As the fall and winter days grow shorter, and the chilly nights reach out even longer, winter reminds us to look inward for our own resources, to our own light to carry into the new year.
This time signifies the return of the sun and the mid-way point through the current winter. From this day on, the sun will shine longer and stronger into the spring and summer! Many different cultures from around the world, for thousands of years, have celebrated winter as a time of renewal and new beginnings!
THE WINTER SOLSTICE FALLS ON DECEMBER 21ST, 2022
The winter solstice, which falls on December 21st or 22nd, marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. (Opposite the summer solstice on June 21st.) It is a time to honor the darkness and the return of the light, as well as to celebrate the annual death & re-birth of the sun and ready our energies for the coming new year!
For many ancient cultures, the winter solstice was a time of great spiritual significance. It was and still is believed to be a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest, and when the spirits of our ancestors were able to visit us and offer guidance and protection. It was also said that this is a time to give the dead your worries and burdens, that they may take these worldly bothers through the veil into the underworld and away from you, leaving you unburdened and ready for the year ahead. The winter solstice is also seen as a time of death and rebirth, both literally and figuratively, as the sun begins its journey back towards the earth and the days grow longer once again.
TRADITIONS & RITUALS
One of the most well-known traditions associated with the winter solstice is the celebration of Yule, which was practiced by the Norse, Pagan, Wiccan, and Germanic peoples. Yule is a time of fire & feasting, gift-giving, and celebration, as well as a time to honor the Gods and Goddesses. The Yule log, a large log that was burnt in the hearth as a symbol of the returning sun, was an important part of the Yule celebration. The Yule log was often adorned with holly, ivy, and mistletoe, which were believed to have magical properties and were used to bring good luck and fertility to the household.
In modern times, the winter solstice and Yule are still celebrated by many people around the world. Some people choose to mark the occasion with rituals, such as lighting candles or incense, performing divination, or creating altars in honor of the winter solstice and it's Divine counterparts. Others choose to celebrate with friends and family, either by hosting a traditional Yule feast or by participating in seasonal activities such as caroling, gift-giving, or decorating a festive tree.
Another common tradition for the winter solstice is the practice of gift-giving and sharing. During the winter solstice, many communities celebrate the abundance and generosity of the natural world by giving gifts to friends, family, and loved ones. These gifts can be small and symbolic and purposeful, such as handmade ornaments or candles, or they can be more practical, such as food, clothing, or other necessities.
The act of gift-giving and sharing is seen as a way to honor the deities and spirits associated with the winter months, as well as a way to foster a sense of community and connection with others. It is a way to honor and celebrate the abundance and prosperity that the world provides, even during the darkest and coldest days of the year. Many communities also choose to donate to charities or engage in other acts of service as a way of giving back to the community and spreading joy and goodwill during the winter season.
COOL SIMILARITIES & WINTER FIGURES AROUND THE WORLD!
Many of you may have also heard about a certain ancient Greek era celebration called Saturnalia! Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival that took place from December 17th-23rd, honoring the Greek God Saturn and marking the beginning of the winter solstice. It was a time of celebration, feasting, indulgence, and gift-giving, as well as a time to relax and let go of social norms. During Saturnalia, people would lavishly decorate their homes and temples with winter greenery and hold feasts and parties in honor of the God Saturn. It was also a time of role reversal, as slaves were allowed to play pranks on their masters and even assume their roles for a day. Many customs and traditions associated with Saturnalia have been incorporated into modern holiday celebrations.
Krampusnacht, also known as Krampus Night, is a traditional holiday celebrated in parts of Europe, particularly in Austria and Germany, on the evening of December 5th. It is a time to honor Krampus, a mythical creature from Alpine folklore who is said to punish naughty children at Christmas time. On Krampusnacht, people often dress up as Krampus and roam the streets, making noise and frightening children (and adults) in a playful manner. It is also a time for celebration, with traditional food, drink, and music often featured at Krampusnacht parties. Some people believe that Krampusnacht serves as a way to balance the joy and cheer of the Christmas season with a bit of mischievous fun and tradition.
The Witch Befana is a figure from Italian folklore who is said to bring gifts to children on the night of Epiphany, which falls on January 6th. According to legend, Befana is an old woman who was visited by the three wise men as they traveled to see the baby Jesus. They asked her to join them on their journey, but she declined, saying that she had too much housework to do. Later, when she heard about the birth of Jesus, she regretted her decision and set out to find the baby, bringing gifts for him and other children along the way. To this day, many Italian children leave their shoes out on the night of Epiphany, hoping that Befana will fill them with sweets and small gifts. Some people believe that Befana represents the spirit of giving and the magic of the winter season.
No matter how you choose to celebrate the Winter, Winter Solstice, and Yule, this time of year is a reminder to take a moment to slow down, reflect on the past year, and look forward to the new chapters that the future holds. It is a time to honor the darkness and the light, to give thanks for the blessings of the past year, and to set intentions for the year to come!
So, as the winter solstice approaches, take some time to celebrate the magick of this special time of year. Light a candle, burn some incense, or spend time with loved ones. Whatever you do, make sure to take a moment to honor the find and honor the light within, and to embrace the possibilities that winter brings!
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ABOUT ME My name is Justin Arnold, but most of my #Witchigan friends just call me The Magick Man! I am a psychic, tarot reader, artist, creative director, incense maker, and educator here in Magickal Michigan! #MagickMan #AskTheMagickMan
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