It’s a great tale told of the Three Wise Men (astrologer-priests) and their gifts; and the star they followed—conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in its evening star phase. In reality, the gifts symbolized spiritual teachings:
Frankincense and myrrh are plant resins, and both have a long history of use as incense. Incense has been used for religious purposes for more than 3,000 years The Maya of Mexico have used resins as incense for at least 2,500 years. The principal use was religious and aimed at establishing interactions with deities and ancestors.
Gold is symbolic of the eternal; the divine spark (starlight) within all things—trees, animals, and so-forth (sentient beings).
Frankincense symbolizes power, sovereignty, and was associated with the masculine energy of the heavens and of life whereas Myrrh symbolizes a feminine and nurturing essence, or energy, which is linked with the earth.
In other words, Gold symbolizes the One eternal Source of all creation, the Absolute while Frankincense and Myrrh represent the Relative: spirit – matter, life – death; beginning – end.
The Winter Solstice, the second night of Yule, is the time from our perspective when the sun seems to stand still. For approximately three days, it appears that the sun does not move. The Winter Solstice marks the time of the longest dark and the shortest light. Symbolically, it portrays, on this darkest of nights, the goddess as the “great mother” giving birth to the young-hero god—the sun god. This is the symbolic birth of the messenger of light. It is the darkest time of the year, the time of the longest night, but there is always the everlasting promise and hope of the return of light. And watching over this eternal process of the virgin birth (Virgo on the eastern horizon) is the Sun Angel—the Archangel Mikael.
This is a time of holly and mistletoe. Both symbolize fertility – the mistletoe berries are white, representing the semen of the god, and the holly berries are blood red, symbolizing the menstrual blood of the goddess.
Decorations during this seasonal celebration are excellent symbols of spiritual truths. The following are just a few:
- Candles and Lights – remembrance of the gift of fire and light and the divine spark (starlight) within.
- Mistletoe (seed of the divine) and Holly symbolizing and honoring the faëries and “hidden ones.”
- Evergreen Wreaths – Symbolize eternal life, immortality and the wheel of time, add pine cones, which symbolize the pineal gland as well male and female and the DNA of life; add mistletoe and holly with berries and you have the sacred semen of the male and the sacred blood of the female.
- Evergreen Swags – Symbolize eternal life and when put into the shape of the serpent with lights symbolizes death and rebirth, reincarnation, and wakefulness to these truths. It’s important to put a swag over the threshold of your home if possible.
- Yule Log – a phallic symbol – newborn sun can be decorated with holly, mistletoe, and evergreens to represent the intertwining of the god and goddess. The log may be cut into 12 pieces and burnt each night of Yule. Additionally, on the night of Yule, carve a symbol of your hopes for the coming year into the log. Burn the log to release its power. It can be decorated with burnable red ribbons of natural fiber and dried holly leaves.
- Julbock or “Yule Goat” was the bringer of gifts to the household. Symbolically represents the goats of Þórr and the gifting of resurrection (rebirth).
- Evergreen Christmas Tree – Symbolizes the Tree of Life/Light – needs to be alive, honored and lighted and decorated symbolizing the joy of life.
Symbolically the Tree of Life is the central axis of creation. Microcosmically, each one of us is born with this central tree (axis mundi) of light/life (spine), which shortly after becomes the tree of knowledge—of duality—good and evil. Our ever-born quest is to return to our original tree of knowledge of oneness (light/life) within us – our spine. This is an excellent time to dedicate or re-dedicate one’s life to the divine quest of awakening.