Winter Solstice is almost here!
Merry Meet! It is almost Yule for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. I don’t know about you but I have certainly noticed the really dark mornings over the last couple of days. Even though it is not the Winter Solstice until Wednesday 21st, it has noticeably darkened over the last few days.
Embracing the dark, welcoming the light
It can be a time when the darkness is hard to deal with and many people do suffer from the lack of daylight at this time. I try to see it as a nurturing blanket, enveloping me, making me sit back and take stock of the year so far and being thankful for all the lessons I have learned this year.
It’s difficult to slow down due to the hectic festive period being so close but it is vitally important that you do! Nature is in her deepest slumber from now until Spring at Imbolc when we will see the first stirrings of new life. We should take the hint from Nature. We should be resting, keeping warm, putting plans in place for the coming year and being with our loved ones.
Yule is a time for celebration. We celebrate the return of the sun as from solstice each day will get progressively longer and the sun stronger. It is a time to feast and make merry. Bring in your evergreens and decorate your houses. Light your fire from a Yule log and keep it burning to welcome back the light.
Wheel of the Year
The Wheel of the Year turns, and it sometimes seems to be speeding along at a ridiculous rate! Use this time to slow down and celebrate all you have achieved this year. Write down your plans and visions for 2023. Be thankful that the sun is on its way back to us and we have the longer days of Spring and Summer to look forward to.
Nature is ever changing – interweaving its sublime tapestry through our physical and spiritual lives. From ancient times the movements of the sun and moon, the migrations of animals and the growth and decay of crops and wild foods have all been marked and celebrated in some way or other.
Solar events such as the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes and the Summer and Winter Solstices were marked and honoured by our Ancestors. There is also evidence to suggest that the cross quarter days in between these solar events were also celebrated. In Celtic traditions these cross quarter events became known as fire festivals – Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. They were often celebrated in conjunction with a full or new moon and a public bonfire and were of great significance to the people.
As well as reminding us about physical survival – sowing seed, reaping the harvest etc., these times also marked a shift in the veil between us and the Spirit World – they became a time of magick *. A time to honour the faeries, the nature spirits, gods, goddesses and of course the Ancestors. In short they were sacred times.
Reconnect to Feed your Soul
Many of us now seek to remember and draw upon these traditions once again for spiritual nourishment as modern society disconnects us from our Souls.
The Wheel of the Year – the turning of nature through the seasons – from the soft, sublime first shoots of Spring into the heat and abundance of Summer, moving into the fiery reds and oranges of the Autumnal displays to the dark and cold of Winter nights – it is a never-ending cycle of birth, growth, death and renewal.
Working in conjunction with the turning of the Wheel – a conscious celebration – aligns us with the natural rhythm of life – allowing us to walk in our Ancestors’ footsteps and to experience the magick and wonder of life all around us.
Celtic Spirituality was much like animist traditions such as Shamanism. It recognises the spirit in everything – the trees, rivers, stones, mountains, lakes, sky, sun, moon, … all have spirit. The Celts saw gods and goddesses in these things and honoured them accordingly. In Shamanic traditions we honour Great Spirit in everything and understand that everything is a part of the Great Spirit.
Despite this culture and viewpoint waning with the expansion of the Roman Empire and the introduction of Christianity, in Ireland and other Celtic areas such as Brittany, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man, the traditions persisted. The gods and goddesses may have been reduced to saints or faeries but the mythology and traditions of ceremony and magick are still practised – even in Christian households.
Did you know?
For example, the Christmas Tree is actually an ancient pagan tradition of celebrating Yule by bringing in an evergreen tree and decorating it with wishes for the new year, bells to attract and welcome the faeries, and lights to welcome the return of the Sun.
The more you look, the more you see – we have not lost our old traditions, they have just morphed into “Christianised” holidays.
May I wish you all a very blessed Yuletide. May you have peace in your hearts and food in your bellies. Remember to let your light shine brightly and be a beacon of love and joy to all who cross your path.
* Note the spelling of magick with a ‘k’ separates the magickal practice of Wiccan tradition from the circus magic acts or TV magicians.
If you would like to feed your Soul – remember to join Soul Food Circle before the end of the month!