“Solstice Sun, Shining Bright!
Shortest Day & Longest Night.
Solstice Wish of Hope & Cheer:
Peace on Earth, throughout the Year!”
DECEMBER – THE COLD MOON
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 mute fire sign ruled by Jupiter. Winter owns the land now, Snow covers the land, and ice silences the streams. Still, this is a month of joy and renewal.
December, in the minds of many, is both the quintessential winter month and one of the busiest months of the year. It is a month of joyous celebrations from many traditions Advent, Bodhi Day, Saturnalia, Kwanzaa, Pancha Ganapati, Christmas, Hanukkah and Yule are just a small selection of festivals that have then calendrical home in the month of December.
The themes of light (literal, energetic, and metaphorical), wisdom, and goodwill are a common thread among many of the celebrations. This is a good time of year to remember that despite our differences, we have much in common with one other. In a modern culture, where many of uss practice religious and spiritual pluralism to some degree. December presents more than one holy festival for each of us to nurture our spirit.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice marks the official start of winter–a season of introspection. 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 decorations we use on the Yule tree are rich with symbolism. The lights represent stars, fruit-shaped ornaments represent fertility, and the star stop the tree is a symbol of the divine spirit.
December’s Full Moon, , the first of the winter season, is known as the Cold 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 season continues.
—Excerpt from Llewellyn’s 2018 Witches’ Spell-A-Day Almanac
Article Entitled “December” by Blake Octavian Blair
The Cold Moon – Long Nights Moon
The last moon phase of the year is the Long Nights Moon in December, also called the Cold Moon or Big Winter Moon, depending on where you live. This is often a time of introspection and self discovery, as you evaluate the trials and tribulations that you’ve endured over the past year. However, this self analysis has a definite benefit — it gives you a chance to re-evaluate where you want to go and who you want to be in the coming twelve months. This is a season of adaptation and change. In many magical traditions, and certainly owing to its proximity to Yule and Christmas, this is also a time of sharing one’s blessings with those less fortunate.
Correspondences For December
- Colors: White, red, and black are associated with December’s full moon, in part due to the darkness of the season
- Gemstones: Obsidian, ruby, and serpentine
- Trees: Pine, holly, and fir are connected to the winter solstice, and also to the full moon this month
- Gods: Minerva, Osiris, Athena, Persephone, and Hades are tied to the darker half of the year and the season of long nights
- Herbs: Ivy, mistletoe, holly and berries, and cinnamon
- Element: Even though this is a season of darkness, with Yule, the winter solstice, comes the return of the light, so this full moon is often connected to the element of fire
If you’ve already put the darkness behind you, take your good fortune and share it with others. When it’s cold outside, open your heart and home to friends and family. Reach out to people who might be suffering from the chill of winter, either spiritually or physically.
Long Nights Moon Magic
Because this is, for many of us, a fallow time of year, often the magic of December focuses on self-discovery and change. As we evaluate who and what we have become — and wish to be — we allow ourselves to share our blessings with those around us, and spread our good fortune and well wishes.
- Take some time to examine the relationships you’ve had in your life over the past year — and not just romantic ones. Are you doing everything in your power to maintain healthy, happy connections? If not, what can you do differently?
- If there’s something you need to let go of — something that’s been dragging you down for the past year — now’s the chance to release your baggage. Write your problem on a piece of paper, sit outside under the full moon, and burn the paper, scattering the ashes into the breeze. Alternatively, tear it up and throw it into a moving body of water. Either way, once it’s gone, you can start thinking about how to move forward with your life.
- Set up and outdoor altar with seasonal items like holly branches and pine cones, and burn some cinnamon or winter solstice incense. Go outdoors at night with a bowl or cauldron full of water, and do some moonlight scrying. This is particularly helpful if you know you need to make some changes, but aren’t sure how to get started.
- Go through all of your old stuff that you don’t use anymore. Some people take an approach in which anything that (a) doesn’t fit, (b) hasn’t been used in six months, or (c) no longer brings you happiness should be eliminated from your life. Clear out the physical clutter, donate it to an organization or individual that will repurpose it, and help someone else out in the process. You may want to include a blessing of donations ritual as well.
As the calendar year draws to a close, this is also a good time to start planning ahead. Think about what changes you’re going to want to make in the coming months. You know all those New Year’s resolutions you always make? Put some planning and forethought into them this time around, and you’ll be far more likely to keep them. Get ready to break your bad habits, and start forming some good ones, to become a new and improved version of yourself in the new year.
Published on ThoughtCo.com
Festival: Yule (winter solstice, Midwinter). Symbols include Yule trees and logs, holly and mistletoe, gifts and candles.
Moon name: Cold Moon. Other names include Oak Moon, Frost Moon, Winter Moon, Faithful Moon, and Moon Before Yule.
Astrological signs: Sagittarius, November 21–December 20; Capricorn, December 21–January 20.
Birthstones: Turquoise and tanzanite.
Nature spirits: Wood spirits and trolls.
Animals: Deer and squirrel.
Trees: Holly and evergreens.
Flowers: Mistletoe, poinsettia, and hellebore.
Herbs: Witch hazel, bay, and cinnamon.
Scents: Cinnamon, cloves, and frankincense.
Colors: Red, white, and green.
Goddess: Cailleach Bhuer.
—Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Symbols for the Month of December
December’s Festivals: Yule, Winter Solstice, Midwinter
December’s Sign of the Zodiac
Sagittarius (November 21–December 20)
Capricorn (December 21–January 20)
December’s Celtic Tree Astrology
Ruis (Elder) (November 25 – December 22)
The Secret of the Unhewn Stone (December 23)
Beth (Birch) (December 24 – January 20)
December’s Runic Half Months
Is (November 28 – December 12)
Jara (December 13 – December 27)
Eoh (December 28 – January 12)
Turquoise and Tanzanite
December’s Birth Flower
Mistletoe, Poinsettia, and Hellebore
“The nearer the new moon to Christmas Day, the harder the winter.”
“If sun shines through the apple tree upon a Christmas Day, when autumn comes they will a load of fruit display.”
“A green December fills the graveyard.”
“If New Year’s Eve night wind blows south, it betokeneth warmth and growth; if west, much milk and fish in the sea; if north, cold and storms there will be; if east, the trees will bear much fruit; if northeast, flee it, man and brute!”
Folklore Courtesy – Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Calendar of Events for December
- 5: Krampusnacht, celebrating Krampus, a Bavarian figure who is the opposite of Santa Claus
- 17: Beginning of Saturnalia, a Roman celebration honoring the god Saturn.
- 21: Yule, the winter solstice
- 21: Litha (Southern Hemisphere), the summer solstice
- 22: Full moon–Long Nights Moon at 12:49 pm. Now is a good season for spiritual alchemy. It’s time to evaluate your life, and know that you’ll survive the dark times. If you’ve already put the darkness behind you, take your good fortune and share it with others.
- 22: Celtic Tree Month of Elder ends
- 23: Celtic Tree Month of Birch begins
- 25: Feast of Frau Holle, Germanic goddess
- 25: Christmas Day
- 31: Festival of Hogmanay
Yule, the longest night, is marked by many Witches as the culmination of the year–the point on the Wheel of the Year when the old must end as that the new may begin. The days have been growing shorter even as the shadows lengthen, and the nights become longer and longer until the winter solstice, the longest night.
From this point on the Great Wheel, the days will begin growing longer. For this reason, some Witches see Yule as the New Year. This return to the light marks a time of sacred renewal, of rebirth, for Yule is the day that the Holly King or Dark God, dies so that the Oak King, or Sun God may be reborn.
Home ares decorated with all the symbols of this birth: the evergreen tree itself is a symbol of the newborn Sun God, as are the lights that decorate it. Ornaments are reminders that abundance and summer will come again, and the wreath reminds us that all of life is a sacred circle, with no beginning and no end.
Renewal and Rebirth
This joyous season of returning light heralds promise and renewal for all who walk this path, so rebirthing rituals are appropriate at this time. Rebirthing can take place in living water (a stream, lake or ocean) or in a hot tub or bathtub. It’s a good idea to focus on that which you wish to cleanse yourself of while taking this sacred dunking, leaving those energies behind in the water. You can even write out those negative messages and labels with water-soluble colors on skin or paper and drop them into the water, watching the words fade, as part of the rebirthing rite.
The next part of the ritual is focused on bringing forth light for lighting candles or a Yule log, in a fireplace or on your altar. A Yule log can be made by flattening one side of a short log; birch is traditional, but whatever wood is indigenous to your area is also appropriate.
Then, one to three holes may be drilled using a wide drill bit onto the round side of the log for the candle(s) to be placed. Dried or paper “greens” and other decorations can be attached to the log using melted wax, floral wire or nontoxic flue, if you wish to burn the whole log or using hot glue if you wish to keep it.
The candles themselves can be tapers or pillars, carved with symbols of renewal or wishes you would like to ask your deities’ blessing upon, or you can roll beeswax candles yourself with colored sheets of beeswax from a craft store or beekeeper’s supply (usually less expensive).
Using a blow dryer to gently soften the wax sheet, place the wicking along the end you wish to start with, and roll carefully to get the candle started. You can layer colors using color magick and sprinkle the sheet with essential oils or tiny amounts of herbs to imbue the candle with even more magick.
Finally, you can cut out symbols in the final layer of a contrasting color or apply symbols you’ve cut from other pieces and softened gently before pressing onto the candle. Place the candles in the Yule log, light the log, and let it glow, bringing the magick of renewal into your rite and your life!
—Llewellyn’s Witches’ Calendar 2018
Witchy Ways to Celebrate December
Decorate your home and your altar with red, white, and green, and with all things festive. Use holly, ivy, and mistletoe as your Yule focus; bun cinnamon, clove, or frankincense incense.
Work with the family to create Yule decorations or a Yule log to add to your normal festive décor.
Cook with foods that boost your immune system. Include sunflower seeds in your Yule foods to represent the sun.
Connect with the returning light by burning a sun candle.
Celebrate all things of the season! Recognize the festival of Yule as well as Christmas, but celebrate this time of year as a whole. Make it a time for family and friends to gather and have fun.
Spend some time building up your knowledge and work on a plan to nurture your craft regularly.
Be kind to yourself and others. Be aware of the stresses of the season and send out blessings for all those affected. Take time to be good to yourself.
Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
We walk the path of the Old Gods
From this moment forth
We will not walk alone
Together, we will worship
Together, we will practice our Craft
Together, we will learn and grow
We vow to work, from this day forward
In perfect love and perfect trust
According to the free will of all
And for the good of all
Creating only beauty
Singing in harmony
Our song upon the Earth
Love is the law and love is the bond
In the name of the Goddess and the God
So do we vow, and so mote it be.
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