In Celebration of the Winter Solstice

Lets celebrate the season!

The Winter Solstice – Marking the beginning of the Wheel of the Year

The month of November is a time of transition all over the world. In the Northern Hemisphere, we think of the Earth preparing for the sleep of winter, people preparing for bundling up and drinking cocoa. The final harvest is in, trees are dropping their leaves, and animals are looking over their goods in preparation for winter. Traditionally it is a time to start turning inward, to study, it is a time of withdrawal.
In the Southern Hemisphere, however, summer is approaching. The Earth has awakened from the winter’s rest, vegetation is blooming where it’s supposed to bloom, and people are peeling off the winter layers in preparation for warmth and light. It’s a time of moving forward, expansion, and community.
Contemplate for a moment on the marvelous stability the Earth holds as the two hemispheres balance each other. The Earth is performing its own seasonal yin-yang, and this encourages more magic! (Cerridwen Iris Shea)

~ ~ ~Wear honeysuckle oil to enhance your power and communication.~ ~ ~

Blazing hearths, flickering candles, warm smiles, and generosity are the essence of December. This is a time to remember what is most cherished. It’s a time of reaching out to others and reaching inside ourselves. We are reminded to connect with our own humanity and gentlest strengths. December celebrations focus on generosity, family, friendship, and kindness to strangers. Our spirits are lightened, enriched, and renewed by the month’s winter celebrations.
Memory and traditions sparkle brightly in December, bringing out the best in us all. Enjoy the special magic of this month with good food and the singing of carols, chanting around the Yule log, drumming, dancing, and rejoicing! This is a holiday season rich in many different joyous sounds and scents. (Abby Willowroot)

December is the month of the Winter Solstice, and birth month of many gods/deities, especially the gods of the Sun. Mithras is a god whose birth-date is in December. Mithras was a god worshipped in Rome during the period of 200 bc through 394 ad, when the Christian Emperor Theodosius declared Paganism to be illegal. Some believed that Mithraism continued in the Alps and Vosges until the 5th century.
In Italy there is the celebration of Befana, the Witch of Christmas, who flies through the air on her broom giving presents to all the good boys and girls. This thousand year old legend is still celebrated today in different parts of the world … with a twist!

The name December comes from the Latin word for the number “ten”, because it use to be the tenth month, but later on when two other months were added, December became the twelfth month. It was named for Decima, the goddess of childbirth. With Nona and Morta she forms Parcae -the three Fates.

Hanukkah– begins at sundown December 16th. A “Festival of Light”. Hanukkah commemorates Jewish traditions and history. It is a joyous celebration of the family and community. A candle on the menorah (candleholder) is lit on each of Hanukkah’s eight days. Friends and family join together in celebration with traditional foods, songs, and stories. Children play games with the dreidel (a four-sided spinning top) and sing the dreidel song. Gifts and gelt (gold candy coins) are often given, especially to children.

Yule– December 21. A lively winter celebration marking the return of the Sun. Traditional Yule symbols include mistletoe, pine boughs, ivy, and lights. The burning of the Yule log represents the Green Man’s sacrifice and ensures abundance in the coming year. The log’s remaining ashes are scattered in the fields to ensure good crops in the coming year. Yule is also a time of sacred wells, streams, and water. Reverence for earth, fire, and water at Yule shows the deep spiritual connection between the people and the land. It is especially good luck to drink the “first waters” of Yule’s growing light.

** For a Yule/Winter Solstice Ritual visit Divine Muse’s Pure Awakenings at: Winter Solstice Ritual

Christmas– December 25. To Christians, it is the birthday of Jesus. To others it’s a winter festival. The holiday is celebrated with songs, stories, traditional foods, Santa Claus, gifts, children’s smiles, and religious services. Many Christmas customs are borrowed from earlier Pagan ones, like the decorating of evergreen trees, giving gifts, kissing under the mistletoe, sleighs, reindeers, the holly, and hanging stockings.
In China, Japan and India, Christmas is celebrated with decorated trees, paper lanterns, flowers, fireworks, and gifts, especially money gifts for prosperity from the elders to the young ones. In Mexico and other South American countries a Posada or Nativity is reenacted.
“Feliz Navidad”, “Natale Allegro”, “Joyeux Noël”, “Frohe Weihnachten”, and “Vrolijke Kertmis” are just a few of the many ways people say Merry Christmas!

Kwanzaa– December 26 to January 1. Kwanzaa is not specifically political or religious, but it is deeply spiritual. It was begun in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga and is the newest of the major winter holidays. This holiday is based on Nguzo Saba, the seven guiding principles of Kwanzaa, which are unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, economic cooperation, purpose, creativity, and faith. The popularity of this joyous and solemn holiday has quickly spread around the world. Kwanzaa honors the spirit, accomplishments, talents, and ethics of all people of African descent.

Important dates and events for the month of December

– December 3, 2006: Christian: Advent, start of holy season ending with Christmas.

– December 4, 2006: Full Long Night Moon 7:25 pm est

– December 8, 2006: Buddhism: Bodhi Day, day of enlightenment of Buddha. / Roman Catholic: Celebration of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, mother of Jesus. Light a white candle in Her name.

– December 15, 2006: Jewish: Hanukkah, Festival of Lights or Festival of Rededication, begins at sundown.

– December 13, 2006: Roman Catholic: St Lucy Day, protector from the evil eye, and to conquer temptations. Light a white candle in her name.

– December 17, 2006: Roman: Beggining of Saturnalia, celebrating dedication of temple of Saturn. / Roman Catholic: St Lazarus, patron saint of the sick, and problems with drug addictions, to maintain health. Light a yellow candle in his name.

– December 20, 2006: New Moon 9:01 am est

– December 21, 2006: Winter Solstice at 7:22 pm est Sun enters Capricorn. / Wiccan/Pagan: Yule, celebration of winter solstice and return of the sun.

– December 23, 2006: Jewish: Hanukkah ends.

– December 24, 2006: Celtic Tree Month of Birch begins. Welcome the gift of birch essence into your home and incorporate it into your craft. / Christian: Christmas Eve, the night when Mary and Joseph traveled searching for a place to rest and give birth to Jesus.

– December 25, 2006: Christian: Christmas Day, celebration of the birth of Jesus. / Egyptian: celebrate the birth of Heru (Horus) the child of Aset (Isis). / Mithraism: birthday of the Sun god Mithras.

– December 26, 2006: Kwanzaa begins, celebrates the African-American people, their ancestors, culture, and values. / Egyptian: Feast of the goddess Neith. / Zoroastrian: (Mazdaism; Mazdayasna; Persian) Death of Prophet Zarathustra.

– December 30, 2006: Islam: Id-al-Adha, celebration of the completion of the hajj (pilgrimage) at Mina, Saudi Arabia.

– December 31, 2006: New Year’s Eve, celebrates the last day of the gregorian year of 2006.

~ ~ ~Garnet is associated with welf-confidence, success, and popularity. Give a Garnet stone to a friend who has earned a promotion.~ ~ ~

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