“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, as the song says. Yule, or the winter solstice, occurs every year on December the 21st. In terms of the actual movements of the planets, December 21st marks the moment when the Earth is tilted at its furthest point from the sun. This is what makes that date the longest night of the year in the Northern hemisphere.
The longest night gives us time for spending hours reflecting, looking within, and planning for the next year ahead. It’s a time to connect with nature, bringing what is outside within the home, honouring nature and the divine. Decorating the home with mistletoe and holly is another aspect of Pagan symbolism later blended into Christian tradition. Mistletoe was held to represent the male and holly the female. We can also bring a log from outside, decorating or dusting it with cider or ale before displaying it in the hearth or centre of the home. Traditionally, this can be displayed for the whole of December, and burnt ceremonially on the night of December 21st, when the embers are left to smoulder for 12 days before being put out.
We celebrate the birth of the sun God, the giver of life, the one who warms the soil in preparation for the coming years’ harvest. Trees and the earth are nourished with toasts of cider, and Wassailed – the tradition, of blessing and giving thanks.
This night has been revered, marked and celebrated throughout the centuries and across many cultures, with evidence dating back to Neolithic times. Both Stonehenge in Britain and Newgrange in Ireland are designed so that the monuments are constructed with sight lines that point towards the sunrise on the solstice, and Stonehenge is also built to point towards the sunset on the same day.
The deep significance of this period has been lost in modern life, but for our ancestors it marked the beginning of a time of hunger and deprivation through the winter months before the joyous greeting of spring and the turning of the wheel of the year to the promise of renewed life.
Staying in the spirit of the solstice means looking to nature for ways of celebrating that are simple yet profound. If you can, make your own Yule wreath from florestry wire and then whatever you can gather on a walk through nature. Branches, twigs and berries can be beautifully arranged, alongside the traditional holly and ivy. Make it with love and dedicate it to the person you love. It should then be hung on the front door, or above the entrance to the front door.
This is a time for looking to nature for what is freely given. If you are unable to buy presents, look at making something, as to give from the heart, is with true unconditional love.
Yule is a time of treasuring all that is true, and sacred within your life. It is not a time of materialism, or wealth. It’s a time of introspection, looking within and planning for the new year to come, of being grateful for all that is special in your life, and by showing love to all.
Michele Knight reader Sue C, Pin 2141
Sue C is a medium and hereditary psychic who has been reading professionally for 15 years. She also runs the Psychicvisions group on Psychic Knight, where people can talk about their dreams and visions and raise any queries they might have about their own psychic development and also presents the radio show Mystical Worlds on My Spirit Radio.
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