I hope you are having a “Cool Yule!” The Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, is the celebration of the longest night of the year and the return of the Sun. It is a time to trim the tree, sing a few carols, start a fire, and get comfortable for the longest night of the year.
When people talk about “That Old Time Religion,” I smile because they usually do not realize how old those religious traditions really are! Have you ever wondered where some of our celebratory traditions come from? I did; so I went searching. I discovered that Winter Solstice is really a birthday party and a baby shower all in one.
When you put up your Christmas tree this year you can reflect on its origins. The Christmas tree has a very ancient past; it appears in diverse traditions from around the ancient world. Did you know that the Romans had a festival celebrating the return of the infant solar god Attis? It was celebrated every December 25. A decorated pine tree was triumphantly carried into Rome to start the festival.
Like all evergreens the pine tree stood for a promise of eternal life because it kept its vital appearance even when other plants died during the winter. The pine tree is also associated with Isis and Osiris and the birth of their son, Horus. According to myth, Isis flew to the pine tree enshrouding her husband’s body and hovered over it, sweetly singing Osiris back to life. This is one of the first references to a winged super natural being I have found in ancient history. To me this sounds like an early description of an angel.
The Celebration of the birth of the Sun/Son pre-dates recorded history. There are numerous statues of Isis holding baby Horus at her breast just like the enumerable paintings of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. Many archaeologists and art historians draw a direct parallel between the two images. It is easy to see why when comparing these works of art. Horus and Attis are just two of the solar babies who represent the returning sun. Moreover, legend says both were also virgin births.
So when you sing “Silent Night” this year reflect on the fact that Jesus was not the original reason behind our annual winter celebration. In the Pagan world, people were celebrating the fact that Mother Earth had given birth to a new sun/son and that the world would emerge from darkness — “All is calm, all is bright.”
The Yule log has a long history throughout the world. It has been called many things but its purpose is universal. The burning of a large log on the darkest, longest night of the year is a form of sympathetic magic. Sympathetic magic has been used from the beginning of time by all cultures. When ancient people lit a large fire on the longest night of the year, they were showing the Sun what they wanted.
Originally, people built large bonfires on the highest hill in the area and kept those fires burning all night. They would celebrate and make noise to keep away the darkness. (Sounds a bit like a New Years Eve party!) The people were keeping faith with the sun that it would come back. Eventually these fires took the form of a large log that was ritually decorated and used as a symbol for the fires.
The Jewish tradition of lighting the Menorah to celebrate Hanukkah is also a tradition of keeping faith in the returning of the light. The miracle of the oil in one vessel lasting 8 days till more could be prepared was a show of faith in the returning light of God. I have always thought the Menorah resembled a tree and reminded me of the Kabbalistic tree of life.
Winter is also the season ruled by Earth, which is the direction of north on the wheel of the year. This is the season correlated with old age and wisdom. This brings us to Santa Clause. There are c1ues to the real identity of Santa Clause.
He comes down a chimney like a traditional shaman would in folklore tales from Europe.
The word “shaman” is an old Siberian term for shape shifter and magician. Indeed, Santa lives at the North Pole, a place traditionally associated with the land of spirits or the dead. Lets face it Santa is a big happy Gnome. “HOHOHO”
The images and symbols that we use at Christmas time are packed full of ancient meaning. All along, humanity has been celebrating the annual turn of the solar wheel and the return of the light, no matter what they called it. So regardless of what tradition you celebrate this year, I am wishing you a Cool Yule and a safe and Happy New Year!
Blessings to all and to all A Good Night.
Trisha Howe is a born intuitive who started psychic training at age 15. She has over 30 years’ experience in Intuitive Counseling, Crystal Healing, Tarot, Mediumship, and Clairvoyance. Contact her at Mystictrish@cox.net or at (949) 493-0705.