Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Solstice Tree

For more than fifteen years I have decorated our Solstice/Yule Tree with carefully chosen, fortuitously found and gifted ornaments.

The tree itself is symbolic of the Great World Tree, whose branches, trunk and roots connect the three worlds -- Upper, Middle, Lower -- and of the Tree of Life under which all beings shelter.

The ornaments are also symbolic in a number of ways and with them I have tried to represent the beings and powers that inhabit our our natural, magical world.

Our Solstice Tree is decorated with icicles, snow and a figure of a sprightly Jack Frost, acknowleging and honoring the power of Winter.

However, a primitive bronze ornament is prominently placed to reveal the face of the Invincible Sun. A full moon, a blue moon, and many twinkling lights remind us of the starry heavens, and in a long, elegant spiral ornament, I imagine Arianrhod's Spiral Castle among the stars.

Further exploration reveals Taliesin's blue star that reminds us of the story of his birth and the unsurpassed power of his voice and words.

The Birds of Rhiannon fly around the tree, as well as the images of the many birds that regularly visit our gardens. The snowy owl ornament is a reminder of the owl I saw one snowy winter twilight as he sat for a few minutes on our fence. That was many years ago, and I was told that the snowy owl never came so far south. But the snowy owl was there on our fence and I have never forgotten him.

Wild and domestic animals roam these branches, a bear, deer, wolf, racoon, skunk, even a hedgehog, along with a cat, cow and some baby chicks.

Whale, dolphin, deep sea fish and golden shells remind us of the sea, lakes and streams and the beings who dwell within the depths. If you look closely, you can also find the Salmon of Wisdom leaping up after a hazelnut!

Butterflies, bees and other insects represent the insect world and remind us that we need to make the land safe again for pollinators, for without them we would have no crops, no flowers, no food. A golden snake is representative of the world of reptiles, the treasures of the Underworld, and is also a symbol of both the Goddess and druids.

Nestled deep within the branches of the Tree is a nest. In the nest are three golden eggs, symbols of new life waiting to be born when winter passes. Also symbolic of new life are the many golden nuts and cones that festoon the branches.

I am collecting golden "leaf" ornaments of the Nine Sacred Trees and so so far have three, plus mistletoe.

A rose and an pomegrante represent flowers and frutits and are Goddess symbols, too.

And you can't miss the bight red heart right in the center that is the HEART of the Tree!

This year, I received a horse ornament that reminds me of the special gifts of Horse -- energy, speed, and connection to the power of the Land and the Sun --and this little horse is also a memorial to the two horses, Joker and Kris Kringle, who were the companions of my childhood.

Our Solstice Tree reminds us everyday from Winter Solstice until Imbolc that Sun and warmth will return, of the care we need to give our Earth Mother and her many children, and also to keep in memory the ancient stories of our ancestors.

Our Solstice Tree is a prayer for the safety and well-being of the Great Tree, the Three Worlds and all that dwell therein.

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