It's a dark time of the year. It feels like the light will never return. Our ancestors and the animals all know that midwinter is harsh. For those of us in the Northern hemisphere we are about to become as far away from the sun as we can possibly be. For many of us it certainly feels like dark times are here. Climate change is upon us and the political will to push through what is needed seems lacking to say the least. Dark days indeed.
However our ancestors also knew that we must celebrate the inner light to get us through those dark times. We must strengthen our hearts, think about the ones we love, spread kindness, generosity and goodwill to everyone in the community so it radiates like the rising sun. The sun's rays touch every living thing on earth so let's ensure no-one is left in the dark.
Gather round the fire, light candles, sing, eat and make merry for the returning light. Fill the house with evergreen, the traditional symbol of everlasting life. The holly is there to repel unwanted spirits and the red berries symbolise the feminine. Mistletoe was revered by the druids as a healer and protector, a plant growing between heaven & earth. The white berries represent the masculine so both plants were hung together, male & female.
The Christmas wreath dates back from Saturnalia, the Roman midwinter festival. It represents the wheel of the year and the completion of another cycle. Wreaths were given as gifts in the spirit of friendship, goodwill and joy. The earth will keep turning and the darkness will pass.
Gather your children close. Make tree decorations, wreaths, candle holders, sing the winter songs together. Make gingerbread, get the jingle bells out. Bells were rung in the morning to chase away the dark and usher in the warmer brighter days. Keep the traditions going so that our children will learn how to be in the dark and to trust their inner light until the sun returns.
If you would like some ideas then I recommend the books written by the inspiring Bernadette Russell - Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy, The Little Book of Kindness and Be The Change, Make it Happen.
The Children's Forest is a new book full of stories, songs, food and crafts to help you celebrate all year round following nature's cycle.
Finally one of my favourites is I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree, a nature poem for every day of the year.
If Santa can't fit it in his sack then get down the local library instead come January.
Remember, the light will return.