The Winter Solstice is today! This holiday is (in essence) the Pagan equivalent to Christmas. Fun fact… when Christmas was placed on December 25th, the church chose that day to coincide with the pagan holiday of Yule (because as most know, Christ was actually born in the spring, not in December).
Although many of us have been feeling like we’ve been in it for months, the Winter Solstice is the “official” first day of winter, and marks its spot on the calendar not by its date, but by being one of only two days each year where the daylight and darkness are equal. In my path, this holiday marks a day of hope for the future, and candles are lit to celebrate the return of the sun as it begins to now become more and more prominent with each day that passes and every day becomes longer as the nights decrease.
Like with new moons and full moons, I usually do a spread to check in with myself and give myself some direction for the next couple of months for each solstice, equinox, and other Sabbats. This spread is an adaptation of my Self Care Saturday spread, so there are some similarities in how it is read. The focus of this spread, though, is not about Self Care, but rather about progress and my path. The time period is also longer, reaching through the next handful of weeks until the celebration of upcoming Imbolc at the beginning of February.
Theme of the Season – Midwinter, Cold Moon, Owl – The Midwinter card in this deck is also titled as “The Hunter” and it speaks of the hunter bringing anarchy and chaos that is then followed by a time of restoration and regeneration. It is impossible not to note that this is the same pattern that you go through in the six weeks leading up to the Winter Solstice, as the chaos of the holiday rush abuses the body and mind and brings you to the point of needing to then rest, restore, and recuperate.
The Cold Moon encourages generosity and the connection and reaching out to others. It is a time when families gather and huddle together, communities support each other, and the cold winter months are survived through interconnection and the uplifting strength in numbers. In order to stay connected with nature, people bring nature indoors during this time of the year when the elements do not allow as much time among the outdoors in order to decorate our homes with the beauty of nature even in the darkest of seasons.
The Owl in this deck is also known as an “Arrow in the Darkness” and references the owl’s keen senses and focus while hunting even in the darkest of nights. The Owl is a reminder to stay focused on your goals and not allow yourself to become distracted by the darkness, doubts, or turbulence.
When looking at these three cards together, the theme that I see here is a reminder that it is time to set the chaos behind me and stay focused forward into the goals for healing and self care that I’ve set forth, and connecting with those that hold importance in my heart and my life. Now is a time to reconnect with my feelings, including the compassion I feel for others, and allow it to guide me out of the dark and into the light.
Earth – Six of Swords – The spoils of war lie at your feet and now is a time to take stock of what you’ve won with your hard work, dedication, and ambition. As things slow down, take what you’ve won and move forward into a new and better place. Don’t run away, but make wise decisions that will continue to move you in the right direction. Don’t look back and rehash what is done and over, look forward.
Air – The World – You have the opportunity to do things differently this time around. Every year you fall into a horrible funk in the handful of weeks that follow the holiday rush. This is a time when you cycle back to start again and try again to find a better way forward. Focus on the light and not the darkness. Keep your head up and your eyes forward.
Water – Eight of Pentacles – As you move into this new cycle, remember all that you have learned before and carry that knowledge forward with you. Returning to a healthier way of doing things and an exploration mindset toward your emotional growth will go much more smoothly if you tap into the knowledge, techniques and abilities you have already gained over the past year. You are not starting from scratch.
Fire – Knight of Cups – Apologize and be kind to yourself. The abuse upon yourself this last few weeks has been pretty extensive, and over the handful of weeks ahead you need to turn towards making that up to yourself and being kind. There’s no harshness needed. Make helping yourself and loving yourself a priority for a bit.
Waning – Panther Spirit – It’s time to let go. You’ve mustered every shred of power and strength you have to make it through the last five or six weeks. Now it’s time to ease that grip and let that go. You do not need to continue holding on so tightly.
Waxing – Groundhog Spirit – An echo of the waning Panther Spirit, the Groundhog Spirit also encourages letting go. All that tension and all those unhealthy tendencies allowed to go on during the rush are now no longer serving you and it’s time to let them all go and return to something healthier and that will serve you much better for the weeks (and months) ahead.
Take Away – Like the theme of Yule itself, this reading is about seeking the light and moving forward into it. It’s about new beginnings and finding hope while making healthy choices and connecting with loved ones.