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Sagittarius & the Jovial Season

We are coming towards the end of Sagittarius season and I am sharing some uplifting content in this post - don't worry, there's nothing depressing lurking under the table here! It's been quite an intense and transformational year for the collective with Pluto retrograde in Capricorn revealing a lot of karmic dynamics in our work, systems and government. Yet Capricorn season (and Sagittarius) are perhaps the jolliest times of autumn and winter, so I feel it's vital to keep it all in balance and focus on the uplifting energy of these times, particularly if there has been a lot of processing. In this way we can trust in the transformation happening, and keep our focus on what vibrations we do wish to keep manifesting.

By Water of Awakening.

'Tis the Season to be Jolly

The fire sign Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter (also known as Jove,) who was the king of the gods from whom we get the word jovial. He is considered to be the bringer of good fortune, change and blessings and he can bring great joy - hence the 'jovial season.' Sagittarius is associated with themes of the 'higher mind' including philosophy, ethics, astrology, higher education and longer distance travel, yet the shadow of this sign can fall into a darkness through over-thinking or over-philosophising. However, it also has the positive qualities of its ruler Jupiter and can be uplifting, fiery, creative and 'jovial' - it is important to connect in with Jupiter's positivity when exploring these 'higher mind' aspects in order to shoot our arrows with focus and positive intention and avoid any existential crises!

The etymology of the word jolly is thought to come from the Old Norse word jol, meaning a 'winter feast' (yule) which happens on the winter solstice when the sun moves from Sagittarius into Capricorn. Now is a great time to sit by the fire, (or light some candles) and connect with the element of fire and its creative energy. It is a good time to make crafts and get creative or even make some handmade Christmas cards or gifts. It is a jolly, creative time to get the decorations out and get into the 'spirit' and to connect with the magic of the nature spirits.

Christmas & Capricorn

I will write another post later regarding Christmas and the Capricorn symbology, but here we will be focusing more on the Sagittarian aspects and how it is all connected with the Season - some of the content here is taken from and inspired by this older post on the 'poles' and polarities at Christmas with there being opposite seasons in the north and south hemispheres. Although Father Christmas is celebrated across the world he is often associated with living at the North Pole. Conversely, the opposite polarity of Capricorn (the father) is Cancer (the mother and home) which will be felt more in the Southern hemisphere as it experiences its summer solstice in December.

Here we will be looking at the Sagittarian qualities of Christmas folklore including the jovial Father Christmas and his jolly elves. The Capricorn energy in connection with Father Christmas is slightly different and more saturnal (Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn) - this is the time when things need to get done - preparations are made, systems put in place, items are wrapped and recipes are followed and I will speak more about the Capricorn symbols such as the Yule goat in a future post. I will also share more about the birth of Christ at the macrocosm level in terms of the astrological significance (regarding the birth of the sun as it reaches the end of the Tropic of Capricorn at Winter Solstice and begins to rise on the third day which is the 24th/25th of December.)

By Water of Awakening.

Christmas Star

I will mention briefly here about the Star of Bethlehem (the Christmas Star) described in the Bible which inspired the Three Kings from the east to search for the birth of a child to "worship Him." Some astronomers believe that this star may have been a bright conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, while others believe it could have been Venus. Jupiter and Venus are both 'bright stars' in the sky and we will look at this more in the next post.

The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is known as the 'great conjunction' and they occur approximately every 20 years meaning that if Christ was born during a conjunction it would have been on the 27th May 07 B.C. or on the 24th December 14 A.D. Jupiter is the son of Saturn in mythology, so there is something significant here since the father and son meet at a conjunction; Jupiter as the 'king' of the planets can offer his blessings and good fortune to his father with whom he had a challenging relationship with in the mythology and I spoke more about that in this blog here regarding Saturn's power struggles with his sons Jupiter and Neptune. In some stories, Jupiter and Saturn eventually resolved their conflict and Saturn (Cronus) went to live in the divine Isle of the Blessed, entrusting the rulership to his children. Jupiter also became a father and his children included the powerful Mars. There is something symbolic here about the need to recognise the power in all beings and how a true 'father' is able to do this. A 'great conjunction' could symbolise this recognition that we are powerful 'together.' The most recent 'great conjunction' occurred on winter solstice on the 21st of December 2020 in Aquarius and the next will take place on the 31st of October 2040 in Libra.

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

Going back now to the 'father' theme with Christmas - Father Christmas was originally a Victorian English personification of Christmas and was based on earlier English folklore from the 15th century.  ‘Old Christmas’ as he was known was portrayed in Victorian times as a pagan-looking wizard in pictures with holly wreaths, mistletoe or ivy in his hair, a beard, long robes, sometimes carrying a staff and spreading ‘good cheer,’ often with a drink.

Some believe that there may have been connections between Father Christmas and fertility cults or the Green Man who was often depicted with a face surrounded by leaves. Some believe that Father Christmas evolved from the tradition of the Holly King who battled with the Oak King each year reflecting the changing seasonal cycles with the Holly King in his power at the Autumn equinox and the Oak King who gained his power in the spring, with both kings representing different masculine (yang) qualities. This is 'father' energy at its finest - in harmony with the cycles of the cosmos and acknowledging the power in others and in the self. He is also fun to be around.

By Water of Awakening.

A Christmas Carol

In the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, three spirits visited Scrooge including the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas Present and the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. In the following passage from the book, Scrooge was commanded to look at the spirit of the ghost of Christmas Present and from the description, you can see the archetypal jovial 'Old Christmas' coming through:

“It was clothed in one simple green robe, or mantle, bordered with white fur. This garment hung so loosely on the figure, that its capacious breast was bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. Its feet, observable beneath the ample folds of the garment, were also bare; and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath, set here and there with shining icicles. Its dark brown curls were long and free; free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard; but no sword was in it, and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust.”

The writer of Narnia, C.S. Lewis was a Sagittarian and had a lot of Sagittarian energy in his birth-chart. This is interesting since he included the 'jovial' Father Christmas in his fantasy books, which writers such as J.K. Tolkien found very perplexing. Tolkien was quoted as calling the Narnian stories “outside the range of my sympathy, as much of my work was outside his.”  C.S. Lewis used the word "jollification" throughout his story and clearly had an understanding of the important and timeless role of the archetypal 'giving father' or 'Father Christmas' whose coming heralded the start of the fall of the reign of the White Witch who had made it always winter in Narnia but "never Christmas."

Wassail & Nature Spirits

Illustration from the 19th century.

There seems to be a deep connection between Father Christmas and cheeky or jolly nature spirits in our collective consciousness. Images of Father Christmas also featured symbols from the tradition of wassailing - this was the ancient practise of visiting orchards in cider-producing areas of England where incantations and songs were offered to the trees in the hopes for a good harvest and to bless the trees and forest. This was traditionally performed on the Twelthnight of Christmas and usually the ceremony involved a wassail king and queen who would lead the songs and the queen would be lifted up into a bough of a tree where she would place offerings of toast dipped in wassail cider from a cup as a gift to the tree nature spirits followed by an incantation. Faeries are also popular symbols at this time and are often seen as decoration on Christmas trees. Decorating the home with evergreens and mistletoe is thought to be an old practise by some:

"The custom of decking our churches and habitations with evergreens, has existed from the very establishment of Christianity, and was unquestionably derived from the like similar practice of our Pagan ancestors." From Popular Pastimes by Francis Stephanoff (1816.)

Trees and Faeries

By Water of Awakening.

The custom of the Christmas tree arose in central Europe, including Germany, and decorating the home with evergreen trees is thought to symbolise eternal life for some. Nowadays, there are many ways of decorating the home without cutting down trees, such as purchasing trees in pots, using artificial trees or decorating with evergreens such as holly. The decoration of Christmas trees only began in the UK in Victorian times amongst the wealthy and by the 1920s all social groups of families began decorating trees. One of my favourite things to watch (or listen to) at Christmas time is the Nutcracker ballet performance which portrays a scene at Christmas eve around the Christmas tree and includes magical beings such as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

'Mr Fezziwig's Ball' from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (reprint of 1843 edition) portraying a pair dancing under the mistletoe. In druid tradition, the mistletoe was sacred and used in fertility rituals.

The image of magical elves in the workshop became popular after a publication of the American magazine, 'Godey's Lady's Book,' featured Santa surrounded by elves making toys on its front cover in 1873. It is thought that the earliest accounts of elves appeared in Norse mythology and in literature they first appeared as 'Christmas elves' in 1850 in Louisa May Alcott’s unpublished book.  Elves have appeared as helpers in other folktales such as The Elves and the Shoemaker by the Brothers Grimm, yet it is not entirely known how they came about as Santa’s helpers.  During this time, many are drawn to fantasy films and there are many fantasy stories of magical beings connected with the season including The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann.

Tolkien and the Elves of Lapland

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote letters to his children signed by 'Father Christmas' describing his adventures in Lapland with his reindeer, the elves and a polar bear. Tolkien’s letters were posthumously published in a book, Letters from Father Christmas in 1976 and feature all the letters and paintings he sent to his four children as written from Father Christmas, beginning in 1920. The letters included characters such as his chief assistant, the Polar Bear, snow-elves, gnomes, snow-men, cave-bears and goblins. According to these letters, in 1936, Father Christmas was joined by many elves to live at his house and help with the packing and an elf, Ilbereth, became his secretary who could write in several alphabets including Russian, Greek, Runes, Artic, Latin and Elvish.

The symbolism in connection with Capricorn and the Yule goat as well as with Saturn the ruler of Capricorn is also fascinating and I will delve further into this in a future post in the Capricorn season.

Wishing you a jovial week and sending you some photos of the 'spirit' from around and about in Ye Olde Somerset!

A sacred hawthorn tree on Wearyall hill, with Glastonbury Tor in the background. The original tree is described in myth to have grown after Joseph of Arimathea thrust his staff into the hill and a cutting has since been planted after the old tree was vandalised - a beautiful reminder of eternal life and rebirth!

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