Grianstad an Gheimhridh

Yule. The Winter Solstice. In Irish, Grianstad an Gheimhridh. In the Northern Hemisphere it’s the longest night of the year and will occur in the U.S.A. on December 21, 2021 at 7:56am PST.

The 12 days of Yule – which begin on December 21st and last through January 1st – is a time of symbolic rebirth and renewal. Everything about this holiday honors life, light, and hope. The Celts believed the sun stood still during the Winter Solstice. During this time they burned a whole tree in the hearth – the Yule log – which they believed encouraged the sun to move, thus making the days longer. The first 12 days after the Winter Solstice are symbolically associated with the 12 months of the year. Celebrating the return of the light can be done in many ways. It is all about clearing the old and acknowledging a rebirth of awakening energy.

This is a simple ritual that anyone can do at any time, but is especially effective on the longest night of the year.

Burning ceremony
Write down the things you want to let go of on pieces of paper (hurt feelings, lingering grudges, a toxic relationship, or anything else that has been holding you back). Burn each strip one by one, focusing your intention on setting yourself free from these emotional anchors. The “death” of these papers makes way for the “birth” of a more positive future.

Those who have a close connection with nature believe that on the day of the Winter Solstice fate can be changed. Nature herself can assist with this by reviving and starting a new cycle, fulfilling many desires, and enlisting the support of higher powers for the coming year. This is the time when you can radically alter your destiny. The energy of the Winter Solstice supports Magick related to turning points, changes, new beginnings, home and hearth, family relationships, world peace, and personal renewal.

3 of Skulls (Pentacles)
Preparation, self-confidence, teamwork, self-realization, mastering new challenges

Arianrhod was the Celtic Goddess of fertility, rebirth and the weaving of cosmic time and fate. Every living thing in the Universe was a point on her web and was connected on the spiritual plane. Touch any point on the web and all other points were affected. This is similar to the Butterfly Effect: The butterfly effect concept has been used as a broad term for any situation where a small change is supposed to be the cause of larger consequences.

“The card foretells the manifestation of a desire, project, or situation though putting in hard work now, leading to abundant rewards. At this time a harmonic and coherent structure is forming on our behalf – the investment of labor in an external or physical direction will soon be rewarded and our goals will be reached.” [1]

Celebrate Yule by roasting chestnuts while sipping this:

Holiday Nog

Wet the rim of a glass and dip it in cocoa powder
Fill 1/3 full with your favorite red wine
Fill the rest of the glass with good quality eggnog (My favorite brand is Strauss.)

Adapted from this recipe.

Yule Fires

In ancient days the folk of old
When chilled with fright by the winter’s cold,
Did kindle up a great Yule fire
With leaping flames in its’ great pyre
So to entice the waning sun
To rise again and wider run;
Its’ fiery course across the sky
To warm them so they would not die

So we, whose minds now sense a chill
of anger at the evil will
The human conflict, hate and strife
Which holds a menace over the life,
Would kindle up a flame of love
That we within our hearts many move
In Yuletide joy with love embrace
And thus abide in peace and grace

– John G. Mackinnon

Finally, revisit my Post of last December 21st for it contains an important message at the very end.

ℳ –


[1] Daniels, Ian (2010). Phantasmagoria. Llewellyn Publications. p. 270.

2 responses to “Grianstad an Gheimhridh

    • Right? I actually tried it last night and loved it! The only thing missing was some freshly-grated nutmeg on top. Once I did that the drink was purrrr-fect. Looks pretty too.
      Holiday Nog

      Blessings to you and yours, Loree.


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