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SEASONS GREEETINGS

At the beginning of December, the sign of Sagittarius reigns with high spirits and contagious optimism. This burst of enthusiasm certainly comes in handy these days with all the negative news and anxiety that is in the air as you try to make holiday plans. Sagittarius energy is a great influence on entertaining and social get-togethers. Surround yourself with people you love and who lift your spirits — we all need to be cheerleaders now!

Around the time of the Winter Solstice (December 21), we switch gears into earthy, practical Capricorn. We think the Goat’s practical influence is a good thing during these cold winter days since it helps to get us organized and make sure our home is stocked with what we need to keep the “home fires burning,” so to speak. Capricorn’s influence is also a welcome asset as the old year comes to a close. It beckons us to focus on what we really want and need to create in our enchanted lives for the New Year. These challenging times have caused us to take a pause and re-evaluate our attitudes towards money and manifestation.

Remember that in ancient times the winter months were a frightening time of year. Food was scarce, the Earth was barren and cold, and people were afraid that the Sun’s sustaining warmth and light wouldn’t return and they would perish. To ensure the rebirth of the Sun’s strength, and people’s survival, they would hold Winter Solstice celebrations.

Winter Solstice is, of course, the longest night and shortest day of the year. Solstice in Latin actually means “The Sun Stands Still.” And so it is — the Sun has stopped retreating but hasn’t yet begun to come back. As we’ve discovered more about the Winter Solstice, we’ve learned that different cultures around the world have honored the Sun and its rebirth.

For instance in India, Pongol is the Hindu Solstice celebration. The Hopi Indians have a ritual where they light fires to energize and entice the safe return of “The Light.” In Japan, Winter Solstice is a time when the Sun Goddess Amaterasu would come out of her cave. Hanukkah actually means “Festival of Lights.” And Christians around the world celebrate Christmas, a time when the Christ child brings back light and a renewal of hope to the world.

Today, many people celebrate the holidays of the season — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa — without thinking about their Winter Solstice origins. In fact, most of the holiday customs and traditions of December — miraculous events, giving gifts, celebrating with family, decorating with lights, pine cones, Yule logs, even the colors white, red and green — are actually connected to ancient Winter Solstice celebrations. Knowing all of this has truly made us feel closer and more connected to all people in our world community.

Say a special prayer to “Welcome the Return of Light.” We have created one, and it goes like this:

May darkness give way to Light.
We are awake within the Night.
Turn the Wheel to bring the Light.

We honor the powers of
Fire, Air, Water and Earth.
We welcome the Light.
Strengthen our hope.
Our love burns bright.

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hilarydougill

Co Durham, United Kingdom

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