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The Wheel Of The Year

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THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR

Here I feature posts from My Blog on how and when we can mark and celebrate The Wheel Of The Year

Read how the most primal and ancient of our traditions still connect to our 21st Century lives


DECEMBER 21ST


WINTER SOLSTICE

The Sun Reborn


The Winter Solstice on the 21st December in the Northern Hemisphere is that wonderful time on the Wheel of the Year when The Sun returns to the world. From out of the darkest day of Winter comes the rebirth of the light.




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Ancient cultures have always marked the Winter Solstice with rituals and celebrations. On this shortest day of the year our ancestors would gather to light fires and perform rituals to honour The Sun and welcome it’s return to us.


Many of us continue to do so, and at the most famous spiritual sites here on Earth, gatherings will still be held to mark the Winter Solstice.



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At the 5000 year old Burial Chamber at Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland, a beam of light penetrates the roof-box and travels up the 19 metre passage and into the chamber.

The chamber was built so that on the Winter Solstice the beam widens and the whole chamber  is illuminated as the sun rises higher,


THIS TIME OF YEAR HAS ALWAYS BEEN MARKED


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The Romans held the week long festival of Saturnalia around the time of the Winter Solstice. This was held to honour the god Saturn and involved extensive, lavish feasts and gift-giving.


The Yule celebrations of Northern Europe also arose from the ancient tale of the eternal battle between the Oak King, who symbolises the warmth and light of the Summer months and the Holly King, who represents the cold darkness of Winter.


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Here in The British Isles, celebration of the  Winter Solstice may have included Druidic traditions such as the gathering of mistletoe- the symbol of fertility and the seed of life. Having no roots, and no connection to the earth, it was considered the plant of the sun. A tree that hosted a mistletoe plant was a tree marked as particularly sacred.


On The Winter Solstice, the Chief Druid would cut the mistletoe from a sacred oak, using a golden sickle. A cloth would be held below the tree to catch the sprigs of mistletoe as they fell. It was believed it would have profaned the mistletoe to fall upon the ground. Mistletoe was considered a fertility symbol – hence the ‘kissing under the mistletoe’ tradition that has carried on right into the present and no doubt will continue far beyond….



CHRISTMAS AND THE WINTER SOLSTICE

The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated on December 25th or Christmas Day all around the world. One theory is that this date was chosen after early Christian scholars debated when it should best be marked to gain widespread attention.  

Some theories suggest that early Christians co opted an already existing and powerful time of the year to mark for their own growing religion.

The Romans were already celebrating the festival of Saturnalia on The Solstice and in Northern Europe, Pagans marked the Winter Solstice itself . Yule - the ancient name for Christmas - comes from the Scandinavian word Jol


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TODAY’S ‘SANTA CLAUS’ IS A FOLK FIGURE WITH ANCIENT MULTICULTURAL ROOTS.


He embodies characteristics of Saturn- as I mentioned earlier in connection with the Roman celebration of Saturnalia. He has elements of Cronos – the Greek god, also known as Father Time.


Then there is Thor, the Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats and Odin/Wotan, the Scandinavian ‘All-Father’ who rides the sky on Sleipnir , his eight-legged horse. 


We also see echoes of The Holly King , the Celtic god of the dying year and Grandfather Frost, the Russian symbol of Winter, 


The Tomte the Norse Land Spirit is known for giving gifts to children at this time of year and ‘Santa’s reindeer’ can also be viewed as forms of Herne or Cernnunos, The Celtic Horned God

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So for us in the 21st century, many ancient traditions appear and persist at this time of year- whether we are aware of this or not. Evergreen plants are brought into the home in the form of trees, holly and mistletoe, to remind us that life grows and continues on.

Even a store bought chocolate Yule Log is the modern- and edible- version of the dressed Oak or Birch log. These logs would be carried or dragged into the home, with much celebration, then placed on the great fires of our forebears. As the old year burned away -symbolised by the Yule Log- a piece of it was kept to place on the fire of the following year.

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The Celtic Horned God Cernunnos manifests in images of reindeer. In the festive colours of red, green and gold that are all around us, we can see the elements of earth and fire- and of course – The Sun itself. We give gifts to one another and hold great feasts while a Father Figure continues to bestow bounty on us from above as he rides high up in the sky…

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We can all physically mark the Winter Solstice, in our own way- even if we aren’t able to visit sacred sites or follow all the traditions of our ancestors. Watch the sun rise and light beautiful yellow or white candles in your home to mark it’s the return. Bake your own specially decorated Yule Log and share it with loved ones, along with cinnamon spiced wine or cider.

Winter Solstice celebrations don’t need to be complex. It’s truly a time to celebrate and enjoy the awakening of the world again… remembering that all is birthed anew. Light comes back in the midst of darkness and as we celebrate life we set our intentions and wishes for the coming year. It’s the perfect time to write out a list of all the things you would most like to manifest in your life.

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A WINTER SOLSTICE RITUAL


This involves your wishes, your desires or your goals for the year ahead. Take some time over this and carefully consider all your reasons for them.


Once you’ve finally decided, then write them one by one on very small pieces of paper ( any colour will be fine, but yellow or white is good) The next part of the ritual will require Spring bulbs- preferably snowdrop or crocus bulb and earth to plant them in – a garden or even just a pot.


As you plant your bulbs in the earth, add the very small pieces of paper into the soil, one piece at a time.Visualise your desires as you do so and imagine the warmth of the sun on the flowers as they emerge through the earth and into the light- along with the joy that you feel as your wishes manifest with them!




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Wishing You A Wonderful Winter Solstice!

Contact Me To Book Your Solstice Reading


Get In Touch With Martine

Copyright: Martine Alexis 2017

All Articles Copyright: Martine Alexis Clairvoyance 2017

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