The last moon phase of the year is the Big Winter Moon in December, also called Long Nights Moon, or the Cold Moon.
- Colors: White, red, and black
- Gemstones: Obsidian, ruby, serpentine
- Trees: Pine, holly
- Gods: Minerva, Osiris, Athena, Persephone and Hades
- Herbs: Ivy, mistletoe, holly and berries, cinnamon
- Element: Fire
As the days get shorter and Yule approaches with the longest night of the year, we force ourselves to get through the darkness because eventually we will see the sunlight and warmth again. Think about the things in your life that you’ve had to endure. Sometimes, a part of us must die in order to be reborn. Now is the perfect time for spiritual alchemy — time to evaluate your life, and know that you’ll survive the dark times.
If you’ve already put the darkness behind you, take your good fortune and share it with others. When it’s cold outside, open your heart and home to friends and family. Reach out to people who might be suffering from the chill of winter, either spiritually or physically.
Eriskegal, great black mother of the House of Dust,
you who wait at the end of every life,
cast your dim black gaze upon the just
and, blinking once, give them rebirth.
While November is the eleventh month on modern calendars, it was once the ninth, as evidenced by the Latin number novem. In the United States, November contains one of the oldest national holidays – Thanksgiving.
Actually, festivals of gratitude combine with late harvest festivals in many parts of the world; at this time people pray for divine providence and give thanks for the earth’s bounty. Other predominant festivals during early winter months include commemorative rites for the dead and rituals that protect individuals or whole communities from evil influences.
For people living in four-season climates, the snows begin to accumulate and winter winds decorate the windows with frosty reminders of the outside chill. Because of this, magic for continued health is fitting during November, as are spells and charms for protection.
Wintery months also seem to be a time for introspection – to us divination tools for foresight and preparation, to seek guidance within, and to ask the Goddess for a special spiritual vision to carry us through the last months of the year.
Source: 365 Goddess
Image from: 2008 Witches Calendar
Là Fhèill Brìghde is the day the Cailleach gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on February 1 is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood to keep herself warm in the coming months. As a result, people are generally relieved if February 1 is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep, will soon run out of firewood, and therefore winter is almost over.
The tenth day of Christmas (Jan 3) is Snow Day. On this day we pay our respects to snow. No depiction of Christmas and Midwinter celebration is complete without it. Snow has so many qualities and so many aspects that it is not surprising that the Inuit people have literally hundreds of words that describe its variety of colors and texture.
So today let us devote ourselves to the contemplation and honoring of the million small crystals that drift across the lands of the Northern hemisphere at this time of the year. And, if we have no snow to look at and celebrate, let us at least remember it in all its fine whiteness, cancelling out the darkness of Midwinter and transforming even the grayest and bleakest of scenes into a place of magic.
Source: The Winter Solstice