The Winter Solstice is tomorrow. Now, most of you probably know that I am not Christian. Nor have I ever been Christian. However, for a good part of my life I have celebrated Christmas. Not participating in any of the Christian traditions of this time like going to church and paying respects to Jesus and the lot. No, most of my Christmas traditions I remember were full of running around trying to buy gifts for everybody and anyone I could even think may need something. Why? Well, because thats what people do on this holiday yes? Buy things for others. But why? When I was a youngster, it never occurred to me why we did this. I was just so excited to get a heeping pile o' presents on the 25th each year I didn't give it much thought. However, the older I have gotten the more Pagan I seem to be. Although I have never put myself into a catagory of religion, if you were to put me in a slot it would fall between the Pagan/Wiccan area.
Anyhow, for those of you that wonder what the whole Winter Solstice thing is about here is some info for you I have gathered from one of my many books. This one is from Life Magic by Susan Bowes. So to my fellow Pagans and Wiccans out there, Happy Winter Solstice:
In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice falls on Dec. 21 or 22, the beginning of Capricorn. This is the shortest day of the year, after which the daylight hours grow longer. Therefore, the winter solstice is known as the "birth of light". The Anglo-Saxon word for this solstice is yule, which is derived from the Nordic iul, meaning "wheel" as in the sacred circle, or wheel, of nature. This was the day when the chief Druid cut the sacred mistletoe from the oak, allowing it to fall upon a cloak. This tradition is still upheld today when people include mistletoe in their Christmas decorations.
Great fires were lit to celebrate the return of the sun: the "yule" log is the last vestige of this custom. So potent was this Yule festivale that the Christian Church adopted Dec. 25 for their own birth celebrations. This was also the date for festivities in honor of the sun god Sol.
The tradition of bringing evergreen holly and ivy into the home during the winter months pays homage to the masculine and feminine elements. The male is the prickly holly with it sexually potent red berries, the female is the entwining, yeilding ivy. Together they act as a reminder that nature never dies, but is waiting to be reborn again in the spring.