The Winter Holidays are some of the oldest in the world. Although we think in terms of the old year, the last month is actually named for Decima, goddess of the present. The Celtic tree month of Ruis runs through December 22, about which Nigel Pennick writes in The Pagan Book of Days, that it,
…[S]ignifies the paradox of a time of timelessness, youth in old age and old age in youthfulness, life in death and death in life. It is followed by the single blank day in the Celtic calendar known as The Secret of the Unhewn Stone… From December 24th, the month of Beth begins. Beth is the first letter of the Celtic ogham alphabet, signifying the birch, sacred to the Great Mother Goddess and the prime tree of the tree alphabet, representing new beginnings, purification and the expulsion of all bad thoughts and influences.
Winter Solstice was associated with a god of the new Sun, born with different names throughout the world, including Osiris, Mithras, Adonis, Attis, Colibrí del Sur (Spanish for Hummingbird of the South) and later, Jesus.
Long before guilt-based religions, this was a time of joy. Decorations of lights and bright colors were used to visualize one’s conscious connection with the cheer and life of the Newborn Sun. Nature was not only used to adorn one’s space, living perennial trees and boughs were decorated to facilitate connection with the wood’s heroic spirit, and in some places to honor the tree itself. Mistletoe, as well as red and green colors, were used to connect with the fertile joining of sacred male and female, the energies behind the newborn Son.
In ancient Europe, this idea was taken literally. Solstice fertility rites included orgies of several days, where 12 men and 12 women joined to strengthen the gene pool while engendering new descendants. (Could this be a prelude to the 12 apostles?)
Winter celebrations were ways of both honoring and invoking the spirits of nature and sacred masculine and feminine forces, to receive their power in the New Solar Cycle.
2015 is a good year for us to recover and call upon these winter archetypes.
On December 4, Venus enters Scorpio, the sensual power sign. Although considered challenging, this placement carries us into the…. Get the whole story now! Become a Premium Subscriber! Or, if you are already a Premium Subscriber, log in here.