December, the 12th and last month of the year. Like all months December is an interesting one. On the Medicine Wheel December holds the position of the last recognized month, but may contain the 12th moon, the 13th moon or both of them depending upon the year’s cycle. If the month contains both moon then due to the approximate 29 day cycle between full moons, the 12th moon would be in the early part of the month (first week) and the last moon would be at the very end (last week).
The moon cycle that I was taught as a child named the December moon, or 12th moon, the Long Night Moon. The 13th moon if also in December is the Silent Moon. The Long Night Moon is aptly named as the month is the darkest of them all. The sun is reaching its furthest point away from the northern range where it settles in the south until after the Winter Solstice.
For those who have taken any of my survival camps you may remember that the direction telling and time telling by shadow is dramatically affected by the suns travels from north of the equator in summer to south of the equator in the winter (for the northern hemisphere, opposite for the southern hemisphere). As the sun travels south for the winter the shadow travels north, opposite the sun and so shadow readings must take this into account. This is why winter shadows are typically longer than summer shadows, because the sun is at a much harsher tilt to the northern section of the earth.
Once Winter Solstice passes the sun slowly starts to makes its journey north again where it will reach its northern apex on the summer solstice in June. Of course the sun is not moving anywhere. It is the earth that is changing tilt and position to the sun, but most people are accustomed to saying the sun moves from here to there.
The energy of the 12th moon, the December moon, is Achievements. This is the time to reflect upon our achievements of the past year and throughout our lives to this point. It is near the end that our pondering and recognition of achievements usually takes prominence in our focus. We wish to see and know what we have achieved with our time here. At the year’s end when all goes cold and dark we can look to the memory, the only thing that really lasts, of what we have done.
It is important to remember not to judge ourselves as having done “good” or “bad” but rather to openly and acceptingly see and honor all we have accomplished across the human bias game board. December’s energy is not one of judgment, but recognition and honoring of achievements in our personal lives and in the lives of others. What have we achieved personally? What have we achieved in family? What have we achieved as friends, community members, citizens of a nation, members of a species upon the earth and unique facets of eternal energy?
Beyond the focus on achievements December seems to be one of those times in the year that prompts heavy superstition and the need to focus on grand human formed beliefs. In the greater focus it makes sense. It is a time of darkness, the building cold, being driven to fire and light, indoors and the gathering of company; just as November is the moon of Relationships. Winter is a time of reflection and through reflection and the attention to light and warmth the mind can wander through fantastical labyrinths of creative energies and desires. In the warm season life is much easier, but there is always lots of work to be done. In winter we have much more idle time when cold and dark settle around us.
I suppose we can imagine (and much easier for those of us who have spent primitive times outdoors in winter) people long ago gathering around fires at night in groups to protect against the oppressive winter gripping their lives with icy fingers of blackness. There as the flickering light of flame danced off dark forms around them, and sparks flew into the inky abyss above dotted with seemingly everlasting crystals stretching through eternity, oh how the mind can wander and create. I wonder how many religions were born in the din of winter’s night. Everything from the belief of Odin to Cerridwen, Epona to Jesus, Horus and Ra… night and fire can stir the imagination of all into the fantastical.
During this December why not take some time to reflect upon your own achievements, grand or slight, “good” or “bad”, judge them not but rather embrace and honor them because nobody else could have done them like you. Take the time to recognize the achievements of those you know as well, including the wide world of ecosystems and each internal cell of your body. Everything alive achieves things within their time here. The modern social system tries to promote only the achievements it deems grand. What a waste that is. Achievements exist on and within every level of life and they all deserve attention, recognition and respect in their own way.
December, December, a time to remember!