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A time of magic.
In many cultures, customs practiced at Christmas go back
to pre-Christian times. Many involve divination–foretelling the future at
a magic time: the season turning of solstice.

In Russia, there’s a Christmas divination that involves
candles. A girl would sit in a darkened room, with two lighted candles and
two mirrors, pointed so that one reflects the candlelight into the other.
The viewer would seek the seventh reflection, then look until her future
would be seen.

The early Germans built a stone altar to Hertha, or Bertha,
goddess of domesticity and the home, during winter solstice. With a fire
of fir boughs stoked on the altar, Hertha was able to descend through the
smoke and guide those who were wise in Saga lore to foretell the fortunes
of those at the feast.

In Spain, there’s an old custom that is a holdover from
Roman days. The urn of fate is a large bowl containing slips of paper on
which are written all the names of those at a family get-together. The slips
of paper are drawn out two at a time. Those whose names are so joined are
to be devoted friends for the year. Apparently, there’s often a little finagling
to help matchmaking along, as well.

In Scandinavia, some families place all their shoes together,
as this will cause them to live in harmony throughout the year.

And in many, many cultures, it’s considered bad luck for
a fire or a candle to go out on Christmas Day. So keep those candles burning!

Sun Goddesses

Amaterasu: Japanese; arrows, kites

Bast: Egyptian Cat Goddess; represents
beneficient power of the Sun; joy, music, dancing

Igaehindvo: Cherokee Sun Goddess

Hsi-Ho: Chinese, “Mother of the

Knowee: Australian Aborigine Goddess

Lucina: Roman; birth, midwifery

Nahar: Syrian Sun Goddess

Sapas: Phoenician; “Torch of the

Sekhmet: (“The Powerful”)
Egyptian Lion-Headed Goddess, represents the destructive power of the

Shapash: Sumerian Sun Goddess

Suwa: early Arabian Sun Goddess

Wurusemu: Hittite; Goddess of Battles

Yhi: Australian Aborigine Goddess

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