Every year when I string holiday lights all through the house, I think about what this time of year meant to our ancestors. As the days shortened, lifestyles must certainly have been affected. Nowadays, with electric lights and lives not usually connected with agriculture, these short days may not affect us as much. But every morning, while it is still dark, I plug in all the lights. Again, in the early evening, as darkness falls, I plug them in again. Every morning and every evening. And I think, "this is to remind me that summer and long days will come again."
Despite the decorations, parties, and gifts—or perhaps because of them—this can be a hard time of year. But colorful, twinkly lights do help. Really. And hope and faith help, too. The description of the Spirit of Yule card in Destiny's Portal, the companion book for the Enchanted Oracle says:
Everything about Yule honors life and light. The Yule log, evergreen trees, bonfires, and candles remind us that life continues even through the darkest times, and that, eventually, the light always reappears. Giving gifts and making merry with friends and family helps us remember that no matter how bleak things may appear, there is always something to be thankful for. At this time, people remember the past year and make plans for the upcoming one. Planning for the coming year is a show of faith that we know life will continue on.
Star Light, Star Bright
The Star card
is almost always beautiful, no matter what deck you use. As you can see by the cards pictured here, they usually evoke quiet, confident, patient hope and faith. Often, water is depicted in The Star, signifying healing. Even cards without the water convey a sense of healing and peace. In addition to being symbols of hope, stars also represent direction or guidance. The stars can be used for navigation. In the Christian Christmas story, a star guides kings. In the pop song "Hope," Shaggy sings about his mother who "kept her eyes on the stars when the skies were gray." Oh, and two points for whoever knows the radio personality who signed off, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
During the dark days of the year, make use of your Star cards. Keep them handy for inspiration. Use them in meditation. Journal about them. Explore their promise and tap into their energy. Or use them in readings. Here are a few to try.
Your Star Spread
This spread will help you create your own personal star; one that can lead you to hope, peace, healing, faith, and guidance.
- Place your deck's Star card in the center
- This will guide you
- This will bring you hope
- This will bring you peace
- This will feed your faith
- This will help heal you
Before doing this reading, consider making it something of a ritual. Help bring yourself into a state to receive this message. This reading is a gift for yourself. At the very least, light a candle. Lay out your deck's Star card in the center of your reading space before you begin. Gaze at the card. Memorize it. Close your eyes and see the image in your mind's eye. Imagine yourself entering the card and taking the place of the main figure. Imagine how it feels. Look toward the star or stars in your scene and ask that they reveal their wisdom as you proceed with the reading. When you feel centered and ready, open your eyes and begin shuffling your cards, leaving The Star on the table.
Giving and receiving often plays a role in Yule or other holiday festivities. These are usually tangible gifts. But the long, dark nights invite introspection and a time to examine our inner gifts. This simple spread is designed to assist with that self-reflection.
- What you want. This card is a quality you'd like to develop. It is something you are striving toward and hope to achieve.
- What you don't want. This card represents a part of yourself that you are not thrilled with. You'd like to eliminate it or morph it into something else.
- What you are given. This card shows a gift, a quality, a trait, a strength, or a talent that is available to you, although you may not recognize it. Keep your eyes open for it.
- What you can give. This card illustrates what you have in abundance and can give to or share with others.
The Court Cards Party
Another important aspect of Yule is celebrating and making merry. This can provide a couple of fun ways to get to know the court cards in your deck. First, you can try matching up everyone on your gift list with a court card. Thinking of people you actually know in relation to the cards can help you understand them better as actual personalities and not just abstract concepts. Second, imagine the court cards are your gift list (not people you already know). Try to imagine what they'd want for a gift. Shuffle them up and lay them out in pairs and imagine they were giving gifts to each other. What would they give? How would they react to what they received? Finally, imagine they are all at a holiday party (it can a work party, family gathering, or friends' party…or try all three). Who would be the life of the party? Who might cause trouble? Would any of them drink too much? Who would be the quiet ones and who would attract people? Any flirts in the group? Oh, and do imagine what they'd be wearing. Games like this can help you get to know those sometimes-difficult court cards.