Christmas is not just all presents and fairy lights, there’s actually a deeper historical background to it all, one that’s based in astrology! If you don’t know the astrological roots of Christmas already, read on to find out what it’s all about!
Christianity and the Solstice
So we all know that Jesus was said to be born on December 25th, which just so happens to be the day when the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky in the northern hemisphere. This is around the Winter Solstice, a time when darkness prevails, BUT, the light begins to grow from here. Each day gets longer and warmer as the year ends and we enter the next. This is similar to a phrase from the Bible calling Jesus “the light of the world". Jesus was the “Son of God", or was he really the “Sun" On this day, the Sun enters Capricorn, whose ruler is Saturn, and this brings us to another Christmas connection: Saturnalia.
The Roman Saturnalia
Saturnalia was the ancient Greeks’ celebration of the God Saturn who, in those times, was believed to rule over agriculture. Since farming was at a low in winter, the Greeks would worship Saturn on December 25th and hope to win his favours by feasting, celebrating and exchanging gifts – a symbolic demonstration of abundance, just like we do to this day! When times are hard, sometimes a bit of festivity is all we need to bring some cheer to a gloomy dark time – which leads us to the next bit!
Darkness and Lights
Since this time of year is darkest, it brings up people’s fear of survival. No crops would be growing and the nights would be long. Even today we get “Seasonal Affective Disorder" where the lack of light makes us all a bit glum – so in ancient times people would light bonfires and candles to drive away the darkness and bring in a bit of light, and nowadays we have fairy lights and towns light up whole streets to bring in a bit of festivity.
The Biblical tale of the three wise men revolves around lights too. When the wise men went to find the baby Jesus they supposedly followed a “bright star" known as the “Star of Bethlehem" – these men were astrologers for sure! It’s not certain what star they were following or whether it was an astronomical event rather than a fixed star, but the three wise men certainly had knowledge of how to understand the messages from above, and we still remember this symbol by adding a star to the top of our Christmas trees – lighting our homes from above.
So if there’s anything to take from all of this, it’s that despite our modern twist on things, Christmas is still very much a festival of light and we still have many traditions that are as ancient as the stars themselves! The Sun will soon come back, so for now let’s eat drink and make merry!
Merry Christmas my Lovely Stargazers!
Ellie Rose xx
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