joy, health, love, and peace be all here in this place
by your leave we will sing concerning our king...

ma rangi raua ko papa tatou e manaaki, e tiaki hei nga tau e tu mai nei
- may god from above care for you in the New Year

Here comes the sun king...

At Winter Solstice we celebrate the passing of the long dark and the rebirth of the light. Sun gods and solar heroes from all over the world share this birthday. It is nature's promise that the darkest days will always beget light.

All this year, we have been caught up in new exposure to what is for us an old familiar myth, and so we have chosen Boromir and Aragorn to express this concept of power, transference and sacrifice.

The fellowship sets out from Rivendell in the gathering dark on December 25th. Aragorn is the lightbringer, a solstice king, who begins his ascent with the return of the sun. With every day of his journey he grows stronger and as his power increases, the earth gains strength with him. Boromir, his companion, will be the sacrifice.

In the midnight of the year, as the star that lights our world reaches the southernmost post of its journey, bells toll the passing of the wren, the Winter King. The wren is hunted to symbolize the death of winter, dressed up in ribbons and carried around the village so the people could see that the sacrifice has been performed. He has been conquered by the robin, the Solstice King, ruler of the waxing year in an eternal duel of light and dark brothers. They vanquish each other in order to transfer their power, so it might seem like they are enemies, but that isn’t how it works. S acrifice is part of the natural cycle of the world, and they replace each other in the same way a son replaces his father in time.

Solstice Kings are easy to love. They rule the world when the light is growing in strength. The Winter Kings can seem harsh - they bring the productive time to an end, bring hard times and trial, but also bring the fallow time that lets the earth rest and renew itself.

The stewards of Gondor have been holding on to past glory and waiting to try the new kings worth. Their power must be sacrificed to clear the path for the new king.

When Boromir falls at Amun Hen, his horn and sword, the signs of his office are broken. Aragorn, his own power and broken sword newly reforged, will ascend. All proceeds as it has always been ordained it should, and it is still a spiritual victory for the Winter Kings when Boromir reasserts the fire of his own soul by trading his ties to the flames of madness, for ties to the rising sun, the Flame of the West - Andruil, in Aragorn’s hand.

The Winter King's body will make a hero's journey down the river, bringing the power of his sacrifice to all the lands the river touches. And the Solstice King will begin his own journey, crossing first of all into the grasslands of Rohan, the lands of the rising sun.


100% Blade  ©Gryphonsmith Graphyx 2002

words and music by Jim and Tay with Frostbite, Piglet and Figwit
Aragorn and Boromir are from The Lord Of The Rings by JRRTolkien

Special thanks to Tolkien, who changed Tay's life forever in 1963
and to Toby who, knowing our need for solstice and language info, tracked down the translation from the Maori.


Joy, health, love, and peace be all here in this place
By your leave we will sing, concerning our king
Our king is well dressed, in the silks of the best
In ribbons so rare, no king can compare
We have travelled many miles, over hedges and stiles
In search of our king, unto you we bring
We have powder and shot to conquer the lot
We have cannon and ball to conquer them all
Old Christmas is past, twelve time is the last
And we bid you adieu, great joy to the new

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds
Saint Stephen's Day was caught in the furze
Although he is little his family is great
So pray you, good landlady, give us a treat