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Winter Solstice a Druids View.

3 things to be controlled above all:

The Hand
The Tongue
Desire

Although at this time of year we may be inundated with many
Christian ideals, it is important to remember where all those ideals came
from. As a Druid I feel it is increasingly important that we follow and practice
what we expect from all others that is respect, tolerance and understanding.
We can follow all of these things while remembering where many beliefs and

Yuletide Herbal Lore

 

 

Bay Laurel:
write wishes on bay leaves and burn in Yule fire (or put into incense)
  
Blessed Thistle:
use in incense or ritual cup to invoke the newly born Sun.
 
Chamomile:
To invoke solar energy, use in incense, ritual bath or cup.
 
Frankincense:
Solar incense for purity, strength; use oil on orange/gold candle.
 
Holly:
Decorate the altar for protection and devotion; burn at Candlemas.
 
Hyssop:
Spiritual bathing, clarity, washing ritual items and temple space.
 
Ivy:
Fidelity, valour, victory; Yule altar decoration burned at Candlemas.
 
Juniper:
Purification, potency, love, psychic powers; use berries in Yule incense, decorate
altar with branches.
 
Mistletoe:
Protection, love, fertility; altar decoration burned at Candlemas
 
Oak:
Health, healing and potency; wood often used as “Yule Log”; associated with Vesta and fire rituals.
 
Rosemary: Empowers
memory, love and loyalty; use in ritual bath or cup to invoke the Sun’s energy.
 
These herbs can be utilized in ritual by making an incense, or anointing
candles with essential oil. They can be sewn into a charm bag and consecrated (dedicated to a single purpose), and worn when needed.

traditions have originated from.

The Winter Solstice marks the time in our yearly cycle when
the Sun is reborn again, and darkness is dispelled: the beginning of the waxing
phase of the year. It is the birth of the Sun Goddess, Lucina, who grants
wishes to those who light fires in her name, and in her role as patroness
of midwifery, assists us in our rituals of rebirth.

No one’s really sure how long ago humans recognized the
winter solstice and began heralding it as a turning point — the day that
marks the return of the sun. The 1948 book, 4,000 Years of Christmas, places
a differing spin on Christmas. The Mesopotamians were first to celebrate it,
claims the book, with a 12-day festival of renewal, designed to help the god
Marduk tame the monsters of chaos for one more year.

Many, many cultures the world over perform solstice ceremonies.
At the root of these festivals: is an ancient fear that the failing light
would never return unless humans intervened with anxious vigil or antic celebration.
Native Americans had winter solstice rites. The rock paintings of the Chumash,
who occupied
coastal California for thousands of years before the Europeans
arrived have many symbols representing the sun. This may indicate that solstices
were tremendously important to them, and it is suggested the winter solstice
celebration lasted several days.

In the 13th century winter solstice was overlaid with Christmas,
and as the observance of Christmas spread throughout the globe, we lost some
of the deep connections of our celebrations to a fundamental seasonal, and
hemispheric event. Many people–of many beliefs–are looking to regain that
connection now.

I
gain inspiration from the universality of the ancient idea–winter solstice
celebrations aren’t just an invention of the ancient Europeans.

In Iran, there is the observance of Yalda, in which families
kept vigil through the night and fires burned brightly to help the sun (and
Goodness) battle darkness (thought evil).

Winter solstice celebrations are also part of the cultural
heritage of Pakistan and Tibet. And in China, even though the calendar is
based on the moon, the day of winter solstice is called Dong Zhi, “The
Arrival of Winter.” The cold of winter made an excellent excuse for a
feast, so that’s how the Chinese observed it, with Ju Dong, “doing the
winter.”

And what of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights that
occurs around this time every year? Is it related to other celebrations of
the season?

The placement of Hanukkah is tied to both the lunar and
solar calendars. It begins on the 25th of Kislev, three days before the new
moon closest to the Winter Solstice. It commemorates an historic event —
the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and the rededication of the temple
at Jerusalem. But the form of this celebration, a Festival of Lights (with
candles at the heart of the ritual), makes Hanukkah wonderfully compatible
with other celebrations at this time of year. As a symbolic celebration of
growing light and as a commemoration of spiritual rebirth, it also seems closely
related to other observances.

And perhaps, our impulse to hold onto certain traditions
today — candles, evergreens, feasting and generosity — are echoes
of a past that extends many thousands of years further than we ever
before imagined.


“Shall we liken Christmas to
the web in a loom? There are many weavers, who work into the pattern
the experience of their lives. When one generation goes, another comes
to take up the weft where it has been dropped. The pattern changes as
the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew. At first, we are not
sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to
the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and
that they have made something very beautiful, something which compels
our understanding.”
–Earl W. Count, 4,000 Years of Christmas
 

An utterly astounding array of ancient cultures built their
greatest architectures — tombs, temples, cairns and sacred observatories
— so that they aligned with the solstices and equinoxes. Many of us know
that Stonehenge is a perfect marker of
both solstices
.

But not so many people are familiar with Newgrange, a beautiful megalithic
site in Ireland. This huge circular stone structure is estimated to be 5,000
years old, older by centuries than Stonehenge, older than the Egyptian pyramids!
It was built to receive a shaft of sunlight deep into its central chamber
at dawn on winter solstice.

The light illuminates a stone basin below intricate carvings
— spirals, eye shapes, solar discs. Although not much is known about how
Newgrange was used by its builders, marking the solstice was obviously of
tremendous spiritual import to them. Here’s more on this incredible
ancient site.

And the next time you find yourself in a store, getting
annoyed at incessant repetitions of “the Carol of the Bells,” consider
this: it’s a remnant of the pre-Christian winter solstice celebration in the
Ukraine. The Ukrainian carol called “Shchedryk” has the same melody
as the Carol of the Bells, but different English words. The word “Shchedryk”
means the “Generous One”. It refers to the god of generosity, the
Dazh Boh – the Giver God, which is the sun.


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