December, the Twelfth Month of the Year of our Goddess, 2018

Yule

“Solstice Sun, Shining Bright!
Shortest Day & Longest Night.
Solstice Wish of Hope & Cheer:
Peace on Earth, throughout the Year!”

–   Selena Fox

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

December’s Correspondences

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.

Birds: Robin.

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
Mandy Mitchell

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)

 

December’s Birthstone
Turquoise and Tanzanite

 

December’s Birth Flower
Mistletoe, Poinsettia, and Hellebore

 

December’s Goddess
Cailleach Bhuer

 

December’s Folklore

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
Mandy Mitchell

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

Patti Wigington, Author
Published on ThoughtCo.com

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!

 

Thuri Calafia
—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
Mandy Mitchell

We are Witches
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.
–Circle, Coven, & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice
Deborah Blake

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Final Thought of the Day

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A Little Humor for Everybody’s Day: Fashion No-Nos

Fashion No-Nos


As we all get older in the Pagan Community, it is easy to get confused about how we should present ourselves. We’re unsure as we try to be nice and harmonize with the fashions that younger members of our community have adopted.

So I’ve made a sincere study of the situation and here are the results. Despite what you may have seen on the streets or at Pagan gatherings, the following combinations do not go together and thus should be avoided:

  1. A eyebrow piercing and bifocals
  2. Pony tails and bald spots
  3. A pierced tongue and dentures
  4. Ankle bracelets and corn pads
  5. Nipple jewelry and a gall bladder surgery scar
  6. Midriff shirts and a midriff bulge
  7. Tattoos and liver spots or varicose veins
  8. Belly-button piercings and old pregnancy stretch marks
  9. Skyclad and Depends.

Please keep these basic guidelines foremost in your mind when you shop.

 

Turok’s Cabana

Ran Across This on The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Did you know we have a comet coming the 16th?

 

 

2018’S BRIGHTEST COMET COMES CLOSEST TO EARTH DECEMBER 16

COMET 46P/WIRTANEN VISITS DECEMBER 15-16
Comet 46P/Wirtanen is 2018’s brightest comet and comes closest to Earth on December 15–16, 2018—this weekend! As awesome as they can be, you can’t trust comets. We can always predict where they’ll be, but not how they will react with the Sun’s energy. So, the question is: Will it be an amazing sight or another bust?

For a short background, Comet 46P/Wirtanen is indeed the brightest comet in the night sky, though it’s been too faint to see with the naked eye thus far.  From dark sky sites, however, it could just become naked-eye visible soon as it comes closest to Earth on its 5.4-year-long looping orbit.

PAST COMET SIGHTINGS

  • We’ve had a goodly number of busts, such as comet Ison a few years ago that was touted as “The comet of the Century” but never got bright at all.
  • On the other hand, we’ve had two spectacular comets since the mid-70s—the pre-dawn mind-blower Comet West in March of 1976, and then Hale Bopp, which remained brilliant for almost an entire year, mostly in 1997.
  • We’ve also had a bunch of visible-but-not-brilliant comets in the form of Comet Kohoutek in 1973,  Comet Iras-Iraki-Alcock in 1983, Halley in the autumn of 1985, and Hyakutake in 1996. The new one is comet Wirtanen.

HOW TO SEE COMET 46P/WIRTANEN

This is a good news / bad news kind of deal.

  • The bad is that it’s an unusually tiny comet whose nucleus is just ½ mile wide.
  • The good news is that on December 15 and 16 it will pay Earth its closest-ever visit. It’ll pass just seven million miles from us.  I’ve been watching it through binoculars the past few nights, and think it will brighten to be visible to the naked eye for those in rural regions. It’s doubtful whether it will become bright enough to appear in the glowing skies over cities, although you never know. It should be large and blobby looking, appearing as a fuzzy glob the size of the full moon.

COMET VIEWING TIPS

My suggestion is to look halfway up the southern sky starting around 10 p.m. beginning tonight or the next clear night.

If you can recognize the famous Seven Sisters star cluster, also known as the Pleiades—to the upper right of Orion—look far below it and sweep binoculars there, looking for a big blob.  The comet will be brightest on the nights of Saturday, December 15 and Sunday, December16,  when it will be located just left of the Pleiades.

If you don’t already know the Pleiades,  this is a good time to make their acquaintance.  At 10 p.m. any night, look south and you’ll easily see a small, tightly packed group of stars.  That’s it.  Sweep binoculars over them and you’ll be thrilled, since the six naked-eye stars in the cluster will gloriously multiply to dozens, and their blue-white diamond color will be obvious too.  It’s the very best celestial target for binoculars. And once you’ve located this marvelous sight, you’ll know where to look for the comet on December 15 and 16.

 

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s blog on stargazing and astronomy. Bob Berman, longtime and famous astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, will help bring alive the wonders of our universe. From the beautiful stars and planets to magical auroras and eclipses, he covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob, the world’s mostly widely read astronomer, also has a new weekly podcast, Astounding Universe!

Old Farmer’s Almanac

Your Earth Sky News for December 14: Time to look for Mercury and Jupiter below Venus

Time to look for Mercury and Jupiter below Venus

Now – mid-December 2018 – it’s time to get outside in the early morning and try to spot our sun’s innermost planet, Mercury. Look east, the sunrise direction. You can’t miss super-bright Venus. Mercury is below it, near the sunrise point. If you look extra hard with the unaided eye or binoculars, you might spot bright Jupiter near the horizon, too, on a line with Venus and Mercury.

Mercury shines more brightly than a 1st-magnitude star now; in other words, it’s as bright as the brightest stars in our sky (but not nearly as brilliant as Venus). Bring along binoculars, if you have them, though. With daylight coming up fast, you could easily lose Mercury in the morning twilight.

You’ll need an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunrise. Depending on where you live worldwide, Mercury might – or might not – be above the horizon some 90 minutes before sunrise. If you don’t see it at first below dazzling Venus, wait a bit. As Earth spins under the sky, as dawn’s light is filling the sky, Mercury will be ascending higher in the east.

Jupiter is climbing upward now, too – day by day – toward Mercury, in the December 2018 morning sky. In mid-December, the bright morning twilight might render Jupiter invisible or nearly so. Fortunately, Jupiter should become easier to see by the time this brilliant world pairs up with Mercury on December 21.

This morning apparition of Mercury favors the Northern Hemisphere. The farther north you live, the more time that Mercury rises before sunrise; the farther south you live, the closer that Mercury rises to sunrise. Assuming a level eastern horizon, we give the approximate amount of time that Mercury rises before the sun at 45 degrees North latitude, the equator (0 degrees latitude) and 45 south latitude:

45 degrees north latitude: Mercury rises approximately 100 minutes before sunrise

Equator (0 degrees latitude): Mercury rises approximately 80 minutes before sunrise

45 degrees south latitude: Mercury rises approximately 60 minutes before sunrise

Click here for a recommended almanac that’ll give you Mercury’s precise rising time in your sky.

Although the sky charts above and below are designed for mid-northern latitudes, you can easily apply them to any part of the world with a few simple considerations:

At latitudes significantly north of the equator: Mercury is found to Venus’ lower left

At latitudes at or near the equator: Mercury is found pretty much directly below Venus

At latitudes significantly south of the equator: Mercury is found to Venus’ lower right

Bottom line: In mid-December 2018, for Mercury – and possibly Jupiter – below Venus in the east at dawn.

 

Your Earth Sky News for December 13: Geminid meteors peak this week

Geminid meteors peak this week

These next several nights are probably the best nights for watching for meteors in the annual Geminid shower. The peak morning is likely to be December 14, 2018, but the morning of December 13 might offer a good display, too, and meteor watchers have been catching Geminids for some nights now.

Just know that – although this is one shower you can successfully watch in the (late) evening – the best viewing hours are typically around 2 a.m., no matter where you are on Earth.

In 2018, the waxing crescent moon won’t be a hindrance because it’ll set in the evening. That means a dark sky from late evening until dawn for the 2018 Gemini meteor shower. Yay!

So the absolute best time of night to watch for Geminid meteors is around 2 a.m., when the the shower’s radiant point– near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini – is high in the sky.

If you’re not one to stay up late, you can watch for meteors during the evening hours. Although the meteors will be few and far between at early-to-mid evening, you might, if you’re lucky, catch an earthgrazer – a slow-moving and long-lasting meteor that travels horizontally across the sky.

Can you watch the meteor shower online? Yes. It won’t be the same experience as being out under a dark country sky. But, especially if you’re clouded out and can’t get out of the city, watching online can be a good way to join the fun. So far, we’ve heard from only one organization planning to broadcast the Geminids live. It’s sky-live.tv, which will cover the live event with 3 cameras in Teide Observatory (Canary Islands), Olivenza (Extremadura) and High Energy Observatory HESS (Namibia).

The narration will be in Spanish. Find the live broadcast here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/LHuT5yDtDu0.

English speakers might like sky-live.tv’s Sky Cam for the Geminids, which has no narration: https://www.youtube.com/embed/mFUBpGEjY54.

Can you watch from the Southern Hemisphere? Sure! At temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, the meteors tend to be fewer. The Geminids do favor the Northern Hemisphere, where the radiant appears higher in the sky. However, this shower is also visible from the tropical and subtropical parts of the Southern Hemisphere.

How many meteors will you see? The Geminids are a consistent and prolific shower, but the numbers of meteors you see also strongly depends on your sky conditions and on how far you are from city lights. Often, in the hours after midnight and under a dark sky, you can see 50 or more meteors per hour. Rates of 120 per hour have been reported at the peak, under optimum sky conditions.

In 2018, the absence of moonlight will provide dark skies from late night until dawn. How many will you see? We don’t know! Just watch, and let us know.

Remember … meteors in annual showers typically come in spurts and lulls, so give yourself at least an hour of observing time. Simply sprawl out on a reclining lawn chair, look upward and enjoy the show.

Where do the meteors come from? Although meteors are sometimes called “shooting stars,” they have nothing to do with stars. Instead, they are strictly a solar system phenomenon. Around this time every year, our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of a mysterious object called 3200 Phaethon, which might be an asteroid or a burnt-out comet orbiting our sun.

Debris from this object burns up in the Earth’s upper atmosphere to give us the annual Geminid meteor shower.

Bottom line: With the moon setting relatively early in the evening, 2018 could be an excellent year for the Geminid shower. Peak morning is probably December 14, but watch December 13, too. And you might catch some Geminids before those dates!

Read more: 10 tips for watching the Geminids

Read more: Find the Geminid meteors’ radiant point

Read more: All you need to know about the Geminid meteor shower