Beloved Flower Lover
Using flowers and wreaths to celebrate a New start
Winter Solstice – an inside out celebration
The Winter Solstice is the shortest day, and longest night of the year, and is the traditional time to celebrate the truly important things in life: your divine identity, your family, your children, your home and looking forward to a wonderful year to come.
Just as Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, The Winter Solstice celebrates the birth of the Sun God – child of the Goddess in the Ancient people’s belief system. The Winter Solstice is primarily the celebration of the rebirth of the Sun.
Many western Europeans associate the Winter Solstice, or Winter itself with death, as it is the season in which nature is dormant, and in which many plants die off and crops are scarce. It is where they are on the planet. Conversely, the Winter Solstice, although it is the longest night, (boasting more than 12 hours of darkness), it is also the turning point of the year, as following this night the sun grows stronger in the sky, and the days become gradually longer once more. Thus, the Winter Solstice is also a celebration of rebirth, and there are many traditions that stem from this perspective. In fact, the Winter Solstice happens in other parts of the world in full sun because although it is Winter, they are in the southern part of the Earth so experience sunshine when those in the Europe experience a lack of sun.
Nubian and Kamitian Traditions- make use of the most receptive time of the year to plant their intentions for the coming year into their spirits!
The Winter Solstice is considered by ancient people a time to embrace a new start, it is a new beginning, and it is a time to celebrate a renaissance. It is a time where the boundaries between dark and light collapses. It is symbolic of a time for naming what you want to renew in your life, for what you want to revive in life. It is a time for naming aloud what you want to regenerate. It is a mood altering time. It is a time to look into your own eyes and accept all of you. It is a time for creating a circle of love around you and to really embrace the previous year with love-warts and all.
The Winter Solstice is a time when the spirit is the most open. It is the time that you are most exposed, most receptive, and most amenable. It is also a time when the spirit is most unguarded and also fertile. In ancient times people would keep themselves inward and out of the way during this period. They knew their spirit was fertile ground during this time so were careful who they were around and what they allowed themselves to be involved with during this part of the year. It is in between stage. It is a time of when you give yourself permission to become clear about identity, play and joy.
Some celebrate this period by taking a fast. It can be any sort of fast. Of TV, certain foods, meats, what ever.
It’s definitely, a quiet time, a personal time. A one to one time, where you can embrace your shadow. It is like dealing with your guilt’s that you had for the year and to forgive it. It is a time to respect your identity, to respect your true nature despite your failings as a human. It is a time for being supporting yourself and reminding yourself that you can be loved. So it is a time to guard your openness. in fact those Nubian and Kamiitan cultures often go into a forms of retreat during this Solstice time,they give themselves a physical boundary because the know the spirit is so open. This they do for the so they can then get on with the work of self-love and self-care.
Now during that retreat period, they go and heal all parts of their identity, including, those disowned parts of us, which are actually waiting to be given the light and love of awareness.
Its hardly surprising that it’s a bit stressing at this time of year. Issues like money, relationships, family, love, health all come up at Christmas. However, they are there to be given compassion. Once you realise you have unmet needs, you go about addressing that and this period tends to. It is a homecoming. . If you want to use more contemporary terms, it is a healing of the inner child. Therefore, you give it light. So neglect, shame, abandon is addressed. Needs you cannot get without depending on someone. A child’s needs are dependency needs and so learning how to express anger in an appropriate way. Therefore, it is a recovery period. That is how the shadow is addressed. It is a really time to help each other to get in touch with feelings and needs and instead to really really give light and awareness to it. That is how the sun comes back symbolically. Awareness is symbolised by light and clarity.
The Nubian and Kamaitian traditions use the story of Ausar and Auset, husband and wife to reflect the nurturing family. This is a time to recover those feelings either inside oneself and externally. You learn you are enough. It is a period when you go within to get unmet needs met.
European Traditions: Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe
The Holly and the Ivy
The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown.
Oh, the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The shining of the Winter stars
As the longer days draw near.
The holly bears a blossom
As white as any flower
As our Mother bears the infant Sun
In the Winter ‘s darkest hour.
The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
As our Father bears the hunter’s spear
for His hungry children’s good.
The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn
As we shall bear our song of hope
On triumphant The Winter Solsticetide morn.
Adapted by Hilda Marshal.
The tradition of bringing sprigs of Holly and Ivy into the home pays homage to the masculine and feminine elements. Both of these powerfully magickal plants are evergreen, a reminder in itself that the earth never dies, but merely sleeps during the Winter months, (a tradition which was the precursor to our modern tradition of the evergreen Christmas tree). The male element is represented by the prickly holly; with its sexually potent red berries. The mistletoe is the female; entwining, gentle yet powerful. An alternative view of Holly is that the leaves of the plant represent the male, whereas the red berries symbolise the resting Mother Goddess, and life returning to the land.
Mistletoe has a most compelling and influential history. According to ancient Druid tradition, Mistletoe was the most sacred of all plants. Mistletoe was used by the Druid priesthood in a very special ceremony; held five days after the New Moon following Winter Solstice. The Druid priests would cut Mistletoe from a holy Oak tree with a golden sickle. The branches had to be caught before they touched the ground. The priest then divided the branches into sprigs and dispersed them to the people, who hung them over doorways as protection. The folklore, and the magickal powers of this plant, have blossomed over time, although most are now forgotten. It was believed it had miraculous properties that could cure illnesses, antidote poisons, ensure fertility and protect against witchcraft. It was also a sign of peace and goodwill. When warring tribes came across Mistletoe, a temporary truce would be observed until the next day.
However, although Mistletoe carries a broad array of customs, and benefits in ancient times, the tradition which has lived on is that concerning fertility and love. According to most current day traditions, a young woman stands under the mistletoe and awaits her lover’s kiss. But from where did this tradition spring? It is considered that Mistletoe and kissing tradition is borne of a Norse myth.
The Norse god Balder was son of Frigga, goddess of love and beauty. She loved her son to such a degree that she had the four elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth- promise that they would not harm her son. However, Loki, an evil spirit, found the one thing that could defy this promise – mistletoe. He made an arrow from its wood, which was shot at Balder’s heart, and he fell dead, and Frigga’s tears became the mistletoe’s white berries. Balder is however, restored to life, and Frigga is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the offending plant–making it a symbol of love and promising to bestow a kiss upon anyone who passes under it.
In the true spirit of The Winter Solstice, focus your celebrations as a family upon love, and the fact that every ending is a new beginning. There are many simple rituals that you can enjoy as a family, to seal your bonds and celebrate each other at this magickal time of year.
Be kind to yourself- it’s a new start
- Decide on your value of yourself
- Use flowers as a symbol of your value, whatever you do or achieve from the inside out
- If you would like find a photo of yourself as a child and look into your eyes and send love to that child.
- Get out of the shame and open up- that is value in itself
- Give yourself permission to be human and divine and love them both
- Get out of the hiding and heal yourself
- Use the luxury of flowers to ennoble yourself and lighten up on yourself
- Lighten up, find your own way, avoid shaming yourself, what ever way you do it is fine
- Have a general outline of what you want-be patient with yourself- you are perfectly imperfect
Remember, it is a time for going inside and imagining the best qualities in life. Many ancient people fasted and use it as a time of awe and reverence. They used it to prepare for the coming year. They use it celebrate. It is an extremely feminine time, because we tend to be the most receptive ever!
We at the team love you and look forward to hearing from you
The London Flower Lover