Temple of the Goddess Logo
December 21, 2008
Solstice Greetings
The Seasons Turn and the Sun is Reborn,
Bringing Hope for Renewal of the Earth.
Celebrate the Return of the Light.

>From all of us at Temple of the Goddess we wish you and yours a joyous Winter Solstice and a Blessed 2009!

Winter Solstice (December 21)
Winter Solstice, or Yule, is the night of longest dark, the point of deepest night and winter before the returning of new life. . .the rebirth of the sun. This time of year signifies enlightenment, when the light is reborn within the womb of darkness. It is the time of the turning sun.

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Psyche's Dream by Josephine Wall
Slow Down,
Seek The Within,
Dream Healing Dreams

My help is in the mountain
Where I take myself to heal
The earthly wounds
That people give to me.
I find a rock with sun on it
and a stream where the water runs gentle
And the trees which one by one give me company.
So must I stay for a long time
Until I have grown from the rock
And the stream is running through me
And I cannot tell myself from one tall tree.
Then I know that nothing touches me
Nor makes me run away.
My help is in the mountain
That I take away with me.

Earth cure me. Earth receive my woe. Rock strengthen me.
Rock receive my weakness. Rain wash my sadness away.
Rain receive my doubt. Sun make sweet my song.
Sun receive the anger from my heart.

-Nancy Wood, from "Hollering Sun"

Psyche's Dream by Josephine Wall

December 2008 -- January 2009
by Rosemary Clark

The Birth of Light

We approach the fourth time of transition in the year, when light is diminished and darkness prevails over the season. We have celebrated the ascent of light in the Spring, its culmination in the Summer, and its senescence in the Fall. We are now in the time of inward enlightenment, when light hibernates in the womb of darkness and we await validation of its return in the coming months.

The Winter Solstice the shortest day of the year, when the Sun is seen at its most southerly point in the sky (in the northern hemisphere). Cultures past and present have universally regarded this moment as a time of rest, peace with the powers of nature, and fellowship with society. It is the first day that marks the beginning of many winter festivals.

Soyalangwul, the Winter Solstice ceremony of the Hopi Indians, is honored with a dance performed to ceremonially bring the Sun back from its winter slumber. Kachina spirits return to the world at this time, and the Awehai Kachina ("fertile goddess") is said to accompany the dancers through the night to Sunrise.

For the Germanic peoples, the solstice was celebrated from the 4th Century, when it took place in the month of Fuma Jiuleis. Later in Anglo-Saxon England it was known as Giuli, corresponding to our December- January calendar and the season of Capricorn. For the Druids, it was Alban Arthuan ("Light of Arthur") a festival when gifts were bestowed on the less fortunate. King Arthur was believed to have been born on the Winter Solstice in Castle Tintagel in Cornwall.

In Persia, the solstice marked the birth of Mithras, god of light. His mysteries were brought to the occidental world by Roman soldiers, and the day of his virgin birth was known as Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, "birthday of the unconquered Sun."

Amaterasu, the Sun goddess of Japan, comes out of her cave at the Winter Solstice, after a prolonged period of darkness in the world. Shut away in the heavenly realm from her brother¹s sacrilege of destroying her rice fields, she now emerges to remind the human race of the divine light that is diminished by irreverence and impiety. More.

(*) All phenomena are cited for the Tropical (Western) Zodiac © Copyright 2008 by Rosemary Clark

Rosemary Clark is author of The Sacred Tradition in Ancient Egypt: The Esoteric Wisdom Revealed and The Sacred Magic of Ancient Egypt: The Spiritual Practice Restored. She has also written The Everything Meditation Book and her work is included in Menopause: A One-Stop Resource for Feeling Good and The Complete Dream Dictionary. When not writing and organizing spiritual expeditions to Egypt, she is saying sooth to an international cadre of students and associates.

* Amaterasu Emerges from the Light by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)

Herb of the Month by Fee
The holly and the ivy
When are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown. (Traditional Carol)

The calendar year is coming to an end and we descend deeper into the months of moon. If you blessed us in December, you have holly, ivy and the poinsettia.The magickal pair of holly and ivy is traditionally used at Yule for seasonal decorations, the holly, being the male plant and the ivy being female. Holly is used for protection and ivy is used for love and fidelity.

Coming from Mexico, near my home, we have the lovely poinsettia, a traditional holiday flower. Lovely as it is, it is a toxic houseplant so please keep it away from pets and small children who might try to eat it. The poinsettia corresponds with the Lady of Guadelupe, also known as the Mother of the Americas. Her sacred day is December 12th.

Garden Witchery ~ Magick From The Ground Up Ellen Dugan, Llewellyn Publishing 2003

Fee is a Certified Master Herbalist from the Global College of Natural Medicine, Keeper of the Gardens. For gardening or herbal questions, contact Fee at khotbc@yahoo.com.

The Miracle of Winter
"Plants die after producing their seeds, which are buried in the ground, storing precious energy. During the darkest days of winter, these seeds begin to germinate, thus completing Nature's cycle. So, too, this dark night of the soul will produce new growth in time. At no other moment are you more deeply in touch with your will to survive. The darkness of night can be terrifying, but it can also bring blessed sleep and relief from the day's troubles. Perhaps the most peaceful time of life is experienced in the darkness of the womb as life's potential begins to take form. The winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, brings hope and the return of the Sun's life. Likewise, your darkest moments hold the power of healing. Conserve your energies. Sink deep into your inner Self to find that seed of new life." (M.E. Warlick)

Within the dark, winter womb of Mother Earth rest many seeds awaiting the Turning of the Sun to coax them into the light. So, too, within each of us are countless "Seeds of Potentialities" awaiting the warm Sun of our own Self-Love to bring them to the surface of our consciousness, and into the world as the living fruit of our lives.

To enact this ritual you need one tangerine or orange that has seeds. Find a quiet time and place where you will be undisturbed. You may light a candle, burn incense, play music, whatever you wish to do to "create sacred space." Begin by looking back at 2008. What was the year like for you? What good things came to you? What lessons did you learn? What did you accomplish? (Remember, there are no small accomplishments.) Reflect on all areas of your life. Give thanks to the Divine, your guides, whomever you include as an ally in your life process, for their support in the past year. Then take a deep, heartfelt moment to honor yourself for the "Living Light" that you are.

Hold the orange, or tangerine, to your heart and think about the seeds lying dormant inside the fruit. Begin to contemplate the Seeds inside you that want to come to Life in the coming year. What do you want to do . . . create . . . accomplish in 2009? Where do you want to be a year from now, and what must you do to get there? Think about all aspects of your life, and trust that Spirit will spark and guide you on your path.

Peel the fruit. While the peelings drop away, imagine them as any, and all obstacles, limitations and fears holding you back. As you let the pieces of rind fall away, know that they have protected and served you . . .until now. Thank them and release them.

While eating the fruit, visualize the sweet juice and pulp as the inner love, strength, and boundless resources you have inside you. As you discover the seeds within the fruit, take a moment to envision, and name, what each "Seed of Potentiality" will represent in your life in the coming year. Set the seeds aside until you have finished the entire fruit. Then take all the seeds into your hands. These represent your goals, wishes and dreams for 2009. Endow them with your life essence by breathing into them, singing or sounding into them, dancing with them, or anointing them with your kisses or tears. Let Spirit guide you in this energy-exchange. (You might want to write about your wishes, dreams and goals in a journal, as well.)

Finally, offer your Life-Seeds back to Mother Earth, or put them in a sacred space until you are ready to give them to Her for safe-keeping. When it feels appropriate for you, bury the seeds with prayer, thankfulness and a commitment to yourself to do all that is necessary to grow these "Seeds-of- Life" into their complete form. Trust that you have all the resources you need to nurture your goals, wishes and dreams into full manifestation.

This personal rite also works well at the New Year. © 1997 Xia