18 Sacred Intentions for the new year: day 1

You don’t have to set high-pressure, all-or-nothing goals in the new year to do more, get more, or be more. You might think a higher-paying job, a better relationship, or a fancier car will make you happier. But it’s true what they say — happiness comes from within. And cultivating happiness has much more to do with appreciating what you have than with getting things you don’t.

To have a happier, more joyful, and serene year, choose a few of these intentions and embrace them in your daily life.

1. I will take less and give more.

It’s not about what you can get. The more you can give of yourself, the more joy and happiness you’ll feel.

8 Ways To Harness The Power Of The Full Moon (And End The Year On Your Terms)

fullorangemoonwithtrees-825x496

Pass the tissues! There’s a full moon in sensitive, heart-centered Cancer on December 25, 2015 — Christmas Day, for those who plan to celebrate. Since Cancer is naturally ruled by the moon, it’s a super-charged event that will bring out our highest, most intuitive selves —along with a whole range of emotions. Consider this a heaping holiday helping of warm-fuzzy family vibes, and cozy up with your clan on this oh-so domestic day.

Not only is this the year’s final supermoon, it’s also the first full moon to fall on Christmas Day since 1977. This year, the Cancer full moon will form a golden trine to compassionate Neptune, which will keep the emo vibes flowing even more. If you’re not a touchy-feely or sentimental person, you could still find yourself getting misty-eyed over a classic Miracle on 34th Street viewing or moved by the presence of your loved ones.

Caveat: Trines open the floodgates, for better or worse. If there are unspoken grievances, hurt feelings or resentments in the air, the full moon could bring them all surging out. Hopefully the healing presence of the moon-Neptune trine will lead to quick resolutions and conscience-clearing talks that end in hugs and greater understanding.

Here are a few ways you can tap into the Cancer full moon. Check our our tips for creating new and full moon rituals here, too!

1. Honor thy mother.

Cancer rules the zodiac’s fourth house of motherhood and femininity.This week, get ready for a blast of feminine energy, and maybe even a few unexpected pregnancy announcements. The Cancer full moon puts us deeply in tune with our feelings. Today, pick up the phone or write a letter to your mom or a mother figure.

Set out a photo of a special female ancestor and light a candle to channel her divine wisdom. Post a picture and tribute to a special woman in your life. If you’re a mother, do something to honor yourself. The Cancer full moon is the astrological Mother’s Day. Spend extra time with kids who look up to you, or connecting with the people you call family — whether the bond is based on biology or chemistry.

2. Make compassion your engine.

Open your heart to other people everywhere you go. Make compassion your engine. We once heard Dr. Christiane Northrup say that the electromagnetic field of the heart can expand up to eight feet outside of the body. The power of love is no joke!

3. Mind your moods.

On the flip side, research shows that bad moods are actually contagious! Psychologists have identified a three-step process called “emotional contagion” whereby a person’s mood is transferred to someone else. So dodge the Debbie Downers, and make sure you’re not being a Scrooge yourself!

4. Nourish yourself.

The Cancer full moon is the horoscope’s helicopter parent, hovering about and demanding to know, “Did you eat?” Our appetites are large at the full moon, so honor yours. Find a healthy comfort food recipe or treat yourself to a great cookbook and indulge! (Sweet potato brownies, anyone?)

If you’re kitchen-averse, have a friend come over and teach you how to whip up a simple recipe. Or, barter for his/her gourmet skills — if you’re great at crunching numbers, trade tax planning tips for a delicious demo on braising or blanching veggies, while keeping the flavor.

5. Set up a savings plan.

Cancer is ruled by the Crab, whose steely claws can hold tight to whatever they grip. Why not hang on to a little more of your money? Even if you’re just putting $20 a week in savings, that adds up over the years. The point is to start the habit now.

The Cancer full moon spotlights financial security and a need to be prudent with our funds. It’s not only how much you make; It’s what you do with it. The Cancer full moon could inspire pleasurable lifestyle ideas that don’t break the bank. Gather friends and pool your resources around Cancerian needs, like potluck meals, vacation home swaps (instead of paying for hotels) and co-op childcare.

6. Clear a corner of your home.

Do a walkthrough of your home and consider every corner. We get accustomed to the piled-up second bedrooms, cluttered shelves and tchochke overloads. Numb though we may be to it all, the visual cues we take in cause our brains to fire off subconscious signals, especially when they trigger memories (which then trigger feelings, which in turn trigger the release of certain chemicals).

This domestic goddess of a full moon reminds us that cleaning our homes can clear our minds. Start with one area and give it an extreme makeover. Clear everything away, then reset it with mindful care. Less is more, so be selective about the “collection” you display. Leaving some white space on those walls can give your brain a chance to breathe.

On the flip side, if your energy is lagging but your home is bare, how about painting a wall a bright, cheery hue, adding life-giving plants, setting up a crystal on the mantle, or hanging art and a chandelier? Whatever makes YOU feel good and happy is great, as long as you don’t overload your senses.

7. Steer yourself toward clean eating.

Nutrition falls under the domain of the Cancer full moon, and this sign is definitely a foodie! But with the influence of radical Uranus and extreme Pluto, the focus shifts to eliminating toxic substances from your diet, not baking another Julia Child-worthy spread that leaves you nibbling leftovers into the New Year.

How can you enjoy delicious food responsibly, this full moon asks? First, you might want to tackle one of your holiday season vices — the one you know is treading into addiction territory. Whether it’s a rich and sugary coffee drink (perhaps made with mucus-producing soy or dairy… erm), gluten-heavy breads, chips, sweets, or some other fix, this full moon wants you to try banishing it from your diet.

The two weeks following a full moon are major manifesting time. What if you cut out this vice for fourteen days? You might even consider a cleanse right as the New Year begins. No, you might not live a lifetime without your coffee, cookies or sourdough rolls. But then again, you might lose your taste for them when you start integrating healthier, more natural options into your palate. Give it the two-week test and see. This full moon has faith in you!

8. Transform the role you play in your inner circle.

We easily fall into patterns with the ones we love, becoming The Responsible One, The Wild One, The Chauffeur, The Couch Potato. And once those patterns are in place, they can be hard to break. But who wants to be pigeonholed in such a limiting way? Granted, there can be benefits to playing these parts — especially if it means our families have given up on trying to force us to do the dishes or clean up after ourselves.

This full moon wants us to shake it up. For the over-givers out there, set some boundaries — even go on strike! The other people living under your roof or benefiting from your kindness need to step up. They probably won’t if you’ve spoiled them into submission. Lay down the mop and start making requests for support.

For the slackers out there, stop letting others pull your weight. Being a slug in one area of life does not happen in a vacuum. It affects every area of your life. Energy is kinetic, after all: the more you put in, the more you gain. Rise up off that recliner, put down the remote and get your whole life moving!

Full Moon on Christmas Day 2015

Full Moon is Friday, December 25

This is Christmas Day in the Christian tradition, a day usually spent with family and loved ones exchanging gifts and nurturing our bodies and spirits with good food and drink.

In honor of the full moon, everyone should take this day regardless of your holiday traditions and be with the ones you wish to be with. Allow them to love you and nurture you. Take time to receive and be full with the gifts of spirit. Be in gratitude for your life, your health, your talents, your personal medicine, your support, your creativity and your community. Unburden yourself of unimportant responsibility on this one day, and strive to be in a place of peace, full of energy and light and life!

 

Astrological Notes:
Written by Patricia Liles.  Contact her at PATLILES@aol.com
Full Moon in Cancer
Sun in Capricorn
Moon in Cancer 3º

What a delight! The Full Moon in Cancer, the sign of the Mother, peaking on the day celebrating the birth of Jesus and very close to the Winter Solstice point.  Solstice is one of the most powerful points of the year as the axis of the Earth pauses, shifts and moves in the opposite direction.  The Sun is at its furthermost southern point gifting the Southern Hemisphere with summer, while the Northern Hemisphere is at its farthest point from the Sun giving us the shortest days and longest nights of the year.  For three days around the solstice points we experience the power of the standstill point and the shift of direction.

This Full Moon chart also carries that intensified energy of standstill and shift (called stationing) where a planet goes retrograde or direct changing directions in the form of Uranus stationing direct on December 25.  Uranus began its retrograde on July 26, now having retraced the degrees from 20º-16º, it moves forward again.  You can expect some unexpected shift in the area where Aries rules in your chart, perhaps your ideas will gain some traction in the weeks ahead, or unexpected opportunity will present it self, or maybe a new attitude of relying on your own inspiration and inner direction will emerge with vigor.  Uranus is like a giant surge of electricity and can blow out anything not in alignment with the frequency of your future self.  Uranus is the energy of liberation, awakening, and innovation.  Practice and invite in change in your life at all levels.

Cancer is where we create a home for ourselves where we can feel secure enough to express our emotional needs and get our needs met, where we learn to nurture ourselves and surrender to the comfort of habits.  The Moon is Cancer’s ruling planet, so she is especially magnanimous and rich in emotional energy, nurturance, receptivity and reflection in her own sign.  In this proximity to the Climate Change Summit, we heard much about measuring our CO2 emission levels, but not enough mention of the Earth as our Mother or respecting the planet as a sacred, living being honoring her rhythms and cycles and her gifts of fertility, birth and death.

This Moon squares Vesta in Aries pointing to the lack of commitment to our more feminine emotional and intimacy needs.  It points to a need to realign our focus on masculine problem solving and inviting in a broader heart vision of how to heal our planet and ourselves.   There’s also a Grand Trine involving the Moon, Juno, and Neptune in the water (emotional, feminine) signs.   Neptune brings us compassion for the emotional challenges that have bubbled to the surface this month as first Mars (Dec 6-10) and then Mercury (Dec 19-20) triggered the Pluto/Uranus square.  Juno, the asteroid goddess of committed relationship, has yet to realize her dream of equal partnership with Zeus.  Empathy for our partners in all forms is increased.  It’s a step in the right direction.  We all are gaining in our abilities to bring harmony to our masculine/feminine polarities that will in the end make us whole.  Honor yourself for what you have been able to forgive and let go of this year.

Mercury, our planet of communication, travel, information gathering and thought, is inundated with multiple aspects.  The challenge is in a T-Square with Mars on one side and Eris, goddess of strife on the other.  Looks like a recipe for hot, baiting words in our relationships with Mars opposed Eris in Libra/Aries.  You’re going to have to utilize your best communication abilities to keep neutrality and civility operating.  An unexpected blowout might just clear the air though.  Luckily, Jupiter in Virgo is trining (ease) Mercury, so our better judgment and higher Self will most likely win out.  Venus, too, is willing to add social grace, harmonious vibes and a feminine perspective to Mercury’s predicament.

All in all, with Cancer’s delight in gathering of the tribes and her rulership of food, hearth and home, the feminine aspect of each of us will most likely create a nourishing environment of good memories, nostalgia, and connection through the heart.  Let your Full Moon welcome in the transforming nature of love.

Celtic Month of the Birch: Dec. 24 – Jan. 20

The Celtic calendar begins with the month of the Birch Moon, a time of new beginnings and making plans for the future.

The Birch Moon is a time of rebirth and regeneration. As the Solstice passes, it is time to look towards the light once more. When a forested area burns, Birch is the first tree to grow back. The Celtic name for this month is Beth, pronounced beh. Workings done in this month add momentum and a bit of extra “oomph” to new endeavors. The Birch is also associated with magic done for creativity and fertility, as well as healing and protection. Tie a red ribbon around the trunk of a Birch tree to ward off negative energy. Hang Birch twigs over a cradle to protect a newborn from psychic harm. Use Birch bark as magical parchment to keep writings safe.

I honor the energy of birch, for a new beginning.
I am able to change myself as I will to do.
So mote it be.

birch moon

The first of the 13 months of the Celtic calendar is the month of the Birch Moon.  It begins just after Yuletide and runs through most of January.

Starting just after the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year – the month of the Birch Moon marks the period of the year when the hours of daylight start to increase over the hours of darkness.  Its associated color is flame red.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

The month of the Birch Moon falls into the “quiet time” during the bleakest period of winter.  None of the eight major Neopagan festivals occur in this month.  There is little to do but wait for warmer weather.

This month is therefore primarily a time of contemplation, of looking to the future and starting to make plans for the year ahead– hence the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.

THE LADY OF THE WOODS

The silvery bark that covers the trunk of the birch tree resembles the silver of the moonlight, which it reflects at night giving it a magical look.

birch-wood-tree

With its long, slender branches that stretch up to the sky, the birch symbolizes the female aspects of nature and is often known as “the Lady of the Woods.”  Growing up to 100 feet high, it has also been thought of as a ladder that shamans can climb to reach the gods.

 

BIRCH MOON MAGIC

The month of the Birch Moon is the ideal time to weave magic focusing on new beginnings and purification, or to cast spells for support, shielding and cleansing.

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At the beginning of the year, concentrate on new beginnings.  Ask for general luck in whatever the coming year brings, and focus on what you want to achieve.

Resolution Blessing Spell

The birch is the first tree to grow back after a forest has been cut down or razed, reinforcing its association with new beginnings.  It is a tree of extreme hardiness, thriving in places where the oak cannot.  When you make a New Year’s resolution, increase your chances of sticking to our guns by performing this blessing spell.

You Will Need:

  • Red candle
  • Red ribbon
  • Birch wand
  • Frankincense, rose, and benzoin essential oil

resolution spell1. Go for a walk in your local park and collect a birch twig no more than 12 inches long.  As birch is a very common tree, you should be able to find one easily, even in urban areas and parks.

2. Mix a few drops of rose frankincense and benzoin essential oil into the palm of your hand and rub the mixture into a red candle.

3. Light the candle, and stand in front of it for a few moments visualizing your resolution.  If you are planning to learn to play guitar, for instance, visualize ourself happily strumming your favorite song.  You may want to state your intent aloud, saying, “I will learn to play guitar.”

4. Holding your birch twig at one end, pass it through the candle’s flame.  Then turn around, clockwise, holding the twig in front of you to draw a circle around yourself.

5. Repeat the incantation, “I manifest new chances for good fortune, clarity and insight.  I open myself to new experience and allow change to manifest in my life.”

6. Now sit down for a few minutes and quietly contemplate your wish.  When you have finished, blow out the candle.

Purification and Cleansing

purificationThe silver color of the birch’s bark is associated with purity and cleansing.  Criminals and naughty schoolboys were often beaten with birch twigs – “birched” – in order to purify them and drive out any evil influences.

This is a good time to cleanse your mind of negative thoughts and attitudes, such as anger and jealousy, or an addictive behavior, such as smoking.  A full Moon that calls within the month of the Birch Moon is called the Cold Moon; you can strengthen your intent by performing the following ritual at this time.

A Simple Cold Moon Ritual:

1. Light a white candle besides a small bowl of natural spring or rain water.

2. Stand over the water and pray for the strength to let go of your vice.

3. Write down your negative behavior nine times on a piece of paper.

4. Fold up the paper, place it inside a freezer bag, and pour in some of the prayer water.

5. Place the bag inside your icebox to “freeze” your bad habits – putting them behind your forever.

Birch Throughout the Year

birch year

  • Birch is used for purification, exorcism and protection.  A red ribbon tied to a birch twig will help ward off the evil eye.
  • Witches’ brooms are made of birch twigs tied around an ash branch with strips of willow.  The purifying birch sweeps away evil spirits, as well as dirt.
  • At Beltane (May Day), birch twigs are used to light the fires that signal the beginning of the new season.

 

Birch

“Birch into the fire goes, In sign of what the Lady knows”

 First consonant of the Ogham alphabet – Beith   

Planet: Venus

Element: Air, Water

Symbolism: Renewal, Protection, The Tree of Inception and of New Beginnings.

Stone: Crystal

Flower: Daisy

Birds: Eagle, Pheasant, Egret

Color: White, red

Deity: Freya, The White Goddess Brigid, Venus, Thor

Sabbat: After the Winter Solstice, as the days begin to lengthen again…

Folk Names: Beithe, Bereza, Berke, Beth, Bouleau

 

Medicinal properties: The oil from Birch bark is used for treating skin conditions, and insect repellent. The sap is a natural shampoo, and can be a remedy for dysentery and urinary infections. An infusion of Birch leaves is an antiseptic and diuretic.

Magickal properties:  Birch wood is believed to ward off evil, banish fears and build courage.

Associated with beauty and tolerance, the Birch’s vibration heightens tolerance of oneself and others.  Use a Birch Broom to brush out the old year on the morning after Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.  Add the cut bark to protection spells or drink birch beer if you feel you are under psychic attack.

Stripped of its bark, Birch is the traditional Yule Log.  Traditionally, Birch twigs were used to light the Beltane fires, and couples paired off to the Birch forests. Later they began to make the Maypoles out of Birch, setting them up and decorating them as the focal point in the villages.  The traditional broom of the Witches was made of birch twigs, and cradles were once made from birch wood for the sole purpose to protect the helpless children.  

LESSON OF THE BIRCH
from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford

 The birch tree symbolizes a fresh start and can bring courage and determination to those of us who are treading the path of spiritual growth and development for the first time.

Although the birch does appear fragile, it is in fact extremely hardy. This teaches us that in apparent weakness there is often to be found great strength.

The birch also promises new life and love, and is a potent symbol of purification and renewal, which focuses our attention on our potential for the change and on the consideration of new directions and goals to be experienced in our lives. 

 It teaches the lesson of unselfishness and of caring for the needs of others in ways that help them to flourish of their own accord.

The Green Man Tree Oracle

Green Man Tree Oracle

The Green Man Tree Oracle
by John Matthews and Will Worthington

A GOOD BEGINNING LEADS TO A GOOD CONCLUSION

Beginnings are always important, as are the ways we approach any new task. Good preparation and a willingness to lay the ground on which we will build are every bit as valuable as the eventual outcome. The Green Man’s wisdom here is specific: make a good start and whatever you are undertaking will end well.  This means paying attention to the moment of inspiration (which the Celts called ‘awen’) and following this to a satisfactory conclusion.

Traditionally birch was used to drive out evil spirits and return to sanity those who had become mad. Its calendrical association is with the beginnings of the year, and with the sacred festival of Samhain, hence its connection with making a fresh start. The birch is also one of the first trees to flower in the spring.

Tree Magick
by Gillian Kemp

 “Your life is potentially graceful and well balanced like the slender Silver Birch. 

Mother Nature presides over this tree, bringing maternal protection, a deepening relationship with your mother, and, the encouragement to learn new skills. Babies’ cradles were made of Birch, signifying that an idea will materialize if it is nurtured.

Like the Silver Birch, which grows almost anywhere its seeds fall, you will make the most of opportunities. 

The traditional witches’ Birch broom implies a fresh sweep around Hallowe’en, and magical miracles as if by luck.  Purity and Springtime, symbolized by the silvery-white bark, indicate happiness.”

Tree Magick by Gillian Kemp 

The Faces of WomanSpirit The Faces of WomanSpirit
A Celtic Oracle of Avalon

Birch moon teaches of potentials that stretch before you. She reflects the possibilities as the spectrum of color glistens on her white glittery face. Like a mother prepared to give birth, her belly rises and she presents you with a teaching. 
 
“This moon time will be like kneading bread and letting it rise before you cook it.” Birch says to you. Now, with the essence of Birch, you come into the rhythm of life, the empowerment of dreams, and the ability to envision your possibilities. 
 
Birch’s essence is to create, bring together dreams and prepare for the new patterns of living. Understand Her. Use the lessons of the moon mothers you have already embraced… look at the bigger picture, listen and unfold your plans through creative visualization.

Looking into the Celtic forest, one that formerly covered the whole of the United Kingdom, the Birch stands out as a graceful, slender tree with a characteristic white bole. The white indicates cleanliness and determination in overcoming difficulties. 
 
It is time for a new start. Before this can be safely embarked upon, however, all old ideas, unhelpful influences and bad thoughts need to be cast aside. In making your spiritual journey with this tree as a guide, remember to concentrate your mind on the uplifting slender whiteness of the tree, a whiteness that stands out clearly from the tangled undergrowth and confusion of shrubs and thorny bushes that cover the forest floor and, hence, may inhibit an easy journey.
THE CELTIC TREE ORACLE 
by Liz and Colin Murray

The Celtic Tree Oracle

Star Stuff: Sun in Capricorn

capricorn-sun

Last night at 11:48pm, the Sun changed signs from optimistic, adventurous, truth-seeking Sagittarius to practical, accomplishment-oriented, status-oriented Capricorn. This also marks the shortest day of the year and the beginning of Winter – aka the Winter Solstice.

The Solstices are important turning points that take place twice a year: They are energetic gateways for the summer or winter season to come through. Solstice Points are thus extra-potent times to set intentions and take part in ceremonies.

With Sun in Capricorn,  and especially in the beginning of this period at the Winter Solstice, everyone’s goals and ambitions shine. This is the season of building for the sake of the social matrix that surrounds us, and we take the honors that accrue as the symbol of our success in that important endeavor. Your sense of personal discipline is high and your practical nature also. It’s a good time to exercise authority and natural mastery of your field, and to put your best foot forward.

The Sun will journey through the sign of Capricorn until January 20th. Capricorn is a feet-on-the-ground, eyes-on-the-prize sign. As the Sun travels through it, we take a realistic, grounded approach to life; we know how to do things, and how to get things done.

We have a stronger sense of society and its structure, and feel most secure when doing our part within that structure; as such, worldly recognition may take on more importance for us. Making plans for the future can be very effective right now. We are more risk-averse at this time but we are ready to work hard and focus on what is essential.

All this is especially true if you are a Leo or Capricorn Sun-sign or Rising-sign. As a Capricorn, you will feel a good dose of confidence and playfulness in the next four weeks; as a Leo, you are more cautious and practical than usual…working towards a realistic long-term goal might be just the thing for you to do.

Capricorn-at-a-glance

From SageGoddess

Capricorn at a Glance

Capricorn Cycle: December 22nd – January 19th

Color: Rich Brown
Traditional Gemstones: Black Onyx, Agate, Sapphire, Garnet, Chalcopyrite
Non-traditional Gemstones: Petrified Wood, Tiger’s Eye
Ruling Planet: Saturn
Associated Deities: Uranos, Pricus, Chronos

Capricorn, the cardinal Earth sign of the zodiac, is determined and hardworking. While they are ambitious and good-humored, they are particularly hard on themselves, setting their expectations consistently high. Ultimately, their desire for achievement makes them smart and dedicated career types.

They are the sharp and smart executives, keepers of knowledge, and creative innovators of the zodiac. People with placements in this Earth sign are authentic, perceptive, and action oriented, who come to life when they are doing what they love most: Working, cultivating, and celebrating their achievements! At their core, Capricorns have a deep desire to become the best version of themselves, and are constantly evolving as they learn new ways to root into all that’s possible. This makes them exceptional CEOs, entertainment professionals, financial planners, and politicians. Yet the shadow side of this powerful sign is rigid, overly critical, and blinded by their need to stabilize every situation. Often times they take on too much just to prove to themselves that they can, which teaches them about their own limitations (the hard way). Still, their deepest intention is to inspire you, and show you that you’re capable of manifesting anything you set out to accomplish – so long as you’re willing to do the work.

…a note on shadow phase

Today, Mercury enters a 2-week shadow phase as it reaches almost 15 degree of Capricorn. This precedes the retrograde phase, which will begin on Jan. 5th. If you want to buy, sell or ship big-ticket items — especially connected to transportation (cars, airline tickets, etc.) or communication devices (phone, computer, iPad, etc.) — be aware of the shadow periods as well as the retrograde phases.

If possible, get these things done before Mercury enters its shadow or wait until after the shadow phases are over (in this case: Feb.14th). Of course, if there is something that must get done during these phases, don’t put your whole life on hold, just because Mercury is retrograde or in its shadow. Sometimes things line up exactly at the “right” time. As best as you can, trust your intuition.

Just something to keep in mind!  Luckily, husband’s phone crapped out literally 48 hours before shadow phase started, so we were able to grab a new one quickly. 🙂

From SageGoddess: The Magic and History of Yule

 yule_celebration_altar_closeup_by_reandeanna

The Magic and History of Yule

Yule is an interesting holiday for me. Here we are, winter hasn’t even begun, and yet on the day our seasons in the North change from fall to winter we celebrate the return of the Light, the victory of the Sun King, and the reunion of the goddess and the god. That energy of rejoicing, reunion, and illumination is echoed in other spiritual traditions as well. The birth of Christ in the Christian tradition, the Festival of Lights in the Judaic tradition, reminding us that this is a season of hope. Through the month I see that hope twinkling in the eyes of strangers passing on the streets, and feel its warmth in the hearts of my beloveds when we embrace. It’s important to remember the true meaning of this magical season. While our traditions have transformed through the generations, I find great comfort in remembering the history of our sacred practices. Across the different paths we walk, we are invariably led to light during these days that are otherwise dark. And the message is, light always prevails. Life always wins.

Yuletide celebrations can be traced as far back as the late 1400s. The sacred day of Yule, or the Winter Solstice, is celebrated on December 21st, marking the longest night of the year. The roots of Yule are of Pagan tradition, where the Wheel of the Year guides us through the ever turning passage of time. Every year as the Earth follows her path around the sun, so too does the great wheel make its rotation. Yule is at once our point of completion and renewal, death and rebirth. Our ancestors honored this passing with a festival spanning twelve nights, which began the night of Winter Solstice and lasted through the first of the calendar year. Spirited dancing, music, gift giving, and great feasts were shared as an offering to call back the Sun from his slumber, and grace us with his warmth for another year. Gratitude was expressed not only for the blessings of abundance, but also for the lessons received through struggle and loss. Many lasting traditions, like lighting a Yule Log, filling stockings, singing carols, and sharing mulled wine originated from these Yuletide celebrations. As I partake in these festive traditions, I sense the energy of our ancestors and my heart is filled with appreciation for history and lineage. Once again, my faith is renewed and I believe.

Energetically, this season is celebrated as one of personal hibernation, when our spirits draw inward and our bodies long for rest; we restore our Life Force, and honor the sacred stillness within. Here, our bodies and souls synchronize, and we enter the New Year whole and in harmony with All That Is. As Mother Earth sits in sweet hibernation, she invites you to rest beside her. I encourage you to join me in taking stock of your harvest this year. Some good questions to consider as you journal at the end of this year include:

  • What bounty of goodness did you reap this year?
  • What fruits withered on the vine, and would best be released into the Earth to return in another form next year?
  • What does the metaphor of the “return of the light” mean to you?

I invite you to release, relax, and reflect. And rejoice in holding your beloveds close. There is a glowing mountain of possibility on the horizon, rising each day with the sun’s return. I see it in each of you, and will find great joy in watching it unfold through the seasons ahead.

May your days of Yule be shared in rest, in joy, and may they be filled with the wisdom and stillness of the long night’s sky.

Bright blessings,

Athena