The Goddess Gift E-zine

The Winter Solstice
and Days of Dreaming


Table of Contents

Dreaming Days
Winter Solstice
The Goddess Frigga and the Goddesses of Winter
Goddess Quiz: Perfect for Procrastinators
 


The Goddess Gives Us Dreaming Days and Winter Nights

The dreaming days are here and the Winter Solstice arrives. The big snow storm that just hit us here in the mountains screamed 'Hibernate' and the goddesses of winter meant to enforce it! 

But I'm just not hard-wired to hibernate . . . long winters' naps seem to elude me (though I am quite adept at the pre-hibernation feasting and storage of fat). Procrastination is more my style during winter months.

Hence, the flurries had started and there I was standing in a long line at checkout with all the other procrastinators, clutching my emergency provisions. The woman beside me started ranting about the holidays.

A greeter at Wal-Mart had audaciously wished her "Happy Holidays" as she entered the store. Upset about that she had responded "Merry Christmas". Apparently the greeter 'missed' the implications of that shift (or was over-trained in the store's official line, or perhaps was just exhibiting religious tolerance (a bit unusual for something like that to happen here in the Bible Belt!) Anyway, the greeter smiled and stuck to her guns, saying "Happy Holidays" once again.

Infuriated, my fellow-procrastinator turned and left the store immediately, depriving them of her custom. At least that's what she proudly revealed to me.

You would have been proud of me. (Or perhaps not.) I just kept my mouth shut and didn't burden her with my view (or vast store of knowledge) about how the holidays (plural) that some of us celebrate actually came to be.

This I share with you now.

Enjoy!

The Winter Solstice . . . A Time to Dream

The Winter Solstice is a magical season . . . one that marks the journey from this year to the next, journeys of the spirit from one world to the next, and the magic of birth, death, and rebirth. The day following the longest night of the year (December 21 in the Northern hemisphere) is the start of the solar year and is accompanied by festivals of light to mark the rebirth of the Sun gods.

Throughout the world gods and goddesses of light were being born during the Winter Solstice. The Egyptian goddess Isis delivered Horus whose symbol was the winged Sun. Mithras, the Unconquered Sun of Persia, was born during the solstice, as was Amaterasu, the Japanese Goddess of the Sun. Sarasvati, Queen of Heaven in India, is honored during Yule-tide.

Just as Mary (oft regarded as a goddess in her own right) bore the infant Jesus, Rhea gave birth to Saturn (the Father of Time), and the Greek goddess Hera conceived Hephaestus. Qetzalcoatl and Lucina ("Little Light"), also celebrate birthdays at this time. Saint Lucia, called the Goddess of Light, is honored from Italy to Sweden, crowned with candles to carry us through the darkness.


Frigga, Fate, and the Yuletide Season

In ancient Europe, the Winter Solstice grew from the myths of the Norse goddess Frigga who sat at her spinning wheel weaving the fates, and the celebration was called Yule, from the Norse word Jul, meaning wheel. The Christmas wreath is a symbol of her "Wheel of Fate", reminding us of the cycle of the seasons and the never-ending continuity of life.

The longest night of the year is called "Mother Night" for it was in darkness the goddess Frigga (also called the All-Mother) labored to bring the Light into the world once more. The Young Sun, Baldur, who controlled the sun and rain and brings fruitfulness to the fields, was born that night. Frigga's blessing is invoked for all birthing women, and a white candle that last burned on the winter solstice is kept as a charm to provide a safe experience during the woman's next delivery.

Read more about the goddess Frigga, Baldur, and how their relationship created the legend of mistletoe.


That the timing of the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus occurs in the Yule season is no coincidence. Christmas was once a movable feast, celebrated many different times during the year.

The decision to establish December 25 as the "official" date of Christ's birth was made by Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD, hoping to replace the pagan celebration with the Christian one, since this date coincided with the pagan celebrations of Winter Solstice with the Return of the Sun Gods occurring throughout the world.

Numerous Christmas traditions derive from the earlier pagan celebrations. Yule, celebrating the birth or rebirth of a god of light, made use of fire, both in candles and the burning of a Yule log.

The Christmas tree has its origins in the practice of bringing a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months.  Bells were hung in the limbs so you could tell when an appreciative spirit was present. Food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat and a five-pointed star, the pentagram, symbol of the five elements, was placed atop the tree.


The Solstice is also a time of plenty. The Hopi Kachinas return to the Earth during the solstice, and the Deer Mothers dance for the fertility of the earth.   The hearth fires of the Greek goddess Hestia (known as the Roman goddess Vesta) are quenched and then rekindled. The "first fruits" festival, Kwanzaa, is held to honor the seven major deities of Yoruba, including the goddess Yemaya.

And Winter Solstice is a time for visions. Rhiannon, a Welsh incarnation of Epona, the Celtic Mare Goddess, rides through the dreams of her people by night, transporting them to the place between the worlds where they can create their own visions, giving them a gift of what they need most, helping them to make real their dreams. In Scotland, the last night of the year is Wish Night, a holiday when wishes made for the coming year are at their most powerful.


Goddess Quiz & Gift Certificates

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And you've still got a few very special people on your holiday gift list . . . whether it's just an extra little something for someone, or a "thank you" for a special hostess.

Here's an instant, easy solution that lets them know how special and unique you think they really are . .
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In closing, a reminder to...

You are unique. So cast the glow that can only come from you. Shine brightly!

Happy Holidays!

Sharon

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