Alban Arthan

solstice-woodSparkling nets of causality. Sometimes, I am what I like to think of as a Coincidence Magnet. By this, I mean that I have phases in my life where coincidences happen one after the other – for example, a couple of weeks of randomly running into about eight unconnected people face-to-face and online that I hadn’t seen for a couple of decades; humming a tune just before turning on the radio and it’s the next thing they play; saying a word just before someone on the telly says it; and just more generally, arrays of experiences that seem interwoven.

The thing is, I don’t really even think of all this as “coincidence” any more, because I’ve begun to realise: it’s just the way things work is that everything’s pretty inextricably intertwined. Things affect each other. Near things affect each other more. Related things affect each other more. Our orbits perturb each other’s orbits. I enjoy each mysterious juxtaposition more, even as the overarching fact of it seems less of a mystery.

Today I’ve had a little flurry of this, a small dose of delightful interweave.

As mentioned before, I’ve recently joined a trans forum that turned out to have a strong asexual flavour to it, where I’m very happy to be. They have a tradition of fiddling about with their screen names around yuletide, so I thought I’d join in. At random (yeah, sure…) I googled winter solstice in different languages, and found this Welsh phrase Alban Arthan, which means the light of winter. And which, coincidentally, fits very neatly into the middle of… well… WomAlban Arthandrogyne.

So far, so normal. But then I read up on Alban Arthan, and found that it’s associated with the death of the Holly King at the hands of his son, the Oak King – the old year and the new, linked respectively with the wren and the robin redbreast. The wren is my totem animal (whatever that means, she just is).

Then I followed a link to something called Wren Day, and discovered it’s… today.

Happy Wren Day, for those of you who prefer to think outside the boxing.


Yesterday, for the first time, I spent Xmas Day on my own. I spent most of it doing what some of us Buddhists call Metta-Bhavana, the cultivation of loving kindness. This is essentially a fancy way of saying that I spent the day (in between food and the odd DVD) intentionally calling people to mind and wishing them well and happy, one by one and together. Friends, acquaintances, people I’m pissed off with, people I don’t even know… and myself of course.

I did this partly for selfish reasons (because who doesn’t love a good paradox?) – if I was going to spend Xmas on my own, I was damned if I was going to spend it feeling Culturally Obliged to feel sorry for myself for not spending That Special Time Of Year™ with loved ones blah blah. So I decided to do the love thing regardless, and it made me feel very content and connected. And it was the least stressful Xmas I’ve ever had (until I ate the 2nd helping of roast veggies…)

Anyway, whoever you are reading this, I wish you very happy. The holly wren heralds the ending of the old year, but there’s a new wren in town, and she’s in full voice.

And just for the hell of it, here are The Monkees, sweetly singing Ríu Ríu Chíu.



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