And wander’d through the snowbound land,
And calling to beasts and birds
Bid them his message understand.
And from the forest all wild things
That crept or flew obeyed love’s call,
And learned from him the golden words
Of brotherhood for one and all.”
- Author Unknown
December, the Twelfth Month of the year of our Goddess, 2013
December is the twelfth month of the year, its name derived, from the Latin for “ten,” as it was the tenth month of the Roman calendar. Its astrological sign is Sagittarius, the Archer (November 23 – December 22), a mutable fire sign ruled by Jupiter. Winter owns the land now, Snow enters the land, and ice silences the streams. Still, this is a month of joy and renewal. Holiday lights glitter and kitchens fill with spicy fragrances from holiday season sweets and pantries. Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas are the holidays of December. At Yule, we celebrate the return of the Sun God and burn the Yule log to honor the strengthening Sun. As we decorate the Yule tree, we honor the evergreen as a symbol of eternal life. The decoration we use on the Yule tree are rich with symbolism. The lights represent stars, fruit-shaped ornaments represent fertility, and the star atop the tree is a symbol of the Divine Spirit. December’s Full Moon the first of the Winter Season is known as the Wolf Moon. It is a white, distant Moon that shimmers above the frozen landscape. Acknowledge her by lighting a single white candle in a window. As the Wheel of the Year makes its final turn, we arrive at New Year’s Eve, a time to honor our past and think of the future. The endless rhythm of the Seasons continues.
Correspondences For December
NATURE SPIRITS: Snow faeries, storm faeries, winter tree faeries
HERBS: holly, English Ivy, fir, mistletoe
COLORS: Blood red, white and black
FLOWERS: holly, poinsettia, Christmas cactus
SCENTS: Violet, patchouli, rose geranium, frankincense, myrrh, lilac
STONES: serpentine, jacinth, peridot
TREES: Fir, pine and holly
ANIMALS: mouse, deer, horse and bear
BIRDS: rook, snowy owl, and robin
DEITIES: Hathor, Hecate, Neith, Athene, Minerva, Ixchel, Osiris, Norns, Fates
POWER/ADVICE: To endure, to be reborn, Earth tides turning, Darkness, a time to reach out to friends and family and those in need.
The Wheel of the years turns once again….
The Solstice, taken from the Latin for “the Sun stands still,” is considered to be the true New Year–astronomically as well as spirituality. At this time, we see the simultaneous death and rebirth of the Sun-God, represented in the shortest day and longest night of the year. From this time forward, the Sun grows in strength and power as the hours of daylight increase.
Midwinter, or Winter Solstice, marked the end of the first half of the Celtic year. As was Samhain, which has the Roman festival of Pomona and the Christian All Souls grafted on to it, the Celtic Winter Solstice was subsequently confused with the Roman Saturnalia, and later the Christian Christmas, Mythologically, most of the Midwinter celebrations focused on the symbology of a new or younger God, overthrowing the older or father God, which would then bring forth a new and more potent life to the people and the land.
Although the Solstice takes place on December 21, Midwinter (renamed Yule by the Anglo-Saxons) covers several weeks on either side of the Solstice. In medieval times, Yule began around St. Nicholas’s Day and ran until Candlemas. Eventually, Yule was redefined to mean the Nativity (December 25) or the 12 days of celebration beginning on this date. The word Christmas then replaced Yule in most English-speaking countries. However the Danish preserved Yule as a way of maintaining their old style of festivities that incorporated several weeks of celebration.
In Wicca, and modern Paganism, the Winter Solstice is the time of new beginnings, a time to reflect on the past and project for the future. Magickally, the Winter Solstice affords us a perfect time to formulate a plan of action, a goal we can work towards during the coming year.
Tools, Symbols & Decorations
Bayberry candles, evergreens, holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, mistletoe, lights, gifts, Yule log, Yule tree, spinning wheels, wreaths, bells, mother & child images
Gold, silver, red, green, white
Lights, gift-exchanging, singing, feasting, resolutions, new fires kindled, strengthening family & friend bonds, generosity, Yule log, hanging mistletoe, apple wassailing, burning candles, Yule tree decorating; kissing under mistletoe; need fire at dawn vigil; bell ringing/sleigh-bells; father yule
Yule goat (Nordic), reindeer stag, squirrels, Yule cat, Sacred White Buffalo, Kallikantzaroi-ugly chaos monsters (Greek), trolls, phoenix, Yule elf, Jule gnome, squirrels, wren/robin
Cat’s eye, ruby, diamond, garnet, bloodstone
Blessed thistle, evergreen, moss, oak, sage, bay, bayberry, cedar, pine, frankincense, ginger, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, myrrh, pinecones, rosemary, chamomile,cinnamon, valerian, yarrow
Bayberry, cedar, ginger, cinnamon, pine, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, saffron
Personal renewal, world peace, honoring family & friends, Festival of light, meditation
Nuts, apple, pear, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pork, orange, hibiscus or ginger tea, roasted turkey, nuts, fruitcake, dried fruit, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine