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26

Dec

26 DECEMBER

Celestial: Sun Capricorn/Moon Capricorn


Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Ancestors


Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Sesame, Okra, Sweet Potato, Rice


Cards for Today: The World


Pan-African/African-American: Kwanzaa (12/26 - 1/1 one week)- celebrated by African Americans and other descendants of the African peoples, and also widely respected by environmentally conscious people for its emphasis on communal values that support sustainable, Earth-friendly economies. It celebrates family, community, culture and strength. Observed from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language. The first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia and appear in ancient and modern times in other classical African civilizations such as Ashantiland and Yorubaland. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies as large as empires (the Zulu or kingdoms (Swaziland) or smaller societies and groups like the Matabele, Thonga and Lovedu, all of southeastern Africa. Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African “first fruit” celebrations: ingathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration. It respects teamwork, responsible stewardship, unity of faith and purpose and the honouring of creativity and beauty.


Tradition: 12 Days of Christmas Begins - continuing until the Twelfth-day - January 6 also considered Epiphany.


Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - St. Stephen’s Day - the birthday of St. Stephen is celebrated as the first Christian martyr. This date is the commemoration of one of the seven deacons named by the apostles of Jesus Christ to distribute alms.


Tradition: Boxing Day - the first day after the Christian festival of Christmas, the name of this day come from a tradition started in the United Kingdom which spread to many other countries under British rule. On this day, gifts from boxes placed in church were distributed to the poor.


Tradition: The Medieval Feast of Fools - this period of celebration seems to have ran from today until 28 December. The central idea seems always to have been a brief social revolution, in which power, dignity and impunity is briefly conferred on those in a subordinate position making it a successor to the Roman Saturnalia. In the medieval version the young people, who played the chief parts, chose from among their own number a mock pope, archbishop, bishop, or abbot to reign as Lord of Misrule. Participants would then “consecrate” him with many ridiculous ceremonies in the chief church of the place, giving names such as Archbishop of Dolts, Abbot of Unreason, Boy Bishop, or Pope of Fools. The protagonist could be a boy bishop or subdeacon. In any case the parody tipped towards the profane. The ceremonies often mocked the performance of the highest offices of the church, while other persons, dressed in different kinds of masks and disguises, engaged in songs and dances and practised all manner of revelry including sexual within the church building. In the Middle Ages, particularly in France, the main Feast of Fools was staged on or about the Feast of the Circumcision, 1 January. It is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish it from certain other similar celebrations, such as the Feast of Asses, and the enthronement of the Boy Bishop. So far as the Feast of Fools had an independent existence, it seems to have grown out of a special “festival of the subdeacons” culminating on the day of the Circumcision and including a special celebration on St Stephen’s day 26 December, the priests on St John the Evangelist’s day 27 December, and again the choristers and mass-servers on the Feast of the Holy Innocents on 28 December. The subdeacons were accustomed to hold their feast about the same time of year, but more particularly on the festival of the Circumcision. This feast of the subdeacons afterwards developed into the feast of the lower clergy and was later taken up by certain brotherhoods or guilds of “fools” with a definite organization of their own. The feast of fools was an imitation of the Roman Saturnalia. There can be little doubt that medieval censors commonly took it that the license and buffoonery which marked this occasion had their origin in pagan customs.  


Tradition: Season of Pantomimes - this season was/is the traditional time in European tradition for Pantomimes - musical-comedy theatrical productions. Performances were enacted in mime by traveling companies. Their characterizations often represented ancient symbolic figures. One popular character, Columbine was traditionally dressed in white with black pompoms and is believed to have symbolized the moon. Columbine or Columbina was the sweetheart of Harlequin, and, like him, was supposed to be invisible to mortal eyes. Christmas pantomimes/plays were common at this time following an ancient tradition handed down from the Greeks and Romans. During the Christian era, plays about the Greek and Roman gods gave way to morality plays adapted from the Bible.


Tradition: Mummer`s Day - is an ancient Cornish midwinter celebration that occurs every year on Boxing Day and New Year`s Day in Padstow, Cornwall. It was originally part of the pagan heritage of midwinter celebrations that were regularly celebrated all over Cornwall where people would dance and disguise themselves by blackening/painting their faces or wearing masks. It was in contrast to the `white` summer festivals of Cornish towns such as Padstow, Helston and Penzance. Recently the people of Penzance have revived its midwinter celebration with the Montol Festival which like Padstow at times would have had people darkening or painting their skin to disguise themselves as well as masking.


Irish/Welsh/Manx/Newfounlandish Tradition: Wren’s Day (Wren’s day/Hunt the Wren Day/The Hunting of the Wrens) - a tradition celebrated on St. Stephen’s Day consists of “hunting” a fake wren, and putting it on top of a decorated pole. Then crowds of Mummers, Strawboys or Wrenboys celebrate the Wren (also pronounced as the Wran) by dressing up in masks, straw suits and colourful, motley clothing while accompanied by traditional bands, parade through the towns and villages in remembrance of a festival that was believed to have been celebrated by the Druids. In ancient times, Wren hunting was once practiced on this day as it was protected at all other times during the year.


Jewish/Judaism/Hebrew: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.


Greek: Haloa - some sources state that on the 26th day of the month of Poseideon, Greek women gathered for the Merry Womens Mysteries of Demeter and Kore, which later also honored Dionysos.  Women carried first fruits and the new wine of Dionysos from Athens in procession to the open threshing floors ending with a great feast. Much wine was set out and the tables were full of all the fields that are yielded by land and sea, save only those prohibited in the mysteries; pomegranate and apple and domestic fowls and eggs and red sea mullet and black tailed brayfish and shark. Men prepared the feast and then withdrew leaving the women to alone enjoy themselves, consuming cakes in the shape of genitals and trading obscenities, scurrilous jests and mutual abuse.


History/Zoroastrianism: Death of Zarathustra - in the Zoroastrian calendar, this day marks the death of the saint and teacher Zarathusthra, or Zoroaster, in 551 BC, celebrated in rites that observe the universal myth pattern of the Double Holy Seven—in this case seven male and seven female emanations of the deity, whose efficacy in purifying the earth from evil is praised in sacred fire rites. Other examples: the fourteen body parts of Ausar (Osiris), the fourteen Stations of the Cross in Roman Catholic ritual, and, in symbols common to Egyptian mystery schools and the biblical Book of Revelations, the cycle of the Dove descending into the crown of the head and down through the seven chakras, then reascending the chakra column as the Eagle.


Egyptian: Djehuti – beginning on the 11th of Mechir,  a four-day festival of Thoth, the lunar neter of wisdom and learning, was held now. The rites began with a celebration of Djehuti’s arrival in the physical realm; honored his gifts of mathematics, literature and music; and culminated in the ceremony of gratitude for the most profound of all Djehuti’s secrets: the khu, or light body, which adepts in the mystery schools aspired to generate through spiritual practice. The Egyptians used a palm branch containing twelve leaves or shoots to symbolize the completion of the year at the Solstice time. As well, Sobek was born today and Sekhmet went forth to Letopolis.


Bahamian: The Junkanoo Festival - a celebration annually on this day in the Bahama Islands. Old gods are honoured and ancient magic is reinvoked as music, dancing, and costumed marchers fill the streets until the crack of dawn.


Sacred Day: Deities of the Day - this day is sacred to various deities from around the world. Among them are Frau Sonne, Igaehindvo, the Star Faery, Sunne, and Yemaya.


Greek: Halcyon Days (14-28/12) - the seven days before and after Yule, a time of calm and tranquility derived from Alcyone, a Greek Goddess of the Pleiades connected with Artemis, Bast, Aphrodite, Het Heret.


Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony (21/12 - 9/1 [20 days]) - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.


Astronomical: Ursids Meteor Shower - running from the seventeenth to the twenty-sixth, the Ursids meteor shower peaks tonight. It is associated with Comet Tuttle.


History: Witchcraft Trials - Dr Fiann arraigned for 20 counts of witchcraft and treason, 1590. Boxing Day. Turtle Dance, Native American.


Tradition: Blessing of the Wine Day in Luxembourg


South African: Day of Goodwill – Boxing Day became the Day of Goodwill in 1994 when Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) came into power to make Apartheid forever a regime of the past. It is meant to be a day to give to those who are less fortunate.


Custom: Candy Cane Day

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

26 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Capricorn/Moon Capricorn
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Ancestors
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Sesame, Okra, Sweet Potato, Rice
  • Cards for Today: The World
  • Pan-African/African-American: Kwanzaa (12/26 - 1/1 one week)- celebrated by African Americans and other descendants of the African peoples, and also widely respected by environmentally conscious people for its emphasis on communal values that support sustainable, Earth-friendly economies. It celebrates family, community, culture and strength. Observed from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language. The first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia and appear in ancient and modern times in other classical African civilizations such as Ashantiland and Yorubaland. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies as large as empires (the Zulu or kingdoms (Swaziland) or smaller societies and groups like the Matabele, Thonga and Lovedu, all of southeastern Africa. Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African “first fruit” celebrations: ingathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration. It respects teamwork, responsible stewardship, unity of faith and purpose and the honouring of creativity and beauty.
  • Tradition: 12 Days of Christmas Begins - continuing until the Twelfth-day - January 6 also considered Epiphany.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - St. Stephen’s Day - the birthday of St. Stephen is celebrated as the first Christian martyr. This date is the commemoration of one of the seven deacons named by the apostles of Jesus Christ to distribute alms.
  • Tradition: Boxing Day - the first day after the Christian festival of Christmas, the name of this day come from a tradition started in the United Kingdom which spread to many other countries under British rule. On this day, gifts from boxes placed in church were distributed to the poor.
  • Tradition: The Medieval Feast of Fools - this period of celebration seems to have ran from today until 28 December. The central idea seems always to have been a brief social revolution, in which power, dignity and impunity is briefly conferred on those in a subordinate position making it a successor to the Roman Saturnalia. In the medieval version the young people, who played the chief parts, chose from among their own number a mock pope, archbishop, bishop, or abbot to reign as Lord of Misrule. Participants would then “consecrate” him with many ridiculous ceremonies in the chief church of the place, giving names such as Archbishop of Dolts, Abbot of Unreason, Boy Bishop, or Pope of Fools. The protagonist could be a boy bishop or subdeacon. In any case the parody tipped towards the profane. The ceremonies often mocked the performance of the highest offices of the church, while other persons, dressed in different kinds of masks and disguises, engaged in songs and dances and practised all manner of revelry including sexual within the church building. In the Middle Ages, particularly in France, the main Feast of Fools was staged on or about the Feast of the Circumcision, 1 January. It is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish it from certain other similar celebrations, such as the Feast of Asses, and the enthronement of the Boy Bishop. So far as the Feast of Fools had an independent existence, it seems to have grown out of a special “festival of the subdeacons” culminating on the day of the Circumcision and including a special celebration on St Stephen’s day 26 December, the priests on St John the Evangelist’s day 27 December, and again the choristers and mass-servers on the Feast of the Holy Innocents on 28 December. The subdeacons were accustomed to hold their feast about the same time of year, but more particularly on the festival of the Circumcision. This feast of the subdeacons afterwards developed into the feast of the lower clergy and was later taken up by certain brotherhoods or guilds of “fools” with a definite organization of their own. The feast of fools was an imitation of the Roman Saturnalia. There can be little doubt that medieval censors commonly took it that the license and buffoonery which marked this occasion had their origin in pagan customs. 
  • Tradition: Season of Pantomimes - this season was/is the traditional time in European tradition for Pantomimes - musical-comedy theatrical productions. Performances were enacted in mime by traveling companies. Their characterizations often represented ancient symbolic figures. One popular character, Columbine was traditionally dressed in white with black pompoms and is believed to have symbolized the moon. Columbine or Columbina was the sweetheart of Harlequin, and, like him, was supposed to be invisible to mortal eyes. Christmas pantomimes/plays were common at this time following an ancient tradition handed down from the Greeks and Romans. During the Christian era, plays about the Greek and Roman gods gave way to morality plays adapted from the Bible.
  • Tradition: Mummer`s Day - is an ancient Cornish midwinter celebration that occurs every year on Boxing Day and New Year`s Day in Padstow, Cornwall. It was originally part of the pagan heritage of midwinter celebrations that were regularly celebrated all over Cornwall where people would dance and disguise themselves by blackening/painting their faces or wearing masks. It was in contrast to the `white` summer festivals of Cornish towns such as Padstow, Helston and Penzance. Recently the people of Penzance have revived its midwinter celebration with the Montol Festival which like Padstow at times would have had people darkening or painting their skin to disguise themselves as well as masking.
  • Irish/Welsh/Manx/Newfounlandish Tradition: Wren’s Day (Wren’s day/Hunt the Wren Day/The Hunting of the Wrens) - a tradition celebrated on St. Stephen’s Day consists of “hunting” a fake wren, and putting it on top of a decorated pole. Then crowds of Mummers, Strawboys or Wrenboys celebrate the Wren (also pronounced as the Wran) by dressing up in masks, straw suits and colourful, motley clothing while accompanied by traditional bands, parade through the towns and villages in remembrance of a festival that was believed to have been celebrated by the Druids. In ancient times, Wren hunting was once practiced on this day as it was protected at all other times during the year.
  • Jewish/Judaism/Hebrew: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.
  • Greek: Haloa - some sources state that on the 26th day of the month of Poseideon, Greek women gathered for the Merry Womens Mysteries of Demeter and Kore, which later also honored Dionysos.  Women carried first fruits and the new wine of Dionysos from Athens in procession to the open threshing floors ending with a great feast. Much wine was set out and the tables were full of all the fields that are yielded by land and sea, save only those prohibited in the mysteries; pomegranate and apple and domestic fowls and eggs and red sea mullet and black tailed brayfish and shark. Men prepared the feast and then withdrew leaving the women to alone enjoy themselves, consuming cakes in the shape of genitals and trading obscenities, scurrilous jests and mutual abuse.
  • History/Zoroastrianism: Death of Zarathustra - in the Zoroastrian calendar, this day marks the death of the saint and teacher Zarathusthra, or Zoroaster, in 551 BC, celebrated in rites that observe the universal myth pattern of the Double Holy Seven—in this case seven male and seven female emanations of the deity, whose efficacy in purifying the earth from evil is praised in sacred fire rites. Other examples: the fourteen body parts of Ausar (Osiris), the fourteen Stations of the Cross in Roman Catholic ritual, and, in symbols common to Egyptian mystery schools and the biblical Book of Revelations, the cycle of the Dove descending into the crown of the head and down through the seven chakras, then reascending the chakra column as the Eagle.
  • Egyptian: Djehuti – beginning on the 11th of Mechir,  a four-day festival of Thoth, the lunar neter of wisdom and learning, was held now. The rites began with a celebration of Djehuti’s arrival in the physical realm; honored his gifts of mathematics, literature and music; and culminated in the ceremony of gratitude for the most profound of all Djehuti’s secrets: the khu, or light body, which adepts in the mystery schools aspired to generate through spiritual practice. The Egyptians used a palm branch containing twelve leaves or shoots to symbolize the completion of the year at the Solstice time. As well, Sobek was born today and Sekhmet went forth to Letopolis.
  • Bahamian: The Junkanoo Festival - a celebration annually on this day in the Bahama Islands. Old gods are honoured and ancient magic is reinvoked as music, dancing, and costumed marchers fill the streets until the crack of dawn.
  • Sacred Day: Deities of the Day - this day is sacred to various deities from around the world. Among them are Frau Sonne, Igaehindvo, the Star Faery, Sunne, and Yemaya.
  • Greek: Halcyon Days (14-28/12) - the seven days before and after Yule, a time of calm and tranquility derived from Alcyone, a Greek Goddess of the Pleiades connected with Artemis, Bast, Aphrodite, Het Heret.
  • Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony (21/12 - 9/1 [20 days]) - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Astronomical: Ursids Meteor Shower - running from the seventeenth to the twenty-sixth, the Ursids meteor shower peaks tonight. It is associated with Comet Tuttle.
  • History: Witchcraft Trials - Dr Fiann arraigned for 20 counts of witchcraft and treason, 1590. Boxing Day. Turtle Dance, Native American.
  • Tradition: Blessing of the Wine Day in Luxembourg
  • South African: Day of Goodwill – Boxing Day became the Day of Goodwill in 1994 when Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) came into power to make Apartheid forever a regime of the past. It is meant to be a day to give to those who are less fortunate.
  • Custom: Candy Cane Day

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

23

Dec

23 December
Celestial: Sun Capricorn/Moon Sagittarius
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Light 
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Paperwhite, Statice, Evergreens, Mistletoe, Holly, Ivy
Cards for Today: The Sun, The World
Jewish/Judaism/Hebrew: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.
Celtic/Druidic: Alban Arthuan (Arthan)/Winter Solstice - the Ogham Calendar is based upon the Coligny Tablet, a Gaelic-Celtic bronze tablet found in France in 1895 and dating to about 2000 years ago. The calendar started on the last quarter moon, the first after the autumn equinox, Samhain. Both this festival and the winter solstice were used to start lunar calendars in pre-Roman Europe and the Celtic orientated British Isles. Gwyl Nadolig, the Yuletide Tree Festival and Elder Festival, begins at sundown. 
Celtic/Druidic: The Feast of Potential/Secret of the Unhewn Stone/Day of Mistletoe - a “day out of time“ between the old and new years - in some Celtic calendars, this intercalary day between the Winter Solstice and 12/25 is called the “Secret of the Unhewn Stone” and in some quarters may be seen as the only day in the year not ruled by a tree or ogham symbol. Like Mother Night (12/20), the Unhewn Stone was thus a symbol of the unshaped, emerging potential of all things. 
Roman/Pagan: The Laurentalia (Larentinalia)/Parentalia/Festival of Acca Larentia (22 - 23/12 dates noted vary) - on the sixth/seventh (eighth) days of Saturnalia, Acca Larentia was given offerings as mother of the Lares (ancestors). This was called the Day of the Parentalia of Larentine Acca or the Laurentalia. She was also given the name Larunda or Lara. She was the Roman goddess who gave the early Romans their land, of the dead and of seed corn, patroness of the year and life to come. In early times, a Pagan religious ceremony called the Laurentina was held in Rome each year on this date. It celebrated the recovery of light from the darkness of the winter solstice. This day honours the Etruscan goddess whose name means Lady Mother. Several tales are told about her. Some say she was the foster-mother or Romus and Remulus, the founders of Rome, or that she was the wolf that suckled them. Some say she was a lover of Heracles. Another tale relates that after spending a night in the temple of Heracles, she was told to give herself to the first man she met. He happened to be a rich man who married her. After his death, she inherited his fortune, which she gave to Rome, a generosity which the Romans celebrated with a rowdy feast. Sources suggest that these legends might derive from the same roots as the understanding of “lupa” which means both “she-wolf” and “prostitute.” In all of her manifestations, she represents mothering and abundance. 
Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) - the seventh day of the celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus (Saturn). He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders. In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one.
Multi-Tradition: Winter Solstice/Yuletide/Mean Geimredh/Alban Arthan Celebrations - Among Nordo-Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic peoples, this date marks the beginning of the 12-day Solstice cycle, in which the fading of the old year is observed. The Sun Child (the winter-born God-King, symbolizing the rebirth of the sun and the promise of new life in the spring is in some traditions celebrated on 21 December or 25 December. Yule is widely celebrated by many varieties of modern pagan. It is also known as Winter Rite, Midwinter, and Alban Arthan. Yule is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Yula, which means Wheel of the Year. In many cultureds it is symbolised in religion by a Virgin mother giving birth to a sacred child : Rhiannon to Pryderi; Isis to Horus; Demeter to Persephone. It is the festival of the Sun’s rebirth, and a time for many pagans to honor the Horned God. The aspect of the God many pagans invoke at this Sabbat is Frey, the Scandinavian fertility God and a deity associated with peace and prosperity. Love, family togetherness, and accomplishments from the past year are also celebrated. On this Sabbat, witches bid farewell to the Great Mother and welcome the reborn Horned God, who rules the dark half of the year. An old tradition many pagans still observe in this season is bringing in the Yule Log, wishing on it, and lighting it from the remains of last year’s log. Once, the Yule log was the center of the celebration. It was lit on the eve of the solstice (it should light on the first try) and kept burning for twelve hours, for good luck. Riddles are posed and answered, magic and rituals are practiced. In the past, wild boars were sacrificed and consumed along with large quantities of liquor. German men and boys would go into the forests and drag back the largest log they could find. It was burned in the central village hall. By tradition, this log burned for 12 days (the forerunner of the modern 12 days of Christmas). Many village animals were killed for a communal feast, as there would be insufficient animal feed to keep the entire herds alive throughout the winter. The villagers feasted on this meat while the northern European winter raged outdoors. According to Norse/Viking tradition, Father Odin would fly about during these times and catalogue who had been naughty and who had been nice. Unlike Santa Claus, Father Odin’s disapproval could result in serious consequences.Corn dollies were carried from house to house while carolling. Fertility rites were practiced (girls standing under a sprig of mistletoe were subject to a bit more than a kiss in these times), and divinations were cast for the coming Spring. Many of these customs, in have been adapted and are celebrated in the mainstream Christian Christmas celebration, though most celebrants do not realize their origins.
Greek: Haloa - some sources state that on the 26th day of the month of Poseideon, Greek women gathered for the Merry Womens Mysteries of Demeter and Kore, which later also honored Dionysos.  Women carried first fruits and the new wine of Dionysos from Athens in procession to the open threshing floors ending with a great feast. Much wine was set out and the tables were full of all the fields that are yielded by land and sea, save only those prohibited in the mysteries; pomegranate and apple and domestic fowls and eggs and red sea mullet and black tailed brayfish and shark. Men prepared the feast and then withdrew leaving the women to alone enjoy themselves, consuming cakes in the shape of genitals and trading obscenities, scurrilous jests and mutual abuse.
Greek: Rural Dionysia - various sources indicate that the ancient Greeks celebrated this holiday at different times in different neighborhoods but usually around the time of the full moon in Poseideon. The early rustic festival featured a jar of wine, a vine, a goat, a basket of raisins and a depiction of a phallus had been replaced with an elaborate procession featuring gold vessels, decorated horses and people wearing costumes and masks - but the phallicism remained. This was a time for revelry including phallic songs, imagery and adoration, games (the kind played at picnics like one-legged hopping or playing tag) phallocentric sexual license. Some sources relate that it was a great day of masturbation among men where it was encoraged and was accomplished in groups and with some level of theatricality. Eventually, under the influence of the City Dionysia at Athens, the production of plays.
Greek: Halcyon Days (14-28/12) - the seven days before and after Yule, a time of calm and tranquility derived from Alcyone, a Greek Goddess of the Pleiades connected with Artemis, Bast, Aphrodite, Het Heret.
Southern Hemisphere/Pagan: Litha - these days mark the celebration of the Lesser Sabbat of Litha in the Southern Hemisphere.
Tradition/Lore: Fools Day(England)- when the town’s fool sits on the throne and the king goes into hiding as a simulated death. 
European: Evergreen Festival (21 - 25/12 [5 days]) - since ancient times in northern Europe and cultures descended from it, this is the annual Evergreen Festival, celebrated in the planting of new evergreens and the making of evergreen wreaths.
Egyptian: Feast day of Het-Heru (Hathor) - the sky goddess and patroness of astrology is/was celebrated on the 8th day of Mechir.     
Buddhism: Sanghamitta Day - in honor of the Buddhist nun who brought a branch of the Bodhi tree to Sri Lanka where it has flourished for over 2,000 years. 
Chinese: The Dōngzhì/Grand Winter Solstice Festival - one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around this time when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù which represents “Returning”.
Hinduism: Chaomos - the Kalesh tribe of the Hindu Kush, celebrate on this date in their finest clothes. Lasting a week, it honors the demi-god Balomain, who counts the Kalesh every year and carries their prayers back to Tsiam, their mythical ancestral home. 
Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place at this time (approximately).
Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
Native American: Start of Month of the Goose - 22nd December - 19th January. Considered the time of renewal Time where the function is to prepare the ground.
Native American: Cherokee Sun Festival - the Cherokee people of North America celebrate on this day a very similar festival in honor of the Sun, who has locked herself inside her house in mourning for her dead daughter, and can be induced to re-emerge and smile only by the music and dance of children.
Native American: Tewa Festival of the Turtle Dance (21 - 24/12 [four days])- among the Tewa people of the Pueblo tribes, the festival of the Turtle Dance, commemorating the seeding and conception of all life by Father Sky and Mother Earth, begins now on the day before the Full Moon closest to the Winter Solstice.
Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony (21/12 - 9/1 [20 days]) - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - St. John of Kanti’s Day
Astronomical: Ursids Meteor Shower - running from the seventeenth to the twenty-sixth, the Ursids meteor shower peaks tonight. It is associated with Comet Tuttle.
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

23 December

  • Celestial: Sun Capricorn/Moon Sagittarius
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Light
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Paperwhite, Statice, Evergreens, Mistletoe, Holly, Ivy
  • Cards for Today: The Sun, The World
  • Jewish/Judaism/Hebrew: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.
  • Celtic/Druidic: Alban Arthuan (Arthan)/Winter Solstice - the Ogham Calendar is based upon the Coligny Tablet, a Gaelic-Celtic bronze tablet found in France in 1895 and dating to about 2000 years ago. The calendar started on the last quarter moon, the first after the autumn equinox, Samhain. Both this festival and the winter solstice were used to start lunar calendars in pre-Roman Europe and the Celtic orientated British Isles. Gwyl Nadolig, the Yuletide Tree Festival and Elder Festival, begins at sundown.
  • Celtic/Druidic: The Feast of Potential/Secret of the Unhewn Stone/Day of Mistletoe - a “day out of time“ between the old and new years - in some Celtic calendars, this intercalary day between the Winter Solstice and 12/25 is called the “Secret of the Unhewn Stone” and in some quarters may be seen as the only day in the year not ruled by a tree or ogham symbol. Like Mother Night (12/20), the Unhewn Stone was thus a symbol of the unshaped, emerging potential of all things.
  • Roman/Pagan: The Laurentalia (Larentinalia)/Parentalia/Festival of Acca Larentia (22 - 23/12 dates noted vary) - on the sixth/seventh (eighth) days of Saturnalia, Acca Larentia was given offerings as mother of the Lares (ancestors). This was called the Day of the Parentalia of Larentine Acca or the Laurentalia. She was also given the name Larunda or Lara. She was the Roman goddess who gave the early Romans their land, of the dead and of seed corn, patroness of the year and life to come. In early times, a Pagan religious ceremony called the Laurentina was held in Rome each year on this date. It celebrated the recovery of light from the darkness of the winter solstice. This day honours the Etruscan goddess whose name means Lady Mother. Several tales are told about her. Some say she was the foster-mother or Romus and Remulus, the founders of Rome, or that she was the wolf that suckled them. Some say she was a lover of Heracles. Another tale relates that after spending a night in the temple of Heracles, she was told to give herself to the first man she met. He happened to be a rich man who married her. After his death, she inherited his fortune, which she gave to Rome, a generosity which the Romans celebrated with a rowdy feast. Sources suggest that these legends might derive from the same roots as the understanding of “lupa” which means both “she-wolf” and “prostitute.” In all of her manifestations, she represents mothering and abundance.
  • Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) - the seventh day of the celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus (Saturn). He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders. In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one.
  • Multi-Tradition: Winter Solstice/Yuletide/Mean Geimredh/Alban Arthan Celebrations - Among Nordo-Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic peoples, this date marks the beginning of the 12-day Solstice cycle, in which the fading of the old year is observed. The Sun Child (the winter-born God-King, symbolizing the rebirth of the sun and the promise of new life in the spring is in some traditions celebrated on 21 December or 25 December. Yule is widely celebrated by many varieties of modern pagan. It is also known as Winter Rite, Midwinter, and Alban Arthan. Yule is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Yula, which means Wheel of the Year. In many cultureds it is symbolised in religion by a Virgin mother giving birth to a sacred child : Rhiannon to Pryderi; Isis to Horus; Demeter to Persephone. It is the festival of the Sun’s rebirth, and a time for many pagans to honor the Horned God. The aspect of the God many pagans invoke at this Sabbat is Frey, the Scandinavian fertility God and a deity associated with peace and prosperity. Love, family togetherness, and accomplishments from the past year are also celebrated. On this Sabbat, witches bid farewell to the Great Mother and welcome the reborn Horned God, who rules the dark half of the year. An old tradition many pagans still observe in this season is bringing in the Yule Log, wishing on it, and lighting it from the remains of last year’s log. Once, the Yule log was the center of the celebration. It was lit on the eve of the solstice (it should light on the first try) and kept burning for twelve hours, for good luck. Riddles are posed and answered, magic and rituals are practiced. In the past, wild boars were sacrificed and consumed along with large quantities of liquor. German men and boys would go into the forests and drag back the largest log they could find. It was burned in the central village hall. By tradition, this log burned for 12 days (the forerunner of the modern 12 days of Christmas). Many village animals were killed for a communal feast, as there would be insufficient animal feed to keep the entire herds alive throughout the winter. The villagers feasted on this meat while the northern European winter raged outdoors. According to Norse/Viking tradition, Father Odin would fly about during these times and catalogue who had been naughty and who had been nice. Unlike Santa Claus, Father Odin’s disapproval could result in serious consequences.Corn dollies were carried from house to house while carolling. Fertility rites were practiced (girls standing under a sprig of mistletoe were subject to a bit more than a kiss in these times), and divinations were cast for the coming Spring. Many of these customs, in have been adapted and are celebrated in the mainstream Christian Christmas celebration, though most celebrants do not realize their origins.
  • Greek: Haloa - some sources state that on the 26th day of the month of Poseideon, Greek women gathered for the Merry Womens Mysteries of Demeter and Kore, which later also honored Dionysos.  Women carried first fruits and the new wine of Dionysos from Athens in procession to the open threshing floors ending with a great feast. Much wine was set out and the tables were full of all the fields that are yielded by land and sea, save only those prohibited in the mysteries; pomegranate and apple and domestic fowls and eggs and red sea mullet and black tailed brayfish and shark. Men prepared the feast and then withdrew leaving the women to alone enjoy themselves, consuming cakes in the shape of genitals and trading obscenities, scurrilous jests and mutual abuse.
  • Greek: Rural Dionysia - various sources indicate that the ancient Greeks celebrated this holiday at different times in different neighborhoods but usually around the time of the full moon in Poseideon. The early rustic festival featured a jar of wine, a vine, a goat, a basket of raisins and a depiction of a phallus had been replaced with an elaborate procession featuring gold vessels, decorated horses and people wearing costumes and masks - but the phallicism remained. This was a time for revelry including phallic songs, imagery and adoration, games (the kind played at picnics like one-legged hopping or playing tag) phallocentric sexual license. Some sources relate that it was a great day of masturbation among men where it was encoraged and was accomplished in groups and with some level of theatricality. Eventually, under the influence of the City Dionysia at Athens, the production of plays.
  • Greek: Halcyon Days (14-28/12) - the seven days before and after Yule, a time of calm and tranquility derived from Alcyone, a Greek Goddess of the Pleiades connected with Artemis, Bast, Aphrodite, Het Heret.
  • Southern Hemisphere/Pagan: Litha - these days mark the celebration of the Lesser Sabbat of Litha in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Tradition/Lore: Fools Day(England)- when the town’s fool sits on the throne and the king goes into hiding as a simulated death.
  • European: Evergreen Festival (21 - 25/12 [5 days]) - since ancient times in northern Europe and cultures descended from it, this is the annual Evergreen Festival, celebrated in the planting of new evergreens and the making of evergreen wreaths.
  • Egyptian: Feast day of Het-Heru (Hathor) - the sky goddess and patroness of astrology is/was celebrated on the 8th day of Mechir.    
  • Buddhism: Sanghamitta Day - in honor of the Buddhist nun who brought a branch of the Bodhi tree to Sri Lanka where it has flourished for over 2,000 years. 
  • Chinese: The Dōngzhì/Grand Winter Solstice Festival - one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around this time when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù which represents “Returning”.
  • Hinduism: Chaomos - the Kalesh tribe of the Hindu Kush, celebrate on this date in their finest clothes. Lasting a week, it honors the demi-god Balomain, who counts the Kalesh every year and carries their prayers back to Tsiam, their mythical ancestral home.
  • Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place at this time (approximately).
  • Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
  • Native American: Start of Month of the Goose - 22nd December - 19th January. Considered the time of renewal Time where the function is to prepare the ground.
  • Native American: Cherokee Sun Festival - the Cherokee people of North America celebrate on this day a very similar festival in honor of the Sun, who has locked herself inside her house in mourning for her dead daughter, and can be induced to re-emerge and smile only by the music and dance of children.
  • Native American: Tewa Festival of the Turtle Dance (21 - 24/12 [four days])- among the Tewa people of the Pueblo tribes, the festival of the Turtle Dance, commemorating the seeding and conception of all life by Father Sky and Mother Earth, begins now on the day before the Full Moon closest to the Winter Solstice.
  • Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony (21/12 - 9/1 [20 days]) - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - St. John of Kanti’s Day
  • Astronomical: Ursids Meteor Shower - running from the seventeenth to the twenty-sixth, the Ursids meteor shower peaks tonight. It is associated with Comet Tuttle.

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

22

Dec

22 December
Celestial: Sun Capricorn/Moon Libra
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: All Yule and Solar Deities
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: All Evergreens, Mistletoe, Holly
Cards for Today: The Sun
Multi-Tradition: Winter Solstice/Yule/Mean Geimredh/Alban Arthan ~ Among Nordo-Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic peoples, this date marks the beginning of the 12-day Solstice cycle, in which the fading of the old year is observed. The Sun Child (the winter-born God-King, symbolizing the rebirth of the sun and the promise of new life in the spring is in some traditions celebrated on 21 December or 25 December.
Yule - the shortest day and longest night of the year. Yule is widely celebrated by many varieties of modern pagan. It is also known as Winter Rite, Midwinter, and Alban Arthan. Yule is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Yula, which means Wheel of the Year. In many cultureds it is symbolised in religion by a Virgin mother giving birth to a sacred child : Rhiannon to Pryderi; Isis to Horus; Demeter to Persephone. It is the festival of the Sun’s rebirth, and a time for many pagans to honor the Horned God. The aspect of the God many pagans invoke at this Sabbat is Frey, the Scandinavian fertility God and a deity associated with peace and prosperity. Love, family togetherness, and accomplishments from the past year are also celebrated. On this Sabbat, witches bid farewell to the Great Mother and welcome the reborn Horned God, who rules the dark half of the year. An old tradition many pagans still observe in this season is bringing in the Yule Log, wishing on it, and lighting it from the remains of last year’s log. Once, the Yule log was the center of the celebration. It was lit on the eve of the solstice (it should light on the first try) and kept burning for twelve hours, for good luck. Riddles are posed and answered, magic and rituals are practiced. In the past, wild boars were sacrificed and consumed along with large quantities of liquor. German men and boys would go into the forests and drag back the largest log they could find. It was burned in the central village hall. By tradition, this log burned for 12 days (the forerunner of the modern 12 days of Christmas). Many village animals were killed for a communal feast, as there would be insufficient animal feed to keep the entire herds alive throughout the winter. The villagers feasted on this meat while the northern European winter raged outdoors. According to Norse/Viking tradition, Father Odin would fly about during these times and catalogue who had been naughty and who had been nice. Unlike Santa Claus, Father Odin’s disapproval could result in serious consequences.Corn dollies were carried from house to house while carolling. Fertility rites were practiced (girls standing under a sprig of mistletoe were subject to a bit more than a kiss in these times), and divinations were cast for the coming Spring. Many of these customs, in have been adapted and are celebrated in the mainstream Christian Christmas celebration, though most celebrants do not realize their origins.
The Winter Solstice - the last of the year’s four Cardinal Festivals. The Sun enters Capricorn and Winter begins as it reaches the 270° point on the wheel, starting the homeward return towards the 0° point, at the Spring Equinox. The Solstice is traditionally the most important festival of the year as it marks the birth of the Solar Child at the time of returning Winter light, and is thus the moment of affirming faith in the re-emergence of earthly life in the Spring, and also, symbolically, in the soul’s survival beyond death. It may be marked in rites of the Holly King and Oak King. In a number of traditions, this time marks when the Lady gives birth to the Lord (conceived at Beltane) Many celebrate a divine births - Demeter, Horus, Osiris, Helios, Dionysus, Aeon and Jesus. Some begin a ritual before sunrise, so that they can watch the sunrise at its end, as the welcoming back the God of light. The birth of the divine child, whether he bears the name of Horus, Osiris, Helios, Dionysus, Pryderi or Aeon, is celebrated at this time. The Greeks celebrated the birth of Demeter/Ceres at the winter solstice. During the solstice, a golden cow covered in a black veil was led around the temple of Helios seven times. The cow represents Isis and the ritual was called the seeking for Osiris. It commemorates the wanderings of Isis as she journeyed over the world mourning for his death and searching for the scattered body parts.
Astrological: Sun Enters Capricorn - on this date (approximately), the Sun enters the astrological sign of Capricorn. Persons born under the sign of the Goat are said to be ambitious, practical, loyal, and often reclusive. Capricorn is an earth sign and is ruled by the planet Saturn.
European: Evergreen Festival (21 - 25/12 [5 days]) - since ancient times in northern Europe and cultures descended from it, this is the annual Evergreen Festival, celebrated in the planting of new evergreens and the making of evergreen wreaths.
Roman/Pagan: Parentalia (22 - 23/12 source dates vary) - on the sixth/seventh (eighth) days of Saturnalia, Acca Larentia was given offerings as mother of the Lares (ancestors). This was called the Day of the Parentalia of Larentine Acca or the Laurentalia. She was also given the name Larunda or Lara.
Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) - the celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders. In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one.
Greek: Halcyon Days (14-28/12) - the seven days before and after Yule, a time of calm and tranquility derived from Alcyone, a Greek Goddess of the Pleiades connected with Artemis, Bast, Aphrodite, Het Heret.
Jewish/Judaism: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.
Southern Hemisphere/Pagan: Litha - these days mark the celebration of the Lesser Sabbat of Litha in the Southern Hemisphere.
Goddessian: Sacred Day - this day is also sacred to the Egyptian Goddess Isis, the Greek Corn Goddess Demeter and Sul the ancient Briton Goddess of healing and the Sun.
Egyptian: Abet Offerings -  invocations, offerings where made personally in homes to the Deities.
Egyptian: Asar Returns - Asar [Osiris] returns to Aset [Isis] in a celebration of light.
Celtic/Druidic: Festival of the Stars
Persian/Graeco-Roman: Mithra’s Birthday – the celebration of the return of  light. See Winter Solstice
Sicilian: La Viecchio de Natali - Celebration of light.
Shintoism: Touji Taisai - Japanese day sacred to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu-no-Mikuni, heroine of one of the world’s great myths of the retreat and return of the Sun. When her brother, the raucous storm trickster Susanoo-no-Mikuni insulted and ridiculed her, she withdrew into a cave and caused the Earth to suffer in such cold and darkness that the other gods came to sing and dance outside her cave until the goddess relented and forgave, and allowed the others to charm her back out. Among the universal symbolisms of such stories is the principle that light avoids wild and violent action, and can tame it only by limiting it in patterns of order, symbolized by music and dance.
Chinese: Festival of Wang Mu - the Chinese observe the Empress Mother, lady of compassion. This peak day of the yin half of the year honors the Shen, or deities, of north, winter and the Earth element in prayers for the renewal of cosmic order.
Chinese: The Dōngzhì/Grand Winter Solstice Festival - one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around this time when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù which represents “Returning”.
Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place at this time (approximately).
Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
Native American: Start of Month of the Goose - 22nd December - 19th January. Considered the time of renewal Time where the function is to prepare the ground.
Native American: Cherokee Sun Festival - the Cherokee people of North America celebrate on this day a very similar festival in honor of the Sun, who has locked herself inside her house in mourning for her dead daughter, and can be induced to re-emerge and smile only by the music and dance of children.
Native American: Tewa Festival of the Turtle Dance (21 - 24/12 [four days])- among the Tewa people of the Pueblo tribes, the festival of the Turtle Dance, commemorating the seeding and conception of all life by Father Sky and Mother Earth, begins now on the day before the Full Moon closest to the Winter Solstice.
Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony (21/12 - 9/1 [20 days]) - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - St. Chaeremon’s Day, St. Catherine of Siena
Astronomical: Ursids Meteor Shower - running from the seventeenth to the twenty-sixth, the Ursids meteor shower peaks tonight. It is associated with Comet Tuttle.
History: Farrar Coven Founded - on this date in the year 1970, famous Wiccan authors Stewart and Janet Farrar founded their own coven. The Farrars, a husband and wife team, have written many popular Witchcraft books together.
Tradition/Culture: International Arbor Day
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

22 December

  • Celestial: Sun Capricorn/Moon Libra
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: All Yule and Solar Deities
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: All Evergreens, Mistletoe, Holly
  • Cards for Today: The Sun
  • Multi-Tradition: Winter Solstice/Yule/Mean Geimredh/Alban Arthan ~ Among Nordo-Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic peoples, this date marks the beginning of the 12-day Solstice cycle, in which the fading of the old year is observed. The Sun Child (the winter-born God-King, symbolizing the rebirth of the sun and the promise of new life in the spring is in some traditions celebrated on 21 December or 25 December.

Yule - the shortest day and longest night of the year. Yule is widely celebrated by many varieties of modern pagan. It is also known as Winter Rite, Midwinter, and Alban Arthan. Yule is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Yula, which means Wheel of the Year. In many cultureds it is symbolised in religion by a Virgin mother giving birth to a sacred child : Rhiannon to Pryderi; Isis to Horus; Demeter to Persephone. It is the festival of the Sun’s rebirth, and a time for many pagans to honor the Horned God. The aspect of the God many pagans invoke at this Sabbat is Frey, the Scandinavian fertility God and a deity associated with peace and prosperity. Love, family togetherness, and accomplishments from the past year are also celebrated. On this Sabbat, witches bid farewell to the Great Mother and welcome the reborn Horned God, who rules the dark half of the year. An old tradition many pagans still observe in this season is bringing in the Yule Log, wishing on it, and lighting it from the remains of last year’s log. Once, the Yule log was the center of the celebration. It was lit on the eve of the solstice (it should light on the first try) and kept burning for twelve hours, for good luck. Riddles are posed and answered, magic and rituals are practiced. In the past, wild boars were sacrificed and consumed along with large quantities of liquor. German men and boys would go into the forests and drag back the largest log they could find. It was burned in the central village hall. By tradition, this log burned for 12 days (the forerunner of the modern 12 days of Christmas). Many village animals were killed for a communal feast, as there would be insufficient animal feed to keep the entire herds alive throughout the winter. The villagers feasted on this meat while the northern European winter raged outdoors. According to Norse/Viking tradition, Father Odin would fly about during these times and catalogue who had been naughty and who had been nice. Unlike Santa Claus, Father Odin’s disapproval could result in serious consequences.Corn dollies were carried from house to house while carolling. Fertility rites were practiced (girls standing under a sprig of mistletoe were subject to a bit more than a kiss in these times), and divinations were cast for the coming Spring. Many of these customs, in have been adapted and are celebrated in the mainstream Christian Christmas celebration, though most celebrants do not realize their origins.

The Winter Solstice - the last of the year’s four Cardinal Festivals. The Sun enters Capricorn and Winter begins as it reaches the 270° point on the wheel, starting the homeward return towards the 0° point, at the Spring Equinox. The Solstice is traditionally the most important festival of the year as it marks the birth of the Solar Child at the time of returning Winter light, and is thus the moment of affirming faith in the re-emergence of earthly life in the Spring, and also, symbolically, in the soul’s survival beyond death. It may be marked in rites of the Holly King and Oak King. In a number of traditions, this time marks when the Lady gives birth to the Lord (conceived at Beltane) Many celebrate a divine births - Demeter, Horus, Osiris, Helios, Dionysus, Aeon and Jesus. Some begin a ritual before sunrise, so that they can watch the sunrise at its end, as the welcoming back the God of light. The birth of the divine child, whether he bears the name of Horus, Osiris, Helios, Dionysus, Pryderi or Aeon, is celebrated at this time. The Greeks celebrated the birth of Demeter/Ceres at the winter solstice. During the solstice, a golden cow covered in a black veil was led around the temple of Helios seven times. The cow represents Isis and the ritual was called the seeking for Osiris. It commemorates the wanderings of Isis as she journeyed over the world mourning for his death and searching for the scattered body parts.

  • Astrological: Sun Enters Capricorn - on this date (approximately), the Sun enters the astrological sign of Capricorn. Persons born under the sign of the Goat are said to be ambitious, practical, loyal, and often reclusive. Capricorn is an earth sign and is ruled by the planet Saturn.
  • European: Evergreen Festival (21 - 25/12 [5 days]) - since ancient times in northern Europe and cultures descended from it, this is the annual Evergreen Festival, celebrated in the planting of new evergreens and the making of evergreen wreaths.
  • Roman/Pagan: Parentalia (22 - 23/12 source dates vary) - on the sixth/seventh (eighth) days of Saturnalia, Acca Larentia was given offerings as mother of the Lares (ancestors). This was called the Day of the Parentalia of Larentine Acca or the Laurentalia. She was also given the name Larunda or Lara.
  • Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) - the celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders. In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one.
  • Greek: Halcyon Days (14-28/12) - the seven days before and after Yule, a time of calm and tranquility derived from Alcyone, a Greek Goddess of the Pleiades connected with Artemis, Bast, Aphrodite, Het Heret.
  • Jewish/Judaism: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.
  • Southern Hemisphere/Pagan: Litha - these days mark the celebration of the Lesser Sabbat of Litha in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Goddessian: Sacred Day - this day is also sacred to the Egyptian Goddess Isis, the Greek Corn Goddess Demeter and Sul the ancient Briton Goddess of healing and the Sun.
  • Egyptian: Abet Offerings -  invocations, offerings where made personally in homes to the Deities.
  • Egyptian: Asar Returns - Asar [Osiris] returns to Aset [Isis] in a celebration of light.
  • Celtic/Druidic: Festival of the Stars
  • Persian/Graeco-Roman: Mithra’s Birthday – the celebration of the return of  light. See Winter Solstice
  • Sicilian: La Viecchio de Natali - Celebration of light.
  • Shintoism: Touji Taisai - Japanese day sacred to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu-no-Mikuni, heroine of one of the world’s great myths of the retreat and return of the Sun. When her brother, the raucous storm trickster Susanoo-no-Mikuni insulted and ridiculed her, she withdrew into a cave and caused the Earth to suffer in such cold and darkness that the other gods came to sing and dance outside her cave until the goddess relented and forgave, and allowed the others to charm her back out. Among the universal symbolisms of such stories is the principle that light avoids wild and violent action, and can tame it only by limiting it in patterns of order, symbolized by music and dance.
  • Chinese: Festival of Wang Mu - the Chinese observe the Empress Mother, lady of compassion. This peak day of the yin half of the year honors the Shen, or deities, of north, winter and the Earth element in prayers for the renewal of cosmic order.
  • Chinese: The Dōngzhì/Grand Winter Solstice Festival - one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around this time when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù which represents “Returning”.
  • Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place at this time (approximately).
  • Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
  • Native American: Start of Month of the Goose - 22nd December - 19th January. Considered the time of renewal Time where the function is to prepare the ground.
  • Native American: Cherokee Sun Festival - the Cherokee people of North America celebrate on this day a very similar festival in honor of the Sun, who has locked herself inside her house in mourning for her dead daughter, and can be induced to re-emerge and smile only by the music and dance of children.
  • Native American: Tewa Festival of the Turtle Dance (21 - 24/12 [four days])- among the Tewa people of the Pueblo tribes, the festival of the Turtle Dance, commemorating the seeding and conception of all life by Father Sky and Mother Earth, begins now on the day before the Full Moon closest to the Winter Solstice.
  • Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony (21/12 - 9/1 [20 days]) - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - St. Chaeremon’s Day, St. Catherine of Siena
  • Astronomical: Ursids Meteor Shower - running from the seventeenth to the twenty-sixth, the Ursids meteor shower peaks tonight. It is associated with Comet Tuttle.
  • History: Farrar Coven Founded - on this date in the year 1970, famous Wiccan authors Stewart and Janet Farrar founded their own coven. The Farrars, a husband and wife team, have written many popular Witchcraft books together.
  • Tradition/Culture: International Arbor Day

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

21

Dec

21 - 22 December
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Libra
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: All Yule Deities 
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: All Evergreens, Mistletoe, Holly
Cards for Today: The Sun, The Hermit
Multi-Tradition/Pagan/Astrological/Astronomical: Winter Solstice/Yule/Mean Geimredh/Alban Arthan ~ Among Nordo-Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic peoples, this date marks the beginning of the 12-day Solstice cycle, in which the fading of the old year is observed.
The Winter Solstice - the last of the year’s four Cardinal Festivals. The Sun enters Capricorn and Winter begins as it reaches the 270° point on the wheel, starting the homeward return towards the 0° point, at the Spring Equinox. The Solstice is traditionally the most important festival of the year as it marks the birth of the Solar Child at the time of returning Winter light, and is thus the moment of affirming faith in the re-emergence of earthly life in the Spring, and also, symbolically, in the soul’s survival beyond death. It may be marked in rites of the Holly King and Oak King. In a number of traditions, this time marks when the Lady gives birth to the Lord (conceived at Beltane) Many celebrate a divine births -  Demeter, Horus, Osiris, Helios, Dionysus, Aeon and Jesus. Some begin a ritual before sunrise, so that they can watch the sunrise at its end, as the welcoming back the God of light.
Yule - the shortest day and longest night of the year. Yule is widely celebrated by many varieties of modern pagan. It is also known as Winter Rite, Midwinter, and Alban Arthan. Yule is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Yula, which means Wheel of the Year. In many cultureds it is symbolised in religion by a Virgin mother giving birth to a sacred child : Rhiannon to Pryderi; Isis to Horus; Demeter to Persephone. It is the festival of the Sun’s rebirth, and a time for many pagans to honor the Horned God. The aspect of the God many pagans invoke at this Sabbat is Frey, the Scandinavian fertility God and a deity associated with peace and prosperity. Love, family togetherness, and accomplishments from the past year are also celebrated. On this Sabbat, witches bid farewell to the Great Mother and welcome the reborn Horned God, who rules the dark half of the year. An old tradition many pagans still observe in this season is bringing in the Yule Log, wishing on it, and lighting it from the remains of last year’s log. Once, the Yule log was the center of the celebration. It was lit on the eve of the solstice (it should light on the first try) and kept burning for twelve hours, for good luck. Riddles are posed and answered, magic and rituals are practiced. In the past, wild boars were sacrificed and consumed along with large quantities of liquor. Corn dollies were carried from house to house while carolling. Fertility rites were practiced (girls standing under a sprig of mistletoe were subject to a bit more than a kiss in these times), and divinations were cast for the coming Spring. Many of these customs, in have been adapted and are celebrated in the mainstream Christian Christmas celebration, though most celebrants do not realize their origins.
Slavic: Festival of Koleda - in Slavic cultures, the festival of Koleda began at Winter Solstice and lasted for ten days. In Russia, this festival was called Kutuja, which was later applied to Christmas Eve. Although the Slavonic name comes from the God Kolyada, it was in honour of Lada, the Goddess of love, youth and fertility. She was said to be reborn each year at this time. Each family burned a Yule log and invited their personal household Gods to join in the festivities. Groups of children went from house to house singing; as a reward, they were given little gifts.
Asatruar/Teutonic/Norse: Day of Hertha - the early Germans considered the Norse goddess Hertha or Bertha, the goddess of Domesticity and the home. They baked yeast cakes shaped like slippers, which were called the slippers of Hertha, and filled them with gifts. During the Winter Solstice houses were decked with fir and evergreens to welcome her coming. When the family and serfs were gathered to dine, a great altar of flat stones was erected and here a fire of fir boughs was laid. Hertha descended through the smoke, guiding those who were wise in saga lore to foretell the fortunes of those persons at the feast. Hertha’s altar stones became the hearthstones of the home. In this tradition it is learned why Santa Claus comes down the chimney instead of at the door. It is a survival of the coming of Hertha.
Finnish: Day of Beiwe - the sun-goddess worshipped on this date by the Saami, the indigenous people of Finland. She travels with her daughter, Beiwe-Neia, through the sky in an enclosure of reindeer bones, bringing back the green plants for the reindeer to feed upon. On the Winter Solstice, her worshippers sacrifice white female animals and thread the meat on sticks which they bent into rings and tied with bright ribbons. They also smear their doorposts with butter so Beiwe can eat the rich food and begin her recovery.
Russian: Day of Rozhanitsa - the winter Goddess of the north is the Russian goddess, Rozhnitsa. In the twelfth century, the eastern Slavs worshipped her as an ancestor, offering her honey, bread and cheese — all bloodless sacrifices, like those offered at the Haloa. In the 19th and early 20th century, Russian women still embroidered and wove bright linens, usually red on white, which depict the Goddesses of the seasons.
Goddessian: Sacred Day - This day is sacred to Egyptian Goddess Isis, the Greek Corn Goddess Demeter, and Sul the ancient Briton Goddess of healing and the Sun.
European: Evergreen Festival (21 - 25/12 [5 days]) - since ancient times in northern Europe and cultures descended from it, this is the annual Evergreen Festival, celebrated in the planting of new evergreens and the making of evergreen wreaths.  
Roman: Feast of Divalia/Angeronalia - in some quarters, on the fifth day of Saturnalia Diva Angerona is recognized. A Roman goddess, who was so obscure that few sources can be found to verify her existence now. Supposedly she is the goddess of silence and is pictured holding her finger to her lips. She prescribes remedies against angina. Her sealed lips represent a warning not to reveal the secret name (or taboo) name of Rome, which some claim is Amor (Roma backwards). This was also a day when sacrifices were made to Hercules and Ceres of a pregnant cow, baked goods and honeyed wine. Her rituals involves spending the day of the solstice in silence. No one was spoken to and no time keeping was allowed. After dark only candles were burned creating an oasis of peace and serenity in the midst of the chaotic Saturnalia season.
Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) - the celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one. 
Egyptian: Feast of Aset (Isis) - in the Khemitian calendar, the feast of Aset (Isis), Queen of Heaven and Earth, wife and sister of Ausar (Osiris) on the month of Mechir, day 6. In Mediterranean countries , Aset was the most widely revered deity in the ancient Western world, worshipped in various forms for some 4,000 years until she was rivaled by her Christian/Islamic counterpart, the Virgin Mary, and was ultimately suppressed by Islam. She rises again at this time.
Jewish/Judaism: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.
Southern Hemisphere/Pagan: Litha - these days mark the celebration of the Lesser Sabbat of Litha in the Southern Hemisphere.
Chinese: The Dōngzhì/Winter Solstice Festival - one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around this time when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù which represents “Returning”.
Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place at this time (approximately).
Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
Native American: Tewa Festival of the Turtle Dance (21 - 24/12 [four days])- among the Tewa people of the Pueblo tribes, the festival of the Turtle Dance, commemorating the seeding and conception of all life by Father Sky and Mother Earth, begins now on the day before the Full Moon closest to the Winter Solstice. 
Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony (21/12 - 9/1 [20 days]) - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast of St. Thomas - the famous apostle known as “Doubting Thomas” who asked to check the wounds of Christ just to be sure. He is the patron saint of carpenters (because he was a carpenter), masons and architects because he was a carpenter and plays the clownish role of those who refuse to consider the premise that once we believe it, we can see it. One of the early saints given a feast day on or near the solstice for no apparent historical reason, undoubtedly to divert attention from the pagan rites associated with that date. On this day in England, poor women and children went “a-Thomassing” for the ingredients for the Christmas feast, particularly wheat for frumenty and flour for Yule bread. Ghosts were permitted to walk abroad from now until Christmas Eve. Since he is the patron saint of architects, people chose to make their gingerbread houses on this day and since he’s the doubting apostle, people were compelled to reflect on the role of doubt in their lives, Feast of St. Peter Canisius
History: Birthdate of Arthur - one of the many male solar figures who are celebrated now, at the winter solstice, is the legendary British warrior hero King Arthur, whose birthday is thought to be this date. Arthur’s precedence traversed both Pagan and Christianized worlds
History: Forefather’s Day, in the USA, this day was made a legal holiday in Massachusetts in 1895 using the correct date of December 21. In 1769 a club was formed to honour the settlers of New Plymouth. The attention of the group was focused on Plymouth Rock by Deacon Ephriam Spooner. He had been a boy of six back in 1741 when Elder Thomas Faunce made his famous proclamation about Plymouth Rock. Faunce became concerned when he heard a wharf was to be built around a huge boulder. He protested as he spread the story that this was the very rock on which the Pilgrims had landed. The club decided to memorialize the landing with an annual celebration of Forefathers Day, honoring the landing of the “first-comers.” The celebration was held December 22, 1769 and was first referred to as “Old Colony Day.” With the newly adopted Gregorian calendar the Club added 11 days to the landing instead of the correct 10. For over a century Forefathers Day was celebrated a day late.
Lore/Culture: Humbug Day - a day that allows those preparing for Christmas/Holidays to vent their frustrations - 12 “humbugs” allowed. 
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

21 - 22 December

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Libra
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: All Yule Deities
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: All Evergreens, Mistletoe, Holly
  • Cards for Today: The Sun, The Hermit
  • Multi-Tradition/Pagan/Astrological/Astronomical: Winter Solstice/Yule/Mean Geimredh/Alban Arthan ~ Among Nordo-Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic peoples, this date marks the beginning of the 12-day Solstice cycle, in which the fading of the old year is observed.

The Winter Solstice - the last of the year’s four Cardinal Festivals. The Sun enters Capricorn and Winter begins as it reaches the 270° point on the wheel, starting the homeward return towards the 0° point, at the Spring Equinox. The Solstice is traditionally the most important festival of the year as it marks the birth of the Solar Child at the time of returning Winter light, and is thus the moment of affirming faith in the re-emergence of earthly life in the Spring, and also, symbolically, in the soul’s survival beyond death. It may be marked in rites of the Holly King and Oak King. In a number of traditions, this time marks when the Lady gives birth to the Lord (conceived at Beltane) Many celebrate a divine births -  Demeter, Horus, Osiris, Helios, Dionysus, Aeon and Jesus. Some begin a ritual before sunrise, so that they can watch the sunrise at its end, as the welcoming back the God of light.

Yule - the shortest day and longest night of the year. Yule is widely celebrated by many varieties of modern pagan. It is also known as Winter Rite, Midwinter, and Alban Arthan. Yule is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Yula, which means Wheel of the Year. In many cultureds it is symbolised in religion by a Virgin mother giving birth to a sacred child : Rhiannon to Pryderi; Isis to Horus; Demeter to Persephone. It is the festival of the Sun’s rebirth, and a time for many pagans to honor the Horned God. The aspect of the God many pagans invoke at this Sabbat is Frey, the Scandinavian fertility God and a deity associated with peace and prosperity. Love, family togetherness, and accomplishments from the past year are also celebrated. On this Sabbat, witches bid farewell to the Great Mother and welcome the reborn Horned God, who rules the dark half of the year. An old tradition many pagans still observe in this season is bringing in the Yule Log, wishing on it, and lighting it from the remains of last year’s log. Once, the Yule log was the center of the celebration. It was lit on the eve of the solstice (it should light on the first try) and kept burning for twelve hours, for good luck. Riddles are posed and answered, magic and rituals are practiced. In the past, wild boars were sacrificed and consumed along with large quantities of liquor. Corn dollies were carried from house to house while carolling. Fertility rites were practiced (girls standing under a sprig of mistletoe were subject to a bit more than a kiss in these times), and divinations were cast for the coming Spring. Many of these customs, in have been adapted and are celebrated in the mainstream Christian Christmas celebration, though most celebrants do not realize their origins.

  • Slavic: Festival of Koleda - in Slavic cultures, the festival of Koleda began at Winter Solstice and lasted for ten days. In Russia, this festival was called Kutuja, which was later applied to Christmas Eve. Although the Slavonic name comes from the God Kolyada, it was in honour of Lada, the Goddess of love, youth and fertility. She was said to be reborn each year at this time. Each family burned a Yule log and invited their personal household Gods to join in the festivities. Groups of children went from house to house singing; as a reward, they were given little gifts.
  • Asatruar/Teutonic/Norse: Day of Hertha - the early Germans considered the Norse goddess Hertha or Bertha, the goddess of Domesticity and the home. They baked yeast cakes shaped like slippers, which were called the slippers of Hertha, and filled them with gifts. During the Winter Solstice houses were decked with fir and evergreens to welcome her coming. When the family and serfs were gathered to dine, a great altar of flat stones was erected and here a fire of fir boughs was laid. Hertha descended through the smoke, guiding those who were wise in saga lore to foretell the fortunes of those persons at the feast. Hertha’s altar stones became the hearthstones of the home. In this tradition it is learned why Santa Claus comes down the chimney instead of at the door. It is a survival of the coming of Hertha.
  • Finnish: Day of Beiwe - the sun-goddess worshipped on this date by the Saami, the indigenous people of Finland. She travels with her daughter, Beiwe-Neia, through the sky in an enclosure of reindeer bones, bringing back the green plants for the reindeer to feed upon. On the Winter Solstice, her worshippers sacrifice white female animals and thread the meat on sticks which they bent into rings and tied with bright ribbons. They also smear their doorposts with butter so Beiwe can eat the rich food and begin her recovery.
  • Russian: Day of Rozhanitsa - the winter Goddess of the north is the Russian goddess, Rozhnitsa. In the twelfth century, the eastern Slavs worshipped her as an ancestor, offering her honey, bread and cheese — all bloodless sacrifices, like those offered at the Haloa. In the 19th and early 20th century, Russian women still embroidered and wove bright linens, usually red on white, which depict the Goddesses of the seasons.
  • Goddessian: Sacred Day - This day is sacred to Egyptian Goddess Isis, the Greek Corn Goddess Demeter, and Sul the ancient Briton Goddess of healing and the Sun.
  • European: Evergreen Festival (21 - 25/12 [5 days]) - since ancient times in northern Europe and cultures descended from it, this is the annual Evergreen Festival, celebrated in the planting of new evergreens and the making of evergreen wreaths. 
  • Roman: Feast of Divalia/Angeronalia - in some quarters, on the fifth day of Saturnalia Diva Angerona is recognized. A Roman goddess, who was so obscure that few sources can be found to verify her existence now. Supposedly she is the goddess of silence and is pictured holding her finger to her lips. She prescribes remedies against angina. Her sealed lips represent a warning not to reveal the secret name (or taboo) name of Rome, which some claim is Amor (Roma backwards). This was also a day when sacrifices were made to Hercules and Ceres of a pregnant cow, baked goods and honeyed wine. Her rituals involves spending the day of the solstice in silence. No one was spoken to and no time keeping was allowed. After dark only candles were burned creating an oasis of peace and serenity in the midst of the chaotic Saturnalia season.
  • Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) - the celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one.
  • Egyptian: Feast of Aset (Isis) - in the Khemitian calendar, the feast of Aset (Isis), Queen of Heaven and Earth, wife and sister of Ausar (Osiris) on the month of Mechir, day 6. In Mediterranean countries , Aset was the most widely revered deity in the ancient Western world, worshipped in various forms for some 4,000 years until she was rivaled by her Christian/Islamic counterpart, the Virgin Mary, and was ultimately suppressed by Islam. She rises again at this time.
  • Jewish/Judaism: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.
  • Southern Hemisphere/Pagan: Litha - these days mark the celebration of the Lesser Sabbat of Litha in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Chinese: The Dōngzhì/Winter Solstice Festival - one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around this time when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù which represents “Returning”.
  • Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place at this time (approximately).
  • Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
  • Native American: Tewa Festival of the Turtle Dance (21 - 24/12 [four days])- among the Tewa people of the Pueblo tribes, the festival of the Turtle Dance, commemorating the seeding and conception of all life by Father Sky and Mother Earth, begins now on the day before the Full Moon closest to the Winter Solstice.
  • Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony (21/12 - 9/1 [20 days]) - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast of St. Thomas - the famous apostle known as “Doubting Thomas” who asked to check the wounds of Christ just to be sure. He is the patron saint of carpenters (because he was a carpenter), masons and architects because he was a carpenter and plays the clownish role of those who refuse to consider the premise that once we believe it, we can see it. One of the early saints given a feast day on or near the solstice for no apparent historical reason, undoubtedly to divert attention from the pagan rites associated with that date. On this day in England, poor women and children went “a-Thomassing” for the ingredients for the Christmas feast, particularly wheat for frumenty and flour for Yule bread. Ghosts were permitted to walk abroad from now until Christmas Eve. Since he is the patron saint of architects, people chose to make their gingerbread houses on this day and since he’s the doubting apostle, people were compelled to reflect on the role of doubt in their lives, Feast of St. Peter Canisius
  • History: Birthdate of Arthur - one of the many male solar figures who are celebrated now, at the winter solstice, is the legendary British warrior hero King Arthur, whose birthday is thought to be this date. Arthur’s precedence traversed both Pagan and Christianized worlds
  • History: Forefather’s Day, in the USA, this day was made a legal holiday in Massachusetts in 1895 using the correct date of December 21. In 1769 a club was formed to honour the settlers of New Plymouth. The attention of the group was focused on Plymouth Rock by Deacon Ephriam Spooner. He had been a boy of six back in 1741 when Elder Thomas Faunce made his famous proclamation about Plymouth Rock. Faunce became concerned when he heard a wharf was to be built around a huge boulder. He protested as he spread the story that this was the very rock on which the Pilgrims had landed. The club decided to memorialize the landing with an annual celebration of Forefathers Day, honoring the landing of the “first-comers.” The celebration was held December 22, 1769 and was first referred to as “Old Colony Day.” With the newly adopted Gregorian calendar the Club added 11 days to the landing instead of the correct 10. For over a century Forefathers Day was celebrated a day late.
  • Lore/Culture: Humbug Day - a day that allows those preparing for Christmas/Holidays to vent their frustrations - 12 “humbugs” allowed.

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

20

Dec

20 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Libra
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Mother Goddesses 
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Pine/Evergreen, Mistletoe, Holly
Cards for Today: The Priestess, The Star, Page of Wands, King of Swords
Anglo-Saxon/Asatruar/Norse/Nordo-Celtic/Pagan: Mother Night/Modresnach (Módraniht)/Yule Eve (20 - 31/12) - on this night (approximately), a Teutonic/Saxon/Scandinavian Midwinter celebration was/is observed. In the Norse calendar, it is the first day of the Yuletide season, associated with the word geola (the “yoke” that joins the old and new years), the day in the year when the Sun is above the horizon for the shortest time, following and preceding the two longest nights of the year. As the longest and darkest night, it is considered the womb of the New Year. The origins of Mothers’ Night are illusive and it is only mentioned in one Anglo-Saxon source. Yet a similar set of rites are known from other Germanic sources. In the Icelandic traditions, Dísablót took place at Winter Nights, the last two days of Fall and first day of Winter. Winter Nights or Veturnætur was the start of the New Year in Iceland, just as Mothers Night was for the Anglo-Saxons. The ancient Germanic peoples felt that the New Year was sacred to the ancestors and particularly to the mother figures because they saw it as the birth of the New Year and the ancestral women were seen as guarding the home, therefore called on during the harsh winter months. The link between Goddesses and the New Year is not limited to the Anglo-Saxons, Norse or Celtic peoples. Customarily on this night it was thought wise to pray for auspicious dreams, which were said to foretell the year to come. Within its Saxon/Teutonic observations Odin, Frigg, Freya, Ing, Erda are typically honoured. Many of its traditions live on modern Christmas celebrations or symbols. The decorated evergreen tree was a symbol of the Tree of Life or the World Tree. The star atop the tree represented the pole star of the Star Goddess. The dinners and gifts were in honour of the food and prosperity given by the Mother Goddesses to their human children. The elves connected with the current Santa Claus are remnants of the supernatural Nature folk of the Old Religion and Santa himself was derived from Odinist aspects. The reindeer may be seen as symbolic of old shamanic precepts used by the people. The mistletoe is said to have first been picked and used to collect kisses by the Goddess Frigg, before it was later used by others as a weapon to kill her son Baldr whom she gives birth to at this time. In Asatruar tradition and the history of the Norse/Nordo-Celtic peoples, Mother Night begins the 12-day Yule cycle, in which the fading of the old year is marked in rites of the Holly King and Oak King. Freya, the Norse Goddess of Love, female fertility and creativity is honoured with evergreens and fires, feasting and singing at the start of her festival, which later became the 12 days of Christmas. 
Jewish/Judaism: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - begins the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.
Southern Hemisphere/Pagan: Litha - these days begin the celebration of the Lesser Sabbat of Litha in the Southern Hemisphere.
European Lore/Tradition: St Thomas’ Eve - an eve for love charms. Following the trend seen at this time for the importance of dreams, people wanting a prophetic vision stuck a pin in the exact center of an onion and put eight more pins around the first in a circle while saying: “Good St Thomas, do me right, And let my true love come to-night, That I may see him in the face, And in my arms may him embrace”. People would then sleep with the onion under their pillow. Both onions and the circle surrounding a dot are solar symbols whereby this charm relates to the sun, which is born again on Winter Solstice.
European Lore/Tradition: Midwinter Eve - like the eve of most holidays, this one is also is an opportunity for love divination. People would find an Elder tree and shake it, saying; “Sweet Elder, I shake, I shake! Tell me, ye dogs that wake, Where is my lover tonight?” They would then listen carefully. It was believed  that the goddess Holle will send her white dogs in the direction from which the future lover will come and that if one remained quiet and patient, they would hear them barking.
Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) - this is the fourth day of Saturnalia in known as a celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one. 
Chinese: The Dōngzhì/Winter Solstice Festival - one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around this time when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù which represents “Returning”.
Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place at this time (approximately).
Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
Astrological: Venus Enters Aquarius - this is a rare month in which only one planet ingress occurs. Venus seems to revel in all activity that flows in this air sign - but prefers Pisces, where she’ll be exalted, from Jan. 14, in the water element of her deepest feeling. 
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch
History: Birthdate of Uri Geller (1946) - famous psychokinetic Uri Geller was born in Tel Aviv, Israel on this date. His ability to bend metal objects by stroking them with his fingers and to stop clocks simply by gazing at them earned him much renown and were said to have developed at the age of five when he was accidentally shocked by his mother’s electric sewing machine.  
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

20 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Libra
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Mother Goddesses
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Pine/Evergreen, Mistletoe, Holly
  • Cards for Today: The Priestess, The Star, Page of Wands, King of Swords
  • Anglo-Saxon/Asatruar/Norse/Nordo-Celtic/Pagan: Mother Night/Modresnach (Módraniht)/Yule Eve (20 - 31/12) - on this night (approximately), a Teutonic/Saxon/Scandinavian Midwinter celebration was/is observed. In the Norse calendar, it is the first day of the Yuletide season, associated with the word geola (the “yoke” that joins the old and new years), the day in the year when the Sun is above the horizon for the shortest time, following and preceding the two longest nights of the year. As the longest and darkest night, it is considered the womb of the New Year. The origins of Mothers’ Night are illusive and it is only mentioned in one Anglo-Saxon source. Yet a similar set of rites are known from other Germanic sources. In the Icelandic traditions, Dísablót took place at Winter Nights, the last two days of Fall and first day of Winter. Winter Nights or Veturnætur was the start of the New Year in Iceland, just as Mothers Night was for the Anglo-Saxons. The ancient Germanic peoples felt that the New Year was sacred to the ancestors and particularly to the mother figures because they saw it as the birth of the New Year and the ancestral women were seen as guarding the home, therefore called on during the harsh winter months. The link between Goddesses and the New Year is not limited to the Anglo-Saxons, Norse or Celtic peoples. Customarily on this night it was thought wise to pray for auspicious dreams, which were said to foretell the year to come. Within its Saxon/Teutonic observations Odin, Frigg, Freya, Ing, Erda are typically honoured. Many of its traditions live on modern Christmas celebrations or symbols. The decorated evergreen tree was a symbol of the Tree of Life or the World Tree. The star atop the tree represented the pole star of the Star Goddess. The dinners and gifts were in honour of the food and prosperity given by the Mother Goddesses to their human children. The elves connected with the current Santa Claus are remnants of the supernatural Nature folk of the Old Religion and Santa himself was derived from Odinist aspects. The reindeer may be seen as symbolic of old shamanic precepts used by the people. The mistletoe is said to have first been picked and used to collect kisses by the Goddess Frigg, before it was later used by others as a weapon to kill her son Baldr whom she gives birth to at this time. In Asatruar tradition and the history of the Norse/Nordo-Celtic peoples, Mother Night begins the 12-day Yule cycle, in which the fading of the old year is marked in rites of the Holly King and Oak King. Freya, the Norse Goddess of Love, female fertility and creativity is honoured with evergreens and fires, feasting and singing at the start of her festival, which later became the 12 days of Christmas. 
  • Jewish/Judaism: Hanukkah (20 - 28/12) - begins the eight days of the great feast of lights in the Jewish festival cycle. This feast celebrates the rites that followed the Maccabees’ liberation of Jerusalem from the Syrians, and the miracle whereby a tiny amount of oil found in the temple, reckoned to be enough to give light for only one day, burned for the full eight days the priests needed to consecrate new oil. In this year a synchronicity may be held with Mother Night.
  • Southern Hemisphere/Pagan: Litha - these days begin the celebration of the Lesser Sabbat of Litha in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • European Lore/Tradition: St Thomas’ Eve - an eve for love charms. Following the trend seen at this time for the importance of dreams, people wanting a prophetic vision stuck a pin in the exact center of an onion and put eight more pins around the first in a circle while saying: “Good St Thomas, do me right, And let my true love come to-night, That I may see him in the face, And in my arms may him embrace”. People would then sleep with the onion under their pillow. Both onions and the circle surrounding a dot are solar symbols whereby this charm relates to the sun, which is born again on Winter Solstice.
  • European Lore/Tradition: Midwinter Eve - like the eve of most holidays, this one is also is an opportunity for love divination. People would find an Elder tree and shake it, saying; “Sweet Elder, I shake, I shake! Tell me, ye dogs that wake, Where is my lover tonight?” They would then listen carefully. It was believed  that the goddess Holle will send her white dogs in the direction from which the future lover will come and that if one remained quiet and patient, they would hear them barking.
  • Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) - this is the fourth day of Saturnalia in known as a celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one.
  • Chinese: The Dōngzhì/Winter Solstice Festival - one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around this time when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù which represents “Returning”.
  • Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place at this time (approximately).
  • Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
  • Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Astrological: Venus Enters Aquarius - this is a rare month in which only one planet ingress occurs. Venus seems to revel in all activity that flows in this air sign - but prefers Pisces, where she’ll be exalted, from Jan. 14, in the water element of her deepest feeling.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch
  • History: Birthdate of Uri Geller (1946) - famous psychokinetic Uri Geller was born in Tel Aviv, Israel on this date. His ability to bend metal objects by stroking them with his fingers and to stop clocks simply by gazing at them earned him much renown and were said to have developed at the age of five when he was accidentally shocked by his mother’s electric sewing machine. 

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

19

Dec

19 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Virgo
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Ops, Saturnus
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Grain, Date, Fig
Cards for Today: The Empress
Roman: Opalia - on the third day of the Saturnalia, a feast was dedicated to Ops (Abundance), the harvest Goddess of fertility and success, and consort of Saturn (Consus). Consus is an alternate/aspected name of Saturn whom the entire festival honours was consort and husband of Ops. The Latin word consivia (or consiva) derives from conserere (“to sow”) and may be interpreted as meaning “the sowing of crops”, since Ops ultimately means “crops” in the sense of “riches or goods”. This word is also related to Consus as “the seeder”, who protected the harvested grain. Ops was deemed a chthonic (underworld, inside the earth) goddess who made the vegetation grow. Since her abode was inside the earth, Ops was invoked by  worshipers at this time while sitting, with their hands touching the ground. Ops was also considered the Great Mother of the Gods and the Great Goddess. As such, she is a manifestation of Rhea, Cybele, Demeter, and so on, personifying the earth as the giver of all riches for which she was celebrtaed on this day.
Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) is known as a celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one. 
Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place on this day (approximately).
Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
Guatemalan: Festival of Tsijolaj - the messenger of the Sun God is honoured in Chichicastenango.
Mexican/Aztecan/Mayan: Day of Quetzalcoatl - the feathered serpent god was honoured in ritual variously from the 6th to the 26th of December.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  Feast of St. Adam, Feast of St. William of Fenoli
Astronomical: Solar - On this day the Sun crosses the Galactic Center point near 27° Sagittarius. The Sun is now positioned at the exact midpoint of an imaginary line between the Galactic Center and Earth. The effect of this is to create a brief window of very high receptivity and clarity in transdimensional communication. For those willing to listen, the air shimmers with guidance and inspiration.
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

19 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Virgo
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Ops, Saturnus
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Grain, Date, Fig
  • Cards for Today: The Empress
  • Roman: Opalia - on the third day of the Saturnalia, a feast was dedicated to Ops (Abundance), the harvest Goddess of fertility and success, and consort of Saturn (Consus). Consus is an alternate/aspected name of Saturn whom the entire festival honours was consort and husband of Ops. The Latin word consivia (or consiva) derives from conserere (“to sow”) and may be interpreted as meaning “the sowing of crops”, since Ops ultimately means “crops” in the sense of “riches or goods”. This word is also related to Consus as “the seeder”, who protected the harvested grain. Ops was deemed a chthonic (underworld, inside the earth) goddess who made the vegetation grow. Since her abode was inside the earth, Ops was invoked by  worshipers at this time while sitting, with their hands touching the ground. Ops was also considered the Great Mother of the Gods and the Great Goddess. As such, she is a manifestation of Rhea, Cybele, Demeter, and so on, personifying the earth as the giver of all riches for which she was celebrtaed on this day.
  • Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) is known as a celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one.
  • Hinduism: Pongol - an annual Hindu Solstice celebration honouring the Goddess Sankrat took place on this day (approximately).
  • Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
  • Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Guatemalan: Festival of Tsijolaj - the messenger of the Sun God is honoured in Chichicastenango.
  • Mexican/Aztecan/Mayan: Day of Quetzalcoatl - the feathered serpent god was honoured in ritual variously from the 6th to the 26th of December.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  Feast of St. Adam, Feast of St. William of Fenoli
  • Astronomical: Solar - On this day the Sun crosses the Galactic Center point near 27° Sagittarius. The Sun is now positioned at the exact midpoint of an imaginary line between the Galactic Center and Earth. The effect of this is to create a brief window of very high receptivity and clarity in transdimensional communication. For those willing to listen, the air shimmers with guidance and inspiration.

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

18

Dec

18 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Virgo
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Epona, Saturnus (Saturn)
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Ryegrass, Oat, Grain, Apple, Lucerne, Clover
Cards for Today: The Priestess, The Chariot
Romano-Celtic/Pagan: Eponalia - On this second day of the Saturnalia, ancient Romans celebrated the Eponalia - a feast dedicated to Epona, the Celtic Mother-Goddess. In Gallo-Roman religion, Epona was a protector of horses, donkeys, and mules. She was particularly a goddess of fertility, as shown by her attributes of a patera, cornucopia, ears of grain and the presence of foals in some sculptures suggested that the goddess and her horses were leaders of the soul in the after-life ride, with parallels in Rhiannon of the Mabinogion. Unusually for a Celtic deity, most of whom were associated with specific localities, the worship of Epona, “the sole Celtic divinity ultimately worshipped in Rome itself,” was widespread in the Roman Empire between the first and third centuries CE.
Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) is known as a celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which  represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one. 
Latvian: Birth of Diev - The birth of the God Diev and the rebirth of the Sun is celebrated annually in Latvia with a four day winter festival. Houses are festively decorated and traditional feasts are prepared to welcome the four gift-bearing celestial beings - the Brothers Ziemassvetki - who are the heralds of the winter solstice. 
Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
Japanese: On-Matsuri (15 - 18/12) - at Kasuga Shrine in Japan’s ancient capital of Nara, the gods are treated to an amazing four-day performance of music, theatre and dance at the On-Matsuri (winter festival). This is one of the world’s many December feasts in which sacred images are removed from their shrines, purified and reinstalled. The rare feature of the On-Matsuri is that the gods are placed in a temporary shrine fronted by a stage on which they, and humans who also like to come and watch, get to see for four days any and every kind of traditional performance Japan has to offer, all performed outdoors.
Egyptian: 3rd Day Mechir - recognizes when Seth went forth. 
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  Feast of St. Flannan, Las Posadas, Feast of Our Lady of Solitude - aspected as the patron of hermits, this Feast day is observed by Catholics in Mexico
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

18 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Virgo
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Epona, Saturnus (Saturn)
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Ryegrass, Oat, Grain, Apple, Lucerne, Clover
  • Cards for Today: The Priestess, The Chariot
  • Romano-Celtic/Pagan: Eponalia - On this second day of the Saturnalia, ancient Romans celebrated the Eponalia - a feast dedicated to Epona, the Celtic Mother-Goddess. In Gallo-Roman religion, Epona was a protector of horses, donkeys, and mules. She was particularly a goddess of fertility, as shown by her attributes of a patera, cornucopia, ears of grain and the presence of foals in some sculptures suggested that the goddess and her horses were leaders of the soul in the after-life ride, with parallels in Rhiannon of the Mabinogion. Unusually for a Celtic deity, most of whom were associated with specific localities, the worship of Epona, “the sole Celtic divinity ultimately worshipped in Rome itself,” was widespread in the Roman Empire between the first and third centuries CE.
  • Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia (17/12 - 23(24)/12) is known as a celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which  represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one.
  • Latvian: Birth of Diev - The birth of the God Diev and the rebirth of the Sun is celebrated annually in Latvia with a four day winter festival. Houses are festively decorated and traditional feasts are prepared to welcome the four gift-bearing celestial beings - the Brothers Ziemassvetki - who are the heralds of the winter solstice.
  • Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
  • Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Japanese: On-Matsuri (15 - 18/12) - at Kasuga Shrine in Japan’s ancient capital of Nara, the gods are treated to an amazing four-day performance of music, theatre and dance at the On-Matsuri (winter festival). This is one of the world’s many December feasts in which sacred images are removed from their shrines, purified and reinstalled. The rare feature of the On-Matsuri is that the gods are placed in a temporary shrine fronted by a stage on which they, and humans who also like to come and watch, get to see for four days any and every kind of traditional performance Japan has to offer, all performed outdoors.
  • Egyptian: 3rd Day Mechir - recognizes when Seth went forth.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  Feast of St. Flannan, Las Posadas, Feast of Our Lady of Solitude - aspected as the patron of hermits, this Feast day is observed by Catholics in Mexico

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

17

Dec

17 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Virgo
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Saturnus, Ops
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Holly, Pine, Corn/Grain
Cards for Today: The Fool, The Lovers, The Devil
Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia Begins (17/12 - 23(24)/12) Today is the first day of Saturnalia. It is known as a celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which  represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one. 
Santerian: Festival of Babaluaiye - honouring Babalu who punishes people with smallpox, leprosy and other viral afflictions. Babaluaiye means “father of the world.” Babalu represents the results or diseases of overindulgence and excesses, demanding moderation and humility in all things. Babalu is the wrath of the earth and will punish those that disrespect it. He is associated with both inoculation and immunization, providing the means to cure disease or cause it. His color is royal purple, and he is identified with people who have broken or missing limbs, derelicts, beggars and with those who have been abandoned and forgotten by society. 
Egyptian: 2nd day of Mechir - the Netjers of Heaven received Ra on this date. 
Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Mauseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  Feast of St. Lazarus
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

17 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Virgo
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Saturnus, Ops
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Holly, Pine, Corn/Grain
  • Cards for Today: The Fool, The Lovers, The Devil
  • Roman/Pagan: Saturnalia Begins (17/12 - 23(24)/12) Today is the first day of Saturnalia. It is known as a celebration in honour of the Golden Age of the God Saturnus. He was pictured with a half-bare chest and a sickle or ears of corn in his hand. Saturnus was associated in Roman times with fertility, agriculture and wealth but later became known as a god of Chaos. The Roman equivalent to the Greek Kronos, god of sowing and the harvest. Kronos was the son of Ouranos (the sky god) and Gaia (the Earth mother/goddess). Also recognized was his consort Ops, Goddess of abundance and fertility. Saturnalia it is thought, was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, popularity grew it to a week-long extravaganza where drinking and debauchery started on the shortest day and continued through the longest night. At this time of goodwill to all, the common greetings were “Bona Saturnalia!” or “Io, Saturnalia!” (pronounced “yo”) The festival in premise harkened back to the earlier time when Saturnus ruled and all men were equal, there was no work and everyone enjoyed peace and happiness. It was a time of tremendous celebration and can best be described as a festival of extravagance, considered decadent by some accounts because of its unrestrained nature. It was marked by tomfoolery, what could be called sexual license per se (of all configurations) and the reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters switched places. The toga was not worn, but instead the colorful, informal “dinner clothes” as well as the pileus (freedman’s hat) a felt cap (the forerunner of the elve’s hat) normally worn by the liberated slave that symbolized the freedom of the season was donned by everyone. Nudity and sensual representation were openly allowed. It was generally a week of feasting, merriment, charades, gift-giving, and the lighting of torches and candles. Gambling was allowed in public, schools and courts were closed, no criminals were punished, all work was stopped and war was postponed. The gifts exchanged included traditional wax tapers known as “cerei” which  represented the returning light of the Solstice and small clay earthenware figures (dolls) called “sigillaria” which were flat and had oval faces, of self-setting clay, with a hole for hanging in each one, so that later, for the Roman God Dionysia, they can be hung on a pine tree. The pottery represented human heads once placed on the god’s altar. Other gifts given were dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, perfumes, pipes, a pig, sausage, a parrot and with passing time more elaborate gifts such as silver. Saturnalia may have evolved from Persian and Egyptian holidays however. The Egyptians celebrated a solstice festival for twelve days, reflecting the twelve divisions in the sun calendar. They decorated with greenery of the area - palms with twelve shoots- as a symbol of the completed year. Palms were especially appropriate because they were thought to put forth a new shoot each month. The annual renewal festival of the Babylonians was adopted by the Persians as Sacaea. One of the themes of these festivals, and later of Saturnalia, was the temporary upset of order. As the old year died, rules were relaxed. Everyone was considered equal and good will was extended to all. Slaves were treated as free men and were the first to be entertained at the banquet. They were served by their masters in recollection that under the rule of Saturn there had been no differences in social ranks. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. In the eastern provinces, mock kings were elected with bean lots and issued silly orders.  In the Danube, one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire , the “Lord of Misrule” concept took on a darker representation where it was said that Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule. After all had indulged, the chosen man’s throat was slit on the altar of Saturn. This festival is the origin of most all carnivals and revels still observed today. The modern celebration of Christmas is elementally a continuation of this midwinter festivity. In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine designated December 25, Sol Invictus (birthday of the Sun-God Mithra), as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the Christian Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome , which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and Christmas became merged into one.
  • Santerian: Festival of Babaluaiye - honouring Babalu who punishes people with smallpox, leprosy and other viral afflictions. Babaluaiye means “father of the world.” Babalu represents the results or diseases of overindulgence and excesses, demanding moderation and humility in all things. Babalu is the wrath of the earth and will punish those that disrespect it. He is associated with both inoculation and immunization, providing the means to cure disease or cause it. His color is royal purple, and he is identified with people who have broken or missing limbs, derelicts, beggars and with those who have been abandoned and forgotten by society.
  • Egyptian: 2nd day of Mechir - the Netjers of Heaven received Ra on this date.
  • Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Mauseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
  • Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
  • Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  Feast of St. Lazarus

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

16

Dec

16 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Leo
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Sophia/Sapientia  
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Pomegranate, Fig, Apple, Sage
Cards for Today: The Priestess, Judgement
Graeco-Roman: Festival of Sophia/Sapientia - the festival of the Goddess of wisdom, Sapientia was held annually on the eve of Saturnalia, a day when wisdom may not be the ruling quality. She was also known as Sophia In Greece, Sapientia-Sophia in medieval times and Sophia, by some accounts, in Celtic regions.
Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
Japanese: On-Matsuri (15 - 18/12) - at Kasuga Shrine in Japan’s ancient capital of Nara, the gods are treated to an amazing four-day performance of music, theatre and dance at the On-Matsuri (winter festival). This is one of the world’s many December feasts in which sacred images are removed from their shrines, purified and reinstalled. The rare feature of the On-Matsuri is that the gods are placed in a temporary shrine fronted by a stage on which they, and humans who also like to come and watch, get to see for four days any and every kind of traditional performance Japan has to offer, all performed outdoors.
Bhutanese Buddhism: Ngenpa Guzom/Meeting of Nine Evils - in Bhutan this day (approximately) is honoured as the Meeting of Nine Evils - known as Ngenpa Guzom it corresponds to seventh day of the 11 month of the Bhutanese calendar. It is a national holiday. It is believed that on this day there is no merit in performing any good deeds and if anyone should do anything sinful, the negative karmic effects will be multiplied. It is also believed that on this day people should not venture outdoors, leave on a journey or begin a new venture. Ngenpa Guzom, is widely celebrated by the people of central and eastern regions, as a day to eat, feast, play archery, have sex and do nothing of important merit in particular.  
Egyptian: First Day of Mechir - the God Rekeh-ur was sacred to the Egyptian month of Mechir. Today is the festival of the left eye of Ra, and celebration of Ptah (creator of the cosmos) lifting up Ra with His hands. The Gods and Goddesses are in festivity.
Goddessian: Sacred Day - this day is also sacred to the wisdom-Goddessess Athena, Kista, Maat, Minerva, and the Shekinah.
Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17/12) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Mauseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast of St. Adelaide, Feast of St. Eusebius, Las Posadas
History: Birthdate of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770).
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

16 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Leo
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Sophia/Sapientia 
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Pomegranate, Fig, Apple, Sage
  • Cards for Today: The Priestess, Judgement
  • Graeco-Roman: Festival of Sophia/Sapientia - the festival of the Goddess of wisdom, Sapientia was held annually on the eve of Saturnalia, a day when wisdom may not be the ruling quality. She was also known as Sophia In Greece, Sapientia-Sophia in medieval times and Sophia, by some accounts, in Celtic regions.
  • Mexican: Las Posadas (16 -24/12) - The Yule Child is honoured during this time in Mexico, by a religious festival which begins annually on this day. In Catholic practice, the year’s most efficacious novena - a nine-day prayer cycle - begins now on the ninth day before Christmas. This novena (called Las Posadas in Hispanic countries), commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph toward Jerusalem for the birth of the Christ child. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
  • Native American: Shalako/Soyal/Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life in a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy days in the Hopi calendar. It involves days of fasting, concentration, silence including the removal of the sacred images/figures from their shrines for the days of purification. They are then reinstalled in a solemn procession with prayers reaffirming communal and cosmic order which prepares for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Japanese: On-Matsuri (15 - 18/12) - at Kasuga Shrine in Japan’s ancient capital of Nara, the gods are treated to an amazing four-day performance of music, theatre and dance at the On-Matsuri (winter festival). This is one of the world’s many December feasts in which sacred images are removed from their shrines, purified and reinstalled. The rare feature of the On-Matsuri is that the gods are placed in a temporary shrine fronted by a stage on which they, and humans who also like to come and watch, get to see for four days any and every kind of traditional performance Japan has to offer, all performed outdoors.
  • Bhutanese Buddhism: Ngenpa Guzom/Meeting of Nine Evils - in Bhutan this day (approximately) is honoured as the Meeting of Nine Evils - known as Ngenpa Guzom it corresponds to seventh day of the 11 month of the Bhutanese calendar. It is a national holiday. It is believed that on this day there is no merit in performing any good deeds and if anyone should do anything sinful, the negative karmic effects will be multiplied. It is also believed that on this day people should not venture outdoors, leave on a journey or begin a new venture. Ngenpa Guzom, is widely celebrated by the people of central and eastern regions, as a day to eat, feast, play archery, have sex and do nothing of important merit in particular. 
  • Egyptian: First Day of Mechir - the God Rekeh-ur was sacred to the Egyptian month of Mechir. Today is the festival of the left eye of Ra, and celebration of Ptah (creator of the cosmos) lifting up Ra with His hands. The Gods and Goddesses are in festivity.
  • Goddessian: Sacred Day - this day is also sacred to the wisdom-Goddessess Athena, Kista, Maat, Minerva, and the Shekinah.
  • Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17/12) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Mauseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast of St. Adelaide, Feast of St. Eusebius, Las Posadas
  • History: Birthdate of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770).

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

15

Dec

15 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Leo
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Ceyx & Alcyone
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Kingfisher Daisy, Larkspur, Red Pine
Cards for Today: The Lovers, The Star, The Empress
Graeco-Roman: Alcyone Days/Halcyon Days - a time of tranquillity (seven days before and after Winter Solstice) where the sea and weather were thought to be calm and peaceful. The Greek Goddess Alcyone, who came to be symbolized by the kingfisher, is honoured at this time. Alcyone, whose name means Queen Who Wards Off Evil (Storms), was the daughter of Aeolus, the god of winds. She was so happy in her marriage with Ceyx, son of the Morning Star, that they called themselves Zeus and Hera (curiously since the relationship of these deities was not an example of tranquility or a happy marriage). This angered  Zeus and he thusly struck down the ship on which Ceyx was sailing with a thunderbolt, drowning all. When her husband’s ghost appeared before her, in anquish, Alcyone threw herself into the sea and drowned. They were pitied by other gods and both were transformed into kingfishers. According to legend, these days are a special time due to the magical powers of the Halcyon – the creature the lovers became – who then was known as a fabled bird, said to nest on the sea and be able to calm the wind and waves during this time. The legend says that every winter during the Halcyon Days, the female kingfisher carries her dead mate to his burial, then builds a nest, launches it onto the sea, lays her eggs and hatches her chicks. While she is brooding over them, the sea remains unusually calm since Aeolus sees to it that no wind blows. Actually kingfishers do not nest on water, but lay eggs in holes by the waterside. Interestingly, the kingfisher’s eggs hatch at this time of year, but only if tides are low and the sea is calm. It is suggested that the myth refers to the birth of the new sacred king at winter solstice, after the Queen, who represents his mother, has conveyed the old king’s corpse to a sepulchral island. The Mediterranean is typically calm around the time of the Winter Solstice. The time also honours Neptune as God of the Sea. The dried body of a kingfisher is used as a talisman against lightning. It is believed wise to pay special attention during this time to ones dreams.
Roman: Consualia/Consuales Ludi - winter sowing festival - another Roman day of observation, like those on July 7 and Aug 21 )or 15), in honour of Consus, typically thought the god of grain stores. The festival recognizes him as the god of counsel, and the one who protects the harvest which is in storage at the time of the festival, which took place about the middle of Sextilis (21 August). The harvest grains were stored in underground vaults, and the temple of Consus was also underground. This shrine was covered with earth all year and was only uncovered for this one day. Mars, as a protector of the harvest, was also honored on this day, as were the lares, the household gods that individual families held sacred.During the celebration horses, mules, and asses were exempted from all labour, and were led through the streets adorned with garlands and flowers. Chariot races were held this day in the Circus Maximus, which included an odd race in which chariots were pulled by mules.There were also sacrifices to Consus on 7 July and 15 December. Consus’ feasts were followed by those of the related goddess Ops, his consort: the Opiconsivia on 25 August and the Opalia on 19 December. 
Roman: Fortuna Redux - the goddess of happy journeys and prosperous returns, was honoured today. (See 12 October)
Egyptian: Feast in the Temple of Hapi - the 30th day of Tybi recalls the crossing before Nun in the Temple of Hapi.
Tradition/Puerto Rican/Catholic: Festival of Navidades - in Puerto Rico, the Yule Child is honoured with a religious festival called Navidades, which begins annually on this day. It is celebrated until the sixth of January.
Japanese: On-Matsuri - at Kasuga Shrine in Japan’s ancient capital of Nara, the gods are treated to an amazing four-day performance of music, theatre and dance at the On-Matsuri (winter festival). This is one of the world’s many December feasts in which sacred images are removed from their shrines, purified and reinstalled. The rare feature of the On-Matsuri is that the gods are placed in a temporary shrine fronted by a stage on which they, and humans who also like to come and watch, get to see for four days any and every kind of traditional performance Japan has to offer, all performed outdoors.
Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Mauseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
Native American: Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life, Soyal, is a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It involves 8 days of fasting, concentration, silence to prepare for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides. 
Hinduism: Shivaratri - a time of preparation for the new moon.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  Feast Day of St. Nino, Feast Day of St. Valerian,Feast day of St Charles Steeb, Alternative feast day of St Drostan, Feast day of St Florentius, Feast day of St Irenaeus, Feast day of St John Discalceat, Feast day of St Julia, Feast day of St Mary di Rosa, Feast day of St Silvia of Constantinople, Feast day of St Virginia Centurione Bracelli, Feast day of St Wunibald of Heidenheim 
Dutch/History: Kingdom Day - is the commemoration of the signing of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 15 December 1954.
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

15 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Leo
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Ceyx & Alcyone
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Kingfisher Daisy, Larkspur, Red Pine
  • Cards for Today: The Lovers, The Star, The Empress
  • Graeco-Roman: Alcyone Days/Halcyon Days - a time of tranquillity (seven days before and after Winter Solstice) where the sea and weather were thought to be calm and peaceful. The Greek Goddess Alcyone, who came to be symbolized by the kingfisher, is honoured at this time. Alcyone, whose name means Queen Who Wards Off Evil (Storms), was the daughter of Aeolus, the god of winds. She was so happy in her marriage with Ceyx, son of the Morning Star, that they called themselves Zeus and Hera (curiously since the relationship of these deities was not an example of tranquility or a happy marriage). This angered  Zeus and he thusly struck down the ship on which Ceyx was sailing with a thunderbolt, drowning all. When her husband’s ghost appeared before her, in anquish, Alcyone threw herself into the sea and drowned. They were pitied by other gods and both were transformed into kingfishers. According to legend, these days are a special time due to the magical powers of the Halcyon – the creature the lovers became – who then was known as a fabled bird, said to nest on the sea and be able to calm the wind and waves during this time. The legend says that every winter during the Halcyon Days, the female kingfisher carries her dead mate to his burial, then builds a nest, launches it onto the sea, lays her eggs and hatches her chicks. While she is brooding over them, the sea remains unusually calm since Aeolus sees to it that no wind blows. Actually kingfishers do not nest on water, but lay eggs in holes by the waterside. Interestingly, the kingfisher’s eggs hatch at this time of year, but only if tides are low and the sea is calm. It is suggested that the myth refers to the birth of the new sacred king at winter solstice, after the Queen, who represents his mother, has conveyed the old king’s corpse to a sepulchral island. The Mediterranean is typically calm around the time of the Winter Solstice. The time also honours Neptune as God of the Sea. The dried body of a kingfisher is used as a talisman against lightning. It is believed wise to pay special attention during this time to ones dreams.
  • Roman: Consualia/Consuales Ludi - winter sowing festival - another Roman day of observation, like those on July 7 and Aug 21 )or 15), in honour of Consus, typically thought the god of grain stores. The festival recognizes him as the god of counsel, and the one who protects the harvest which is in storage at the time of the festival, which took place about the middle of Sextilis (21 August). The harvest grains were stored in underground vaults, and the temple of Consus was also underground. This shrine was covered with earth all year and was only uncovered for this one day. Mars, as a protector of the harvest, was also honored on this day, as were the lares, the household gods that individual families held sacred.During the celebration horses, mules, and asses were exempted from all labour, and were led through the streets adorned with garlands and flowers. Chariot races were held this day in the Circus Maximus, which included an odd race in which chariots were pulled by mules.There were also sacrifices to Consus on 7 July and 15 December. Consus’ feasts were followed by those of the related goddess Ops, his consort: the Opiconsivia on 25 August and the Opalia on 19 December.
  • Roman: Fortuna Redux - the goddess of happy journeys and prosperous returns, was honoured today. (See 12 October)
  • Egyptian: Feast in the Temple of Hapi - the 30th day of Tybi recalls the crossing before Nun in the Temple of Hapi.
  • Tradition/Puerto Rican/Catholic: Festival of Navidades - in Puerto Rico, the Yule Child is honoured with a religious festival called Navidades, which begins annually on this day. It is celebrated until the sixth of January.
  • Japanese: On-Matsuri - at Kasuga Shrine in Japan’s ancient capital of Nara, the gods are treated to an amazing four-day performance of music, theatre and dance at the On-Matsuri (winter festival). This is one of the world’s many December feasts in which sacred images are removed from their shrines, purified and reinstalled. The rare feature of the On-Matsuri is that the gods are placed in a temporary shrine fronted by a stage on which they, and humans who also like to come and watch, get to see for four days any and every kind of traditional performance Japan has to offer, all performed outdoors.
  • Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Mauseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
  • Native American: Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life, Soyal, is a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It involves 8 days of fasting, concentration, silence to prepare for the return of the Kachina Spirit guides.
  • Hinduism: Shivaratri - a time of preparation for the new moon.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  Feast Day of St. Nino, Feast Day of St. Valerian,Feast day of St Charles Steeb, Alternative feast day of St Drostan, Feast day of St Florentius, Feast day of St Irenaeus, Feast day of St John Discalceat, Feast day of St Julia, Feast day of St Mary di Rosa, Feast day of St Silvia of Constantinople, Feast day of St Virginia Centurione Bracelli, Feast day of St Wunibald of Heidenheim
  • Dutch/History: Kingdom Day - is the commemoration of the signing of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 15 December 1954.

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

14

Dec

14 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Cancer
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Nostradamus
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Rose, Geranium, Oregano, Bay Laurel, Rosemary, Mint, Cayenne, Frankincense
Cards for Today: The Hierophant, Wheel of Fortune, Judgement
History: Birthdate of Nostradamus (1503) - French prophet and astrologer Michel de Nostradamus was born in Saint Remy de Provence on this day in 1503 C.E. He experienced many psychic visions during his childhood, and he later studied the Qabalah, astrology, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics. The first collection of his uncannily accurate visions, written in the form of rhymed quattrains, was published in the year 1555. Three years later, a second larger collection of his prophecies-reaching into the year 3797 was published. Nostradamus died 1 July, 1566. 
Roman: Brumalia (24/11 - 17/12) - a festival of hospitality - from the beginning of the sixth century A. D. to the middle of the tenth, a festival, known as the Brumalia, flourished at Constantinople. It began on November 24 and continued until December 17 - each of the twenty-four days included was designated by a letter of the Greek alphabet. During this festival it was customary for one to entertain each of his friends with a banquet on the day marked with that letter with which his name began. Among other features of the festival was the slaying of a pig in December, a custom which belonged also to the ancient Roman Saturnalia. Other sources identify the festival as a celebration of Dionysus, and later Bacchus in appreciation for the wine at the lean (non-growing time) of year. Moreover, the Brumalia was also called a festival of Cronos, and December 17, the day on which it closed, was the opening day of the Saturnalia. Other information suggests a deity - Bruma - who may have become known as a goddess of winter was also honoured at this time.(see post for 11 December) 
Greek/Lore: Halcyon Days Begin -some sources calendar this date as the beginning of what is called the Halcyon Days- a time of tranquillity - seven days before and after solstice should be calm and peaceful. It is said to wise to pay particular attention to dreams at this time.
Icelandic/Nordic: Yuletide Lad Stúfur/Pönnuskefill (Pot-scraper) Arrives - in Icelandic homes, thirteen impish creatures called the Yuletide Lads begin to visit. This day marks the first day of arrival for these Jólasveinar trolls, which are gnome-like beings that come at the rate of one a day right up to Christmas Eve. It used to be said that they like to eat bad girls and boys. They were once seen as cannibals, but the Yuletide Lads are now gift givers – although still mischievous. Children place a shoe on the windowsill so that they will leave a small gift for those who have been good, such as a small toy or fruit. Those children who have been naughty will receive something they won’t like very much. They are descendants of Gryla the Ogre, a legendary Icelandic monster. The Lad who arrives on 14 December is Stúfur (Shorty), who, as his name implies, is on the small side. He was also known as Pönnuskefill (pot-scraper), as he scraped scraps of food of the pans.
Egyptian: Bast and Sekhmet Guide - On the 29th of Tybi, Thoth sent Bast and Sekhmet to guide Egypt. 
Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Mauseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
Native American: Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life, Soyal, is a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar.  
Pagan: Day of offering in the Desert - a noon ceremony of reunion with the Sun is in some quarters performed and wine is shared.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast day of St. John of the Cross - the mystic poet who was curiously canonized after his death by the same church that persecuted, imprisoned and tortured him, thus causing the suffering that apparently produced some of the greatest mystical poetry in the Christian tradition., Feast day of St. Spyridon, Feast day of St Arsenius, Feast day of St Fingar, Feast day of St Heron, Feast day of St John Bread-and-Water, Feast day of St Matronianus of Milan, Feast day of St Pompeius of Pavia, Feast day of St Theodore
Astronomical: Geminid Meteor Shower - this event peaks at this time. This can be one of the year’s better celestial shows, with bright (average magnitude 2.5) meteours appearing at a rate of some 50 - 80 per hour. Viewing is largely impaired this year, as the Moon is still nearly Full. It is associated with Asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

14 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Cancer
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Nostradamus
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Rose, Geranium, Oregano, Bay Laurel, Rosemary, Mint, Cayenne, Frankincense
  • Cards for Today: The Hierophant, Wheel of Fortune, Judgement
  • History: Birthdate of Nostradamus (1503) - French prophet and astrologer Michel de Nostradamus was born in Saint Remy de Provence on this day in 1503 C.E. He experienced many psychic visions during his childhood, and he later studied the Qabalah, astrology, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics. The first collection of his uncannily accurate visions, written in the form of rhymed quattrains, was published in the year 1555. Three years later, a second larger collection of his prophecies-reaching into the year 3797 was published. Nostradamus died 1 July, 1566. 
  • Roman: Brumalia (24/11 - 17/12) - a festival of hospitality - from the beginning of the sixth century A. D. to the middle of the tenth, a festival, known as the Brumalia, flourished at Constantinople. It began on November 24 and continued until December 17 - each of the twenty-four days included was designated by a letter of the Greek alphabet. During this festival it was customary for one to entertain each of his friends with a banquet on the day marked with that letter with which his name began. Among other features of the festival was the slaying of a pig in December, a custom which belonged also to the ancient Roman Saturnalia. Other sources identify the festival as a celebration of Dionysus, and later Bacchus in appreciation for the wine at the lean (non-growing time) of year. Moreover, the Brumalia was also called a festival of Cronos, and December 17, the day on which it closed, was the opening day of the Saturnalia. Other information suggests a deity - Bruma - who may have become known as a goddess of winter was also honoured at this time.(see post for 11 December)
  • Greek/Lore: Halcyon Days Begin -some sources calendar this date as the beginning of what is called the Halcyon Days- a time of tranquillity - seven days before and after solstice should be calm and peaceful. It is said to wise to pay particular attention to dreams at this time.
  • Icelandic/Nordic: Yuletide Lad Stúfur/Pönnuskefill (Pot-scraper) Arrives - in Icelandic homes, thirteen impish creatures called the Yuletide Lads begin to visit. This day marks the first day of arrival for these Jólasveinar trolls, which are gnome-like beings that come at the rate of one a day right up to Christmas Eve. It used to be said that they like to eat bad girls and boys. They were once seen as cannibals, but the Yuletide Lads are now gift givers – although still mischievous. Children place a shoe on the windowsill so that they will leave a small gift for those who have been good, such as a small toy or fruit. Those children who have been naughty will receive something they won’t like very much. They are descendants of Gryla the Ogre, a legendary Icelandic monster. The Lad who arrives on 14 December is Stúfur (Shorty), who, as his name implies, is on the small side. He was also known as Pönnuskefill (pot-scraper), as he scraped scraps of food of the pans.
  • Egyptian: Bast and Sekhmet Guide - On the 29th of Tybi, Thoth sent Bast and Sekhmet to guide Egypt.
  • Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Mauseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
  • Native American: Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - The Hopi celebration of the return of life, Soyal, is a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately eight days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun’s victory over winter’s darkness. It is considered a most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. 
  • Pagan: Day of offering in the Desert - a noon ceremony of reunion with the Sun is in some quarters performed and wine is shared.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast day of St. John of the Cross - the mystic poet who was curiously canonized after his death by the same church that persecuted, imprisoned and tortured him, thus causing the suffering that apparently produced some of the greatest mystical poetry in the Christian tradition., Feast day of St. Spyridon, Feast day of St Arsenius, Feast day of St Fingar, Feast day of St Heron, Feast day of St John Bread-and-Water, Feast day of St Matronianus of Milan, Feast day of St Pompeius of Pavia, Feast day of St Theodore
  • Astronomical: Geminid Meteor Shower - this event peaks at this time. This can be one of the year’s better celestial shows, with bright (average magnitude 2.5) meteours appearing at a rate of some 50 - 80 per hour. Viewing is largely impaired this year, as the Moon is still nearly Full. It is associated with Asteroid 3200 Phaethon.

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

13

Dec

13 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Cancer
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Lucina/Lucia/Lucy
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Ginger, Ligonberry, Pine, Rue, Saffron, Wheat, Whortleberry
Cards for Today: The Star, Queen of Wands 
European/Tradition/Lore/Catholic/Pagan-derivative: Little Yule/Santa Lucia/St.Lucy’s Day/Luciadagen/Lucina’s Day – this day signifies a completion of the natural cycles and is the 2nd festival of St. Lucia (Lucy). St. Lucy’s Day, also called Little Yule, is a celebration of lights in Nordic and other European traditions as the name Lucy means “light”. Lucina was the Sabine goddess of Light, who was often pictured holding a plate of cakes (later mistaken for eyeballs) and a lamp. She was at some point absorbed into an aspect of Juno, Juno Lucina, who is goddess of childbirth, bringing children to light. Since Lucy’s day falls right before (or, before the calendar change, upon) the winter solstice, she can be seen as the midwife of the miraculous sun-child who is born at Yule. Lucia/Lucy is thought to be another syncretization whereby the Church transmuted the aspects of Lucina to this day of observation. The celebration of St. Lucy spread over all of Europe but the place where she is most beloved is Scandinavia, where light is especially welcome in the long hours of winter darkness. In Sweden and Norway, the Lucia/Lucina configuration is honoured with the traditional festival as the “Queen of Light” (Sun Goddess). On her day, the eldest (or youngest) daughter rises before dawn and fixes a breakfast of special pastries and coffee for her family. She appears in their bedrooms, dressed in a white dress belted with a red sash, and wearing a wreath crown of greens and four (or seven or nine) lighted candles in likely reference to the Pagan symbols of fire and life giving light. Sometimes the wreath crown is made of rue, pine, lingonberries or whortleberry twigs and may be decorated with red ribbons. She serves traditional pastries called lussekatter (or Lucy Cats), x-shaped pastries, sometimes flavored with saffron. Other traditional foods served in her honour include saffron buns, ginger biscuits and glogg - a hot spiced wine with aquavit. She is later given the seat of honour at the brightly lit breakfast. Later in the day, the St. Lucy representation participates in a procession. She wears her crown and procedes around the village followed by her attendants or helpers which are young girls (clad in white with glitter in their hair), star-boys (wearing white shirts and tall cone-shaped hats decorated with stars) and others dressed as elves, trolls, demons and old men. Sometimes St. Stephen (represented by a man on horseback) leads the way. In Switzerland, St Lucy strolls around the village with Father Christmas, giving gifts to the girls while he gives gifts to the boys. In Norway, Lucy is/was considered a loose woman, even a goblin and is said to lead the Wild Hunt. The Celts are thought to have called the day Gwyl o Golau. In Italy, her feast day is celebrated with torchlight processions and bonfires, clear indications of her role as light bringer. Apparently untroubled by the gruesome imagery, Italians eat St. Lucy’s eyes, cakes or biscotti shaped like eyeballs. In honour of a miracle performed by St Lucy during a famine in 1582 (she made a flotilla of grain-bearing ships appear in the harbor — the people were so hungry they boiled and ate the grain without grinding it into flour), Sicilians don’t eat anything made with wheat flour on her day. Instead they eat potatoes or rice in the form of arancine, golden croquettes shaped and fried to the color of oranges and filled with chopped meats. In Palermo, everyone eats cuccia, a dessert of whole-wheat berries cooked in water, then mixed with sweet ricotta. In Hungary, bands of Kotylok (cacklers) or fortune-telling lads go from house to house singing ancient fertility chants. The Kotylok wish for hens and geese, for many eggs and bountiful blessings. If the mistress of the house welcomes the singers and gives them the traditional present of dried pears, blessings will follow. If not, the chicken population may be reduced to one and that one will be blind (St Lucy’s connection with eyesight showing up again in a rather peculiar application). Just as the Italian Santa Lucia  partakes of the qualities of Juno Lucina, the midwife aspect of Juno the Queen of Heaven, the Scandinavian St Lucia partakes of the qualities of Freya, Queen of Heaven. Authorities speculate that the constellation we now know as Orion was once viewed by Celts as the great goddess Bride (the girl representing Lucy is called the Lucy Bride) and by the Northerners as the Goddess Freya. (Orion’s belt was sometimes called “Freya’s Distaff”). Many centuries ago, this constellation processed across the sky during the winter nights, setting in the west at dawn about the time the daughter dresses herself as Lucy. Freya travels across the sky in a chariot drawn by cats. (Now Orion reappears in the North American sky in December.) Perhaps Lucy’s celebration replaced earlier rites devoted to Freya, thus explaining the Lucy cats and the star-boys. Little Yule in the Norse calendar is followed a week later by the Yuletide cycle. Interestingly, the old Swedish feast of Lucia and the similarly-named Roman feast of Juno Lucina - honouring the matron goddess Juno as keeper of the home fires - developed independently in very ancient times, and merged later into the Christian feast of St. Lucy/Lucia. In Catholic belief, Lucy was said to be a Sicilian saint, the patroness of Syracuse where she was martyred in the reign of Diocletian. One story says that when a suitor admired her beautiful eyes she cut them out and sent them to him, asking to be left in peace thereafter (like most early Christian virgin martyrs, she refused marriage). Now she is the patron of eye diseases and the blind and is often depicted carrying her eyeballs on a plate which refers to the other “eyeball” associations. It is also said that she was actually burned as a witch, but the fire did not touch her as she was graced by God. She was later sainted by the Church.
Asatruar/Runic/Nordic: Jara Begins - the half-month of Jara begins on this date. The rune Jara is one of completion and union between spiritual and temporal elements.
Icelandic/Nordic: Yuletide Lad Gully Oaf Arrives - in Icelandic homes, thirteen impish creatures called the Yuletide Lads begin to visit. This day marks the first day of arrival for these Jólasveinar trolls, which are gnome-like beings that come at the rate of one a day right up to Christmas Eve. It used to be said that they like to eat bad girls and boys. They were once seen as cannibals, but the Yuletide Lads are now gift givers – although still mischievous. Children place a shoe on the windowsill so that they will leave a small gift for those who have been good, such as a small toy or fruit. Those children who have been naughty will receive something they won’t like very much. They are descendants of Gryla the Ogre, a legendary Icelandic monster. On December 13 Giljagaur (Gully Oaf) arrives. Before the days of milking machines, he would sneak into the cowshed and skim the froth off the pails of milk.
Roman: Festival for Tellus - the second festival of Tellus, a very ancient Earth Goddess, by whose power plants used for enchantments were produced, and perhaps also in honour of the goddess Ceres. Her Greek counterpart is Gaia. Tellus had her main festival on April 15 - it was called the Fordicia; pregnant cows were sacrificed. Another festival, the Sementivae, was held on January 24. Her male counterpart, Tellumo, was simultaneously honoured.
Pagan/Roman/Multi-tradition: Sacred Day - The Fates, the Benevolent Ones, the Eumenides, the Moerae, the Parcae and Jupiter, leader of the gods and god of the sky (rites would be performed this day in his various temples) are honoured today. 
Graeco-Roman: Day of Ceres/Demeter - another day according to various sources which was said to have celebrated great Demeter in ancient Greece and Ceres in Rome. In Mythology she is the daughter of Saturn and Rhea, wife-sister of Jupiter, mother of Proserpina (Persephone), and patron of Sicily. Ceres is the goddess of growing plants (particularly grain) and of motherly love.
Roman: Ides of December - this date in the Roman calendar was considered the Ides of the month.
Japanese: Koto-Hajime - a day for the beginning of things in preparation for New Year begin today. These include housecleaning, decorating, chimney sweeping and the pounding of rice for cakes (mochi). Presents of money are made to servants at this time of year. 
Japanese: Soot Sweeping Day - a day of fireplace and chimney sweeping to prepare for New Year celebrations.
Egyptian: Thoth’s Oath - The 28th of Tybi commemorates Thoth’s taking the oath. 
Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Moseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
Native American: Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - the most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It lasts four days and correlates with the following observational practices - 1) Celebration of creation dedicated to Spider Woman and the Hawk Maiden ceremony of rebirth and on this date approximately the Hawk maiden begins her dance dedicated to Spider Woman. 2) Soyala (28/11 - 17/12) - among the Hopi and Zuni peoples, these are the days of Soyala, the annual festival of purification and renewal beginning on the New Moon and lasts a approximately a month over the Winter Solstice, the return of life to the world. 
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast day of St Lucy,F east day of St Aubert, Feast day of St Bartholomew of Tuscany, Feast day of St Einhildis, Feast day of St Elizabeth Rose, Feast day of B. John Marinoni, Feast day of St Jodocus, Feast day of St Kenelm, Feast day of St Odilia, Feast day of St Rosw
Tradition/Catholic: Ember Day - yoday is one of several ember days of the year, a custom instituted by Pope Pope Gelasius I (reigned 492 - 496) to seek God’s blessing on the fruitfulness of the earth. It was the practice to put ashes on one’s head, but the name might come from the Saxon emb-ren or imb-ryne , meaning a course or circuit, from the ember days’ commemoration at four quarters of the year, namely: the first Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following, respectively, the first Sunday in Lent (Quadragesima Sunday); Whitsunday; September 14 or, ‘Holyrood Day’; and St Lucy’s Day (December 13).  Or, it comes from the practice of putting ash on the head. There is also the breaking of a fast with bread baked in embers, or ember-bread. The weeks in which they fall are called ember weeks. 
Astronomical: Geminid Meteor Shower - this event peaks tonight and tomorrow. This can be one of the year’s better celestial shows, with bright (average magnitude 2.5) meteours appearing at a rate of some 50 - 80 per hour. Viewing is largely impaired this year, as the Moon is still nearly Full.
Astronomical/Astrological: Mercury Goes Direct (13/12 or 14/12)- depending on location - Mercury goes what is called “direct,” reversing the retrograde motion since 23/11. The delay, confusion, blockage, mechanical troubles and inexplicable human weirdness of the last three weeks now begin to clear. It will not be until Jan. 1, 2012, however, that Mercury clears the “shadow” of the retrograde time by arriving at the zodiac point where the backward motion began. The very long tour of over two months in Sagittarius, the least happy placement, will finally, mercifully, end on 8th January. Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

13 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Cancer
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Lucina/Lucia/Lucy
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Ginger, Ligonberry, Pine, Rue, Saffron, Wheat, Whortleberry
  • Cards for Today: The Star, Queen of Wands
  • European/Tradition/Lore/Catholic/Pagan-derivative: Little Yule/Santa Lucia/St.Lucy’s Day/Luciadagen/Lucina’s Day – this day signifies a completion of the natural cycles and is the 2nd festival of St. Lucia (Lucy). St. Lucy’s Day, also called Little Yule, is a celebration of lights in Nordic and other European traditions as the name Lucy means “light”. Lucina was the Sabine goddess of Light, who was often pictured holding a plate of cakes (later mistaken for eyeballs) and a lamp. She was at some point absorbed into an aspect of Juno, Juno Lucina, who is goddess of childbirth, bringing children to light. Since Lucy’s day falls right before (or, before the calendar change, upon) the winter solstice, she can be seen as the midwife of the miraculous sun-child who is born at Yule. Lucia/Lucy is thought to be another syncretization whereby the Church transmuted the aspects of Lucina to this day of observation. The celebration of St. Lucy spread over all of Europe but the place where she is most beloved is Scandinavia, where light is especially welcome in the long hours of winter darkness. In Sweden and Norway, the Lucia/Lucina configuration is honoured with the traditional festival as the “Queen of Light” (Sun Goddess). On her day, the eldest (or youngest) daughter rises before dawn and fixes a breakfast of special pastries and coffee for her family. She appears in their bedrooms, dressed in a white dress belted with a red sash, and wearing a wreath crown of greens and four (or seven or nine) lighted candles in likely reference to the Pagan symbols of fire and life giving light. Sometimes the wreath crown is made of rue, pine, lingonberries or whortleberry twigs and may be decorated with red ribbons. She serves traditional pastries called lussekatter (or Lucy Cats), x-shaped pastries, sometimes flavored with saffron. Other traditional foods served in her honour include saffron buns, ginger biscuits and glogg - a hot spiced wine with aquavit. She is later given the seat of honour at the brightly lit breakfast. Later in the day, the St. Lucy representation participates in a procession. She wears her crown and procedes around the village followed by her attendants or helpers which are young girls (clad in white with glitter in their hair), star-boys (wearing white shirts and tall cone-shaped hats decorated with stars) and others dressed as elves, trolls, demons and old men. Sometimes St. Stephen (represented by a man on horseback) leads the way. In Switzerland, St Lucy strolls around the village with Father Christmas, giving gifts to the girls while he gives gifts to the boys. In Norway, Lucy is/was considered a loose woman, even a goblin and is said to lead the Wild Hunt. The Celts are thought to have called the day Gwyl o Golau. In Italy, her feast day is celebrated with torchlight processions and bonfires, clear indications of her role as light bringer. Apparently untroubled by the gruesome imagery, Italians eat St. Lucy’s eyes, cakes or biscotti shaped like eyeballs. In honour of a miracle performed by St Lucy during a famine in 1582 (she made a flotilla of grain-bearing ships appear in the harbor — the people were so hungry they boiled and ate the grain without grinding it into flour), Sicilians don’t eat anything made with wheat flour on her day. Instead they eat potatoes or rice in the form of arancine, golden croquettes shaped and fried to the color of oranges and filled with chopped meats. In Palermo, everyone eats cuccia, a dessert of whole-wheat berries cooked in water, then mixed with sweet ricotta. In Hungary, bands of Kotylok (cacklers) or fortune-telling lads go from house to house singing ancient fertility chants. The Kotylok wish for hens and geese, for many eggs and bountiful blessings. If the mistress of the house welcomes the singers and gives them the traditional present of dried pears, blessings will follow. If not, the chicken population may be reduced to one and that one will be blind (St Lucy’s connection with eyesight showing up again in a rather peculiar application). Just as the Italian Santa Lucia  partakes of the qualities of Juno Lucina, the midwife aspect of Juno the Queen of Heaven, the Scandinavian St Lucia partakes of the qualities of Freya, Queen of Heaven. Authorities speculate that the constellation we now know as Orion was once viewed by Celts as the great goddess Bride (the girl representing Lucy is called the Lucy Bride) and by the Northerners as the Goddess Freya. (Orion’s belt was sometimes called “Freya’s Distaff”). Many centuries ago, this constellation processed across the sky during the winter nights, setting in the west at dawn about the time the daughter dresses herself as Lucy. Freya travels across the sky in a chariot drawn by cats. (Now Orion reappears in the North American sky in December.) Perhaps Lucy’s celebration replaced earlier rites devoted to Freya, thus explaining the Lucy cats and the star-boys. Little Yule in the Norse calendar is followed a week later by the Yuletide cycle. Interestingly, the old Swedish feast of Lucia and the similarly-named Roman feast of Juno Lucina - honouring the matron goddess Juno as keeper of the home fires - developed independently in very ancient times, and merged later into the Christian feast of St. Lucy/Lucia. In Catholic belief, Lucy was said to be a Sicilian saint, the patroness of Syracuse where she was martyred in the reign of Diocletian. One story says that when a suitor admired her beautiful eyes she cut them out and sent them to him, asking to be left in peace thereafter (like most early Christian virgin martyrs, she refused marriage). Now she is the patron of eye diseases and the blind and is often depicted carrying her eyeballs on a plate which refers to the other “eyeball” associations. It is also said that she was actually burned as a witch, but the fire did not touch her as she was graced by God. She was later sainted by the Church.
  • Asatruar/Runic/Nordic: Jara Begins - the half-month of Jara begins on this date. The rune Jara is one of completion and union between spiritual and temporal elements.
  • Icelandic/Nordic: Yuletide Lad Gully Oaf Arrives - in Icelandic homes, thirteen impish creatures called the Yuletide Lads begin to visit. This day marks the first day of arrival for these Jólasveinar trolls, which are gnome-like beings that come at the rate of one a day right up to Christmas Eve. It used to be said that they like to eat bad girls and boys. They were once seen as cannibals, but the Yuletide Lads are now gift givers – although still mischievous. Children place a shoe on the windowsill so that they will leave a small gift for those who have been good, such as a small toy or fruit. Those children who have been naughty will receive something they won’t like very much. They are descendants of Gryla the Ogre, a legendary Icelandic monster. On December 13 Giljagaur (Gully Oaf) arrives. Before the days of milking machines, he would sneak into the cowshed and skim the froth off the pails of milk.
  • Roman: Festival for Tellus - the second festival of Tellus, a very ancient Earth Goddess, by whose power plants used for enchantments were produced, and perhaps also in honour of the goddess Ceres. Her Greek counterpart is Gaia. Tellus had her main festival on April 15 - it was called the Fordicia; pregnant cows were sacrificed. Another festival, the Sementivae, was held on January 24. Her male counterpart, Tellumo, was simultaneously honoured.
  • Pagan/Roman/Multi-tradition: Sacred Day - The Fates, the Benevolent Ones, the Eumenides, the Moerae, the Parcae and Jupiter, leader of the gods and god of the sky (rites would be performed this day in his various temples) are honoured today.
  • Graeco-Roman: Day of Ceres/Demeter - another day according to various sources which was said to have celebrated great Demeter in ancient Greece and Ceres in Rome. In Mythology she is the daughter of Saturn and Rhea, wife-sister of Jupiter, mother of Proserpina (Persephone), and patron of Sicily. Ceres is the goddess of growing plants (particularly grain) and of motherly love.
  • Roman: Ides of December - this date in the Roman calendar was considered the Ides of the month.
  • Japanese: Koto-Hajime - a day for the beginning of things in preparation for New Year begin today. These include housecleaning, decorating, chimney sweeping and the pounding of rice for cakes (mochi). Presents of money are made to servants at this time of year.
  • Japanese: Soot Sweeping Day - a day of fireplace and chimney sweeping to prepare for New Year celebrations.
  • Egyptian: Thoth’s Oath - The 28th of Tybi commemorates Thoth’s taking the oath.
  • Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Moseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
  • Native American: Hopi New Year/Winter Ceremony - the most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It lasts four days and correlates with the following observational practices - 1) Celebration of creation dedicated to Spider Woman and the Hawk Maiden ceremony of rebirth and on this date approximately the Hawk maiden begins her dance dedicated to Spider Woman. 2) Soyala (28/11 - 17/12) - among the Hopi and Zuni peoples, these are the days of Soyala, the annual festival of purification and renewal beginning on the New Moon and lasts a approximately a month over the Winter Solstice, the return of life to the world.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - Feast day of St Lucy,F east day of St Aubert, Feast day of St Bartholomew of Tuscany, Feast day of St Einhildis, Feast day of St Elizabeth Rose, Feast day of B. John Marinoni, Feast day of St Jodocus, Feast day of St Kenelm, Feast day of St Odilia, Feast day of St Rosw
  • Tradition/Catholic: Ember Day - yoday is one of several ember days of the year, a custom instituted by Pope Pope Gelasius I (reigned 492 - 496) to seek God’s blessing on the fruitfulness of the earth. It was the practice to put ashes on one’s head, but the name might come from the Saxon emb-ren or imb-ryne , meaning a course or circuit, from the ember days’ commemoration at four quarters of the year, namely: the first Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following, respectively, the first Sunday in Lent (Quadragesima Sunday); Whitsunday; September 14 or, ‘Holyrood Day’; and St Lucy’s Day (December 13).  Or, it comes from the practice of putting ash on the head. There is also the breaking of a fast with bread baked in embers, or ember-bread. The weeks in which they fall are called ember weeks.
  • Astronomical: Geminid Meteor Shower - this event peaks tonight and tomorrow. This can be one of the year’s better celestial shows, with bright (average magnitude 2.5) meteours appearing at a rate of some 50 - 80 per hour. Viewing is largely impaired this year, as the Moon is still nearly Full.
  • Astronomical/Astrological: Mercury Goes Direct (13/12 or 14/12)- depending on location - Mercury goes what is called “direct,” reversing the retrograde motion since 23/11. The delay, confusion, blockage, mechanical troubles and inexplicable human weirdness of the last three weeks now begin to clear. It will not be until Jan. 1, 2012, however, that Mercury clears the “shadow” of the retrograde time by arriving at the zodiac point where the backward motion began. The very long tour of over two months in Sagittarius, the least happy placement, will finally, mercifully, end on 8th January.
     
    Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

12

Dec

12 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Gemini
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: The Yuletide Lads
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Angelica, Iceland Moss, Milkweed
Cards for Today: The Magician, The Fool, The Wheel of Fortune
Icelandic/Nordic: Yuletide Lads Arrival - in Icelandic homes, thirteen impish creatures called the Yuletide Lads begin to visit. This day marks the first day of arrival for these Jólasveinar trolls, which are gnome-like beings that come at the rate of one a day right up to Christmas Eve. It used to be said that they like to eat bad girls and boys. About 60 different names of Yuletide Lads are known, but the number varied in olden times from one region of Iceland to another. Some of their names are Sausage-Pilferer, Pot-Scraper, and Window-Peeper. They were once seen as cannibals, but the Yuletide Lads are now gift givers – although still mischievous. Children place a shoe on the windowsill so that they will leave a small gift for those who have been good, such as a small toy or fruit. Those children who have been naughty will receive something they won’t like very much. They are descendants of Gryla the Ogre, a legendary Icelandic monster. The first lad is Stekkjarstaur (Sheepfold Stick), who would try to drink the milk from the farmers’ ewes. On December 13 Giljagaur (Gully Oaf) arrives. Before the days of milking machines, he would sneak into the cowshed and skim the froth off the pails of milk. The Lad who arrives on December 14 is Stúfur (Shorty), who, as his name implies, is on the small side. He was also known as Pönnuskefill (pot-scraper), as he scraped scraps of food of the pans. On December 15,Þvörusleikir (Spoon-licker) comes down from the mountains. He would steal the wooden spoon that had been used for stirring as he loves wooden spoons. On December 16, Pottasleikir (Pot-licker) comes visiting. He tried to snatch pots that had not been washed, and lick the scraps from them. Askasleikir (Bowl-licker) arrives on December 17. He hid under beds, and if someone puts his wooden food-bowl on the floor, he would grab it and lick it clean. Hurðaskellir (Door-slammer) comes on December 18. He is an awfully noisy fellow, who is always slamming doors and keeping people awake. The Lad who is expected on December 19 is called Skyrgámur (Curd Glutton), because he loves skyr (milk curd) so much that he sneaks into the pantry and gobbles up all the skyr from the tub there. Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage Pilferer) comes on December 20. He loves sausages of all kinds, and steals them whenever he can. On December 21, Gluggagægir (Window-Peeper) arrives. He is not as greedy as some of his brothers, but awfully nosy, peeping through windows and even stealing toys or things he likes the look of. On December 22 Gáttaþefur (Sniffer) comes calling. He has a big nose, and he loves the smell of cakes being baked for Christmas. He often tries to snatch a cake or two for himself. December 22 was sometimes called hlakkandi (looking forward), because the children had started looking forward to Christmas. On 23 December, St. Þorlákur’s Day, Ketkrókur (Meat Hook) arrives. He adores all meat. In olden days he would lower a hook down the kitchen chimney and pull up a leg of lamb hanging from a rafter, or a bit of smoked lamb from a pan, as smoked lamb was traditionally cooked on St. Þorlákur’s Day. Kertasníkir (Candle Beggar) comes on Christmas Eve, December 24. In olden times, candle light was the brightest light available. Candles were so rare and precious that it was a treat for children to be given a candle at Christmas and Candle Beggar wanted one too.
Celtic/Gaulic/Pagan/Welsh/Wiccan: Belisama Dydd/Day of Belisama - this time honouring Belisama begins at sundown on this date and is considered one of the miscellaneous festivals of Celtic reconstructionim/Neo-paganism. In Celtic tradition, Belisama was a goddess worshipped mostly in Gaul and Britain. She was connected with lakes and rivers, fire, crafts and light. She was identified with Minerva/Athena and has been compared with Brigid. She has been claimed to be the consort of Belenus with whom she shared certain attributes. Her name has been interpreted to mean “brightness”. She is appreciated at this time of winter for her abilities to offer light and fire to the home and hearth during the dark and cold days.
Zoroastrianism: Sada - a winter festival of lights/fire where a huge bonfire is built near water as the sun sets, representing the victory of light over dark and good over evil.
European: St Lucy’s Eve - In Austria, witches were thought to be especially powerful on St Lucy’s Eve as they were in England on Halloween and May Eve. Incense was often burnt in houses to defeat them. A mysterious light called the Lucy-shining was supposed to appear outdoors at midnight and those who had the courage to watch for it could foretell the future from its varying forms. In Italy, St Lucy is the gift-giver who comes in the night, like St Nicholas or Santa Claus. Children leave bunches of carrots, hay and bowls of milk for the donkey on which she travels around the countryside. In Bergamo and the surrounding countryside, children leave their shoes on the kitchen window with hay and in the morning find inside tiny sweets the size of a coin tied to their shoelaces. In Sweden, in the province of Hallan, according to old records, young women went from farm to farm all through the night, carrying torches to light their way and offering baked goods at each farm they visited, returning home at dawn. In the Scandinavian countries, threshing was supposed to be finished by Lucia’s Day so sometimes people worked all night and were rewarded for their efforts with food and drink. In Denmark, St Lucy brings prophetic dreams to women who recite a special prayer before retiring on the eve of her holy day. 
Mexican/Catholic/Aztec-Meso-derivative: Lady/Virgin of Guadalupe - on this day in Mexico, the annual Our Lady of Guadalupe religious festival takes place. It commemorates the apprearance period of the Virgin in 1531 near the temple of Tonantzin/Coatlique - a Mother-Goddess honoured on the winter solstice within the practices of the recently destroyed Aztec empire. A farmer named Juan Diego was passing by the hill called Tepeyac (believed to be the shrine location) outside of Mexico City on his way to an early morning Mass when he heard birds singing overhead, whistles, flutes and beating wings. Then he saw a maiden dressed in the robes of an Aztec princess (reminiscent of the imagery of the goddess). She spoke Nahuatl, the Aztec language and had skin as brown as cinnamon. She told Juan that she was Maria, the Mother of God and the Oppressed and that he should tell the Bishop of Mexico City to build her a chapel on the site. The Bishop was at first not impressed by this message and demanded proof. The Virgin told Juan to climb the hill and gather an armful of roses (red Castilian roses) which should not have been blooming then or there. But when, upon return to the Bishop, Juan opened his cloak to show the miraculous roses, he was surprised to see the Bishop fall on his knees. On the cloak was an image of the Virgin as she appeared to him, surrounded by an oval frame of stars. There is variance in the dates involved as sources vary. It may seem that th original or first apparition occurred on 9th December and that the Bishop’s belief was achieved on the twelfth, thus today’s date of observation. The 9th is the date that Tonantzin was observed in pre-Christian times. The chapel was thusly built. The Lady of Guadalupe is affectionately known as La Morenita - the little dark one - who in some accounts became known as the Black Madonna. Some theories maintain that the Black Madonna was originally considered a representation of Isis. The days of this occurence were held sacred in pre-Christian tradition and the premise of the fest is potentially based on an Aztecan holy day wherein the Goddess was portrayed by a woman dressed entirely in white and covered with shells and eagle feathers, who danced through the crowd, weeping and singing, until she was ritually/sacrificially killed. As with many practices, the presence of the pre-christian deities is/was not completely erased and the old deities remain recognized within the framework or “envelope” of the Christian premise. This day of observation is a classic example in Meso-America. Pilgrimages are made to see the mantle which holds the image in Mexico City but also to the mountain shrine sacred to the Aztecan Goddess who has since become ensconed in the concept of Mary. As so this day shares importance with 9 December as the date that Tonantzin was celebrated and the likely day of the initial apparition (see post 9 December).
Catholic: Miracle of the Roses - associatively, the miracle of the roses is a Catholic construct in which roses announce the presence or activity of God especially as presented in winter - here as in the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe recognized on this date. Such a miracle is presented in various hagiographies and legends in different forms and it occurs in connection with diverse other characters such as St. Elisabeth of Hungary (1207–1231) & St. Elizabeth of Portugal (1271–1336). A symbol of love in Greek and Roman literature, in the Middle Ages the rose became endowed with Christian symbolism. By the twelfth century, it has come to stand for the pleasures of the Garden of Eden and becomes associated with the Virgin Mary in her dual role as bride and mother; signaling the multivalence of Christian symbolism, the red rose by this time signifies the sorrow of Christ’s passion, and martyrdom in general. It is in this period, the High Middle Ages, that the miracle of the rose appears in its different permutations, often as a female symbol, either because of the presence of the Virgin Mary.
Baha’i: Day of Masa’il/Feast of Questions - in the Baha’i calendar, this day honours the Deity as Masa’il, or Mystery.
Japanese: Hari No Kuyo - a festival when men and women reverse roles, reminiscent of the Roman Saturnalia when servants and masters changed roles.
Vodouan: Agoué - Arroyo/Mangé la Mer(December 12 and 13)- known also as the “Feeding of the Sea” - this event recognizes the Loa who represents the sea Agoue - who is the patron of sailors and fisherman and is the husband of Erzulie in the aspect of La Sirene - his symbol is the drawing of a boat. Sacrificial rituals to Agoue include champagne and other offerings loaded onto small, specially-constructed rafts which are then ceremoniously set adrift in the ocean. If the raft sinks, it implies that the sacrifice has been accepted.
Polynesian: Feast of Rekareka - festival for the God of pleasure celebrated with merriment and sexual license where the pursuit of physical/sensual pleasure was favourable.
Egyptian: Hefau Festival - there was a great festival in Hefau which seems to have been dedicated to Isis.
Greek: Feast to Athena - another day claimed sacred in some accounts where a meal was dedicated to the great Athena - goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice and skill. 
Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Moseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
Native American: Hopi New Year - the most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It lasts four days and correlates with the following observational practices - 1) Native American: Soyala (28/11 - 17/12) - among the Hopi and Zuni peoples, these are the days of Soyala, the annual festival of purification and renewal beginning on the New Moon and lasts a approximately a month over the Winter Solstice, the return of life to the world. Celebration of creation dedicated to Spider Woman and the Hawk Maiden ceremony of rebirth. 2) Native American: Wuwuchim - (1/12 - 9/12) ritual of emergence begins at sunset and last 8 days.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - St Lucy’s (Lucia’s) Eve, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Feast day of Ss Epimachus and Alexander,Feast day of St Abra,Feast day of St Agatha, Feast day of St Columba of Terryglass, Feast day of St Corentius, Feast day of St Dionysia, Feast day of St Donatus, Feast day of St Eadburga, Feast day of St Finnian of Clonard, Feast day of St Thomas Holland, Feast day of St Valery, Feast day of St Vicelin, Miracle of the Roses
History: Ludi Lancionici - commemorates the military victory of Constantine I over the Germanic Lanciones.
Tradition/Occasion: Days of Recognition - Today is considered both Ambrosia Day and Poinsettia Day as relative to the season in some quarters.
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

12 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Gemini
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: The Yuletide Lads
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Angelica, Iceland Moss, Milkweed
  • Cards for Today: The Magician, The Fool, The Wheel of Fortune
  • Icelandic/Nordic: Yuletide Lads Arrival - in Icelandic homes, thirteen impish creatures called the Yuletide Lads begin to visit. This day marks the first day of arrival for these Jólasveinar trolls, which are gnome-like beings that come at the rate of one a day right up to Christmas Eve. It used to be said that they like to eat bad girls and boys. About 60 different names of Yuletide Lads are known, but the number varied in olden times from one region of Iceland to another. Some of their names are Sausage-Pilferer, Pot-Scraper, and Window-Peeper. They were once seen as cannibals, but the Yuletide Lads are now gift givers – although still mischievous. Children place a shoe on the windowsill so that they will leave a small gift for those who have been good, such as a small toy or fruit. Those children who have been naughty will receive something they won’t like very much. They are descendants of Gryla the Ogre, a legendary Icelandic monster. The first lad is Stekkjarstaur (Sheepfold Stick), who would try to drink the milk from the farmers’ ewes. On December 13 Giljagaur (Gully Oaf) arrives. Before the days of milking machines, he would sneak into the cowshed and skim the froth off the pails of milk. The Lad who arrives on December 14 is Stúfur (Shorty), who, as his name implies, is on the small side. He was also known as Pönnuskefill (pot-scraper), as he scraped scraps of food of the pans. On December 15,Þvörusleikir (Spoon-licker) comes down from the mountains. He would steal the wooden spoon that had been used for stirring as he loves wooden spoons. On December 16, Pottasleikir (Pot-licker) comes visiting. He tried to snatch pots that had not been washed, and lick the scraps from them. Askasleikir (Bowl-licker) arrives on December 17. He hid under beds, and if someone puts his wooden food-bowl on the floor, he would grab it and lick it clean. Hurðaskellir (Door-slammer) comes on December 18. He is an awfully noisy fellow, who is always slamming doors and keeping people awake. The Lad who is expected on December 19 is called Skyrgámur (Curd Glutton), because he loves skyr (milk curd) so much that he sneaks into the pantry and gobbles up all the skyr from the tub there. Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage Pilferer) comes on December 20. He loves sausages of all kinds, and steals them whenever he can. On December 21, Gluggagægir (Window-Peeper) arrives. He is not as greedy as some of his brothers, but awfully nosy, peeping through windows and even stealing toys or things he likes the look of. On December 22 Gáttaþefur (Sniffer) comes calling. He has a big nose, and he loves the smell of cakes being baked for Christmas. He often tries to snatch a cake or two for himself. December 22 was sometimes called hlakkandi (looking forward), because the children had started looking forward to Christmas. On 23 December, St. Þorlákur’s Day, Ketkrókur (Meat Hook) arrives. He adores all meat. In olden days he would lower a hook down the kitchen chimney and pull up a leg of lamb hanging from a rafter, or a bit of smoked lamb from a pan, as smoked lamb was traditionally cooked on St. Þorlákur’s Day. Kertasníkir (Candle Beggar) comes on Christmas Eve, December 24. In olden times, candle light was the brightest light available. Candles were so rare and precious that it was a treat for children to be given a candle at Christmas and Candle Beggar wanted one too.
  • Celtic/Gaulic/Pagan/Welsh/Wiccan: Belisama Dydd/Day of Belisama - this time honouring Belisama begins at sundown on this date and is considered one of the miscellaneous festivals of Celtic reconstructionim/Neo-paganism. In Celtic tradition, Belisama was a goddess worshipped mostly in Gaul and Britain. She was connected with lakes and rivers, fire, crafts and light. She was identified with Minerva/Athena and has been compared with Brigid. She has been claimed to be the consort of Belenus with whom she shared certain attributes. Her name has been interpreted to mean “brightness”. She is appreciated at this time of winter for her abilities to offer light and fire to the home and hearth during the dark and cold days.
  • Zoroastrianism: Sada - a winter festival of lights/fire where a huge bonfire is built near water as the sun sets, representing the victory of light over dark and good over evil.
  • European: St Lucy’s Eve - In Austria, witches were thought to be especially powerful on St Lucy’s Eve as they were in England on Halloween and May Eve. Incense was often burnt in houses to defeat them. A mysterious light called the Lucy-shining was supposed to appear outdoors at midnight and those who had the courage to watch for it could foretell the future from its varying forms. In Italy, St Lucy is the gift-giver who comes in the night, like St Nicholas or Santa Claus. Children leave bunches of carrots, hay and bowls of milk for the donkey on which she travels around the countryside. In Bergamo and the surrounding countryside, children leave their shoes on the kitchen window with hay and in the morning find inside tiny sweets the size of a coin tied to their shoelaces. In Sweden, in the province of Hallan, according to old records, young women went from farm to farm all through the night, carrying torches to light their way and offering baked goods at each farm they visited, returning home at dawn. In the Scandinavian countries, threshing was supposed to be finished by Lucia’s Day so sometimes people worked all night and were rewarded for their efforts with food and drink. In Denmark, St Lucy brings prophetic dreams to women who recite a special prayer before retiring on the eve of her holy day.
  • Mexican/Catholic/Aztec-Meso-derivative: Lady/Virgin of Guadalupe - on this day in Mexico, the annual Our Lady of Guadalupe religious festival takes place. It commemorates the apprearance period of the Virgin in 1531 near the temple of Tonantzin/Coatlique - a Mother-Goddess honoured on the winter solstice within the practices of the recently destroyed Aztec empire. A farmer named Juan Diego was passing by the hill called Tepeyac (believed to be the shrine location) outside of Mexico City on his way to an early morning Mass when he heard birds singing overhead, whistles, flutes and beating wings. Then he saw a maiden dressed in the robes of an Aztec princess (reminiscent of the imagery of the goddess). She spoke Nahuatl, the Aztec language and had skin as brown as cinnamon. She told Juan that she was Maria, the Mother of God and the Oppressed and that he should tell the Bishop of Mexico City to build her a chapel on the site. The Bishop was at first not impressed by this message and demanded proof. The Virgin told Juan to climb the hill and gather an armful of roses (red Castilian roses) which should not have been blooming then or there. But when, upon return to the Bishop, Juan opened his cloak to show the miraculous roses, he was surprised to see the Bishop fall on his knees. On the cloak was an image of the Virgin as she appeared to him, surrounded by an oval frame of stars. There is variance in the dates involved as sources vary. It may seem that th original or first apparition occurred on 9th December and that the Bishop’s belief was achieved on the twelfth, thus today’s date of observation. The 9th is the date that Tonantzin was observed in pre-Christian times. The chapel was thusly built. The Lady of Guadalupe is affectionately known as La Morenita - the little dark one - who in some accounts became known as the Black Madonna. Some theories maintain that the Black Madonna was originally considered a representation of Isis. The days of this occurence were held sacred in pre-Christian tradition and the premise of the fest is potentially based on an Aztecan holy day wherein the Goddess was portrayed by a woman dressed entirely in white and covered with shells and eagle feathers, who danced through the crowd, weeping and singing, until she was ritually/sacrificially killed. As with many practices, the presence of the pre-christian deities is/was not completely erased and the old deities remain recognized within the framework or “envelope” of the Christian premise. This day of observation is a classic example in Meso-America. Pilgrimages are made to see the mantle which holds the image in Mexico City but also to the mountain shrine sacred to the Aztecan Goddess who has since become ensconed in the concept of Mary. As so this day shares importance with 9 December as the date that Tonantzin was celebrated and the likely day of the initial apparition (see post 9 December).
  • Catholic: Miracle of the Roses - associatively, the miracle of the roses is a Catholic construct in which roses announce the presence or activity of God especially as presented in winter - here as in the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe recognized on this date. Such a miracle is presented in various hagiographies and legends in different forms and it occurs in connection with diverse other characters such as St. Elisabeth of Hungary (1207–1231) & St. Elizabeth of Portugal (1271–1336). A symbol of love in Greek and Roman literature, in the Middle Ages the rose became endowed with Christian symbolism. By the twelfth century, it has come to stand for the pleasures of the Garden of Eden and becomes associated with the Virgin Mary in her dual role as bride and mother; signaling the multivalence of Christian symbolism, the red rose by this time signifies the sorrow of Christ’s passion, and martyrdom in general. It is in this period, the High Middle Ages, that the miracle of the rose appears in its different permutations, often as a female symbol, either because of the presence of the Virgin Mary.
  • Baha’i: Day of Masa’il/Feast of Questions - in the Baha’i calendar, this day honours the Deity as Masa’il, or Mystery.
  • Japanese: Hari No Kuyo - a festival when men and women reverse roles, reminiscent of the Roman Saturnalia when servants and masters changed roles.
  • Vodouan: Agoué - Arroyo/Mangé la Mer(December 12 and 13)- known also as the “Feeding of the Sea” - this event recognizes the Loa who represents the sea Agoue - who is the patron of sailors and fisherman and is the husband of Erzulie in the aspect of La Sirene - his symbol is the drawing of a boat. Sacrificial rituals to Agoue include champagne and other offerings loaded onto small, specially-constructed rafts which are then ceremoniously set adrift in the ocean. If the raft sinks, it implies that the sacrifice has been accepted.
  • Polynesian: Feast of Rekareka - festival for the God of pleasure celebrated with merriment and sexual license where the pursuit of physical/sensual pleasure was favourable.
  • Egyptian: Hefau Festival - there was a great festival in Hefau which seems to have been dedicated to Isis.
  • Greek: Feast to Athena - another day claimed sacred in some accounts where a meal was dedicated to the great Athena - goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice and skill.
  • Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Moseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
  • Native American: Hopi New Year - the most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It lasts four days and correlates with the following observational practices - 1) Native American: Soyala (28/11 - 17/12) - among the Hopi and Zuni peoples, these are the days of Soyala, the annual festival of purification and renewal beginning on the New Moon and lasts a approximately a month over the Winter Solstice, the return of life to the world. Celebration of creation dedicated to Spider Woman and the Hawk Maiden ceremony of rebirth. 2) Native American: Wuwuchim - (1/12 - 9/12) ritual of emergence begins at sunset and last 8 days.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) - St Lucy’s (Lucia’s) Eve, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Feast day of Ss Epimachus and Alexander,Feast day of St Abra,Feast day of St Agatha, Feast day of St Columba of Terryglass, Feast day of St Corentius, Feast day of St Dionysia, Feast day of St Donatus, Feast day of St Eadburga, Feast day of St Finnian of Clonard, Feast day of St Thomas Holland, Feast day of St Valery, Feast day of St Vicelin, Miracle of the Roses
  • History: Ludi Lancionici - commemorates the military victory of Constantine I over the Germanic Lanciones.
  • Tradition/Occasion: Days of Recognition - Today is considered both Ambrosia Day and Poinsettia Day as relative to the season in some quarters.

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

11

Dec

11 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Gemini
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Cronos, The Pontifix, Winter Goddess (Bruma), Dionysus
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Moly, Snowdrop, Hogroot
Cards for Today: The Hierophant, The Empress
Roman: Brumalia (24/11 - 17/12) - a festival of hospitality - from the beginning of the sixth century A. D. to the middle of the tenth, a festival, known as the Brumalia, flourished at Constantinople. It began on November 24 and continued until December 17 - each of the twenty-four days included was designated by a letter of the Greek alphabet. During this festival it was customary for one to entertain each of his friends with a banquet on the day marked with that letter with which his name began. Among other features of the festival was the slaying of a pig in December, a custom which belonged also to the ancient Roman Saturnalia. Other sources identify the festival as a celebration of Dionysus, and later Bacchus in appreciation for the wine at the lean (non-growing time) of year. Moreover, the Brumalia was also called a festival of Cronos, and December 17, the day on which it closed, was the opening day of the Saturnalia. Other information suggests a deity - Bruma - who may have become known as a goddess of winter was also honoured at this time.
Roman: Agonalia - also called Agonia or Septimontium. An ancient Roman static festival, celebrated several times a year (January 9, March 17, May 21, and December 11). A ram would be sacrificied by the Rex Sacrificulus (a priest in the Roman religion) at the Regia in honour of important Roman deities, including Janus and Agonius. The rites and rituals of Agonolia were considered important for the well-being of the entire Roman nation - to prevent “agony”. The 11 December Agonalia was also known as Septimontium and the ram was sacrificed to an unknown deity. Roman people refrained from using horse-drawn carriages on this day. Septimontium celebrated the seventh hill being added to the city of Rome, making it the City of Seven Hills. Agonius is the surname or epithet of several Roman deities, especially Hermes in his role of presiding over solemn contests. Aeschylus and Sophocles use the name Agonius as a reference to Apollo and Zeus in the role of helpers in struggles and contests. The priestly position of Rex Sacrifulus, or Rex Sacrorum, was created as a position to carry on the religious duties of the king after the Roman kings were expelled when the Roman Republic was created. This position was originally higher than the Pontifex Maximus during the Roman Republic, but fell to a lower position in the late Republican period and the Roman Empire. The Rex Sacrorum was the only high priestly official specifically dedicated to the Roman deity Janus (Ianus). The Pontifix Maximus (or Supreme Pontiff, or bridge-builder) was the high priest of the College of Pontiffs. Roman Emperor Augustus took on the title for himself. Subsequent Roman Emperors held the title until the Emperor Gratian. The title Pontifex Maximus was then passed on to the Christian Bishop of Rome and became one of the titles of the Roman Catholic Pope. According to legend, Agonalia was first performed by Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome. The sacrifice was originally performed on the Quirinal hill, which was originally called Agonus, near the Colline Gate (known as Agonensis). In historical times the sacrifice was offered at the regia, or domus regis, at the top of the Sacra Via, near the Arch of Titus. Note that the Romans used a lunar calendar. This date is a generalized date for the modern calendar. This Roman holy day may be on a different day if calculated using the ancient Roman lunar calendar.
Pagan/Multi-tradition: Sacred Day - a day considered sacred in various traditions to goddesses potentially associated with winter; Arianrhod (Celtic/Welsh), the Snow Queen Goddess, Yuki Onne (Japanese) and according to many sources, Bruma (Pagan - Roman derivative) who may be thought to be the Goddess of the winter as honoured during this season.
Pagan (Greek derivative): Gaia Day - Earth feast honouring Goddesses and Gods of the natural world.
Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Moseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
Native American: Hopi New Year - the most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It lasts four days and correlates with the following observational practices - 
1) Native American: Soyala (28/11 - 17/12) - among the Hopi and Zuni peoples, these are the days of Soyala, the annual festival of purification and renewal beginning on the New Moon and lasts a approximately a month over the Winter Solstice, the return of life to the world. Celebration of creation dedicated to Spider Woman and the Hawk Maiden ceremony of rebirth.
2) Native American: Wuwuchim - (1/12 - 9/12) ritual of emergence begins at sunset and last 8 days.
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  St. Damasus’ Day, St. Daniel’s Day, St. Gentian’s Day
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

11 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Gemini
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Cronos, The Pontifix, Winter Goddess (Bruma), Dionysus
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Moly, Snowdrop, Hogroot
  • Cards for Today: The Hierophant, The Empress
  • Roman: Brumalia (24/11 - 17/12) - a festival of hospitality - from the beginning of the sixth century A. D. to the middle of the tenth, a festival, known as the Brumalia, flourished at Constantinople. It began on November 24 and continued until December 17 - each of the twenty-four days included was designated by a letter of the Greek alphabet. During this festival it was customary for one to entertain each of his friends with a banquet on the day marked with that letter with which his name began. Among other features of the festival was the slaying of a pig in December, a custom which belonged also to the ancient Roman Saturnalia. Other sources identify the festival as a celebration of Dionysus, and later Bacchus in appreciation for the wine at the lean (non-growing time) of year. Moreover, the Brumalia was also called a festival of Cronos, and December 17, the day on which it closed, was the opening day of the Saturnalia. Other information suggests a deity - Bruma - who may have become known as a goddess of winter was also honoured at this time.
  • Roman: Agonalia - also called Agonia or Septimontium. An ancient Roman static festival, celebrated several times a year (January 9, March 17, May 21, and December 11). A ram would be sacrificied by the Rex Sacrificulus (a priest in the Roman religion) at the Regia in honour of important Roman deities, including Janus and Agonius. The rites and rituals of Agonolia were considered important for the well-being of the entire Roman nation - to prevent “agony”. The 11 December Agonalia was also known as Septimontium and the ram was sacrificed to an unknown deity. Roman people refrained from using horse-drawn carriages on this day. Septimontium celebrated the seventh hill being added to the city of Rome, making it the City of Seven Hills. Agonius is the surname or epithet of several Roman deities, especially Hermes in his role of presiding over solemn contests. Aeschylus and Sophocles use the name Agonius as a reference to Apollo and Zeus in the role of helpers in struggles and contests. The priestly position of Rex Sacrifulus, or Rex Sacrorum, was created as a position to carry on the religious duties of the king after the Roman kings were expelled when the Roman Republic was created. This position was originally higher than the Pontifex Maximus during the Roman Republic, but fell to a lower position in the late Republican period and the Roman Empire. The Rex Sacrorum was the only high priestly official specifically dedicated to the Roman deity Janus (Ianus). The Pontifix Maximus (or Supreme Pontiff, or bridge-builder) was the high priest of the College of Pontiffs. Roman Emperor Augustus took on the title for himself. Subsequent Roman Emperors held the title until the Emperor Gratian. The title Pontifex Maximus was then passed on to the Christian Bishop of Rome and became one of the titles of the Roman Catholic Pope. According to legend, Agonalia was first performed by Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome. The sacrifice was originally performed on the Quirinal hill, which was originally called Agonus, near the Colline Gate (known as Agonensis). In historical times the sacrifice was offered at the regia, or domus regis, at the top of the Sacra Via, near the Arch of Titus. Note that the Romans used a lunar calendar. This date is a generalized date for the modern calendar. This Roman holy day may be on a different day if calculated using the ancient Roman lunar calendar.
  • Pagan/Multi-tradition: Sacred Day - a day considered sacred in various traditions to goddesses potentially associated with winter; Arianrhod (Celtic/Welsh), the Snow Queen Goddess, Yuki Onne (Japanese) and according to many sources, Bruma (Pagan - Roman derivative) who may be thought to be the Goddess of the winter as honoured during this season.
  • Pagan (Greek derivative): Gaia Day - Earth feast honouring Goddesses and Gods of the natural world.
  • Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Moseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
  • Native American: Hopi New Year - the most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It lasts four days and correlates with the following observational practices -

1) Native American: Soyala (28/11 - 17/12) - among the Hopi and Zuni peoples, these are the days of Soyala, the annual festival of purification and renewal beginning on the New Moon and lasts a approximately a month over the Winter Solstice, the return of life to the world. Celebration of creation dedicated to Spider Woman and the Hawk Maiden ceremony of rebirth.

2) Native American: Wuwuchim - (1/12 - 9/12) ritual of emergence begins at sunset and last 8 days.

  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  St. Damasus’ Day, St. Daniel’s Day, St. Gentian’s Day

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

10

Dec

10 DECEMBER
Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Gemini
Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Grand Bois
Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Cane, Palmetto, Spanish Moss, Yohimbe
Cards for Today: Magician
Haitian/Vodouan: Day of Grand Bois - a Vodouan holy day of observation for Grand Bois (meaning great wood) - he is also called Grans Bwa, Bran Bwa, Ganga-Bois. An elemental, nature-oriented loa closely associated with trees, plants and herbs - Grand Bois is the Green Man of the Vodouan realm. The “Big Wood” is the “Master of the Sacred Forest of the Island Below the Waters”, which is the place the loa call home. It is the land to which the newly dead travel. He is the protector of all wild animals, knows the secrets of herbal medicine and the secrets of magic hidden within the herbs. Likened to Saint Sebastian (also recognized in December)and Saint Christopher in the Catholic tradition, Gran Bois is known as a very loving loa with a great sense of humor and he is known to be full of advice. He is represented as prominently endowed and eternally erect. It is claimed he is proud of the fact that he always has a big, stiff penis and encourages men to relish their vital organ and the pleasure and health it may bring them. He is petitioned for healing, prosperity, fertility/virility and general advice. Offerings to him on his day of remembrance include leaves and herbs, honey and spiced rum. As a Petro Loa of the wilderness he can be fierce and unpredictable in some aspects but is always loved for his pure, primal nature. Grand Bois and his colleagues, Maitre Carrefour (Master Crossroads) and Baron Cimetière (Baron Cemetery) form the Triad of Magicians. They represent the journey of life - Grand Bois represents the rich earth that man springs from and the dark woods he stumbles through, Maitre Carrefour represents the various roads and paths one chooses to travel on the way and Baron Cimitière represents the end of the trip.  
Roman: Lux Mundi/Light of the World - the ancient festival was held annually on this day in honour of the Goddess of Liberty - Libertas. Light of the World is among the first of the festivals of light traditionally held in the weeks before the northern winter solstice; and one of many goddess festivals of peace and freedom held in early December, before the more raucous events (Saturnalia) occur.
French/European: Festival of the Goddess of Liberty/Libertas - from the heritage of the Lux Mundi - Libertas, the goddess of light (illumination) remains celebrated in Europe on this date especially in France, where this day commemorates her as the paragon of liberty whose Statue was presented by France to the United States. From 1793, the observation has included the figure of the Goddess of Liberty represented with a large candle signifying that Liberty is the true light of the world. 
Native American/First Nations: Inuit/Eskimo Bladder Festival/Feast of Sedna/Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales - On this night (approximately), The Inuit celebrate the Bladder festival to propitiate the souls of the animals (seals/whales) they have hunted for communal use during the year. As well, they honour and appease Sedna, spirit/goddess of the sea and underworld. Men undergo a five day purification ritual in a special building called a kashim in which they prepare the inflated bladders of all the animals taken that year. Under the full moon at the end of the five days, the men cut holes in the sea ice about a quarter mile from the shore to return the bladders to the sea. After leaping through the flames of a bonfire awaiting them in the village upon their return, they retire to the kashim again for a final sweat bath and contests of strength. This observation has been performed in the Arctic coastal regions of North America for hundreds of years.
Native American: Hopi New Year - the most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It lasts four days and correlates with the following observational practices - 
1) Native American: Soyala (28/11 - 17/12) - among the Hopi and Zuni peoples, these are the days of Soyala, the annual festival of purification and renewal beginning on the New Moon and lasts a approximately a month over the Winter Solstice, the return of life to the world. Celebration of creation dedicated to Spider Woman and the Hawk Maiden ceremony of rebirth.
2) Native American: Shalako (27/11 - 11/12) - the Hopi and Zuni festival rites of cleansing the kivas and images in preparation for the Kachinas.
3) Native American: Wuwuchim - (1/12 - 9/12) ritual of emergence begins at sunset and last 8 days.
Egyptian: Hathor Goes Forth - Day of the going forth of Hathor as the white Goddess brings life, stability, well being to all followers. 
Egyptian: Great Cow Day - the Great Cow (Het Heret or Nuit) is established in Ra’s majestic presence. It was advised not to drink milk on this day but observe it by inbibing other beverages and eating honey.
Jainism: Maunajiyaras - on this day, Jainists fast, remain silent and meditate on their 24 great religious masters, known as the Tirthankaras or Pathfinders. The birthdays of some of the Tirthankaras are also celebrated on Maunajiyaras.
Greek: Poseideon Noumenia - another date shown in some sources as the first day of the Greek month of Poseideon.
Celtic/Druidic/Wiccan: Oak Moon - this December Full Moon is called Oak Moon.  It is also called the Moon of the Long Nights, as it is often closest to Mother Night, coinciding exactly with it this year. 
Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Moseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
Astronomical/Astrological: Full Moon in Gemini opposite Sun in Sagittarius - this Full Moon is typically one of the year’s most festive and joyous, combining as it does the hearty enthusiasm and cheer of Jupiter, ruler of the sign of the Archer, and the quick communicativeness of Mercury, who rules Gemini, both aligned at the feast-while-you-can moment just before the onset of winter. This Full Moon is eventful. The North and South Moon’s Nodes conjoin the Sun and Moon, while Mars in Virgo is at a 90° square to both. Thus the possibility of tension and even breakage is high in our relationships now, and resolvers of conflict are worth diamonds at this Full Moon. 
Lunar: Eclipse - a total Lunar Eclipse at this Full Moon presenting the stunning sight of the Red Moon. 
Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  St. Eulalia’s Day
History: Declaration of Human Rights (1948) - Day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, and fundamental rights were recognized world-wide. 
Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.

10 DECEMBER

  • Celestial: Sun Sagittarius/Moon Gemini
  • Deities/Entities/Notable Figures or Aspects Which May Be Recognized Today: Grand Bois
  • Herbs/Flora/Essences of the Day: Cane, Palmetto, Spanish Moss, Yohimbe
  • Cards for Today: Magician
  • Haitian/Vodouan: Day of Grand Bois - a Vodouan holy day of observation for Grand Bois (meaning great wood) - he is also called Grans Bwa, Bran Bwa, Ganga-Bois. An elemental, nature-oriented loa closely associated with trees, plants and herbs - Grand Bois is the Green Man of the Vodouan realm. The “Big Wood” is the “Master of the Sacred Forest of the Island Below the Waters”, which is the place the loa call home. It is the land to which the newly dead travel. He is the protector of all wild animals, knows the secrets of herbal medicine and the secrets of magic hidden within the herbs. Likened to Saint Sebastian (also recognized in December)and Saint Christopher in the Catholic tradition, Gran Bois is known as a very loving loa with a great sense of humor and he is known to be full of advice. He is represented as prominently endowed and eternally erect. It is claimed he is proud of the fact that he always has a big, stiff penis and encourages men to relish their vital organ and the pleasure and health it may bring them. He is petitioned for healing, prosperity, fertility/virility and general advice. Offerings to him on his day of remembrance include leaves and herbs, honey and spiced rum. As a Petro Loa of the wilderness he can be fierce and unpredictable in some aspects but is always loved for his pure, primal nature. Grand Bois and his colleagues, Maitre Carrefour (Master Crossroads) and Baron Cimetière (Baron Cemetery) form the Triad of Magicians. They represent the journey of life - Grand Bois represents the rich earth that man springs from and the dark woods he stumbles through, Maitre Carrefour represents the various roads and paths one chooses to travel on the way and Baron Cimitière represents the end of the trip. 
  • Roman: Lux Mundi/Light of the World - the ancient festival was held annually on this day in honour of the Goddess of Liberty - Libertas. Light of the World is among the first of the festivals of light traditionally held in the weeks before the northern winter solstice; and one of many goddess festivals of peace and freedom held in early December, before the more raucous events (Saturnalia) occur.
  • French/European: Festival of the Goddess of Liberty/Libertas - from the heritage of the Lux Mundi - Libertas, the goddess of light (illumination) remains celebrated in Europe on this date especially in France, where this day commemorates her as the paragon of liberty whose Statue was presented by France to the United States. From 1793, the observation has included the figure of the Goddess of Liberty represented with a large candle signifying that Liberty is the true light of the world.
  • Native American/First Nations: Inuit/Eskimo Bladder Festival/Feast of Sedna/Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales - On this night (approximately), The Inuit celebrate the Bladder festival to propitiate the souls of the animals (seals/whales) they have hunted for communal use during the year. As well, they honour and appease Sedna, spirit/goddess of the sea and underworld. Men undergo a five day purification ritual in a special building called a kashim in which they prepare the inflated bladders of all the animals taken that year. Under the full moon at the end of the five days, the men cut holes in the sea ice about a quarter mile from the shore to return the bladders to the sea. After leaping through the flames of a bonfire awaiting them in the village upon their return, they retire to the kashim again for a final sweat bath and contests of strength. This observation has been performed in the Arctic coastal regions of North America for hundreds of years.
  • Native American: Hopi New Year - the most significant holy day in the Hopi calendar. It lasts four days and correlates with the following observational practices -

1) Native American: Soyala (28/11 - 17/12) - among the Hopi and Zuni peoples, these are the days of Soyala, the annual festival of purification and renewal beginning on the New Moon and lasts a approximately a month over the Winter Solstice, the return of life to the world. Celebration of creation dedicated to Spider Woman and the Hawk Maiden ceremony of rebirth.

2) Native American: Shalako (27/11 - 11/12) - the Hopi and Zuni festival rites of cleansing the kivas and images in preparation for the Kachinas.

3) Native American: Wuwuchim - (1/12 - 9/12) ritual of emergence begins at sunset and last 8 days.

  • Egyptian: Hathor Goes Forth - Day of the going forth of Hathor as the white Goddess brings life, stability, well being to all followers.
  • Egyptian: Great Cow Day - the Great Cow (Het Heret or Nuit) is established in Ra’s majestic presence. It was advised not to drink milk on this day but observe it by inbibing other beverages and eating honey.
  • Jainism: Maunajiyaras - on this day, Jainists fast, remain silent and meditate on their 24 great religious masters, known as the Tirthankaras or Pathfinders. The birthdays of some of the Tirthankaras are also celebrated on Maunajiyaras.
  • Greek: Poseideon Noumenia - another date shown in some sources as the first day of the Greek month of Poseideon.
  • Celtic/Druidic/Wiccan: Oak Moon - this December Full Moon is called Oak Moon.  It is also called the Moon of the Long Nights, as it is often closest to Mother Night, coinciding exactly with it this year. 
  • Sufism/Turkish: Mevlana Festival (7-17 December) - The annual festival to mark the death (on 17/12) of the great poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi takes place in the city of Konya, Central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for beautiful poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. He was Muslim , a Sufi - but not orthodox. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana died on 17 December 1273 and was laid to rest beside his father in Konya, in present day Turkey. A shrine, the Mevlana Moseleum was erected over their remains, which is now a museum and place of pilgrimage. Every year at this time, pilgrims and followers celebrate with remembrances including the Sema - the dance of the “Whirling Dervishes” which is a part of the inspiration of Mevlana and has in turn become part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfection”. Whirling towards the truth, his growth, through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the “perfect within”. He returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of belief, race, class and nationality. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit the tomb at the Mevlana Museum during the festival and take part in the hypnotic Sema ceremonies.
  • Astronomical/Astrological: Full Moon in Gemini opposite Sun in Sagittarius - this Full Moon is typically one of the year’s most festive and joyous, combining as it does the hearty enthusiasm and cheer of Jupiter, ruler of the sign of the Archer, and the quick communicativeness of Mercury, who rules Gemini, both aligned at the feast-while-you-can moment just before the onset of winter. This Full Moon is eventful. The North and South Moon’s Nodes conjoin the Sun and Moon, while Mars in Virgo is at a 90° square to both. Thus the possibility of tension and even breakage is high in our relationships now, and resolvers of conflict are worth diamonds at this Full Moon.
  • Lunar: Eclipse - a total Lunar Eclipse at this Full Moon presenting the stunning sight of the Red Moon.
  • Anglican/Catholic/Christian/Orthodox Feast or Saint Days: (incorporating all Saint feasts for the date into one category) -  St. Eulalia’s Day
  • History: Declaration of Human Rights (1948) - Day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, and fundamental rights were recognized world-wide.

Note: Name in bold corresponds to image and (typically) associated observation or Aspect/Deity/Entity/Historical Figure for the day presented for this post.