“Around the 21st of December, the winter solstice occurs. This event is placed under the influence of Gabriel, the archangel of Yesod, the sephirah of the Moon. Gabriel means ‘God is my strength.’ A few days later, on 25 December, we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ. The archangel Gabriel commands the forces whose role is to condense matter, which is why symbolically he presides over childbirth. For what is a birth? It is the passage from the invisible to the visible, from the ethereal to the physical. And the Moon, the feminine principle par excellence, has an essential role to play in all forms of incarnation, on the physical plane as well as on the spiritual plane. During winter, when the nights are longest and the life of nature slows down, conditions are less favorable for outward manifestation and more favorable for turning inward. People are naturally drawn then to go within, to prepare for the birth of the child of light, who in certain traditions is symbolized by a pearl. Pearls come from the sea and, like the sea, are connected to the moon.”
– Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov
This year the winter solstice occurs on Tuesday December 22nd at 04:49 GMT (Universal time). For my Pagan and Wicca readers, who celebrate Yule, or those of you in the UK who can make it to Stonehenge (one of these days, I swear I’m gonna join you) the sun will rise over Stonehenge at exactly 08:04am GMT.
This year’s Christmas also coincides with a very powerful full moon. The last time there was a full moon on Christmas was back in 1977 and the next one isn’t until 2034. In other words, they don’t happen often. So for those of you who prefer a more meditative and serene Christmas instead of one involving messy wrapping paper, loud kids, crappy gifts and obnoxious relatives, it’s the perfect time to do some serious, interior spiritual work.
Personally, I love Henry Rollins’ idea of Christmas, of cursing the Darkness. (And yeah, he DOES sound flippin’ Biblical…I’d curse the Darkness by his side any day…)
As I’ve written in previous blog posts, I’m not crazy about the holidays, particularly the crass, commercial side of it. I enjoy the time off to read books,
Catch up on movies,
Invite friends over for dinner,
And maybe take a small day trip or two, out of town, to spas or tiny villages with cool mystical names. It’s hard to catch the mystical flavor of the season when its nothing but “Jingle Bells”, garish tinsel decorations everywhere and red, green, reindeer, Santa Clauses, and snowmen on every TV commercial, flyer in your mailbox or webpage you visit urging you to buy stuff you don’t really need. I don’t understand how people can go into debt because of Christmas. That totally defeats the purpose of Christmas IMHO. I’d rather invite a buddy or two over, make a few epic batches of chocolate chip cookies while drinking eggnog and listening to Def Leppard, AC/DC or Van Halen, package them into several ribboned Mason jars and then gift them to my neighbors and then use whatever leftover eggnog there is to make Eggnog French toast the next day.
Like most metropolitan cities in the world these days, Montreal really is bereft of mystical, spiritual hot spots which can help you “get into the zone”, the spiritual zone. Most of those kinds of pure places are out in the wild now. The few spots there are, are increasingly being outfitted with Coke machines and gift shops but one place I will try to head out to is St. Joseph’s Oratory, the resting place of St. Brother Andre.
I had a chat once with a German ex-patriot, a follower of Rudolph Steiner’s. He told me there was an energy vortex underneath the dome which he had experienced altered states under. Ed and Lorraine Warren, two world famous exorcists and demonologists and who were featured in the Hollywood film “The Conjuring”, had also made pilgrimages to the Oratory in the past. Ed Warren actually experienced a healing there, for his mother. Twice in the past, I’ve experienced very powerful but benevolent Presences beside me. It never hurts to try again.
Happy Holidays Everyone, in whatever form, shape or way you decide to celebrate it.