Spiritual development
Festival Of Lights - Brigid - Imbolc - Candlemas Tags: Light Brigid Imbolc Candlemas Parsifal Life Tradition Healing Renewal Purpose

Festival Of Lights - Brigid - Imbolc - Candlemas
Festival of Lights at the 2nd February
The Spring Of The Year Feast - The Beginnings of New Life


The purpose of the Wheel Of The Year Celebrations
Each of the Festivities of the Year's Wheel is dynamically placed so as to take full advantage of powerful surges in energy, both upon the Earth and in the Heavens, and it is the varying energies which each Festival presents, that enables conscious renewal of participants in ceremony in honour of these times:
Human actions are best when they reflect the actions of Nature - nowadays, this feeling to get increasing popular as it may dignify Life, provides spirit and purpose.

Every Festival has its own spirit, brings within us certain parts of the soul to resonate.
And the most important thing is to let the soul resonate, to reach us and to touch.
To remember, to remind deeply.
Then healing can take place, solution and salvation !
The point of it is with all all these Ceremonies, in all great Myths, the SALVATION.
Each of these Feats in the Year's Circle are connected with these Myths, these Heroes, Gods, and Goddesses.
And through the identification and merging with these beings accrues healing and salvation.
They set us an example.
It is important that we reclaim these Celebrations in our lives, and connect with our lives.
No set-up rituals !
Quite simply: pay attention to what you experience and perceive.
And if there is a ray of Sunshine.


In the night of 1st to 2nd February is celebrated Candlemas, the Celtic Imbolc [Im-olc], or the Feast of Brigid, a Lunar-Fire Festival.
(or August 1st for Neopagans in the Southern Hemisphere)

Although Nature remains in wintry rigidity, the Days are already noticeably longer, and imperceptibly, the juice is already rising in the trees.
The Sun rises every day a little earlier and comes back over some of the mountain peaks.
In the evening, it is longer bright.

The Wheel has reached a crossroads between Dark and Light.


     'I am older than Brighid of the Mantle*...
     I put songs and music on the wind before ever the bells of the chapels were rung in the  West or heard in the East. ...
     And I have been a breath in your heart.
     And the day has its feet to it that will see me coming into the hearts of men and women like a flame upon dry grass, like a flame of wind in a great wood...'

- Winged Destiny by Fiona MacLeod      *: ie, the St. Brigid of the church



The Light-Virgin Brigid
(To the Celts, the Sun was feminine, and Light was masculine)
In this new Light, the Goddess appears as a beautiful Light-Virgin;
Brighid - 'surrounded by the aureole' and replaces the dark, black Goddess, who ruled in the Winter as Percht, Cerridwen, or Morrigane.
With her, the elementary Nature -and Fertility- Spirits dawn from the Earth, with the rising bear leading the way !
The thick fur, still quite stiff and sleep-drunk, on this day, allegedly for the first time, puts his nose out of the cave to see how far the spring is gone.
The bear is none other than the re-born, still veiled young Sun-God.
Still he is wild, 'b(e)aresark-ish'.
Parsifalrain, January 30, 2016

Brigid (or Imbolc) is the Festival halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, so the real middle in the Winter.
Throughout the Year we are in the time in which the days are getting noticeably longer, the Sun gains considerable force, and Nature is slowly re-awakened.
It is the time in which the first animals awaken from winter dormancy, and the first plants sprout out of the ground.
Life in the Winter-cold, limitedness, tightness and darkness is drawing recognizable to a close now, new Life begins.
It is the time of the first shooting and sprouting.
For the Celts, this Festival was called 'Imbolc', which means 'in the womb'.
To the Midwinter, the new Light (the new Life, the new Child) was born, up to Imbolc - Season, it was allowed to ripen in the dark womb of the Mother.
Now, however, the time has come, in which the New shows recognizable for the first time.
Also at the outside.


Brighid the Goddess-Patroness, Benefactress and Guardiness
The Festival is dedicated to the Bride of Earth, the Goddess Brigid and the many aspects of the Deity i.e. the three stages of Womanhood: Maiden, Matron, Crone - Cycle ... considered a form of the Triple Goddess ('triune' Goddess, meaning that she is one and three simultaneously)
However, Imbolc is a Feast dedicated to the Goddess in her Maiden appearance.
She is ... the beloved Goddess of the Celts of Muse - creative activities such as of the poets, the musicians (songs), the artists, History (she reminds us to keep our Traditions alive and whole), the (Fire of) Inspiration, learning, the Guardieness of Cultures, Healers, Herbalists, Agriculture and Patroness of the Druids.
This brings consideration of the role Brigid plays with regard to all the Arts associated with language in general, including speech, the magick of invocations and words of evocation, spell-crafting and oath-taking.
Certainly, she's the Benefactress of Inner Healing and Vital Energy.
Often, she is seen as the Overseer of all things domestic, including cooking and kitchen-magic.
Manyfold linked to a 'fiery arrow', she also stands for Divine justice, law and order.
She's the Goddess of the crossroads which is often symbolized by the Brigit-Cross

click image to enlarge tutorial
which unites the Four Elements, and creates Paths which travel in the Four Directions (a good time to re-align which path to walk this Year - because of this, Imbolc is an ideal time for divination)
Brigid is often seen as being of both worlds; a Bridge between the old ways and the new.

She is also a Goddess of Healing in general, prophesying and the Art of the Smithery; (the ashless) 'Fire of the Forge' and is, therefore, close to the Fire.
The Goddess-related Art of Smithcraft, is the outer and secular form of the ancient Alchemical Art.
Furthermore she has the role as Patroness for Fertility, Family, Childbirth, the Midwives and is Patron-Goddess of the Parturient.
As a Solar-Deity her main-attributes are Light and the (alchemic) Skills with Fire.

The power of Brigid keeps the Fire burning
Therewith, she supplies the people with Vivacity and Courage.
In her honor will be lit at Imbolc-Night candles which are placed inside the window to burn the whole Night.
To make wishes for your family and friends - the simplest form of candle magic !
In the Christian sense became from Imbolc a Candlemas Day, a Marian festival, where the candle-consecration is an important element.


The early Celts celebrated a Purification Festival by honoring Brigid.
Imbolc is absolutely considered a Traditional Healing time and it is a good time to consider ways to improve Health.
Hence, the most important aspect of this Festival is the Cleaning.
The Old must be released so that something New can arise.

Earlier, stables and housing rooms were cleaned.
Humans and cattle have been grazed with brushwood and tufts of hazel and birch branches wipped off gently.
The rooms have been fumigated with purifying herbs such as juniper.
When we are liberated from the old burdens, then the New may grow in us.
The time around Imbolc is the time to forge resolutions and the realisation of new desires and goals.
The seed in us may start to grow, so that it can later bloom and carry fruit.



Imbolc and the power of Vitality
Imbolc is a Celebration where we ough to bethink the yet Unbroken, all through Vivid, the wild Energy of Spring, which manages to bring everything back to Life.
Visualize how it feels to be a child or youngster.
Just to look at Children, as they are brimming with Life, alive up to the stop, is ... botening.
Or youths, whose erotism buds, where the whole sense of Life is permeated by erotic feelings, in Love ... with amorousnesses.
This is all part of this Festival, and is supposed to make our crusts bursting like by a wild storm from the South.
You just have to imagine how much energy it takes, that our trees start to sprout, or the flowers to break through the blanket of snow.
How much DESIRE TO LIVE, how much Pleasure !
Spring is Coming !


Snow White and Rose Red
Each of us still knows the fairy tale 'Snow White and Rose Red'.
Hidden under his fur, lights gold, and puts a young Prince, the young Sun King.
And the two girls 'Snow White' and 'Rose Red' embody, such as their symbolic name suggests, the young Goddess Brigid.
Yes, and the old Mother, who had provided refuge to the bear in the Winter, is none other than the old Earth Mother, the Frau Holle or Frau Percht.
Once again, you can see what wonderful fairy tales we have that have, in a very hidden way, carried further the old Cultural Assets.



The White Goddess and the Wheel Of The Year
The accession to power of the White Goddess and the Bear-God was the end of the Christmas season.
Their reign lasted until May.
One should also know that the Wheel Of The Year was stopped from November 25, so from the Katharine-Day until Candlemas.
There is still today the saying: 'Kathrein to cease the Dance'.
The Wheel - in the highest North also the Sun Wheel - stood idle in this time, and thus 'dance-rotation' had to cease.
Less surprising is it then, that from Imbolc on particularly dancing was celebrated.


Brigid, the Queen of the Heavens and 'Mary Candlemas'
The Celtic Festival welcomed their Hearth Goddess Brigid with a Feast of Fire, and consulted the Oracle.
Also trial marriages for a year were contracted on this day.
So popular was the Fair who equally inspired the Poet, Healer and Magician, that even the catholic church could not dispense her Sabbat.
They but remaned the Imbolc Festival in 'Mary Candlemas'.
The Name 'Imbolc' means - depending on the region it is celebrated - 'Put the sheep on to suckle', (or 'ewe's milk', or 'in the belly') because it was the time where the first sheep were born.

Brigid and the Fire
Brigid, the Guardian of the Fire, guarded on this Day, or rather in this Night, the Sacred Fire itself, while it was otherwise kept by 19 priestesses.
Why 19 ?
Because in 19 Years, a Sarosperiode (a large moon's orbit cycle) is completed and the Sun and the Moon align again (are in the same relation to each other).
It was a cosmically aligned Celebration which acclaimed the position of the Sun and of the Moon.
Apparently was responsible for each Year a separate Priestess.
Interestingly, many of the Stone Circles in England and Ireland have exactly 19 stones.

The connection of the Goddess Brigid with the Fire accrues from her Sun-nature.
Pillars of Light and flames to accompany her as she stepped into Life from 'between the worlds - so neither in the house nor out of the house' - but on the doorstep.
And these flames continue to accompany her.
As a small child she slept in a sea of Fire...
Her attribute, Briganti's fiery arrow, was proverbial: the long awaited first Spring Ray Of Sunshine that struck the Earth warming.
But it is also to be seen in a metaphorical sense: the Fire arrow that hits the Heart.
The Spark of the first Spring Feelings, the Love, the Eroticism ....

Therefore, in the course of the Festival must have been welcomes in any case, the return of the Sun and symbolically celebrated by the lighting of a Fire.
Because Imbolc was associated with the sacred flame, which brought the Sun from the Winter-sleep.

Lisa Thiel - Imbolc

video


Another attribute is the multiannual primrose [Primula veris], one of the first flowers of Spring. ✿⊱╮
The Celts and notably the Celtic-Nordic druids applied the prim(e)rose for the Spring Feasts, because she is one of the first flowers in the Spring and so herald  Springtide.
Hildegard of Bingen says of this plant:

'The "sky-key" has the power of the Sun, and if someone is sad, he should bind the herb over his heart, so that the sadness will pass away'


Name affinities with Brigid (St. Bridget, Brigindo, Briggidda, Bridey, Bride, Bricta, Brigantia, Brixia or Brid, whose name meant 'bright one' by the early Celts)
According to her, rivers and towns were named: Bregenz, Brigantia, Braganca in Italy, Brig in Valais, the plain of Brega in Ireland.

Old Candlemas-Customs
The re-igniting of the young Light, and the consecration of light at the Lichtmeßtag (Candlemas Day) is anchored in the whole of Europe and still in customs.
The Catholic Church has made of it the candle-blessing as a small remnant of the consecrated Virgin Light.
Therein, of course, fits then also the new name of 'Mary Candlemas'.

in the Alpine regions,
in Styria (Austria), for example, is then the consecrated Candlemas Fire carried from house to house, and kindled the hearth fire, or a candle on the home altar.
It is the custom to carry the burning candles through the whole house and the stables to share the blessings everywhere.
In Carinthia (Austria), was added dropwise three drops of wax on a loaf of bread as a protection for a Year.
The bread is then kept.

Nice is also a camp-fire which is lit by fire-arrows.
It is always very exciting, because you never know exactly whether and where your burning arrow hits.

Torchlight processions in the Night are also nice, because it brings to mind the allegory of the Light in the Darkness.


And if you have a river or lake in the vicinity, you can put for example a light-boat on the water.
Small boards with floating candles, which ride down the river and wear the light through the Night.


according to wiki, Brigid was said to visit one's home at Imbolc
To receive her blessings, people would make a bed for Brigid and leave her food and drink, while items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless.
Brigid was also invoked to protect homes and livestock.
Special Feasts were held, holy Wells were visited and it was also a time for divination.



A shake-up of trees and plants
Who was clear-sighted enough, could see Brigid ride on a deer  and how it woke the seeds and shook the trees awake, so that the juices began to flow again.
She embodies the forces of the East and of the New in the Morning.


the shaman speaks:


'There are still old countrymen who shake at Candlemas their fruit trees to awake and announce the bees in the hive the happy news.
In many places, the threshing and spinning should be completed on this day, because now the peas or corn-bear, which, as we have seen, brings the new fertility.

Also the day it is still considered as magical day.
Oracles are consulted, who's getting married, who needs to die and how the harvest will be.
To learn how long the Winter will last, one turns to those animals who in burrows have their winter sleep.
From the badger and the fox is the talk, but they only serve as a replacement for the bear.

It is to Candlemas nice and warm, must remain the bear six weeks in his cave, it is said in many places.
Sees the bear at Candlemas his shadow, he must yet forty days stay in the burrows, is the rule in England and France.
Six weeks or forty days it will take until the Spring Equinox.
Then Master Bruin has finally shaken off his hibernation, and the spell of Winter is broken.

The bear who brings the fertility, and from the honeycombs of the bees are made candles of gold, are the favorite animals of the white Brigid.
As opposites, they belong together: the hulking, horny, lazy Petz and the tiny, chaste, diligent bees.
Mainly because of the honey that they suck from the flowers without destroying them, are venerated and worshipped the bees.
For the ancient Europeans, the honey was the only sweetener until in the 17th century was replaced by the cane sugar.
Honey was so sacred that it was used as an offering to the Gods and Ancestors, and only in the Excellent Nights of the Midwinter honey cake as blessing-giving cultic dish was allowed to eat.
The Indogermanic, saw the honey is a remnant of a distant, Golden Age, as the dew dripping down from the World Tree.
Truly a royal dish, best suited for the elect of the white Goddess, the honey eating king of the animals, as well as the king of the people.
Who drank with his Nobles the honey-brewed Mead, while peasants, servants and hands had to be content with barley beer'

 

Valentine and carnival
Since the domination of the white Goddess lasted until the month of May - her climax is not until the Spring Equinox, falls in this period also, 'Valentine' and 'carnival'.
One can easily understand.
The Goddess who puts all the waters in motion, brings the ice to melt, stimulates the juices in the trees and brings the plants to sprout, of course also moves the life-juices in people.
She inspired not only poets and singers, but she also prompts the hormonal rush of amorous couples.
And as the Lovers are always a bit crazy, foolish, easy to be reckless - so also is this time.
This also includes carnival or the Mardi Gras (Fastnacht) time.
The church never welcomed this 'offensive feast' and even strictly forbade in 762.

worth knowing
There goes a story, coming from the 12th century, in which Merlin is inspired by a feminine figure who represents the sovereignty of the Land of Britain.
She causes his visions to reach through British history, on, so it is said, to the end of the Solar System !

King Arthur's sword, Excalibur was forged by the Lady of the Lake, a figure sometimes associated with Brighid because of her fire and forgery aspect.

Brigid is Goddess of both Sun and Moon, action and inspiration, achievement and creativity.

She has been worshiped by the Celtic people as a Saint for over fifteen-hundred years, and as a Goddess long before the Roman invasion of Britain and the alleged birth of Jesus-Christ took place.

topics for the Feast ... i.e.
- What I would like to cleanse from me ?
- What must I let go ?
- Which new bud wants to grow in me ?
- Visions and goals for the New Year
- What gives me strength and energy for the coming Year ?

items for the Celebration (be creative)
- a berg crystal or a white stone
- a white piece of clothing
- an object from Nature
- a candle in a color of Brigid (best might be a white and/or a green candle)


plant seeds
Seeds are sublime and magical - pure potential !
Plant each one as representing your hopes, ideas and dreams

colors
Traditionally, the colors of red and white are associated with Brigid.
White is the color of the blanket of snow and purity (also silver) and red symbolizes the rising sun.
In some traditions, red is connected with the blood of Life.
Brigid is also tied to green, both for the green mantle she wears and for the (fresh burst of) Life  ... growing beneath the Earth.
Other colors associated with Imbolc:
Pink, yellow, light-blue


herbs
Angelica [Angelica archangelica], Basil [Acinos arvensis], Blackberry [Rubus allegheniensis], Celandine [Chelidonium majus], Coltsfoot [Tussilago farfara],  Ginger [Zingiber], Heather [Calluna vulgaris], Myrrhe [Myrrha], Primrose [Primula veris]

trees
Rowan and Willow

stones
Amethyst, Berg crystal, Bloodstone, Garnet, Onyx, Turquoise


element
Imbolc is a Fire Festival and fire of all kinds is associated with Brigid - the Fire of creativity, the protective Hearth Fire, and her Fire Wheel - the Brigid Cross, which heralds her as a Sun Goddess.

zodiac
Aquarius

altar
After all, Brigid is a Goddess of the Celtic peoples, so it's always appropriate to add some sort of Celtic design to your altar.
As Brigid is the Goddess of hearth and home simply decorate your home with symbols of the Imbolc Season.

informative video (-: may answer further questions on your Imbolc rituals
☽✪☾Blessed Imbolc!☽✪☾

video

two Imbolc-prayers


'Bright and fiery arrow
blaze kindly into my life.
Sainted bringer of Spring
grow evermore verdant and lush.
Mistress of poetry and craft,
dance on my tongue and in my hands.
Guardian of the wells and waters and herbs,
warm my heart and open the doors to compassion.
Thank you exalted One for the nourishment
of milk and words.
For the protection of Your threadbare cloak,
for the peace that abides in Your care.
Bless You for the four Fires
and the thawing Earth.
Brigid, I promise my best effort
and lightest laugh in Your name'


'Bride of the Earth,
sister of the Faeries,
daughter of the Tuatha de Danaan,
keeper of the eternal Flame.
In Autumn, the Nights began to lengthen,
and the Days grew shorter,
as the Earth went to sleep.
Now, Brigid stokes her Fire,
burning flames in the hearth,
bringing Light back to us once more.
Winter is brief, but Life is forever.
Brigid makes it so'


what to wish for ?
'There's magic in the fairy flight
See the woman at the well
Listen to what she will tell
The fairies flutter with delight
The ewes give milk and all is right
Blessed be this Imbolg Night
Springtime is now near at sight'



☽✪☾Happy Imbolc !☽✪☾

related

Everything is Born out of Darkness

earlier

Yule - Midwinter - Winter Solstice - 'Christmas Eve'

for convenient sharing, the essay is also available here:

Festival of Lights - Brigid - Imbolc - Candlemas by Parain on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/document/337816374/Festival-of-Lights-Brigid-Imbolc-Candlemas

Everything is Born out of Darkness Tags: Darkness Winter Solstice Womb Matriarchate Female Christmas Yule Wheel Midwinter Parsifal

Everything is Born out of Darkness

The Festivals and Rituals at the Winter Solstice often had the alignment to summon the Sun and to give her the strength to move on Her daily train from the East to the West, to illuminate and to warm us.

The Night of the Mothers
Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, celebrated 'Modraniht' in this time of the Wheel of the Year - the 'Night of the Mothers'.
Because in this Night the Goddess gives in the most silent of all hours deep in the Dark Earth Birth to the New Sun Child.
Depending on the design, this Night of the Mothers is the Night on the 21th to the 22nd and respectively on December 25th.

There are a number of examples from pre-patriarchal traditions, which have as their center the worship of the Goddess as Mother of the Divine child.
The focus was always on the mother and not the child.
The 'mothers' were mostly those 'virgin' Goddesses, who, without any male intervention - in the course of the Seasons - with the aid of the cyclical force transformed Death into Life, Darkness into Light, Night into Day, Winter into Spring.

So Rhiannon gives birth to Her Son (... Sun) Pryderi, from Isis is born the Sun God Horus, Demeter gets her Holy Daughter Persephone, Selene gives Dionysus to life, who was regarded in ancient Greece as a Savior and a God of Fertility and Growth, the Celtic Goddess Rigani goes to the underworld to look for her son Esus, to bring him to a new earthly Life.
So, we are slowly approaching Christianity, in which, of course, also a Virgin Mother Goddess brings a radiant young child into the World.
Parsifalrain, December 25, 2016

The Dark force is all along understood as Feminine, Maternal.
Whoever rejects the Darkness, also rejects this Female primordial energy which provides a sense of security and protection, out of which everything arises.


The celebration of the Winter Solstice, but just in spiritual and religious circles has often a strange touch - 'finally, finally, the Sun gains power to light again'.
Hooray, the young God of the Sun Son is born.
Yes ... what from ?
From the velvety-soft Dark Womb of his Mother, but Her, we forget very quickly, because now 'the Sonny' is there, the new Light of the World, that soon will outshine everything.
What do we care there about the soft, dark, quiet, motherly energy of the Earth and Creation Goddesses ?


The Celebration of the Dark primal force
With all the joy of the newborn, regained Light, we should but the Winter Solstice not exclusively let wither the triumphant victory of the Light versus the Darkness, as is often done in Patriarchal traditions.
Here, the Night follows the Day, after the Summer comes the Winter, on the work follows the game.
In Matriarchal societies it is usually the opposite: the Night is emotionally prior to the Day, the Winter before the Summer, periods of rest ahead of activity.

How relaxing, to enter in this world of thoughts.
Also the old Mother of the Triads knew the principle:
So accrues Life when Nyx, the Darkness collaborates with Gaia, the Earth and Thethys, the primordial Sea.
Here is the wonderful interplay of the Powers of Creation - the flowing and the earthy Goddess and plenty of rest and Darkness, so that everything can prosper well.
Because the Darkness was long before all others, and from her everything has arisen.

Everywhere in the Universe is Dark, the plants can only grow, because they come from the Darkness of the Earth, the animals and people come out of the Dark safety of the Womb.
Just in some esoteric-psychological-religious approaches, but it is considered Light as good and Dark as evil.

These thoughts we should just check at the Winter Solstice
A Ritual at this time of Year is only going well when the Great Darkness is celebrated, honored and is this original condition, primitive state felt - in which all the Potential is present, available in this pause (hold), the sober-down of Nature, the withdrawal in the inner-most Core.

Is, in contrast, the Winter Solstice primarily designed as a Light Ritual, then it may deform the Ritual's mystery of the Feast easily.

Of course, the beginning of Winter means the astrological Turning Point from Dark into Light.
But to celebrate and cheer only the re-birth of the Light, without wanting to deal with its origin in the Bosom of the Darkness would be the wrong approach.

This mismatch conveys at our pre-Christmas activities, find expression in the Christian Christmas-rites with its focus on the Birth of Jesus.

The often tough, dark, foggy, cold weeks before the Winter Solstice have become a joyfully expectant Advent season, with great activity.
Therewith, more and more the perception of the spiritual peculiarity of the darkness got lost.

Many want this Darkness in November and December to pass as quickly as possible, want to banish just like pain, sadness, loneliness from their life (with a pill).

Who's but utilizes this time around the Winter Solstice in awareness to immerse in this quality can therefore also brace oneself for 'darker and colder states' of his own Soul and, prepare like a Plant, which extracts the power of the Root from this Darkness and Silence.

A small window into infinity opens here.
Everything can rest, all is well !

 

related

Yule - Midwinter - Winter Solstice - 'Christmas Eve'

for convenient sharing

Everything is Born Out of Darkness by Parain on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/document/335067112/Everything-is-Born-Out-of-Darkness

Yule - Midwinter - Winter Solstice - 'Christmas Eve' Tags: Yule Midwinter Winter Solstice Christmas Lugh Parsifal Oak King Celts

Yule - Midwinter - Winter Solstice - 'Christmas Eve'

Yule is also known as the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere as to seasonal differences.

'Nature is our only true resource, on a mental level. As we learn to use Her, we find again the connection we lack'

- Parsifalrain, December 11, 2016
image: Yule-Lugh by Margaret Tarrant

Since time immemorial, man divided the Year into sections, and mark the turning points in the Natural Rhythm of the Year, by celebrating with a small or large celebration.
To celebrate the Wheel Of The Year celebrations is an Age old Tradition in Our Culture.
Long before Christian thought captured the world, lived and celebrated our Ancestors 8 fixed Festivals in the Course of the Year.
These Feasts find their origin in the Cycle of Nature, the Changing of the Seasons and in the Course of the Sun and of the Moon.
As we celebrate the 4 Solar Festivals, the Winter Solstice (longest Night of the Year, 21th December), the Summer Solstice (the longest Day of the Year, 21th June), but also the Equinoxes in Fall and in the Spring.
In the old, Matriarchal Cultures accrued 4 Moon Festivals - honoring especially the rising, full, waning and dark Moon.
These Festivals are known as the Festival of Light (Brigid, 2nd February) , May Day (Beltane, 1st of May), the Reaper (Lammas, 2nd of August) and the Ancestral Feast (Samhain, on the Night to the First of November).
When ever we are celebrating the Wheel Of The Year Celebrations, we connect with the forces and energies of Nature.

Such, a Wheel-Festival highlights the appreciation for the past portion, and aligns the view at the same time, on the new section.
We value and come in terms with our past, and so will be ready for the New - the Past will get significance for us, as well as the reorientation.

In the Wheel Of The Year, Yule is a minor Festivity

Christmas is for many of us, a Christian Feast.
Grown up and contained in the faith of the church, we celebrate in our latitudes, the birth of The Christ, a Festival of Joy, of Hope, of reconciliation and of the Light.
According to the late fourth-century scriptor Syrus, it was the custom of the Celts to celebrate the Birthday of the Sun on December 25, at which time they kindled lights in token of Festivity.
But to celebrate this religious custom of Christmas is much older than the church itself.
It goes back to the joyous Sun Cult of the Celts, who celebrated with the Winter Solstice the victory of Light (Lugh) over the Darkness of the Night.
However, as it would appear, the Celtic Feast that was replaced by Christmas might be of far older origins and may have been built upon the cult of Mithras, who, for the Persians, is the creator of the Universe and the manifestation of the Creative Logos, or Word.
His Birth on December 25 was witnessed by shepherds.
After many deeds, he held a last supper with his disciples and then returned to Heaven.

Many of the Yuletide customs we observe today were common to various Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Rites.
For example, the hanging of greenery comes from an old ivy-worshiping cult dating back to the Dionysian revels in ancient Greece.
Mistletoe was valued, almost worshiped by the Druids.
And gift exchange, most likely generated with the Saturnalia.
The Christmas tree was introduced by Prince Albert of Saxony in 1844 as an adaptation of the paradeis-tree (decorated 'Tree of Life') from the medieval drama of the Christmas Tree; (more to the Christmas tree at the bottom of my article)
 

The Cult Of The Sun

In this Sun-Cult, the Great Goddess (Mother Nature, Frau Holle, Mother Hulda... later Frigga) gave Birth, deep in the Earth, in the Most Silent of Nights, Lugh, (Baldur) the ever-returning Sun's Child.
And so the Birth of the Light in the longest Night of the Year has always been the reason for our Ancestors to summon with magical ceremonies the rebirth of the Light.
And here is the wild and consecrated nights, and our advent traditions your deepest roots.

Since the people could not let go their customs, and thus not become evangelized, the Christian festivals were layed on the special 'holidays' of the Sun Cult.
And so we celebrate - it is only since the middle of the 4th Century - the Birth of Jesus on December 24th, which was native celebrated on a different day.
But also other Christian Feasts were simply imposed over the Celts.
Many of our cherished Christmas traditions go back to the Celtic Traditions.


Lisa Thiel - Yule (Winter Solstice Song)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0Xz5w-Sr5g

Yule in the Wheel Of The Year


So, The Wheel Of The Year which has ended with Samhain, bears at Yule the New Baby of Light or the New, the Holy King Of The Wheel Of The Year (which was, in our days and modern culture cast to a commercialized Santa Claus).

This have seen all of our ancestors so why all the myths carry the same images.
These images, myths, and fairy tales are salutary, wholesome for our Soul.
These express something, what we surely can feel, even if we are not quite aware of.
Our attention is much more limited than in the case of the previous people.
The people of that Times have been both: connected with Nature and with Cosmos much more than we are.

Our ancestors have felt that at the time of the Winter Solstice and Christmas is something changing.
That's not just reigns the Darkness, but New Life will sprout, even if it is still not visible.
Under the Earth, the forces collect to new Life that breaks through in the Spring.
This enormous amount of Energy begins to grow again.
And they could feel and perceive.
And this is what was celebrated.
The New Life in his entirely innocent newborn form:

Winter Solstice
In November, the Dark and the cold Season began.
In the Autumn the leaves fell from the trees, the nature slowly died, the fog and the cold, wet weather darkened and complicated the everyday Life.
The associated topics were retreat, darkness, silence and death.
It has been at all times for the people the month of the dead, since the plants 'die' and under the earth to eke out their living.
We mourn the loss of the Sun and the heat and yearn for the Spring and Summer.
But the loss of the Sun is only apparent, because everything that fades has the power for the return, and the end is only seeming, temporary, because everything what 'dies' is born again a 'new'.

We are witnessing from the Turn of the Winter Sun that from the deepest Darkness again accrues a new Life, we experience in the Spring the sprouting and growing.

At around 21th December, we celebrate as a particularly important Festival in the Wheel the Rebirth of the Light.
After half a Year in which the Days were getting shorter and the Nights longer, the Sun's radiation is on the rise and brings the people hope and takes hold life-sustaining force in the Dark Time.
So our Ancestors were full of gleeful anticipation and the certainty:
Darkness would fade and warmth would return to the world.

Even though the Winter begins only now, are getting the days longer again.
In Nature has the turning point, which also promises us transition taken place already.

It's the time of the rebirth of Light and Hope.
After a long Darkness, Life begins anew.
Nature shows us that even in moments of deepest Darkness that it never comes to a final Death.
The born-again Light gives us the power to make us new, to grow and to flourish again.

Advent
In our advent wreath, the Celtic Tradition is reflected.
Because of the wreath symbolizes the synchronization of the beginning and the end of the Year, and reflects the eternal back and forth of the nature.
The fir sprigs symbolizes the Fertility and the number of candles - namely, four - stand for the four weeks of the Moon, for the Seasons of the Year and represent the annual Rhythm, the Elements and the four Directions.
The candle fire, however, stands for the Light of the Sun, which burns more and more sparse, to shine in new splendour.
Because in olden days, were kindled at the beginning of Advent all four candles, and with each week one less, as a symbol of the declining Sun Light.
On the day of The Winter Solstice again, all four of the candles were lit.
Today, we light the candles 'in reverse order'.

In Brittany are often used 3 candles to symbolize the Light to be reborn.


Yule was not just a one day Celebration
Yule is a 12 day holiday, it begins on 'Mothers Night' (December 21st) and ends 12 days later on 'Yule Night' (January 1st).


The Twelve Nights After Christmas (The Raunächte)
You know the expression, 'Between the Years'?
This strange phrase should actually be 'In Between Times'.
It is the time between the 25th December and the 6th of January.
The work rests, for most people it is the period to hold and to reflect over the Past Year and make new resolutions for the coming Year.
The Old Year seems to be over, the New is still far.

This interim is also called the 'Raunächte', not because they are particularly rough and wild, but because one has fumed (geräuchert) since time immemorial.
However, not to keep evil spirits and demons at bay, but to the joy and attraction of the Divine Forces and to the commemoration of the Dead.

In earlier times, 'the Wild Hunt' was led by Odin, who roared with his in the war fallen heroes across the Land and entered in all the houses and stables where the doors and windows were not well sealed.
But originally, the 'Wild Hunt' was not the symbol of fear and terror, but for fertility and growth.
It is the time of magic moments, in which can be found hidden treasures or passed over in the Otherworld.

The Winter Solstice and the following 12 Days are a time of contemplation, of silence and the blessing for what is to reveal itself in the New Wheel Of The Year-Cycle:
Yule is the best time to surrender and bring forth intentions to set for the New Year and make them count.
There are the Magical Days (Lostage), the prophetic time of the Year to forge and make plans and to take good resolutions, what one want to achieve in the next Year.
There are two old traditions to consut the Oracle: For each of the Twelve Days stands a Month of the coming Year.
The other Tradition brings to us in the first six Nights of the Old Year to complete the Past and in the next six Nights to learn the visionary for the coming Year.

More than ever, it is important that we accept our Light, nourish and, above all, let it shine, so that we can make our contribution to make our world more whole and loving.

Yule rituals to celebrate the Light
Fire Festivals, celebrating the rebirth of the Sun, held on the Winter's Solstice can be found throughout the ancient world.
On Yule itself, around the 21st December, bonfires were lit to honour Odin and Thor.
The ashes from the Yule log were often used to make protective, healing or fertilising charms, or scattered over the fields.
In Brittany, the ashes were thrown into wells to purify the water, and in Italy as charms against hailstones.
That Yule is another Fire festival, should come as no surprise, however unlike the more public outdoor festival of the Summer Solstice, Yule lends itself to a more private and domestic celebration.
Yet like its Midsummer counterpart, is strongly associated with Fertility and the continuation of Life.

* Winter Solstice Spell - perform on the Night of Winter Solstice
you need
Hollyberry oil
Mistletoe herb
clean, small piece of white paper (if you have it parchment)
a red ćandle

the ritual
write a single word in red ink that represents best the quality in yourself which you would like to enhance with the dawning of the Yule Sun.
sprinkle the Mistletoe herb into the center of the paper.
add three drops of the Hollyberry oil on top of the Mistletoe.
twist the paper closed with the Mistletoe and Hollyberry oil inside.
light the red ćandle.
from the flame of the ćandle, light the paper-package on fire.
as it burns, envision your wish fulfilled.
your spell is done.

* If you throw a sprig of Holly onto your Yule log fire, it will burn away your troubles from the past Year.

more rituals i.e. about The Yule Log in the ending of the video below: 'The True Origins of Christmas'

Yule Apple and Orange Slice ornaments


Questions to ask at Winter Solstice
How bright is your inner Light shining in the World ?
What imbalances are currently dimming your Light ?
What tools are at your disposal to balance those areas ?
What is the Universe asking you to surrender during this Solstice ?
What message are coming to your from your Ancestors and Guides ?
How can you best use the knowledge your Guides and the Universe has provided you ?
What dreams will grow alongside the Light ?
(you can also ask a Tarot Spread)

Questions we can ask ourselves at Winter Solstice
What would want to be born out of me ?
How can I be a Light in this world ?
What is the meaning of Light for me ?
What means Darkness for me ?

Wassail Punch


ingredients
    2 quarts apple cider
    2 cups orange juice
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    12 whole cloves
    4-5 cinnamon sticks
    1 pinch ground ginger
    1 pinch ground nutmeg

directions
cook 8 Hours in a slow-cooker or a large pot over low heat, combine apple cider, orange juice and lemon juice.
season with cloves, ginger and nutmeg.
bring to a simmer.
using a slow cooker, allow to simmer all day.
serve hot.

element
Fire

colors
red, green, silver, yellow, gold and white.

herbs
Bay, Evergreen, Frankincense (Boswellia sacra), Holly, Ivy, Lavender, Mistletoe, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Rue, Sage and Thyme.
The Winter Solstice, called 'Alban Arthan' by the Druids, was according to Bardic Tradition, the time when the Chief Druid would cut the sacred Mistletoe from the Oak.
The mistletoe is cut using a golden sickle on the sixth day of the Moon.
It is often associated with thunder, and regarded as a protection against fire and lighting.

incense
bayberry, cidar, cinnamon, pine, sage.

stones
Emerald, Bloodstone, Diamond and Ruby.

)O( Yuletide Blessings
May The Light Of The Sun Shine On You And Your Family This Yule Season,
Let Us Welcome The Returning Sun With Hope And Joy,
May You Never Thirst ! ;-)

MUST WATCH:

The True Origins of Christmas
In the multicultural west we are told to say Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas or these days Happy Holidays as to not offend others.
Lana tells about the true origins of newcomer holidays such as Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.
Where did these holidays originate? Are they original?
Why are they also in December, like Christmas?
She'll also talk about the true origins of Christmas, which is entirely borrowed from Yule, the pre-Christian European celebration of the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.
Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas are all imposters, culturally appropriating from the ancient European Winter Solstice celebration.
Learn about the myth, symbolism and tradition of Yule.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnDIahOOxaQ

previous

Wheel of the Year-Celebration Samhain

related

Everything is Born out of Darkness

~~~~~

thoughts about the Christmas tree:
Though the fashion to chop or buy a sawed-off conifer and utilize as a Christmas Tree can be nothing as a veneration of the dead, a mortuary cult, so just the opposite as what it was thought !
The Christmas tree is set up as a dying object in house or apartment, and deprives the residents who are located all around their Life Energy.
Then the tree is discarded, to the detriment of the environment.
As the roots are not removed, so remain in the ground, the spirit of the tree will remain for many years in captivity and can not escape until the roots rot and disso
lve in humus.
Furthermore - it might be stunning for some to learn and experience - that if ANY tree is sawn off, energy of the Earth to disappear straight to the Cosmos whereas if he is hacked off, the fibres of the wood become mechanically sealed and the energy flow prevented.
It is at least a better custom to find other solutions as i.e. to CUT a tree or, better, to use a living tree in a pot for a Christmas tree, slowly accustom to the temperatures and then, after the Christmas holidays, when the soil is not frozen, in order to give him a chance to return to the wild, i.e. in the edge of a forest.
Think about it - Parsifalrain

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