According to the beliefs of our ancestors, the sun will stand still before embarking on a new journey on December 21st. This day will be the shortest in the year and it will mark the celebrations of Yule or what is more commonly known as Winter Solstice. In keeping with the pagan faith this day should not be overlooked because its rituals and symbols are capable of making our passage into the New Year an easier one.
Across the northern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice is celebrated with feasts and symbols of fire and light in order to welcome the sun back into our lives. Therefore, candles and bonfires are the most natural ways to mark the festivities. On the shortest day of the year take a few moments to pause and reflect on life and the beauty of beginning a new journey. During this time it is only fitting that candles are lit at dusk or at dawn. It is the time of day when darkness and light meet and the candles would reach their purpose of serving as a bridge.
Modern Pagans and Wiccans make good use of spices and so it is fairly common to sprinkle candles with cinnamon, star anise, apple, and orange peels. The smoke created cleanses the space in which rituals and moments of observance take place. While lighting the candles, you should take a moment to enjoy the silence in which only the spark of the match can be heard. Acknowledge your gratitude for the chance to witness yet another changing of the seasons, and make a small promise to yourself to fully embrace what will happen in the coming months. This is simple to do yet so powerful and deeply significant for your evolution in the New Year.
Lastly, most pagan traditions include the use of sacred plants as decorations throughout the home. Plants like holly, mistletoe, yew, and ivy have become indicators of the approaching of Winter Solstice. These plants bring luck, good fortune, and they have been used as messages of peace for many years. Ultimately, they all relate to the acceptance of change and the never-ending cycle of life. And, as every pagan celebration revolves around a feast, these sacred plants are often found to be gracing the table with their presence.
Another year is reaching its end, while a new year is waiting patiently around the corner. And, a time for celebration is fast approaching. In order to ensure a prosperous new beginning we need to make sure our transition is done as smoothly and as respectfully as possible. Modern life has always tried to leave behind our dark pagan roots, but the protective walls of the past seem to always be within reach. Thus, we should take solace in the thought that our ancestors might still be illuminating and guiding our path to this very day.