Friday the 21st. of December 2018 will be Winter Solstice. This day is also known as Midwinter. This is the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. The Earth’s poles are tilted as far away from the Sun as they can be. This happens twice a year, once in each hemisphere.
The Winter Solstice is also known as Yule or Yuletide and marks the growing length of days and shortening of nights following this day. Yule is a festival observed by Germanic peoples. This celebration has connections with the god Odin, and the Wild Hunt (a ghostly procession in the winter sky). The Wild Hunt itself is said to be led by many different gods, or goddesses depending on where you are celebrating. The hunt may or may not also include fairies, elves , or even the undead, again dependent on where in the world you are celebrating. In pre-Christian times Yule, or the Feast of Juul would last twelve days celebrating the return of the Sun, and included the burning of the Yule log. Yule was reformed by Christians into Christmastide.
Many of the symbols that might be thought of as Christmas symbols started out as Yule symbols. Evergreens, Holly, and Mistletoe are traditional Yule symbols. So is the Yule tree, it would have been decorated with berries, fruits, and pine cones, and symbolized the world tree. The Yule log has held it’s place in many celebrations to this day, as well as candles, wreaths, bells, gingerbread, elves, wassail, and even the use of the colors red and green. Red is the waning Holly King, and green is the waxing Oak King. Other colors such as white which holds the idea of purity, silver which represents the Moon, and gold for the Sun would also have been used, and of course still are.
On the 22nd, the day after Yule the Moon will be full at zero degrees in the sign of Cancer. As the last full Moon of the year it seems fitting that it should be in Cancer. Cancer is a cardinal, water sign that is ruled by the Moon. Some key words for Cancer include emotional, intuitive, and imaginative. The family, and the home are important to Cancer, it is a nurturing, sign. The symbol for the sign Cancer is the crab, being a sensitive soul the cancer wants to armor itself with a hard shell.
The full Moon occurs when the Sun and Moon are in opposition to each other. The Sun will be in Capricorn in opposition to this Cancer moon. Capricorn is concerned with hierarchy, authority, and status. Cancer is more concerned with how it and others feel, than with being in charge. This is an axis though, neither sign is operating in a bubble, so there may well be tension between emotional desires and what is expected at this time. A desire to mother or be mothered can be nurturing, or too much depending on the situation.
Full Moon Magick
This full Moon is a great time to work with a Mother Goddess, or lunar deities. It would also be a good time for protection work(think about the shell of the crab). The full Moon in general is good for divination, dream work, releasing, banishing, overcoming obstacles, and making moon water (to use in your spells). Any spells or rituals for family, friends, and home would be particularly powerful right now. In the spirit of Cancer use the colors violet, white, and silver. For gemstones Moonstone, Selenite, clear quartz, white coral, and pearl. Metal should be silver. Body parts related to Cancer are the chest and stomach. Plants like moon flower, lotus, jasmine, iris, poppy, almond, mallow, milkweed, mugwort, wild yam, passionflower, and willow.
The Moon is the ruling planet for the High Priestess card in tarot. The High Priestess is the second Trump, or Major Arcana card in most Tarot decks. The High Priestess is identified with the Shekhinah, the female indwelling presence of the divine. The lunar crescent at her feet is a clue to the connection this card has with the Moon. Some keywords include Intuition, mystery, secrets, things hidden, spiritual insight, and often in romance spreads indicates the ideal woman. Reversed keywords might include secrets, disharmony, information withheld, and deception. The element for this card is water. Often said to be a card of passivity and retreat, being still and listening to your inner guidance, and intuition. This card may indicate that things are not as they seem, like the saying “still waters run deep” there is a lot going on under the surface and you may need to “feel” your way through the situation at hand.
The Chariot is the seventh Trump, or Major Arcana card in most Tarot decks. It’s element is water, and is said to correspond to the sign of Cancer. It is ruled by the Moon. The Chariot is a powerful figure in a Chariot usually being pulled by two sphinxes, or sometimes two horses. Keywords include willpower, drive, overcoming obstacles, moving forward, a journey, confidence, and ambition. Reversed keywords might include self doubt, lack of direction, scattered energy, or being stuck. This card is about overcoming fears and conflicts, and moving forward. This card often points to a need to “stay the course” and make it through any issues or challenges. Hard work and commitment will ultimately lead one to success.
These cards seem to sum up well some good general advice for this period of time. Meditate, or sit with any problems and gain clarity from your intuitive inner guidance. Then stay the course, moving past any fears to a place of self-confidence. I have found the Chariot card to be a lot like the sign of Cancer’s symbol the crab. The rider would seem to be tough, as he is protected by the shell of the chariot, and in some decks even armor. He takes this protection with him as he ventures out into the world, so he may get to where he wants to be while staying safe. Sensitive water types could use this imagery to help themselves navigate a sometimes harsh outside world.