Winter Solstice Correspondences
and December Goddess Festivals
and December Goddess Festivals
The festival of the Winter Solstice is celebrated on or about December 21st and is the second Sabbat of the year. It marks the rebirth of the Sun and the shift when the days begin to grow a bit longer. This is a time of deep introspection and looking to the new year ahead. We honor the time of the Crone, the time of the Great Mother who births the Sun, and the Golden Maiden, newly born.
Date: December 21st (approximately)
Other Names: Alban Arthan, Saturnalia, Yule
Activities: Caroling, Decorating the Yule tree, Exchanging of presents, Honoring Winter Goddesses, Honoring the Darkness, Honoring the Return of the Sun, Yule log
Colors: Green, Red, White, Gold, Ice Blue, Orange, Silver, Yellow
Foods: Caraway Cakes, Cookies, Eggnog, Fruits, Ginger Tea, Lamb's Wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples), Nuts, Pork, Spiced Cider, Turkey, Wassail
Goddesses: Berchta, Bona Dea, Brighid, Cailleach Bheur, The Crone, Dark Mother, Demeter, Diana, Frau Holda, Gaea, Great Mother, Holda Isis, La Befana, Perchta, Skadi, Spider Woman
Herbs: Bayberry, Balsam, Blessed Thistle, Cedar, Evergreens, Frankincense, Ginger, Holly, Ivy, Juniper, Laurel, Mistletoe, Oak, Pine, Rosemary, Sage (Kitchen)
Oils/Incense: Balsam, Bayberry, Cedar, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Ginger, Myrrh, Pine, Rosemary
Stones: Alexandrite, Blue Topaz, Cats Eye, Citrine, Clear Quartz, Bloodstone, Diamonds, Emeralds, Garnets, Green Tourmaline, Jet, Kunzite, Pearls, Ruby
Spellworkings: Drawing Down the Sun, Earth magick, good health, happiness, harmony, love, money, peace, planning for the coming year, prosperity, renewal, revitalization
Symbols: Decorated evergreen trees, Gifts, Longest night of the year, Planning for the Future, Rebirth of the Sun, Winter Solstice, Wreath, Yule log, Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe , gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, Poinsettias, Christmas cactus.
December Goddess Festivals
December 3 Festival of Bona Dea, Day Sacred to Cybele
December 5 Feast of St. Lucia, Feast of Lucina
December 7 Annual Rite of the Haloia - Demeter
December 8 Festival of Broken Needles - Hari-Kuyo (as celebrated in the Kyoto and Kansai regions)
December 9 Day Sacred to Astraea, a Greek Goddess of Justice; Optalia, Feastival of Ops, a Roman Goddess of the Harvest
December 10 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.
December 11 Sacred to Arianrhod ,the Snow Queen Goddess, and Yuki Onne. On this date, the ancient Roman Goddess of the winter season was honored with an annual festival known as the Day of Bruma.
December 13 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.
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.
December 14 Celebration of Creation, honoring Spider Woman, who created the Universe and all within it.
December 15 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.
December 18 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
December 19 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.
December 20 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.
Dedicated to Psyche - a day to honor your own accomplishments, who and what you have achieved.
December 21 The festival of Angerona, the Roman goddess of secrecy.
Winter Solstice, known as 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 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.
It is the festival of the Sun's rebirth.
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.
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 had changed 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. 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.
December 22 Birth of the Goddess, Rhiannon. Celebrate by reading Her myth.
December 23 The Larentalia (Larentinalia), festival of Acca Larentia the Roman goddess who gave the early Romans their land.
December 24 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 and life in general.
December 25 Christmas day, a Christian religious observance celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, a character in their mythology which they believe to be the son of their god..The practice of celebrating Christmas on December 25th began in the early 4th century. It was a Christian substitute for the pagan festival held on that date to celebrate the birth of the unconquered Sun. Christmas customs such as Christmas trees, holy and mistletoe have pagan origins - such as celebrating the midwinter festival of Yule. The term Xmas refers to the first letter (chi) of the Greek word, Christos.
December 27 Birth of Freya. In Her honor, burn amber incense and wear amber jewelry.
December 28 Day of the Weaver Grandmothers. Celebrates those goddesses associated with the Fates and cycles of our lives.
December 29 Day of the Nymphs. (Greek)
December 31 Night of Hekate - celebrated by some dedicants.
Blessings dark and deep!