Happy Solstice and Yule By Iona Jones
Winter Solstice falls on the 21 December and is the shortest day and longest night. It is the time when the sun has reached the most southerly rising and setting points on the horizon. For a few days it stays at this point before returning north once again. In ancient times fire festivals were held to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. Then and now children go from house to house with gifts of clove spoke apples and oranges to represent the sun. Holly and ivy are used as decoration in the hope that nature spirits will come and join our celebrations. Mistletoe is hung to represent the seed of the Great Mother. A kiss beneath the mistletoe is the kiss of Goddess. The ceremonial ash yule log is a highlight of this time. It is a long log laid in the fireplace and decorated in seasonal greenery, then doused with cider and ale. The log burns through the night and smoulders for 12 days before being ceremonially put out. It symbolises the sun still burning in the depths of winter.
In the Goddess Temple we honour the Mother of Air, Danu. Danu is the Ancient Mother, Stone Woman, Bone Woman, Caileach of Winter. She who dwells in the stars. She is the Void between death and rebirth and the pause between the in and the out-breath. She brings stillness and invites us stop, to rest and sleep. This is the dreamtime… the time to turn inwards and to vision for the year to come.