There is a deeply rooted magic that calls to me at this time of the year as the Earth below sleeps.
It summons the bones within me to acknowledge the darkness, the shadows of the year past and the ties of the spiritual that sing through the ether with guidance and wisdom song.
Like oracles from days long past we venture beyond the veil of the living and into the shadowlands during the Solstice.
This is a time we travel the wild and mystical threads woven deep in our soul.
This is the time the mystic ones of our Earth are called on a vision quest deep within the self. The dark half of the year is like a dream as we peel back the layers and the knowledge that is gained with each husk that falls away.
On this longest eve, we enter a dark night of the soul. This is a time of death to the old, the no longer needed, to all that no longer fits. This is a time of rebirth into all that is possible and all that we see on the horizon as the light returns once more.
Yule and Litha mark the longest night and day in each respective part of the world.
This is a time of celebration, of reverence to the season that is passing and it is a time of welcoming in the longer days/nights.
In this we take the time to celebrate the changing of the consort of the Goddess from Holly to Oak in the Northern and Oak to Holly in the Southern.
The golden Oak King, who is the light embodiment and personifies growth and a return to the fertility of the abundance of the harvest season, rules from Midwinter to Midsummer.
The Holly King rules the dark half of the year from Midsummer to Midwinter, symbolizing our dive into the shadows, both in the waning light and within our own selves.
Each of these are dual aspects of the Horned God and both of their energies are needed to rule with the Goddess and to keep the wheel of the year in harmony. In their duality they show us that nothing can be all "dark" or "light", and that within us there is both.
So as one dies in our Northern Hemisphere he is reborn in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa, keeping the balance and continuing on the eternal cycle of seasons, death, rebirth and life prompting us to look within and without at the changing of the guard in our own lives.
~The Yule Log~
Many, many moons ago, I was part of a small group that gathered to mark the seasons. We worked with the energies of the Earth, we called the elemental quarters and we sat in sacred circle. One year, while planning the workings during the Winter Solstice with one of the women from the group, she brought with her a Yule log.
We decorated the log with candles, with greenery and with all the ceremony that surrounded our intentions that night. But, one thing we never did was burn it.
Traditionally the Yule log was burned every year using a piece of the previous year's log to ignite it. This symbolized the passing of the torch to the new year, and the changing of the energy from the past to the present. The death of the old and the rebirth of the new.
I found the log a few days ago and it got me thinking on how long this piece of powerful symbol had been present in my life. To some it may be nothing more than a nostalgic item that had too long graced their basement. To me it was a reminder of trying to hold on things that no longer have a place.
How many beliefs had I still been holding onto from my past? How many blocks still needed to be released?
I've made it my intention to let this log go and burn it on the solstice bidding it and the energy of a time long past farewell. This energy that we are surrounded with now calls deeply to let go what no longer serves us and the vein runs spirit deep.
Sometimes we come face to face with things after a long time. They may be long forgotten or placed in the basement so we no longer have to look at them all the time. But when they do resurface they do so for a reason, usually for us to gain perspective, learn the lesson or to move on.
So as I get ready to say farewell to the Holly King and welcome back the Oak King of the Light once more, I thank the dark half of the year for the lessons I received.
There is always wisdom to be found in times of darkness. Here we see the strength we have within, we see our truth and we see our own guiding inner light. Here we learn that no matter where we are on the path we can die to what was and be reborn into the new.
And that it's never too late to let go.
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