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MYTHOUSE CALENDAR: December's Journey of Light and Renewal

The December dream is filled with myths of its stars, stones, flowers and holidays. From the astrological signs of Sagittarius and Capricorn guiding us towards enlightenment and resilience, to the birthstone Turquoise and the Narcissus birth flower reminding us of life's cyclical nature, December unfolds with the promise of light's renewal.

December draws the human spirit into darkness and the promise of light's return. The winter solstice, at the heart of this journey, symbolizes our darkest moments giving way to hope and transformation. Yalda, Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, Soyal, Dongzhi, Toji, Ōmisoka, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Yuletide, Sinterklaas Day, and Boxing Day—the celebrations we explore in this post all echo the triumph of light over darkness. They connect us across time and cultures in a shared quest for renewal, and the enduring belief that, even in the depths of winter, light will return, illuminating our path with vitality.


Astrological Signs: Saggitarius and Capricorn

December spans two astrological signs: Sagittarius and Capricorn. Sagittarius, symbolized by the archer, inspires us to embark on a quest for truth and light, reminding us that even in the depths of winter's darkness, there is a path to enlightenment. As we transition to Capricorn, represented by the determined goat, we are urged to embrace discipline and resilience, essential qualities in our journey towards personal transformation and renewal.

The Birthstone and Birth Flower

Turquoise, December's birthstone, has long been a symbol of protection and healing. In the context of the winter solstice, it embodies the protective light that guides us through the darkest days of the year. The Narcissus, December's birth flower, mirrors the theme of renewal and new beginnings, a beacon of hope amidst winter's chill. These birth symbols remind us of the cyclical nature of life, where darkness is followed by the return of light.

The Winter Solstice: A Symbol of Transformation

At the heart of December's mythic dimensions lies the winter solstice, a celestial event marked by the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It symbolizes the nadir of darkness, but also the promise of transformation and the gradual resurgence of light. In this cosmic dance, we find a universal metaphor for renewal—the notion that even in our darkest moments, there is hope, and light will inevitably return.


Yalda: Embracing the Longest Night

Yalda, the Persian celebration on the winter solstice, emphasizes the importance of family and community during the longest night of the year. The ritual includes the consumption of pomegranates and reading the poetry of Hafez, symbolizing the hope for renewed life and the victory of light over darkness.

Saturnalia & Sol Invictus

Saturnalia, held in honor of the god Saturn, was a time of feasting, gift-giving, and revelry, characterized by the temporary suspension of social norms. This celebration emphasized the importance of joy, renewal, and the reversal of roles, signifying the triumph of light and merriment during the darkest days of winter. Sol Invictus, on December 25th, honored the invincible sun god, marking the solar rebirth after the winter solstice. This festival contributed to the dating of Christmas and underscored the enduring belief in the cyclical renewal of light during December's season of darkness. Both Saturnalia and Sol Invictus reflect the universal human longing for hope, renewal, and the victory of light, transcending time and culture.

Soyal: The Winter Solstice Ceremony

Among the Hopi people, Soyal is a winter solstice ceremony emphasizing the restoration of balance and harmony to the world. It involves the lighting of ceremonial fires, prayer, and dance, symbolizing the return of light and the renewal of the earth.

Dongzhi: Yang Energy Returns

Dongzhi marks the return of yang energy, symbolizing the ascent of light after the nadir of darkness. The lighting of red lanterns and candles during Dongzhi signifies the victory of yang over yin and underscores the importance of balance and harmony in our lives. Dongzhi, like other December celebrations, reflects the universal belief in the cyclical renewal of light—a belief that connects us all in our shared quest for hope, transformation, and the return of light during the winter solstice.

In Japan, December is embraced with its own unique celebrations, Toji and Ōmisoka, which beautifully resonate with the themes of renewal and the return of light. Toji, meaning "winter solstice," marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It is a time for families to gather and enjoy traditional dishes like red bean soup and yuzu-flavored baths, signifying the triumph of warmth and light over the cold and darkness. Ōmisoka, or New Year's Eve, is a time of profound significance, symbolizing the transition from the old year to the new. Families come together to engage in spiritual rituals, cleanse their homes, and share festive meals. Both Toji and Ōmisoka exemplify the universal human yearning for light's renewal during the darkest time of the year, connecting these Japanese traditions with the global tapestry of December's mythic dimensions.

Hanukkah: The Miracle of Faith

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, beautifully illustrates the theme of light's renewal. The story of the menorah's oil lasting eight days despite having enough for only one embodies the resilience of faith and the ability to kindle hope in the face of adversity. Each night, another candle is lit, reflecting the growing triumph of light over darkness and underscoring the timeless message of renewal and faith.

Kwanzaa, observed from December 26th to January 1st, beautifully embodies December's themes of renewal and the triumph of light. Founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa draws inspiration from African harvest festivals and celebrates unity, heritage, and community. Its seven principles, symbolized by seven candles, echo traditions like the menorah and advent candles. Each day, one candle is lit to represent principles like unity (Umoja) and purpose (Nia). Kwanzaa's focus on reflection, communal values, and cultural preservation fosters renewal and hope within the African-American community, aligning perfectly with December's universal themes of unity, renewal, and the victory of light during the winter season.

Christmas: The Divine Light and Myths

Christmas, observed on December 25th, is the embodiment of light's triumph over darkness. It commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, often referred to as the "Light of the World." The nativity scene and the radiant Christmas tree adorned with lights symbolize the illumination of the human spirit and the promise of renewal. In addition to the nativity story, Christmas is also influenced by myths such as the legend of Santa Claus, who embodies the spirit of giving, and the tale of the Green Knight, who entered King Arthur's hall on the winter solstice, a moment that signified both the Anglo-Saxon New Year and Christmas.(Christmas Movies)

Little Yule and Yuletide, celebrated in various cultures, encapsulate the themes of renewal and the cyclical return of light, echoing the mythic dimensions of December. Little Yule, a precursor to Christmas in Norse traditions, marks the arrival of the winter solstice, with the Yule log burned to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness. Similarly, Yuletide festivities, spanning from late December into early January, emphasize the importance of feasting, gift-giving, and community gatherings during the darkest days of winter. Both traditions harken back to the ancient Norse celebration of Yule, where the Yule log was kindled to usher in the return of the sun and a new cycle of life. These rituals serve as a testament to the enduring belief in light's cyclical renewal during the heart of December, uniting cultures in the universal quest for hope and transformation.

Sinterklaas, observed on December 5th or 6th in the Netherlands and other Dutch-influenced regions, is a time of gift-giving and communal spirit, evoking the essence of generosity and togetherness. It symbolizes the triumph of kindness and renewal in the spirit of Saint Nicholas. Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26th in countries like the UK, Canada, and Australia, similarly emphasizes generosity, as people traditionally give to those less fortunate. Both holidays underscore the universal themes of goodwill, charity, and the renewal of hope during the December season, connecting people across cultures in the shared quest for light and compassion during the winter months.


In December, a profound narrative unfolds, one that honors the enriching darkness of the winter solstice, a sacred void where profound connections transcend our individual selves. This is a time when ancient myths and global festivities merge to express an eternal truth: not just the victory of light, life, and love, but also the deep, rejuvenating darkness. As Sagittarius and Capricorn steer us through cosmic wisdom and inner strength, the winter solstice emerges as a beacon of transformation. Around the world, various celebrations echo a collective conviction in the light's inevitable resurgence. Yet, these traditions also illuminate the value of darkness, fostering a sense of hope, unity, and rebirth. Here, the heart of December lies, not solely in the certainty that light prevails in the darkest times, but in the recognition that darkness itself is a nurturing, connective expanse, vital to our collective journey towards enlightenment.

This is part of the Mythouse Calendar Series, which explores the mythic dimensions of time.


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