Celebrating the Season
By Mary Morgan
In pre-Christian times, people used to liven up the dark days of the Winter Solstice with a celebration of fire, feasting, and light. The burning of the fires was to ward off dark and evil spirits. The tradition of decorating the home with evergreens is an ancient one. Since pagan times, evergreens have been prized for the ability to maintain their green life in winter. And often times, blooming with berries and/or flowers.
Kissing boughs for the Winter Solstice and Christmas hail from medieval times. Evergreen branches were placed throughout the halls of manor houses and castles. It was thought to bring good cheer and health to anyone passing under them. The kissing bough was the precursor to kissing under the mistletoe. In addition, this plant was also sacred to the Druids. It was believed to bring good fortune, fertility, protection, and healing.
In my story, To Weave A Highland Tapestry, I’ve incorporated the kissing bough for the Winter Solstice celebration. Holly, ivy, pine, and evergreen herbs (bay and rosemary) were most commonly used, along with twigs and fruit. Since the women in my story have journeyed back in time to medieval Scotland, I might have introduced these round balls a bit earlier in time. Regardless, I enjoyed weaving a tradition within the story.
Merry Christmas and a Happy Winter Solstice!
To Weave A Highland Tapestry
By Mary Morgan
Patrick MacFhearguis, hardened by battles won and lost, desires what he can never have—peace within his heart and soul. Yet, the ever-meddling Fae weave a new journey for him to conquer—a task this highlander is determined to resist.
When skilled weaver, Gwen Hywel, is commissioned to create a tapestry for the MacFhearguis clan, she embraces the assignment. While seeking out ideas, she finds herself clutching the one thread that can alter the tapestry of her life and heart.
A man conflicted by past deeds. A woman with no family of her own. Is it possible for love to unravel an ancient past, in order to claim two badly scarred hearts? Or will the light of hope be doused forever?
His kiss was urgent, demanding. Patrick thrust his tongue into her soft heat. The air swirled in a tempest of passion as the kiss deepened. No longer caring if anyone came upon them, Patrick continued to feast on her mouth.
“How many kissing boughs have our wives placed in this castle?” asked Stephen.
“In every nook, stone, and chamber. I would not be surprised to find one in the stables or lists,” replied Duncan.
Stephen laughed. “By the hounds, I do love Midwinter.”
Gwen stiffened against Patrick. Placing a finger over her mouth, he waited for the conversation to fade before relaxing his stance and stepping back. Glancing over his shoulder, he watched as the men made their way into the feasting hall. Returning his attention to Gwen, he pulled her out of the alcove.
Her cheeks were stained a becoming pink, and full lips begged to be kissed again. Patrick raked a hand through his hair, doing his best to refrain from backing her inside the hidden enclosure again.
She giggled and stole a glance upward within the alcove. “Yes. We can blame it on the kissing boughs.”
He laughed nervously. “This is a first.”
“Are you confessing you’ve never kissed another under these boughs?”
Reaching for her hand, he caressed her fingers. “Never. Leòmhann has seen many a Midwinter feast, but no one dared to place these kissing boughs within the castle.”
She tilted her head to the side. Her joyful expression faded. “May I ask why?”
Once again, Patrick was reminded of the curse which surrounded his home. He looked down at her tiny hand. What could he offer Gwen? Why did he continue to pursue her without the promise of tomorrow? Should he confess all to her now?
She squeezed his hand. “If it’s too painful to talk about, I’ll understand. Let us enjoy this evening and not dwell on unhappy thoughts.”
Her words brought comfort to Patrick’s tortured spirit. Giving her a weak smile, he brought her hand into the crook of his arm. “Ye are correct. Let us welcome the light of Midwinter tonight.”
Patrick’s steps slowed as he guided them into the hall. The atmosphere was one of cheerfulness, laughter, and music. Greenery adorned the entire room—from wooden beams to tables. Children scurried past them in glee, and his heart leaped at the sight.
“My goodness. It’s beautiful,” observed Gwen, leaning against him. “And look, they’ve brought Meggie’s tapestry back inside the hall. The MacKays surely know how to celebrate.”
Within that moment, Patrick made a silent vow that one day he would see the same light enter his home. His heart soared at the possibility. With ye by my side, Gwen, I shall give ye this beauty.
Pick up your copy of
To Weave A Highland Tapestry
Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.
Connect with Mary: Website/Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads • Amazon Author Page • Pinterest • Instagram • BookBub • Linkedin • Audible Author Page.