If any of you have read the “About Me” section, you know I’m not Christian. I am, in fact, Pagan. As I’ve said before, I am not here to force my beliefs on you and I’m sticking to that. What I am doing, is sharing what today means to me.
Today is the Winter Solstice and, for some of us, is “Yule”. For the majority of you reading this, today is just the first day of winter, but for us, it is so much more than that. It is the reason why Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25th when archaeological astronomers have placed the “Christmas Star” event in late spring to early summer. It is where the Yule Log comes from and trees with candles on them. It is where holly and mistletoe come from. Now, I do not say that to try and make my Path look “better than” your’s. Or to say, “You copied us!!” I say this so you’ll have an understanding of where some of the symbolism for Christmas came from and to maybe, just maybe, encourage you to view my Path with a little more tolerance than you have until now. We aren’t “bad” or “evil” and in the last 22 years, I’ve never met one who sacrificed anything with a heart. No babies are eaten. In fact, the majority of the Pagans I’ve met are Vegetarian or Vegan. Anyway……
Today is the day when, in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun reaches its furthest point to the south. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, today is the first day of summer (lucky dogs!!). Tonight is the longest night of the year and many will, on this night, light fires or candles in recognition of that. This comes from the distant past where bonfires where lit on this night as a form of “sympathetic magic” to call the Sun back (in short). The legend is, that on this night the Dying God who has weakened since Summer Solstice (first day of Summer) and who died on Samhain (Halloween), is reborn on the Winter Solstice. He will continue to grow and regain His power until the Summer Solstice. This cycle is played out every year. This is the day when the Dark defeats the Light, but NOT, I repeat, NOT in the whole “good vs. evil” thing! This is the Dark Half of the Year, when all of nature sleeps in preparation for the Light Half of the Year. The time of growth, when trees will bear fruit, seeds will “wake” and grow into plants, etc…. This is, also, the time of year when our ancestors hunkered down in their homes to rest, repair tools and prepare for the long days to come. It was a time to tell stories about the past and to hope that the thaw comes before their food stores ran out.
The “Featured Image” I picked for this post is from Stonehenge in Wiltshire England and was taken today. People still gather there for the Solstices and Equinoxes (Spring and Fall) as their ancestors (actual or Spiritual) to celebrate the changing of the Seasons. If you Google “Stonehenge” and look at the images, you’ll notice that some of the people in those pictures aren’t dressed like Pagans. Some of them look to be Christian and just there for whatever reason they have to want to be there. Here it is so you don’t have to go look for it.
I am nowhere near Stonehenge and one of these years I plan on being there for a celebration. This morning, I was up before the Sun and lit a couple candles, then watched the Sun rise. Tonight, I have some candles I bought for the occasion and will light them when the Sun sets and let them burn until they are gone. That’s in a few minutes, so I’ll finish this and get to it. One black candle to dispel any negativity, one white to bring in positive energy and one gold…..to call back the Sun.