Away from the Herd, by Eva Kosmos on Deviant Art
Winter Solstice aka MidWinter, Jul/Yule and Alban Arthan
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the time between Samhain and Winter Solstice is the darkest time of the year, the midnight of the year, and is the true Winter in the Celtic Wheel of the Year. The days become increasingly shorter until the December Solstice, allowing us to focus on our Inner Garden, to evaluate the past year, to pause, to incubate, to reserve our energies for the next year.
At Winter Solstice, we are supported by the energies of The North, the element Earth and the Goddesses of Winter and such as An Cailleach (also seen as a manifestation of the Triple Goddess), Hekate, Inanna, Hel. It is a time of deep connection to our intuition and Inner Self.
And this year we are supported by the energy of Grandmother Moon with the Full Cold Moon at the upcoming Solstice, giving an ever more powerful surge of intuitive and Divine Feminine energy!
It is time to clear the old so that we can birth the wisdom of our inner journeys into the world. The Earth element represents our physical world, and it is time to plant the seeds of our visions and dreams for growing in the coming Spring. And while we are clearning our Old Stories, we can use the 12 Days of Solstice (or Christmas) to connect with our 12 Omens for 2019.
And as the Sun is reborn at Solstice, so too are we reborn.
The Pagan Spirit of Winter Solstice: a time of no time
Winter Solstice (and Christmas) has always had a witchy and pagan essence to it. At its most fundamental, it is a time to celebrate the return of the light and Father Sun, and when we honour our Ancestors in those months of the long nights.
Some of my pagan ancestors celebrated the Solstices with the Oak King and the Holly King, dual aspects of the Horned God. At Yule (Winter Solstice), we welcome the rebirth of the Sun (the Oak King) and at Litha (Summer Solstice), the Holly King reigns supreme.
The period between Samhain and Solstice/Yule was recognized as a time when the veil between this physical world and the Otherworld were thin, when communication was most common. Some believed that spirits roamed the night on Solstice Eve and Christmas Eve, just as they do at Samhain.
I feel these beliefs and traditions must have inspired 19th Century English novelist Charles Dickens in his classic tale “A Christmas Carol”. Did you know that the original title was “ A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.”
Dickens wrote of four Spirits who visit a wealthy miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, a man known as mean and friendless, who had lost touch with his own joy and generosity. First was Jacob Marley, the deceased business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge, who foretold the visits of three more spirits: Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. The Spirits visit him throughout the night on Christmas Eve, taking Scrooge on magical journeys to his own past, present and future, revealing their medicine and wisdom: “the true meaning of Christmas”.
Scrooge is healed through his experiences with the Spirits of Christmas, and chooses a new path from that day forward. As Father Sun was reborn, and the Light returned, so Ebenezer Scrooge was enlightened and reborn.
From the book:
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!
If that isn’t a shamanic journey, I don’t know what is!
Celebrating Winter Solstice
I share with you now 21 Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice.