December is the twelfth and final month of the Gregorian calendar and the first month of winter. It's name comes from the Latin word decem, meaning ten, December was the tenth month of the oldest Roman calendar as the New Year began in March. It is also derived from Decima, the middle Goddess of the Three Fates, She who personifies the present.
Modern Pagans and witches celebrate the waning of the year, the Winter Solstice, also known as Yule. While many consider it a lesser Sabbath, we seem to celebrate with as much, if not more, gusto as Christians. There are many ways to celebrate this time of year, the return of the Sun, the beginning of the Winter, a time of introspection.
Here are some common correspondences for the month:
Astrological Signs:Sagittarius, Capricorn.
Spirits: Snow faeries, storm faeries, winter tree faeries.
Herbs: Holly, English ivy, fir, mistletoe, pine, balsam, cedar, holly, all evergreens.
Colors: Blood red, green, white and black.
Flowers: Holly, poinsettia, Christmas cactus.
Scents: Balsam, pine, bayberry, frankincense, myrrh, mint, ginger, cloves, cinnamon.
Stones: Blue zircon, turquoise, serpentine, jacinth, peridot, tanzanite.
Trees: Pine, fir, holly, all evergreens.
Animals: Mouse, deer, horse, bear.
Birds: Rook, robin, snowy owl.
Deities: Athene, The Fates, Freyja, Hekate, Lucina, Minerva, Neith, The Norns, Alectrona, Alcyone, Perchta, Helia, Sol, Frigga, Mother Holda.
The Goddess Athena was honored annually on this day with a religious festival called the Day of Pallas Athena.
December 1 is the time for young girls in some parts of the world, to perform the ancient art of cromniomancy (divination by onion sprouts) to find out the name of their future husbands. To find out who your future husband will be, take some onions and carve upon each one a different man's name. Place the onions near a fire and the man whose name is on the onion that sprouts first will be the one.
Women's rites were performed annually on this date in ancient Rome, in honor of Bona Dea, the Good Goddess. All males were barred from the ceremonies which were conducted by vestal virgins.
This day was sacred to the Goddess Cybele and also to Rhea, the Great Mother of the Earth in ancient Greece.
Feast of Fauna, Goddess of Animals
The festival of Bona Dea, a Roman fertility goddess.
The Goddess Minerva was honored with an annual festival on this date in ancient Rome. Minerva (the Roman counterpart of the Greek Athena) is a Goddess of battle and also a patroness of the arts and wisdom.
The First Feast of Saint Lucia is held on this date each year in Italy. She was originally worshipped as Lucina before being Christianized into a Saint, a Pagan Goddess of light who also presided over childbirth.
An annual rite called the Haloia of Demeter was performed in ancient Greece on this date. Each year the Goddess Demeter wanders the earth in search of her stolen daughter Persephone. The Goddess' sorrow brings Winter to the world and all trees and flowers cease to bloom; Spring returns however, when Persephone is allowed to temporarily leave the darkness of the Underworld and Demeter once again rejoices.
Sacred to Astraea, a Greek Goddess of justice.
The Optalia, the festival of Ops, the Roman goddess of harvest.
The ancient Roman festival called Lux Mundi (Light of the World) was held annually on this day in honor of the Goddess of Liberty. In France, a similar festival takes place on this same date. For me, Lux Mundi is a celebration of Hekate Soteira, Light of the World and Savior.
Sacred to Arianrhod, the Snow Queen Goddess, and Yuki Onne.
On this date, Bruma, the ancient Roman Goddess of the winter season was honored with an annual festival known as the Day of Bruma.
The Sementivae, the second festival of Tellus, the Roman earth goddess.
In Sweden and Norway, the Sun Goddess Lucina is still honored with a traditional festival of light on St. Lucia's Day (also known as Little Yule) each year on this date. At daybreak, the first-born daughter of the house wears a candle crown in obvious reference to the Pagan symbols of fire and life giving light, and serves her family cakes. There are processions and treats. Young girls often wear white dresses and many of the men dress as elves, who are known as Lucina's helpers.
In myth, Lucia was actually a woman from Italy who was burned as a witch, but the fire did not touch her. She was later sainted by the Catholic Church. She was later Sainted by the Catholic Church.
December 14 - Celebration of Creation, honoring Spider Woman, who created the Universe and all within it.
I stitch a little web on a small piece of linen with a very fine and beautiful thread, then burn it as an offering to Spider Woman.
The Greek Goddess Alcyone, who was symbolized by the kingfisher, is honored beginning on this day with the Halcyon Days festival which begins seven days before and continuing until seven days after. According to legend, these days are a special time of tranquility and calm, due to the magical powers of the Halcyon (a fabled bird much like a kingfisher, who nested on the sea and calmed the wind and waves during Winter Solstice. Interestingly, the kingfisher's eggs hatch at this time of year, but only if tides are low and the sea is calm.
In ancient Rome on this day, 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, and Sapientia-Sophia in medieval times.
The Yule Child is honored on this day in Mexico, by a religious festival known as Posadas , which begins annually on this day. It is celebrated until the twenty-fourth of December.
The Native American tribe of the Hopi in the southwestern United States celebrate the Soyal ceremony annually on this date (approximately). The rites of the Soyal celebrate the return of the Sun (Life) and commemorate the creation and rebirth of Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden.
This day is also sacred to these wisdom-Goddessess: Athena, Kista, Maat, Minerva, and the Shekinah.
Beginning of my Nine Nights Hallowing of the Winter Solstice, three nights of twilight, three of night and , commencing on the day after the Solstice, three of dawn.
On this second day of the Saturnalia, ancient Romans celebrated the Eponalia; a feast dedicated to Epona, the Celtic Mother-Goddess and a patroness of horses.
Feast of Our Lady of Solitude - celebrate your Matron Goddess on this day.
The Romans celebrated the Opalia , a feast dedicated to Ops (Abundance), the harvest Goddess of fertility and success, and consort of Saturn, on this, the third day of the Saturnalia.
The Mother Night, Yule Eve
On this night (approximately), a Germanic/Scandinavian Midwinter festival known as The Mother Night (or Modresnach) was observed. It was believed that dreams on this night foretold events in the upcoming year. Many of its traditions live on modern Christmas celebrations. The decorated evergreen tree was a symbol of the Tree of Life, or World Tree. The star atop the tree represented the pole star of the Star Goddess. The dinners and gifts were in honor of the food and prosperity given by the Mother Goddesses to their human children. The elves connected with our current Santa Claus are remnants of the supernatural Nature folk of the Old Religion. The reindeer are symbols of old shamanic abilities used by the people. The mistletoe is said to have first been picked and used to collect kisses by the Goddess Frigg, before it became a weapon to kill her son.
Also dedicated to Psyche - a day to honor your own accomplishments, who you have become and what you have achieved.
The Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, the shortest day and longest night of the year. Yule is widely celebrated by modern Pagans as the festival of the Sun's rebirth, a time of peace and prosperity, family gatherings and celebrations of the year's accomplishments.
In ancient Greece, the winter solstice ritual was called Lenaea, the Festival of the Wild Women. In very ancient times, a man representing the harvest god Dionysos was torn to pieces and eaten by a gang of women on this day. Later in the ritual, Dionysos would be reborn as a baby. By classical times, the human sacrifice had been replaced by the killing of a goat. The women's role reduced to that of funeral mourners and observers of the birth.
In Slavonic 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 honor of Lada, the Goddess of love, Spring, youth and fertility. She was said to be reborn each year at this time - so here we have a goddess as the main character for the Yule child myth. In many cultures it is symbolized in religion by a Virgin mother giving birth to sacred offspring such as Rhiannon to Pryderi; Isis to Horus; Demeter to Persephone.
The festival of Angerona, the Roman goddess of secrecy.
The Solstice is also known as Winter Rite, Midwinter, and Alban Arthan. The word Yule is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Yula, which means Wheel of the Year.
Birth of the Goddess, Rhiannon. Celebrate by reading Her myth.
The Larentalia (Larentinalia), festival of Acca Larentia, the Roman goddess who gave the early Romans their land.
Night of the Mothers. Honor all Mother Goddesses and celebrate the ability of women to create and nurture - not just as mothers of children and the ability to conceive and give birth to children, but also creative endeavors of all kinds and life in general.
Birth of Freya. In Her honor, burn amber incense and wear amber jewelry.
Day of the Weaver Grandmothers. Celebrates those goddesses associated with the Fates and cycles of our lives. To honor these Grandmothers and the Fates, I choose some of my finest threads or I weave a small square and burn as an offering. I also tie strands of threads onto my hedge.
Day of the Nymphs. (Greek)
Many honor Hekate on this, the last day of the year.