Odin, Yule and Solstice Serenity: Tuning in and Rekindling New Light

by Dec 18, 2021Smoke Signals0 comments

Odin, Yule and Solstice Serenity: Tuning in and Rekindling New Light

by Dec 18, 2021Smoke Signals0 comments

Bah humbug?

Go ahead. Tie reindeer antlers on your dog. Lie right to little Cindy Lou Who’s face and burglarize her family. Nobody would blame you. Not even a mouse.

Because all this Christmas kitsch can sizzle the tatas out of your retinas like Aunt Myrtle’s Rudolph sweater.

Like a San Francisco Folsom Street Fair display, Santa’s big black bullwhip flogs you for cash. The pressure’s intense, and there’s no safe word. Your pride’s on the line — you feel like the only way to prove love to family and friends is to buy a bunch of ridiculous shit.

Maybe everyone gets Zima this year. Can you still buy it in Japan?

Okay. Let’s breathe a little. Step back, simmer down — hum a Ginsberg mantra and count those inhales like hippie prayer beads. Maybe it’s time to adjust our lens, let in some light — Solstice light. It may be the darkest time of year, but things are about to lighten up.

Happy Saturnalia Solstice!  Get your happy on this holiday season.

The Pagan Origins of Fa La La

The truth is there are many elements of the Holy Days, AKA the Holidays, that are actually aligned with spiritual native traditions. No matter how much we try to resist it, we are still a part of nature. We flow with the seasons.

Historically, Christmas and other winter holidays were inspired by the Winter Solstice — the day of the Sun’s rebirth. 

As Tom Robbins sums it up in his celestial time machine of a novel Jitterbug Perfume:

“The traditional winter festival, which among Alobar’s folk as well as many other Europeans was celebrated during the twelve days that separated the end of the lunar year (353 days long) from the end of the longer solar year (365 days), and whose purpose it was to equalize the two different celestial years, had been appropriated by the Christians and transformed into a religious holiday called ‘Christmas.’ As far as Alobar could determine, Christmas was the same winter festival of Yore, except that the profound emotionalism annually precipitated by the moon/sun influences the priest here attributed to the natal anniversary of ‘Christ,’ a Semetic man-god whose exact relationship to the One God Alobar could never get straight.”


The Ancient Romans celebrated Saturnalia in honor of the sun god Saturn with offerings and gift giving. The Pagan Scandinavian and Germanic people of northern Europe celebrated a winter holiday called Yule. Both holidays were co-opted by the Christians to become Christmas, but they all centered around the Winter Solstice — the dying and, most importantly, the rebirth of light.

Indigenous people mark the Solstice with storytelling and ceremony.

The Winter Solstice occurs this year on Dec. 21st, at exactly at 10:58 am Eastern Standard time, the moment the Earth’s axis pauses, shifts, and moves in the opposite direction in a dance of rebirth. It’s the longest night and the darkest day, but also a moment of grateful germination. 

Party On, Odin!

In the Northern Hemisphere on the December Solstice, we experience the longest and darkest nights of the year, and the shortest days with the least amount of light. But slowly, steadily, dawn by dawn, as the planet arches past the crest, light triumphs over dark. It’s time to party like a Prince guitar solo!

Famine was common during winter. Since most cattle were slaughtered near the Solstice so they would not have to be fed when food was scarce, the Solstice was one of the few times fresh meat was abundantly available. The year’s wine and mead had finally reached proper fermentation. T’was the season of roast beasts, drunken Who’s, and noise, noise, noise, noise!

During Saturnalia, the ancient Romans had a week-long party fest leading up to the Solstice — filled with orgies, merrymaking, and feasts. People gave gifts, sang songs, streaked naked through the streets. Slaves and masters switched roles — the world turned upside down. Every town got down.

Long before St. Nicholas, Odin with a long white beard and an 8-legged horse called Sleipnir would ride through the skies and visit Germanic Pagan children. Kids would fill their booties with carrots and straw, and leave them by the chimney for Odin. The god would fly by in the middle of the night and leave presents. And yes, Coca Cola with Odin on the can would have been brewed with the absolute finest cocaine. 

Three days before the Solstice, the Incas fasted. Just before dawn on the day of the Solstice, they gathered in a ceremonial plaza awaiting the sunrise. As it appeared, they knelt down and offered golden cups of chicha (a sacred beer made from fermented corn). The Incas ceremoniously sacrificed llamas and other animals. Priests used a mirror to focus the sun’s rays and kindle fire.

How dost thou party? Like Tom Robbins. More from Jitterbug Perfume:

“Frol and Alobar let their cups be filled repeatedly, though in fact most of the liquid was speedily sloshed out by the jostling of fellow citizens as they coaxed the newcomers to join them in bawdy songs… String and wind instruments were being played inexpertly. Soon, dancing commenced. Assisted by the chemistry of the cider, Alobar and Frol relaxed and slipped into the noisy spirit of things. Frol danced with every clodhopper who asked, while Alobar munched sausages and black puddings and played at dice and cards.”

But in the midst of all this getting down, the Solstice is also a time to reflect. You’re a germinating seed, after all. It’s time to get back to your roots.

The Dawn of Solstice Renewal

As the Solstice dawns, the days start growing brighter — our roots dig deep. This Solstice marks the beginning of Winter where everything lies dormant in the rooted silence of Earth — it’s a sacred time of rest and reflection as we awaken our consciousness and seed the beginning of the brightness.

As we consciously link our soul cognition to the cycles of nature, our own understanding of personal growth cycles germinate and root. Winter Solstice is a time of great stillness before the Sun’s strength rebuilds and heals. It’s a time of rest and reflection.

On the Medicine Wheel, Winter is the time to turn within. Winter is an internal journey of the soul. Chipmunks, squirrels, and bears nestle into deep hibernation, symbolic of the spiritual experience of winter. In this time of self-discovery, we escape the harsh conditions of our environment, seeking refuge in a place of safety and warmth, allowing us to explore forgotten parts of ourselves and become aware of previous blindspots.  The old self dies, making room for the new higher self to be born.  

So dig in. Grow roots. Celebrate rebirth and the peace of the darkness. The season is changing — the return of brighter days are ahead. Recognize the cycles of Dawn, continually eternal, circulating the rhythms of planetary commitment. 

Take a mirror. Kindle that fire. Let it shine. Burn bright. Remember your inner light never dims. Happy Solstice to all and the never ending light!

Matt Gallagher

Matt Gallagher

Wordsmith Specialist

A freelance writer for hire, Matt Gallagher is the face and voice behind Web Copy Magician. He enjoys Bear Blend as a tea to spiritually reconnect with nature and the therapeutic wonders of chlorophyll.


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