The Daily Note (12.24)
Some stocking stuffers + the cycle of holidays . . . .
In the Solstice Newsletter, I teased a “holiday present” from Oxford University Press. And although the holiday was actually Halloween, you can still get the present—if you’re interested in free access to an assortment of articles focusing on the history of witchcraft, paganism, and occultism, published in OUP journals. Not for everyone, but worth a browse!
In fact, I found several interesting items, and will share them in future newsletters. But in the meantime, here’s a snapshot:
If nothing else, the range of articles in this round-up is a reminder that scholars are taking seriously the role of “magical” belief and practice—in cultures around the world and across time.
Now, on to a few items more in keeping with the holiday cycle that begins right after Halloween . . .
Whichever holidays play a part in your own life, it’s nice to place them in the context of a celebration/commemoration sequence that carries us through the change of seasons, into the long night of winter, and toward the rebirth of spring.
Some events in this cycle are “moveable feasts,” meaning that they are calculated according to various criteria, and every year fall on different dates in the Gregorian calendar. But here is a representative list, for 2021/2022:
November 1: Samhain, one of the traditional cross-quarter days
November 2: Diwali—the Indian Festival of Lights—begins
November 27: Hanukkah—the Jewish Festival of Lights—begins
November 28: Advent—the Christian season of anticipation—begins
December 6: Hanukkah ends
December 22: Yule (Winter Solstice)
December 25: Christmas—the Christian festival of nativity
January 14: Makar Sankranti—Indian harvest festivals—begin
January 16: Tu BiShvat—the Jewish festival of trees
February 1: Imbolc (Candlemas), a cross-quarter day
February 1: Lunar (Chinese) New Year celebrations begin
Remarkable, when you think of it, that human beings have changed so much over millennia, yet we are still connected to a recurring cycle of rituals, all linked in some way to themes of darkness and light, stillness and hope..
From a Tarot perspective, it seems to me that The Fool is a pilgrim, embarking on a journey through the ritual year. Each milestone brings deeper understanding—but the journey always begins again.
In search of stocking-stuffers, I typed “Christmas Tarot” into the Google Machine, and as always, was rewarded with several surprises. I’m not sure exactly how this deck is made or by whom, but I found it on Etsy:
I have a sentimental streak—so I like this quite a bit!
Next, I came across this small book, from Dinah Roseberry and Christine Dennett:
You can “Look Inside” here. The Tarot content is not in my usual sphere of appreciation, but the whole ghosts/Christmas/Tarot mashup seems like fun.
And last we have the Winter Waite deck by James Battersby and Christine Aguiar:
I’m a Fool for snow—and I love how wintry swirls and swoops energize these designs. In fact, this is one of the few novelty decks I could imagine reading with. In a seasonal spirit, of course!
It’s likely most of you didn’t see the notes I shared last year on Christmas and The Star, so I’ve posted them as a standalone story: Tarot in the Sky.
Next week, more Daily Notes from the Martinist serendipity. And for now—wishing you pleasures of the season.
Warm regards, Cynthia