Today is Yule, a pre-Christian holiday celebrated on the winter solstice, which falls today this year. It is the true new year both astronomically and spiritually, where we see both the death and rebirth of the Sun God represented in the shortest day and longest night of the year. From this time on the sun grows in strength and power and changes direction (as seen from Earth) to move north again.

It actually occurred at 5.30am GMT. Apparently after dark, if you look toward the west you'll see Venus in the sign of Aquarius, and if you look toward the east you will see Jupiter in Taurus. Both are bright in the sky.

At this Solstice the Sun forms an exact trine (or flow of energy) with Jupiter, which is quite rare and is very good news! Jupiter is the planet of faith, of hope and abundance. It is the archetype of Father Christmas and gives blessings and grace to whatever it touches.

In the earthy sign of Taurus it wants to give us pleasure and beauty ans can offer a sense of sheer joy and gratitude of being alive. Apparently the Sun is also close to Pluto- God of the Underworld, which has been happening since 2008 when Pluto moved into Capricorn. Pluto is the Transformer, it destroys only to rebuild, just like the phoenix.

The Moon is in the sign of Scorpio, emphasizing this theme of deep transformation. So often this week I have heard the word "transformation" spoken by many.

The Sun is square to Uranus, which could lead to an overload of nervous energy-take time to slow down and meditate. I have noticed this in my own life today, so much mania. Thus it is essential to try and stay grounded - walk on the earth, practise some standing and balancing Yoga poses, eat some grounding food and breathe some fresh air!

Essentially Yule is the time to begin to think about what you want to accomplish in the months ahead. It is a time to outline the goals you wish to work toward. So now is a time to focus attention inward to allow your higher self, or spiritual side, time to clarify what needs to be done and which goals should be set.

I was fortunate to witness the light of the sun brightening the horizon as I began my morning Yoga practice, soon of course the clouds set in, but it was lovely to have the reminder that it is there...the light following the darkness again.

It was a joy to teach this morning - thank you to all of you who made this final class of the Year so special, on the Solstice with a practice intended to help us ground our energy, connect with the breath to turn inwards and a chakra balancing meditation to encourage balance on all levels.

Of course it has been a manic day. The excitement of Christmas, last minute pressured jobs in the office and that general sense of tiredness as the clock ticks closer to a much needed break.

I was fortunate to have the space to join my wonderful friend Christine for a simple winter solstice ritual, lighting 13 candles together to represent each planet and the nodes of the Moon, and speaking affirmations in the process. Wonderful spine shivering music played in the background as we sat in front of the glow of the 13 tealights set on the windowsill, a view of the trees and what would have been the setting sun, if it wasn't for the clouds (!) in the background. We read a reading each from Benedictus, so relevant and so touching that it made us both very present. It does indeed feel like it is transition time into new beginnings. Thank you Chris, I'll always remember our Solstice celebration, truly beautiful x

So happy solstice everyone. Enjoy the lighter days ahead!

xxxxxxx

I have given them to you in the order that they rise above the horizon at 5.30am on December 22nd.

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