As the Wheel of the Year turns, we find ourselves now at the Winter Solstice. The sun is at its northern most point during its yearly migration across the sky which means that whilst the Northern Hemisphere is basking in its warmth, for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, the warming rays are a distant memory.
It is with this longing that we create our rituals that focus around the return of the Child of Promise, the Invincible Sun, or as it was known to the Romans, the Sol Invicus, the Unconquerable Sun.
Robert Graves, in his poetic work The White Goddess, identified a number of paired hero-figures which he believes are variants of this myth, including Lleu Llaw Gyffes and Gronw Pebr; Gwyn and Gwythr; Lugh and Balor; Balan and Balin; Gawain and the Green Knight; the robin and the wren; and even Jesus and John the Baptist.
The Goddess reminds us not to take things for granted for the worse of the Winter storms are yet to come as the Night Hag, the Bone Mother of Winter still stalks the land.
Within the darkness, we ask ourselves:
"To die and be reborn,
the Wheel is turning,
What must we lose to the night?"
We release our fears and inhibitations in order to expose that fragile light deep within our selves that has been stiffled or hidden. And as we light our candles to honour the returning light that the Child of Promise will bring, we also encourge this light to shine forth.