Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice, Celebrate the Return of the Sun

Today is the Winter Solstice which is also known as Yule. The Winter Solstice marks the longest night and the shortest day. From this day forward the days will grow longer and nights shorter until the Summer Solstice. Many ancient cultures around the world honored the Solstice such as the Egyptians, Romans, Celts, Norse and many others. The Winter Solstice was a celebration honoring the sun and praying for its return in Spring. Cultures like the Nordic people are said to have large celebrations with lots of food, drink and merry making. This is said to be where the tradition of the Yule log and wassailing originated. Wassailing was essentially where the modern tradition of Christmas caroling comes from. People would go out in the cold of winter and visit peoples homes singing and drinking to their health and to the return of the warmth of Spring. They would pour wine on the ground to encourage the fertility of the crops.

In ancient Rome we have the famous Saturnalia festival which many today say Christmas originated from. This festival was held in honor of Saturn, Roman God of Agriculture and lasted about a week towards the middle to end of December. Saturnalia was said to be a festival with lots of partying, feasting, gift giving and sacrifice. It was also a festival of light to represent the return of the sun. During the Saturnalia the roles of slave and master were said to be reversed so the slaves could experience the luxury of being a free Roman citizen. The Saturnalia was one of the most popular popular festivals on the Roman calendar and was described as being "the best of days".

In honor of the Winter Solstice I found a great tarot spread to try called "The Light of the Solstice". It is in the shape of a circle representing the sun. Use the picture on the right as your guide for the layout. This spread is great for determining how things will go for you in the new year. The card meanings are as follows:

Card 1. What are you hopeful about?
Card 2. What is your hearts desire?
Card 3. Where would you like to be at this point next year?
Card 4. How can you restore balance to your life?
Card 5. How can you open your heart to others?
Card 6. What do you need to do to plan the life you want?

Wishing everyone many Winter Solstice blessings!

Top picture courtesy of Emily Balivet

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