Hope you have your own Yule log to provide heat and light for those long winter nights (in the northern hemisphere, that is); the days will soon shift to longer again, but it will take some time, even more than the twelve days of traditional Yule, to see the sun high in the sky again.
As this hop’s theme-setter and wrangler, I asked the blog hoppers to leave the last couple of Yule/Winter Solstice hops’ focus on gift-giving and go back to the Dark Side, to embrace the night, which is the only time we can see the stars.
My favorite deck for seasonal celebrations has always been the nature-based Wildwood Tarot, and for Winter Solstice/Yule, the star is my go-to card for great symbolism. The pilgrim/fool walks into dark forest with total faith in the star’s direction, even though he won’t be able to see it once he’s under the trees. The faith that allows one to embrace the night, knowing that one’s internal compass will still provide guidance.
The Winter Solstice is a celebration of the sun’s return (love the Stonehenge image below), but also of the victory of surviving our fears in the darkness with our faith in the light.
Long ago, the night of nature was the challenge for us to walk through, live through, to get to the light of the sun’s rebirth on the other side. And our ancestors relied on their own strength and stamina, as well as the collective support of their tribe to make it through the time of nature’s darkness. Today, we can banish that outer darkness so easily, with the flip of a light switch. We have incredible power over the night as our lights blaze out from every window to fade out the stars with their glow.
But for those who choose to contemplate life’s meaning beyond the physical comforts that we have created, there are other nights to pass through. Most of us have faced the darkness of illness, emotional anguish, death of loved ones, our own fears of death, or of life, for that matter.
In order to discover the light that shines within each one of us, we must often go through inner passages of doubt and despair, letting go of all our preconceptions and expectations, in order to grow. But let us not go entirely alone into those times of darkness; instead let’s take each other’s hands and walk through the valley of the shadow together; our combined courage and love will keep hope alive for each one of us. A long, heart-to-heart talk, a supportive hug, a hot meal, a loving smile, a burning Yule log, all of these and more will keep us warm in times of darkness.
And now for the fun do-it-yourself Tarot part. My New Star spread for this Yule/Solstice time involves looking to the night for guidance.
Question: What new direction should I take in the new year for the greatest happiness (you can also get more specific by asking about creative projects, work/career, relationships, health, etc.)?
1 – North Star – Your current direction
2 – Dark matter – What’s hiding your new guiding star from you
3 – New lenses – What attitudes/skills you need to apply to see through the dark
4 – Power source – What sources of support you have to follow your new direction
5 – New Star – Your new direction, visible
6 – Chaos clarifier – Toss a card out randomly and see which card/star it comes closest to, and add that influence to your new direction. (With thanks to Arwen Lynch for her great idea to add this card to the mix, and to Ania M who came up with Chaos concept.)
If you try this one out, you are welcome to share the results and your opinion of the spread’s usefulness in the comments.
And now, a bit of my verse on the subject of the journey into the night.
To Embrace the Night
It’s time to capture your lost courage, true.
Don’t run away so fast, my friend.
Close your eyes and let the dark enfold you.
Time to embrace the night.
Watch the piercing stars when the twilight dims.
It’s ok to be blinded by the spirit-light.
Feel your fear and let it go on the wind.
Reach to embrace the night.
Open your ears to the whisper of God.
Listen, listen with all your heart
as She runs that melody right through your blood.
Time to embrace the night.
In the deep of the valley of shadow,
when solitude looms overhead,
be caressed by the unseen hands of love,
reach to embrace the night.
No matter how long the night’s duration,
no matter how lonely your soul,
dawn will awaken your inspiration
beyond the reach of night.
So, light up your sweet soul, my friend;
time once more to embrace the night.