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"If cold December gave you birth,
The month of snow and ice and mirth,
Place on your hand a Turquoise blue,
Success will bless whate'er you do."
English Rhyme
December 2017

Looking to the Light

December was the tenth month of the Roman calendar, and named for the middle Goddess of the Three Fates, Decima, who personifies the present. The archetypal symbol of the eternal present, Vesta, patroness of fire also ruled this month. Because of the unusually large number of holidays in December, culminating in the Winter Solstic, it became known in Europe as "Holy Month" and Yule, completing the turn of the wheel of the year.

The Full Moon aspect is known as the Moon of Long Nights, and until the Winter Solstice, night continues to increase and dominate, the Goddess of the Night reigning supreme. The communal event is Yule, or the Winter Solstice, the celebration of the rebirth of the Sun. The message is to endure, to die and to be reborn. December activities revolve around introspection and renewal, with healing properties centered around the purification of the body and soul.

December's flowers are the poinsettia, the holly and mistletoe and the color is deep red. and the traditional gemstone is the turquoise. Associated with prosperity, success, happiness and good fortune, metaphysical properties of the turquoise are open communication, protection against diseases, regeneration and strengthening. The turquoise is also used to enhance creativity, serenity and spiritual bonding. The alternative December stone is the turquoise colored zircon.

Symbols of the season include red and white candles to light the darkest days, reminding us the light is soon to return. Evergreens have always been particularly cherished as a nature symbol of rebirth and life amid winter whiteness. Ah, but the most special of all Yule greenery is Mistletoe. Mistletoe was used by the Druids in a very special ceremony held five days after the New Moon following the Winter Solstice. After an elaborate ceremony involving a gold sickle and white linen, the branches were divided into many sprigs and distributed to the people for protection against evil. While there is some kissing under the mistletoe involved with a Norse myth, the mistletoe madness of the Victorians was just an excuse to cut loose from the restrictions of the period.

"Holly and mistletoe
Candles and bells.
I know the message
That each of you tells."
English Rhythm

The dark of December advances and the days grow steadily shorter; but for millennia, humans have anticipated the return of the light by observing the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. While externally this may be the darkest time of the year, it is also a time of increased spirit activity, hence the many Yuletide ghosts; the most recognizable being Charles Dickens' Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. As suggested by these three spirits, Yuletide is both a time for assessing the past, while looking into the future. The Wheel of Fortune (X) rules December (Decem=10), and contains the essence of the energy of the month.

December Holidays & Messages

In the ancient Mediterranean world, December 1 celebrated the Festival of Poseidon, Greek God of the Sea and Rebirth. December 3 was the Roman Festival of Bona Dea, the Good Goddess, while December 4 is the celebration of St. Barbara (1969), patroness of Santa Barbara, CA, protector against lightening strikes and also closely related to Pallas Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom and of the useful and elegant arts. In Northern Europe, the Nones of December (December 5), was the Eve of St. Nicholas when children put out carrots, hay and stray for his horse, to be exchanged for presents. In Northern Europe, December 6 was a mixture of St. Nicholas and the absorbed Pagan attributes from Odin (Chief of the Wild Hunt) who rides through the sky with reindeer and 42 supernatural huntsmen. Since the Reformation, this saint has become merged with the Father Christmas of Yuletide, with the modern Santa Clause carrying elements of those that went before.

Saint Barbara

Saint Nicholas

Bona Dea

The French Festival of Lux Mundi (The Light of the World) on December 10 is also a tribute to the Goddess Liberty whose burning torch still shines in the harbor of New York City. December 13 is St. Lucy's Day or Little Yule, signifying a completion of the natural cycles. The Greek Goddess Alcyone is celebrated on December 15, marking the beginning of the halcyon days (7 before and 7 after the Winter Solstice. The Festival of the Goddess of Wisdom, Sapienthia, or Sophia, immediately precedes the period of license that accompanies the holiday season, when wisdom may not be the ruling quality. The Roman festival of Saturnalia on December 17 ran for 7 days and was known for its extravagant decadence. The modern celebration of Christmas is a continuation of this Mid-Winter festivity.

December 20-21 marks the Winter Solstice, the Druidic Alban Arthuan and the Christian St. Thomas's Day, when the poor are traditionally given money or presents. December 23 is the blank day of the Celtic tree calendar, the only day in the year not ruled by a tree and its corresponding ogham letter. Its name denotes the quality of potential in all things. December 23 was also the Roman Festival of Acca Larentis, an Earth Goddess who guards the dead and the seed corn. She commemorates the old year and the potential of the new. December 25, or Yule, the Return of the Sun has become the modern observance of Christmas and contains many elements from a number of different religious sources; the many ceremonies and religious sources of the day make it the most important festival of the year.

"The Winter Solstice is the time of ending and beginning, a powerful time - a time to contemplate your immortality. A time to forgive, to be forgiven, and to make a fresh start. A time to awaken." ~ F. Lenz

Hecate's Day on December 31 marks the turning of the Roman year when flames of the hearth were rekindled and Hestia/Vesta the Goddess of the Flame is honored. It is a day that also commemorates the solar divinity, Hogmagog, with traditional festivities that include dressing in animal hides and horns, burning incense to ward off evil spirits and eating special cakes. At the moment of the New Year, doors are opened and utensils rattled to drive off the last psychic vestiges of the old year and to welcome the new.

Lights from the Past

For over four thousand years of recorded history, the Winter Solstice has played a major part in human advancement. Every major civilization on every continent have left signs pointing to common practices. The Egyptians celebrated the rebirth of the sun at this time of year, setting the length of the festival at 12 days, to mark the 12 month division of their solar calendar. The Mesopotamian's had a 12 day festival to assist the god Mardi subdue Chaos for another year. All over the world, there are as many solstice stories as there are cultures, each having to do with the re-emergence of the light (sun). And that's just recent history.

It is now understood that Stonehenge, Cacao Canyon, Manchu Picchu, and many, many pre-historic, neolithic sites, were integrally involved with solstice observations. Looking for the return of the light has been a human drive for millennia. If we can look past the commercial trappings of the modern "Christmas", we can almost touch the true meaning, lying just beneath the surface.

"Shall we liken Christmas to the web in a loom? There are many weavers, who work into the pattern the experience of their lives..The pattern changes as the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew At first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that... something has taken shape before our eyes ...something which compels our understanding."
Earl W. Count, 4,000 Years of Christmas

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects."
~Herman Melville

This holiday season, whatever your family or ethnic traditions, focus your energies on caring and understanding; fully embracing the concept that every ending is a new beginning. Although you may have differences, there are many simple things you can enjoy as a family, sealing familial bonds and celebrating each other at this magical time of year. Bring new light to your life.

Author Biography

L.J. Ross is a 35 year veteran of the medical profession, with over 25 years as an active participant in tarot reading and interpretation. The Tarot for Today Workbook is the end result in a 10 year process of reading, teaching and giving workshops using this text.

This web site, book, and tarot reading is not a substitute for medical, psychological, financial or legal counseling. The information supplied in a reading is not legally binding, nor can I assume legal liability for any damages, losses, or other consequences of any client decisions, subsequent to, or based on, my book or readings. No refunds on products or services