In pre-Christian times, the solstice marked the longest period of winter, with Yule festivities lasting for 12 days or more. During this time hearth fires were kept roaring, the halls decked out in evergreen garlands and holly sprigs, and all manner of feasting and socializing shared by loved ones and the wider community. Color and cheer defied the cold and dark of the outside world, and sacred rituals were carried out in thanks and reverence to protective spirits and deities.
While the modern identity of Christmas may have adopted a somewhat different visage over the years, its ancient origins can still be glimpsed everywhere, and can absolutely be incorporated into your own holiday traditions.Read More »
Smudge sticks have been used for thousands of years to routinely cleanse one’s space–be it a home or temple–of stagnant or unwanted energy. A smudge stick is simply a bundle of fragrant and often symbolic herbs that is burned from one end, with its smoke dispersed throughout the desired space. Doorways, corridors, bedrooms and even corners are given the smudge stick sweep to create a kind of clean slate and welcome in only the most benevolent energies such as love, prosperity, and peace.
You can fashion your own smudge stick out of winter’s own signature tree, the evergreen. Traditionally symbolizing immortality and endurance, the evergreen carries an especially poignant message this season. Thanks to its fresh, woodsy scent, the smoke from your evergreen smudge stick will fill your home with a comforting, festive aroma.
All of the zodiac signs are encouraged to cleanse their spaces before the new year. Below you will find your special holiday horoscope, as well as the areas of your life that could use some cleansing–real and metaphorical–before you move forward.
Your Holiday Horoscope
Aries (March 21 – April 19)
You have had quite the time of it this year, Aries, but now it’s time to lighten up and enjoy the transformative–albeit unusual–holiday magic in the air right now. Life as you knew it may have been irrevocably altered, but that’s a challenge for you to face with all your signature ram’s gusto. Invite that long-lost friend around for an overdue holiday visit, who in turn will remind you of how much you’ve been missed.
What Needs Cleansing: Friendships and work relationships
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
You have had to expand your boundaries and open your mind in ways you’ve never been tested before–and that’s something to celebrate this holiday season! Rather than fixate on all you’ve had to give up, focus on the present joys awaiting you. You are among the best of hosts, so throw open your doors and treat your loved ones to a home cooked feast.
What Needs Cleansing: Outdated or overly rigid values and self-imposed rules
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
You pride yourself on remaining flexible in the face of chaos, Gemini, and this has served you well in the past year. So why not share some of that resilient buoyancy with those around you who could use a little uplifting? Why not volunteer at a local charity and let others enjoy your infectious “can-do” spirit?
What Needs Cleansing: Social relationships that may or may not provide substance
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
Home is the sanctuary of the sensitive crab, and this year has only doubled your appreciation for hearthside pleasures. While you tend to limit the number of people you allow into your sacred space, now is the time to break out the Welcome mat and invite in those who could use a safe, nurturing space.
What Needs Cleansing: Your fear of letting others in and allowing yourself to share your vulnerabilities
Leo (July 23 – August 22)
You’ve had your nose to the grindstone over the past twelve months, focusing solely on the essentials and survival. Now that the worst is behind you, you can finally relax and let others enjoy the warmth and generosity that is your birthright. Don’t be afraid to shirk some of your responsibilities and be more present for those in need of the lion’s roar.
What Needs Cleansing: “Duty before pleasure” mindset, the imbalance between work and personal life
Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
Worry and doubt have plagued you this year, Virgo, and you’re already among the more stress-prone signs. You don’t like not knowing your bearings in life, be it at work or in your personal relationships, but you’ve taken great steps towards embracing the unknown. Now you can turn to those you love and trust for some of that much-needed security and relief.
What Needs Cleansing: The need to control people and events
Libra (September 23 – October 22)
You can stake your life on a Libra’s allegiance to keeping things light even in the darkest of times, so it’s no wonder so many are turning to you to brighten their holidays! Venus-ruled Libra is a lover of beauty and comfort, and your gift for turning the most dire setting into a wonderland will be most welcome right now.
What Needs Cleansing: The desire to please everyone, even at your own peril
Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)
You may have a hard time summoning some holiday cheer this year, Scorpio, but that doesn’t mean you have to retreat into the shadows and begrudge others their rejoicing. You have your own brand of strength, goodwill, and ferocious generosity that beg to be shared, possibly with the unlikeliest of acquaintances.
What Needs Cleansing: Comparing yourself to others and resenting what you perceive to be their better fortune
Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)
Fun-loving and carefree, the archer hardly needs a holiday to warrant merrymaking. Even in the bleakest of moments you refuse to give in to despair, and this makes you one valuable Sag this season! Check in on your quieter friends, as surely you know someone who is suffering and could use your gregarious outlook on life.
What Needs Cleansing: Stepping over others in your pursuit of pleasure
Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)
The hardworking celestial goat seldom permits themselves any down time or frivolity, even during the holidays. You’ve got projects to finish and agreements to honor, after all. However, maybe take a step back and look at all you’ve accomplished this year, as surely it calls for some much-needed R&R?
What Needs Cleansing: The belief that professional success equals personal fulfillment
Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)
While you enjoy the festive spirit of the holidays, you’re not too keen on friendly and familial obligations. In fact, you’ve all but had your fill of people making demands on your time and energy, Aquarius–and who could blame you? However, it’s important to remember that not everyone is as well-equipped to handle life’s challenges as you. Try a little tenderness this season, especially with those you perceive as weak.
What Needs Cleansing: The inability to show compassion for those you deem inferior
Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
You may not be religious, but you are by far the most spiritual sign of the zodiac, Pisces. Your ability to tap into the deeper meaning and magic behind every season makes you both an asset and ally in times of duress. This year invite others into that second–and arguably better–world you occupy alongside this one, as you may get them to believe in the unbelievable yet.
What Needs Cleansing: Fear of welcoming others into your secret world for fear of being mocked or dubbed an eccentric