Once more we come full circle to the top of the Wheel of the Year: 'Tis Solstice! As of 10:28AM Central Time this morning, Winter officially arrives.
Although Earth is nearly closest in its orbit to the Sun, it's so much colder over much of the northern hemisphere because 'the top of the Earth' is tilted away from the Sun; the Sun is farthest to the South in northern skies. This is the shortest day and longest night of the year. From now on days will begin to lengthen until we reach the Summer Solstice. For those in the southern hemisphere the situation is reversed; it is the Summer Solstice and Summer begins.
This point on the wheel of the year is kept under many other names, including Midwinter, Sun Return, Alban Arthan, Gwyl Canol Gaeaf, Satunalia, Finn's Day, Festival of Sol, Great Day of the Cauldron, and Festival of Growth. And, in these days many celebrate the birth of Jesus as Christmas.
Whatever traditions one keeps, it is a time which looks to hearth and
hope, with much feasting, singing, dancing, and exchanging of gifts.
Symbols of the enduring nature of life and of the reborn sun, such as
evergreen trees and wreaths and lights, decorate the
home. Be well!
~ Decorate a tree with green and red ribbons, bells, strings of dried
rosebuds, cinnamon sticks, garlands of popcorn and cranberries, bags of
fragrant spices hung from boughs, quartz crystals wrapped with shiny
wire (like icicles). Hang apples, oranges, and lemons hanging from
boughs (customary in ancient times).
~ Decorate the home with evergreen branches and gold garlands.
~ Tell stories.
~ Carry candles around a circle, pass candles around while chanting.
~ Hang a symbolic wheel on your door.
~ Buy a small potted tree.
~ Make a wreath with holly and maybe some coloured lights to hang in a window.
~ Make and wrap presents for friends and family.
~ Light a runed bayberry candle. Burn it all to ensure prosperity for the coming year.
~ Burn a liquor-soaked Yule log of Oak or Pine representing the winter, whose dominion is broken by the return of the sun. As the log burns, visiualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days.
Nuts, baked Apples and Pears, Pork dishes, Cookies & Cakes of Carraways soaked in Cider. Drinks to go with the Simple Feast or Yule meals are Wassail, Lambswool, cider, and teas.
Herbs and Plants
Arborvitae (Yellow Cedar), Ash, Bay, Nutmeg, Laurel, Blessed Thistle, Valerian, Myrrh, Chamomile, Frankincense, Holly, Juniper, Mistletoe, Pine, Yew, Palm, and Silver Fir. Teas of Ginger, Cinnamon, Mullein, Ginger, Willow Bark, Yarrow, Hibiscus.
Rosemary, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Saffron, Cedar/Pine, Wintergreen, Ginger.
Red, Green, White, Gold
Ruby, Cats-eye, Bloodstone, Garnet
Evergreen Trees, Yule Log, Holly, Eight-Spoked Wheel, Wreaths, Spinning Wheels, the Phoenix, Bells, Santa Claus, Reindeer
Thanks for sharing as always. :)