the gifting. The next morning I gave a bit of chocolate to my roommate, and joined a wine of the month club for my fella' and I, since we are currently living in different states. It is a bit more impactful for the abundance portion of this to give the gift in person, but I was working with what I had. In the future I'm thinking I might do a small gift, like a silver dollar if I can get them, to a wider range of people. It strikes me as being a a bit more symbolic, but we'll have to see what happens. There tends to be a bit of free form flying with these worships, which I quite like. 

The other part of this worship, family and health, is Lang Chi's. The day leading to the holiday is a day of fasting, broken the next morning with a simple meal to show appreciation for the food Lang Chi provides, and one's health in general. Previously I've used fresh baked bread to break the fast, which I prefer to the rice and green tea I used this year in an attempt to connect more to the cultural aspect Lang Chi represents. Just now it occurred to me that a miso soup, or something like that, would be nice as well. 

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During the day of fast I called some people who are close to me, family and friends. This is a bit tricky in the digital world, as I no longer have the phone number of everyone who has been important to me, so some are left out. There is also a bit of awkwardness with some individuals who no longer really use the phone for casual interactions. That's something I  may try to address differently in the future. The idea is that the love of these individuals is the sustenance during this day of fasting. Most of the conversations were very uplifting and pleasant. I may just have to be more discerning in who gets the actual call, and use written messages as a fill in.

It also worked out nicely this year to have a dinner with a very close friend in the evening, which became a bookend to the celebration. Perhaps the gift giving should be during a dinner with friends as well, to bring it all together! 

So, even though this year felt a bit off with my fella' being away, it was still a nice celebration. This has  been my longest running worship, and it's nice to see how it evolves, and how it stays the same.  Next year might bring some new practices, or just further refinements, but either way it will be a lovely celebration I'm sure.

-S