As I come out of the bus station, winter-morning Sandton is chilly and still dark.
Sunrise is still more than an hour away, but the streets are well-lit and a few early birds or late-shift-workers are passing along the pavement with their backpacks snugged around them like thermal blankets.
Venus greets me as she has for the last couple of months, high in the gap between office-block constructions. As I turn left along West Street, she is on my right hand and the Moon is on my left..
"Paradise on my right. Hell on my left, and the Angel of Death behind"
..a youngish office worker trots past me,steaming from her mouth in the cold air.
My stride lengthens a little and takes on a steadier rythmn than usual, as if the Moon and Venus have opened a ritual promenade before me, all the way to work.
Yule is for me the time of greatest thinning of the veil. The time when even I can almost apprehend another world all around me, for all I lack the visual,auditory,olfactory and tactile senses to do so at other times of the year.
It's this point, you see, Point III:
The nadir of the annual trip around the Sun, when the Ecliptic is furthest from the Equator and the term MidWinter really holds true.
At this time, too, I am far more prone to erratic psychic experiences.
A couple of weeks ago I dreamt that I was walking through my suburb along the roads in sorrow, passing a great oblong hole in the garden of one of the houses - it resembled nothing so much as an open grave, but I knew at the same time that it was actually someone's swimming pool. The next morning I learned that a 7-year-old boy had drowned in a pool that evening.
Since it is getting colder - for Joburg, not to be compared to the howling ice of Northen Europe in any way - we bought a minky blanket for Warren to use on the couch when he's up in the middle of the night. This blanket was draped across the back of the couch as I passed it yesterday evening. It's a pale-grey-and-cream blanket with vaguely leaf-like patterns worked into it. All of a sudden, as I was calling Scylla for supper, I saw another blanket in its place: a pale blue blanket figured with white clouds and edged in white bric a brac. Shevek's blanket from when he was a baby. And I saw it quite, quite clearly.
Oh, but I do love Yule; the sense of things becoming as deep as they ever will, with a simultaneous sleep-shrouded and nerve-opened feel to the soul. I can quite understand why fires were left constantly burning for this time of year, and why sistra were rattled in abundance, to chase away the disturbing spirits and warm our helpful ones.....