Our hearth altar decorated for Yule. The Wheel of the Year mandala hangs on top of a sewer lid my husband has had hung above our dining room wood stove for decades, his symbol for the water cycle, which mirrors the circle of life. As a sanitary engineer (and in his political life, worked for years to bring recycled water to our county), he was so fond of this manhole cover that he had a friend surround it with metal scrollwork and inscribe a plaque under it with “Tibi excretium mihi pontium et oleum.” This is Latin for “To you shit, to me bread and butter.” Well, I digress. Just saying that our altar is a bit unusual. But it’s bright and light and full of wonderful imagery, including Mama Gaia, Father Christmas and sundry attendants, spirits, ancestors and seasonal greens. And the longest night draws near.