Through the centuries, December has been called many things: Aerra Geola (month before Yule) Wintermonat (winter month), Heilagmanoth (holy month) and Mi na Nollag, (Christmas Month). It’s a spiritual month full of celebration and has become a mish-mash of religion and tradition.
December holds the Winter Solstice on the 21st, the shortest day of the year, the day with the least light and the longest night. For many it’s time for reflection, for withdrawing, cocooning yourself under a blanket , beside the fire, with a hot cup of cocoa and a good book. It’s a time for rest and recuperation.
If we look up, the Cold Moon of December illuminates crisp clear navy blue skies peppered with constellations, all with their own names and meanings. This December, meteor showers will provide us with magical shooting stars and Jupiter shines bright .
In the forests, the 24th of December brings the month of Beth, closely connected with the birch tree, new beginnings and positive thought. My first ever story was written when I was six and featured a birch tree. I’ve always felt a strong connection with the world around me and December is a time to consider this connection with nature and prepare ourselves for the scarcities of winter.
Of course for many of us, the harsh realities of winter are not so harsh. Tucked up inside with central heating and enough food to feed us for a month, eaten in one day, we’ve lost touch with reasons why we have these traditions, why we used to spend the months preserving foods, racking apples and curing meats. So if I can, I make sure I feed the birds in the garden, buy the guy sleeping rough a hot drink to warm his hands and take some food to the food bank.
December’s a time for looking inward but we must not forget to look out at the world we have come from too.
- *The Title is a quote from Art Garfunkal and Paul Simon’s ‘Sound Of Silence’
- Pennick, Nigel, 2001, Pagan Book Of Days, Destiny Books.
- The Sky At Night Starguide 2016 via http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04ktx31