• shamanicCrone

MERRY YULE & HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE


The magick and wonder of the season is on display as snow flurries find their way to Earth Mother, squirrels are scurrying about gathering their winter feasts, the winged ones are soaring against the crisp blue skies above and the forest floors are lush with leaves welcoming the four-leggeds to nestle in during the cold winter nights. As we approach December 22nd, the Winter Solstice, we are reminded once again in the wonder of Earth Mother and Father Sky, as the nights become shorter and the days longer.

As the Ancestors watched the days growing longer and the nights shorter, it was a time when they brought out their stores of food and rejoiced in the return of the Sun with feasts and celebrations. The celebrations focused on the return of the Sun and what that meant for their very survival. It was considered a time of rebirth and renewal and was honored as they danced and sang while delighting in decorating their homes with greenery.


These celebrations reflected the Ancestors’ deep affinity to and with Earth Mother – the Divine Goddess. They understood their very survival depended upon this symbiotic relationship and that if they were going to survive it was critical they honored Earth Mother by taking care of her – taking only what was needed. To invest their blood, sweat and tears into the land so she would once again produce the food the clan needed to make it through the harsh winters.


Evergreens, such as Mistletoe and Holly, were cut and brought indoors symbolizing life, rebirth and renewal. In Celtic languages, Mistletoe was known to mean “All Heal” and was believed to hold the soul of the sacred Oak tree. The Druids, priestesses and priests, believed mistletoe held miraculous healing powers and was a token of good will and peace. The Ancestors believed the Mistletoe and Holly plants could ward off evil. The believed these magickal plants brought good luck and many blessings into the home and were hung in doorways as amulets of protection.

These celebrations reflected the Ancestors’ deep affinity to and with Earth Mother – the Divine Goddess. They understood their very survival depended upon this symbiotic relationship and that if they were going to survive it was critical they honored Earth Mother by taking care of her – taking only what was needed. To invest their blood, sweat and tears into the land so she would once again produce the food the clan needed to make it through the harsh winters.


Evergreens, such as Mistletoe and Holly, were cut and brought indoors symbolizing life, rebirth and renewal. In Celtic languages, Mistletoe was known to mean “All Heal” and was believed to hold the soul of the sacred Oak tree. The Druids, priestesses and priests, believed mistletoe held miraculous healing powers and was a token of good will and peace. The Ancestors believed the Mistletoe and Holly plants could ward off evil. The believed these magickal plants brought good luck and many blessings into the home and were hung in doorways as amulets of protection.

In ancient lore, the Cailleach, Crone, or Wise Woman was revered. She symbolized life’s mystical and cyclical nature. She is part of the Maiden, Mother, Crone trilogy and with her age comes great wisdom and insights we would be wise to seek out. My ancestors understood that times of dormancy and deep rest are essential to all living things. A turning inward, resting more, reflecting and embracing the quiet reflected in what surrounded them; a renewal of the mind, body and soul. A knowing that Mother Nature doesn’t die during winter; she has merely gone underground to renew herself and prepare for spring. The trees are bare, stripped of their protective leaves. Plants do not visibly grow. The sun’s rays are not as abundant; a slowing down of sorts. We too are meant to slow down. Take time for our own renewal; of reinvigorating ourselves for the coming of spring and all that it entails as we prepare for planting. A time of self-reflection; a time of letting go of what no longer serves us and bringing to mind what we would like to manifest in our lives in the coming year.


Many of today’s symbols, customs, lore and rituals associated with Christmas have their origins in Paganism or the ‘Old Religion’. My ancestors were called Pagans meaning country dweller. With the coming of the new religion, many of these customs and symbols were used to meld the new religion with the old in an attempt to make it more palatable to those whose lives were deeply rooted in their reverence of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants and Father Sky. It was also important to turn the word Pagan into something diabolical so that others would be warned against affiliating themselves with these Heathens.

One such tradition, the Christmas tree, is rooted in Paganism. Pagan families would bring an evergreen live tree into their homes so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months and remind them of the true nature of the world they inhabited. The trees were decorated with fruits, pinecones, berries - items representing Mother Earth and the natural world.


Wreaths were made and adorned with holly, mistletoe, berries and cones and hung as decoration throughout the home. For the ancestors, they symbolized the wheel of the year and the completion of another cycle. These wreaths were given as gifts to symbolize the infinity of goodwill, friendship and joyfulness.

Bells were utilized by ancient Pagans to drive away malevolent spirits that might surface during this cold dark time of the year. The ringing of the bells ~ Druids, Priestesses and Priests – practitioners of healing & magic – wore robes of red, green & white for thousands of years while celebrating “holy days”. And how did December 25th become designated as the birth of Jesus? Did you know Pope Julius 1 in the 4 century CE deemed December 25th as the birth of Christ? Biblical historians and scholars are forthright in the knowledge that this date was chosen as it coincided with Saturnalia, Yule and Winter Solstice – all Pagan Holy Days. The church, in its efforts to convert those who revered Mother Earth and the Goddess, adopted this tactic with many of the Pagan Holy Days celebrated long before Christianity was acknowledged as a religion.


I believe it is important to be honest and forthright about the origins of this most beautiful holiday season. What a blessing it would be to honor my ancestors’ beliefs, traditions and celebrations. To see Yule and Winter Solstice as part of the many December holidays honored and celebrated around the world. For them to be acknowledged as the Holy Days they are to those of us who revere nature and all her inhabitants.

Whatever holidays are honored and celebrated in your homes, let us remember there are many paths to the Divine. Be curious. Learn about a Holy Day you’re not familiar with to have a deeper appreciation for others whose spiritual path may be different than yours. When we open our hearts, we become available to welcome others who may see the world a bit differently. You see, I have come to know when we are centered in our own beliefs, when our spiritual journey is steeped in kindness, we find no need to make others wrong. We find no need to declare our way is the only way. We find no need to hate, to fear, to distance ourselves from others who aren’t ‘like us’. When we find no need to hide behind our faith to excuse our disregard for our fellow humans. When we have sovereignty over our own being, we find no need to embellish the truth, deceive, lie and purposefully harm others. What we do find, is the ability to extend ourselves with acts of kindness, offer words of encouragement, take responsibility for our actions and words, to apologize when needed and to forgive.


Wishing you all a very happy and merry holiday season ~

Blessings

Janet (aka Crone)

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@2017 by Janet Stanley.