By Kate Braun / The Rag Blog / July 13, 2012
“Happy Holiday, Happy Holiday, while the merry bells are ringing, may your every wish come true…”
Thursday, December 22, 2011 is Yule/Winter Solstice/Midwinter. Lady Moon is in her 4th quarter, waning towards the New Moon on Christmas Eve. Thursday is Thor’s day, but there will be no warring energies allowed on this day if Saturn’s rule is observed.
Saturn was a popular and powerful god. The ancient Romans celebrated him with Saturnalia, a twelve-day sun-worshipping celebration. They honored Saturn by decorating with holly branches and evergreen wreaths, giving and attending parties, and exchanging gifts each day (sweets were popular as were things made of silver). They sang holiday songs as they roamed naked through the streets bearing lighted candles. During Saturnalia, it was an offence to the God to punish a criminal or begin a war.
Saturn is the Roman version of the Greek God Kronos. The Greek word for “time” is “Khronos”; over time, Saturn became the God of Time. Time/Kronos/Saturn creates, destroys, but then recreates all things. The Greater Trump The Hermit was once called Time; Saturn is frequently depicted as carrying a sickle and a lantern or hour-glass and so does The Hermit.
It is said that when Saturn decided it was time to die, he went in secret to an island near Britain, where he lies deep in a magic sleep. Lore says that at some future time he will return to inaugurate another Golden Age. This myth may have influenced some of the stories about King Arthur (who was taken to the Isle of Avalon to be cured of his wounds and from which he will return when the time is right) and Merlyn (who lies asleep deep in a cave from which he will return when Arthur summons him). C. S. Lewis addressed the Arthur legend and the re-awakening of Merlyn in his sci-fi book That Hideous Strength.
Saturnalia was celebrated in December because at that time December was the 10th month on the calendar; the 10th month brings forth all things because a baby is carried in the womb for 9 months and then emerges. Many cultures observed Winter Solstice rituals: Persians deemed it the birthday of Mithras, another solar deity with a large following; for Egyptians it was the birthday of Osiris. Both Saturn and Mithras began to lose favor when, in the 4th century, December 25 was declared Jesus’ birthday. As John Chrysostom, a 4th Century Bishop wrote: “On this day also the Birthday of Christ was lately fixed at Rome in order that while the heathen were busy with their profane ceremonies, the Christians might perform their sacred rites undisturbed. They call this (December 25), the Birthday of the Invincible One (Mithras); but who is so invincible as the Lord?”
From Celtic tradition comes the duel of the Holly and Oak kings, twins whose twice-yearly ceremonial dance reflects the rebalancing of energies as days shorten or lengthen according to the season. “Yule” comes from the Celtic word “hioul”, which means “wheel”.
From Western European Pagan tradition comes the custom of decorating trees (Prince Albert brought this type of Christmas celebration to England when he married Queen Victoria; at the time it was quite a novelty) and burning the Yule log (symbolically the death of the old year and birth of the new)
One tradition of Yule celebrations is that the season begins on “Mother Night”, December 10 this year, and ends at Yule. This is the origin of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, although many count those days as beginning with December 25 and ending on January 6, Epiphany.
However you choose to celebrate Lord Sun’s rebirth, use the colors red, green, and white in your decorations and serve your guests a hearty repast that includes nuts, apples, roast meat, Wassail, and cakes or cookies soaked in cider or port.
Give thanks at this celebration for the dark-time that provided balance and gave us time for introspection in our busy lives. Meditate on balance, peace, harmony at this time of year.
Reminders: (1) The first Metaphysical Fair of 2012 will be on January 7 & 8 at the Holiday Inn Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd., Austin, TX. Saturday hours: 10 AM – 7 PM; Sunday hours: 11 AM – 6 PM. There will also be a Prediction Panel on Friday, 12/5 at 7 PM; several local psychics will share their insights for 2012.
(2) The first North Austin Holistic Living Fair of 2012 will be held on Saturday, 1/21, at the Holiday Inn Round Rock, 2370 Chisolm Trail, Round Rock, TX 78681 from 10 AM – 5 PM.
I will be participating in both these events; more information is available on the Out and About with Kate page of my website.
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