December is the twelfth and last month of the year. The month kept its original name from the Latin word decem meaning “ten”, which marked it as the tenth month of the year in the Roman calendar. December was named during a time when the calendar year began with March, which is why its name no longer corresponds with its placement in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Its birth flower is the holly or lily. The birthstone is the blue turquoise or zircon. The zodiac signs for the month of December are Sagittarius (until December 21) and Capricorn (December 22 onwards).
It is the month of Yule, St Lucy Day, St Nick Day and the Winter Solstice. The month contains the winter solstice which is the shortest day of the year and marks the beginning of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere. In Norway, as in other countries to the far north, it is particularly short, lasting for a few hours at best.
Ansuz is the conventional name given to the a-rune A. Ansuz is the rune of inspired speech and incantation as a creative expression. Eiwaz or Eihaz eo/ei was a word for yew and the name of the rune I. The yew tree is a powerful stave of protection and banishing, not only because of its association with the forces of life and death, but because of its association with the bow and arrow made of yew wood, which was common to the folk of the Norse. The othala rune (E) represents the o sound, ancestors, foundation, experience and property. This rune represents ancestral property, one’s homeland or one’s ‘home turf’, be it physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.
The Twelfth Hall is about endings. This time also rules jails, institutions, hospitals, karma, finances of friends, secret sorrows, fears, self-destruction, large animals, skeletons in closet, self-undoing and self-injury. It is about your hidden strengths, weaknesses and what you don't want others to see or know about you. It is also about libraries and the armed services. Other keywords include: hidden enemies, the collective unconscious, spirituality, unredeemed karma, selfless service to humanity.
3 Wane Moon T
Expel negative energy from your life. A time to clear out junk and unwanted people, feelings and thoughts.
Hail Manni, God of the Moon!
Forever pursued but never caught,
You turn through the night,
and ward us as we sleep,
Hail Manni God of the Moon!
6 Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas (270 – 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra (part of modern-day Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, while in the Russian Orthodox Church the name is translated "St. Nikolai The Miracle Creator". He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints. In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari. His feast day is 6 December.
While feasts of Saint Nicholas are not observed nationally, cities with strong German influences like Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis celebrate St. Nick's Day on a scale similar to the German custom. As in other countries, many people in the United States celebrate a separate St Nicholas Day by putting their shoes outside their bedroom doors on the evening of 5 December. St Nicholas then comes during the night. On the morning of 6 December, those people will find their shoes filled with gifts and sugary treats.
7 Manni's Night
The Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth. Its prominence in the sky and its regular cycle of phases have, since ancient times, made the Moon an important cultural influence on language, calendars, art and mythology. The Moon's gravitational influence produces the ocean tides and the minute lengthening of the day. In Norse mythology, Mani (Manni) was the man who drove the chariot that carried the Moon across the sky. He is the brother of Sunna the Sun and the son of Mundilfari.
‘Moon’s Day,’ Manidagr, gets its name from Mani (Old Norse Mani, Old English Mona), the Germanic Moon God (in the Germanic tradition, the moon is always masculine), and son of Mundilfari and Glaur. The Germanic myth tells how Mani pulls the moon through the sky and is chased by the wolf Hati. Lunar eclipses are the result, when Hati (’devourer of Mani’), comes close to succeeding.
At the time of Ragnarok, Hati catches his prey, breaking it in his jaws. Monday is thus the appropriate day to pay attention to the moon cycles, the tides, and emotions, which have their own flow, rising and descending. Concentrate on the mystery of laguz l: see its effect and meaning in the context of your own inner cycles and changing life conditions. Delve deep into the world of your subconscious waters, feelings and intuition. Dive deeper and explore also the terrifying, darker and Hidden areas. Think about water and its relationship with the moon; read the rune poem of laguz.
May the Sun, bring you new energy by day.
May the Moon, softly restore you by night.
May the Rain, wash away your worries.
May the Breeze, blow away negativity.
May you walk, gently through life and know its
beauty all the days of your life.
11 New Moon
This is a time of new beginnings and new undertakings. It can be a starting point for kicking that bad habit, or simply beginning a project. Put ideas in motion, become engaged, make long term relationship plans.
In darkness, there is light!
I feel energy and life returning to me!
I feel my heartbeat strong
I feel the power of the universe and the power of the
Goddess and God within me.
Ancient Swedish feast of lights. The story is that Saint Lucy secretly brought food to persecuted Christians in Rome, who were forced underground into the catacombs. Lucy would wear a crown of candles so she could use both of her hands to carry items. It is one of the very few saint days observed in Scandinavia. In traditional celebrations in Scandinavia, Saint Lucy comes as a young woman with lights and sweets. In some forms, a procession is headed by one girl wearing a crown of candles (or lights), while others in the procession hold only a single candle each. The tradition for Saint Lucia's Day is to serve a Lucia bread, Lucia buns and a drink of Juleglogg.
15 Norn's Day
These three Goddesses, known as Urd (past or fate), Verdnadi (present or being) and Skuld (future or necessity) are more than mere Goddesses; they are personifications of the vastly powerful universal force variously described as Fate, Wyrd, Kismet and Karma. They have a chapter in my new book, "Your Divine Friends", in Lulu Publishing. They may very well be the same beings known as the Fates in Greco-Roman mythology. While there may be only three Norns with a capital 'N,' there are countless norns with a lowercase 'n' – norn is an Old Norse word for a generic practitioner of magic.
Destiny cycles through the image, following the course of the water. In the Well of Urdr live the Norns, three wise women who carve or weave into the tree the lives and destinies of children. All of the beings who live in the Nine Worlds of Yggdrasil, from humans to Gods to salamanders, are subject to these carvings. However what the Norns carve into the tree is the earliest form of the destinies of the beings who inhabit the Nine Worlds, but not their only possible form. The words of the Norns are not absolute.
In the name of Urd, That Which Is, may I use my orlog wisely.
In the name of Verdande, That Which Becomes, may I strengthen my maegan.
In the name of Skuld, That Which Must Be, may I bravely accept
28 Wax Moon
Time of Warrior Maiden. Balance carefully. Doorway to the Other places. Continue regeneration and renewal.
Oh warrior Moon,
now hear my plea:
Hearken, hearken unto me!
As you grow, my spell enhance -
And power its magic with
20 Mother's Night
As the night before the Winter Solstice, this is the time when the New Year is born. We honor the beginning of Sunnas return and the breaking of Winters spell. This is a time to honor Thor and Freyr, celebrate by Blot, Sumbel, and High Feast. Burn a Yule Log and jump the flames for luck and purification.
Celebrations tonight center around the wife or mother of the family as she symbolically cleans the house in preparation of Yule festivities, invites both the living and the dead to join the party, and bestows blessings and gifts on her family and friends. Mother Night Parties follow a special blot and ceremony where the house is lit with candle light. Sometimes, this includes a Yule Wreath of four candles, the decorating of an evergreen tree with sun wheels, and the lighting of the Yule Log.
I (your name) , am giving thanks to all the Mother's of Midgard,
to all the females above and below.
I close with honor, Blessed Be and Hail.
A day of the Moon and Birth. Celebration of the Norse New Year; a festival of 12 nights (Yule). Winter Solstice is an ancient holiday marking the longest night of the year. This is a time to perform rituals dealing with enlightenment, generosity, love, wealth and gratitude. Words during this night are said to bear great weight and power. It is a time to count blessings, take stock and lay a course for the future.
On this day we remind ourselves of the importance of Hearth and Home as our ancestors remind us to avoid the Wild Hunt. Known as Odin's Hunt, the Wild Ride, the Raging Host or Yule Riders. Odin followed by the ghosts of the dead, would roam the skies, accompanied by furious winds, lightning and thunder, gathering lost souls (and everyone else) that was on the path of the Hunt. The Wild Hunt which began on Samhain or Halloween is now at its height. Legend says that anyone unwary enough to be caught out at midnight on the Winter Solstice will be swept up by the Hunter and carried away.
It is our quiet time.
We do not speak, because the voices are within us.
It is our quiet time.
We do not walk, because the Earth is all within us.
It is our quiet time.
We do not dance, because the music has lifted us to where the
spirit is. It is our quiet time.
We rest with all of nature.
We wake when the seven sisters wake.
We greet them in the sky over the opening of the Earth.
This time of the year the Moon has reign over the Earth, because there are more hours of night than day. This is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. Plan a ritual to help you remain steadfast in your convictions.
This is what I want to happen: that our Earth mother
may be clothed in ground corn four times over,
that frost flowers cover her over entirely,
that the mountain pines far away over there
may stand close to each other in the cold,
that the weight of snow crack some branches.
In order that the country may be this way
I have made my prayer sticks into something alive.
27 Skadi's Day
In Norse mythology, Skadi is a jotunn and Goddess associated with bow hunting, skiing, winter and mountains. Skadi lives in the highest reaches of the mountains, where the snow never melts. She is often depicted hunting while on skis/ snowshoes or on a snow-capped mountain. She is the present wife of Uller and the former wife of the Vanic God Njord.
Uller is the ancient Germanic Sky God of Winter and Death, hunting, single combat, the snowshoe, bow and shield. The Boksta Runestone shows a figure on skis and with a bow, possibly Uller. He is said to have taken Skadi as his wife following her divorce from Njord. His father was the greatest archer in Germanic mythology, and Uller follows in his father's footsteps.
Keep in mind the importance of the hunters in our lives. On this day try to remember Skadi and Uller as Divines of the hunt. Our ancestors still hunted this time of year to keep meats and nourishment on the table even though hunting in the north this time of year was difficult and dangerous. Raise a horn or cup to those who provide the meat on the table as we feast and share.
Through snow she walks, with otherworldly calm.
Her eyes flash dark in the eye of the storm,
Skaldi, we hail on this winter day.
Over crunching snow, she'll pass
through dark pines and mountain lakes of glass,
stalking her prey, her bow held aloft.
Hail Skaldi, great huntress, Hail and Praise.
This culminates the traditional twelve days of Yule. Traditionally, it is the night of the greatest feasting. This will usually include some form of pork; pigs were a common winter meat source and were sacrificed at this time, also the boar is a sacred animal of Freyr. Golden apples are another treat and symbolize the youth and vitality of the new year. A vigil is held from dusk until dawn so that all kin may acknowledge the passing of the Wild Hunt and honor the rising sun of the new year.
Of all the nights of Yule, this night seems to be the one most closely associated with the custom of wassailing, which embodies in part the customs around caroling as well. Wassail, Hail, Heilsa, are all different versions of the same root word across a few different languages (Old German, Old Norse, Old English), which essentially relates to health, prosperity and luck, and was used prominently as a type of salutation.
31 New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve, which is on December 31, is the last day of the year in the United States. It is a major social observance and many parties are held, particularly in the evening.
Across the United States a range of cities and towns hold their own versions of the ball drop. A variety of objects are lowered or raised during the last minute of the year. The objects are usually linked to an aspect of local history or industry. Examples of objects 'dropped' or raised in this way include a variety of live and modeled domestic and wild animals, fruit, vegetables, automobiles, industrial machinery, a giant replica of a peach (Atlanta, Georgia), an acorn made of brass and weighing 900 pounds (Raleigh, North Carolina) and ping pong balls (Strasburg, Pennsylvania).