21/22 December Northern Hemisphere
The Winter Solstice heralds the return of the light, the birth of the Sun God, as an infant. The survival of light through the winter has long been symbolised as the young child's hair.
The winter solstice is celebrated worldwide and in the Druid tradition, it is known as Alban Arthan which can be translated as The Light of Arthur. To the Druids Arthur is the Sun God who dies and is reborn he is the Celtic Son of Light, just as in Christianity it is Jesus who is reborn at this time of year.
The ceremony follows the main theme of the returning light, the darkness gives way to light. In pagan themes the Oak and Holly Kings play out their roles between the two solstices of Winter and Summer, waning and gaining power just as the Christians replaced these with Jesus and John the Baptist whose birthday is on Midsummer.
As we know after the shortest day, or longest night, the days will gradually become lighter, yet we don't feel it or see it until late February, just five minutes a day of daylight returning as Winter turns to Spring and onwards.
For me, Winter is a time of the Goddess Hecate and Goddess Isis, until early January when I feel the energy of Goddess Aphrodite stirring before Brigit comes into her own at Imbolc. I find such peace with the ever-flowing cycles of the year.
As we join together to celebrate Yule, Alban Arthan or the Winter Solstice we know that we are gathering to let go of the darkness and welcome the coming light in the embodiment of the Sun God, be it Arthur, Lugh, Christ or another we know that hope, wonder, light is returning. We are in full deepest connection with our earth, the heavens, skies and inner selves. We have stood here in the darkest of nights so many times, over many lifetimes, and if you feel the darkness enfold you, know in your heart the dawn will come tomorrow and the light will start to return. This is our truth, the light prevails.
Let not the darkness cloud your heart
Let not the long days hide you from yourself
Let the hope return each season
Let the days of glory be yours and mine
Let the Sun God be reborn
To begin again
Lift your hearts, minds and listen to your Soul
For only your Soul knows the way
Of the light and its eternity