At Winter Solstice, or Yule, the seeds of hope are planted during this, the longest of nights. By dawn, the turning of the wheel of the year has marked this place of deep, eternal truth. The Goddess becomes the Great Mother who gives birth to that spark of fire we call the Sun. And the priestesses who walk among us are charged with carrying the light of the world out into the world, tending the hope it sparks in the hearts of humankind.
This hectic, uncertain year has required great faith and great hope from most of us. But despite it all, that small sacred fire of hope we carry in our hearts remains.
In the olden days in the British Isles and Scandinavia, that light of hope was carefully lit and tended at the heart of the home during the Yuletide season. If you would like to honor hope and offer light to the world, here is one way you can make this tradition your own.
On Solstice eve, Christmas eve, whichever feels right to you, light a large, beautiful ornamental candle. Traditionally, this candle would have been red, green, or blue, but a white, silver or gold candle would work as well.
- Place the candle on an appropriate, fire-safe holder at the center of your dining table.
- Decorate with holly and ivy, evergreen boughs, glass baubles. Take a walk in nature and seek inspiration.
- If you choose to do so, “dress” the candle by anointing its sides with your favorite essential oil.
- Set your intention to receive the light of hope and its blessings.
At supper, light the candle and allow it to burn until bedtime. Then extinguish the flame. Or, choose instead to light the candle on the holiday morning, and allow it to burn all day. In either case, on each dark evening that follows until 12th Night (Jan. 6) , make a ritual of re-igniting the light and extinguishing the candle. (Tradition dictates that you use tongs or a snuffer so as not to blow the blessings away from your hearth.)
As the candle is lit or extinguished, express gratitude for the blessings of hope and returning light which are shed upon the household. Lighting a candle in gratitude and hope is a wonderful, simple and meaningful way to celebrate the return of the light to the world. It’s a beautiful reminder of the divine spark within us all. A large taper candle remains a thoughtful, well-received gift in anyone’s household. Perhaps it’s a sweet reminder that each of us tends a divine spark within our hearts.
Bright blessings to you now and in the coming year.