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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:06 am
Author: Morgan
December is named after the tenth month of the Roman caldenar and the middle Goddess of the three fates, Decima, She who personifies the present. The Roman Goddess Vesta, patroness of fire, an archetypal symbol of the eternal present, was also said to rule this month.

December's Anglo-Saxon name was Aerra Geola, "the month before Yule". Another version was Wintermonat, "winter month". Because of its unusually large number of sacred festivals, the Frankish tradition called it Heilagmanoth, "holy month", but modern Asatra does not refer to the Yule/Christmas tradition, preferring Wolf Moon. The Irish name of December is Mi na Nollag, Christmas month. The December full moon is the backwoods' Cold or Hunting Moon.

The Celtic Tree month of Ruis runs until 22nd December, when it gives was to the intercalary day of 23rd December. The Elder month signifies the paradox of a time of timelessness, youth in old age and old age in youthfulness, life in death and death in life. It is the end of the year's cycle and the herald of a new beginning. Change is linked to creativity in the month of Ruis. It is followed by the single blank day in the Celtic tradition - known as "The Secret of the Unhewn Stone". From the 24th December, the month of Beth begins. Beth is the first letter of the Celtic Ogham alphabet, signifying the Birch, sacred to the Great Mother Goddess and the prime tree of the tree alphabet, representing new beginnings, purification and the expulsion of all bad thoughts and influences.

The Goddess calendar month of Astraea runs until 25th December, Yule Day. It is followed by the month of Hestia, which spans the New Year, ending on 22nd January.

The major festival of December is the Winter Solstice, also called Yule, Alban Arthuan and Mid-Winter. The birth of many solar saviors and dying Gods is celebrated at this time, usually on 25th December. These saviors include Osiris, the Syrian Baal, Attis, Adonis, Helios, Apollo, Dionysus, Mithras, Jesus, Balder and Frey. In the Roman tradition 25th December was Dies Natalis Solis Invictus, the Day of the Birth of the Undefeated Sun. All Righteousness, and Savior. The festival of Christmas is a wonderful amalgam of many religious traditions, ancient and modern, Pagan, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Mithraic and Christian.

December 31st is the Scottish New Year's festival of Hogmanay. Its name commemorates the solar divinity of Hogmagog. As Gogmagog, this solar giant was formerly a chalk-cut hill figure at Wandlebury, close to Cambridge, while, divided into two giants, Gog and Magog, he is the spiritual guardian of the city of London. The traditional Hogmanay ceremonies involved dressing in the hides of cattle and running around the village, being hit by sticks. Hogmanay festivities include the lighting of bonfires, rolling blazing tar barrels and tossing blazing torches. In former times, animal hide was wrapped around sticks and ignited, producing a smoke that was said to be effective against evil sprites. The talismanic smoking stick itself was known as a Hogmanay. Hogmanay has its own customary goods: bannocks, oarsment, shortbread, black buns and ankersocks (gingerbread loaves made with rye meal). In former times, the shamanic tradition of dressing in animal skins, and often wearing horns or antlers upon the head, was customary on New Year's Eve. At the moment of New Year, the doors and windows of the house were opened to let out the old year and to let the new year in. Household utensils were rattled and banged, to drive away any remaining psychic vestiges of the old year. In Wales, this is said to be done in order to drive away the Cwn Annwn, the phantom black dogs of the underworld that pass through the air on New Year's Eve.

The birthstone of December is the turquoise:

If cold December gave you birth,
The month of ice and snow and mirth,
Place on your hand a Turquoise blue,
Success will bless whatever you do.

Traditional weather lore for December states that if it rains during the twelve days of Christmas, then the coming year will also be wet. An old Highland Scottish saying uses the wind direction on the last day of the year to predict the coming weather:

If New Year's Eve night and wind blow south,
It betokeneth warmth and growth;
If west, much fish in the sea;
If north, much cold and storms there will be.
If east, the trees will bear much fruit;
If north-east, flee it, man and brute.

Christmas Day is a major weather marker, with the following traditional adages linking it to Eastertide:

A warm Christmas, a cold Easter;
A green Christmas, a white Easter;
Christmas in snow, Easter in wind.

Snow at Christmas brings a good hay crop next year;
A light Christmas, a heavy sheaf;
Christmas wet, empty granary and barrel.

If the sun shines through the apple trees on Christmas Day,
there will be a fine crop on the following year;
If there is wind on Christmas Day, there will be much fruit.

Source: The Pagan Book of Days by Nigel Pennick

If any of the Hogmanay items are wrong, I would love to be corrected by our Scottish Hedgewitches :)

Re: Month

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:00 am
Author: Skywalker (Deceased)
"The traditional Hogmanay ceremonies involved dressing in the hides of cattle and running around the village, being hit by sticks."

Gotta say it. Those folks really knew how to party.

: )

Bright Blessings,


Re: Month

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:12 am
Author: Morgan
lol Jim!!! I'm just waiting for a slap from Wildwood or Southernwood because I put something down completely wrong :)

Re: Month

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:12 pm
Author: Skywalker (Deceased)
' Because of its unusually large number of sacred festivals, the Frankish tradition called it Heilagmanoth, "holy month".... '

It is a time of Wonder and Mystery and Truth. Peoples and cultures the world over see it and respond to it. How could any of us, no matter how wise, capture it all?

Brightest Blessings,


Re: Month

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:46 pm
Author: Wildwood
Bit late to comment I know but Hogmanay appears to be celebrated a great deal more vigorousely in the southern parts of Britain these days. As for running around and being hit by sticks, that usually happens when I come in late!!

Tylluan, if you got something wrong I'd give you a big hug.B.B.