Welcome to the Winter Solstice and the season of Yule. This year the longest night of the year or Winter Solstice fell on December 21st. The Winter Solstice or shortest day of the year draws our attention to the stars, the place where modern Science and Pagan traditions meet, and the place where we Celts and other nature based religions go to understand the true majesty of God and the divine source of creation.
The earliest people on Earth knew that the sun’s path across the sky, the length of daylight, and the location of the sunrise and sunset all shifted in a regular way throughout the year. They built monuments such as Newgrange in Ireland, Stonehenge in England, and Machu Picchu in Peru to follow the sun’s yearly progress.
In Ireland, people of all ages, sex and religions celebrate the 25th of December, but more and more people are beginning to acknowledge the true turning of the Sun. The resurgence of the Indigenous ways and the need to believe in something truly spiritual for this day has many people visit their nearby ancient sacred sites.
Meet Elen of the Ways in this special guided meditation. The Antlered Goddess, one of the most ancient female deities of the British Isles, dating back to the Paleolithic era (with various names lost to time). Elen of the Ways can guide us on ancient paths. Find her deep in the heart of the wood, amongst wild places where the deer roam.
On this night of Winter Solstice the constellation of Virgo stood upon the eastern horizon at midnight as the Virgin Mother gave birth to the new Son/Sun who will emerge at dawn. In the Christmas story, the Star of Bethlehem, which came to rest over the stable in which the Christ Child was born, is thought to have been Sirius, the star the Egyptians associated with Isis, mother of the divine child Horus.
Yet long before the Christmas story, this time of year was celebrated as the birth of a sun-god, the most well-known being the Persian Mithras, whose birth in a cave was witnessed by shepherds. And even further back in time, tribespeople of the Neolithic era crouched within the great earth chamber at Newgrange in Ireland to witness the Sun of the new year shining into the deepest recesses of Mother Earth so that she gave birth to a new Child of Light. This year, of course, we are blessed with the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in our night sky, shining so bright as to appear like a single star, at 0 degrees of Aquarius, the sign of humanitarian ideals.
It is important to realize that it is not only the return of the physical Sun that gave rise to these stories of a joyful new birth. The esoteric understanding is that the physical form of the sun is the outer face of the great spiritual being that is the overlighting Intelligence of the solar system in which we live. The rebirth of the Sun presages renewal for the Earth as she embarks on another cycle of growth in the coming year. And because we are children of Earth, we too can take part in this joyful renewal of our individual lives.
What's more, a very special atmosphere pervades the Earth at this time. For while the Sun's rays are weak, falling at an oblique angle over the northern hemisphere, spiritual influences pour onto the Earth from the higher realms, those that we usually associate with the Angels and Archangels. In the words of the old hymn, it's the time of “Angels bending to the Earth to touch their harps of gold." This is why so many of us feel this to be such a thrilling, magical time of the year, for a spiritual wave of love and light comes streaming into our planet. http://chalicecentre.net/
✤Yule ✤Sunset 21st December (usually), for 3 days ✤A major quarter festival ✤Time to celebrate the rebirth of the sun ✤Rest and sleep in the warmth of your home ✤Be aware of issues and know they will pass ✤Enjoy the company of family and friends
A Seasonal Message from the Holly King:
Develop a sense of personal responsibility by becoming a Guardian of Nature. Carry a small bag with you when in the woods or park with the kids, and make a point of picking up the random rubbish you find. The positive experience of nature and the active care for it help children to take to recycling habits faster.
Peace and Blessed be.
Yule Meditation: At the Winter Solstice darkness has reached its peak with the longest night of the year. The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. Our Goddess for this meditation is the wise Danu - The ancient wise Lady of the cold winds & the silent landscape, goddess of air.
Yule Inspiration: Winter Solstice Altar: An Altar displaying objects associated with the Winter Solstice will add real festive spirit to your home. Candles, Pinecones and Evergreen boughs look lovely placed upon a white, green or red cloth, but use whatever natural objects and greenery signify the season for you. You could also add a Yule Log, Winter Solstice Candle, Oil burner and Pictures of beautiful winter scenes, perhaps including ones that features sunrise. (Danu Forest)
Recommended App: OfferUp is the easiest way to buy and sell locally so why not declutter your home and keep your stuff out of landfills. It's got the biggest mobile marketplace for local buyers and sellers where you can list an item using your phone or tablet in as little as 30 seconds and know who you’re dealing with through reputation and safety features. Join millions of people using OfferUp across the country today.
Recommended Book: Using story, scripture, reflection, and prayer, "Water from an Ancient Well" by Kenneth McinTosh offers readers a taste of the living water that refreshed the ancient Celts. The author invites readers to imitate the Celtic saints who were aware of God as a living presence in everybody and everything. This ancient perspective gives radical new alternatives to modern faith practices, ones that are both challenging and constructively positive.
Recommended Movie: Tomorrow (French: Demain): Tomorrow is a 2015 French documentary film directed by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent. Faced with a future that scientists say is a great cause for concern, the film has the distinction of not giving in to catastrophism. Optimistically, it identifies initiatives that have proven themselves workable in ten countries as examples of solutions to environmental and social challenges of the twenty-first century in agriculture, energy, economy, education and governance. Tomorrow exceeded a million entries in France. It won the 2016 César Award for Best Documentary Film and was distributed in 27 countries. You can now view it on YouTube.
Team Profile: Nick Gent is a lifelong musician and lover of the magical and expressive joy of music. As a qualified sound healer he teaches groups both online and in person internationally. His speciality is voice and mantra, however he is trained in multiple instruments which you can hear on his website and Youtube channel. Since 2014 Nick has been releasing music as The Mind Orchestra, making musical fusion from inspiration garnered from all corners of the world. He also composes for film and documentaries.
Celtic Living for the 21st Century: Better Broadband and smarter tech enables working from home, cutting the amount of carbon being burnt on bus, car, train or aeroplane travel. The need for less changes of clothes cuts down on laundry while homemade lunch and coffee cuts plastic packaging waste. Lobby your company or firm for a work-from-home strategy, with clear guidelines on days allowed, productivity and out-of-office expectation.
Celtic Whispers Shop: If you like the artwork and style of Celtic Whispers we also offer our designs on physical products as well. We invite you to visit our shop and see if any of our Celtic Designs would look good on a t-shirt, mug or sticker.
Beannacht : We can take heed of our ancestors and of nature by taking care of ourselves now. Despite the rush and stress that often accompanies the commercially driven versions of Yule we can benefit by stopping for a while, and by doing no more than we absolutely have to. So try to relax, safe in the knowledge that life will get brighter as sure as the summer sky will be graced with our sun in the coming months
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