December Almanac 2016

By Ash Adler

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?

– Dr. Seuss

Mistletoe bunch hanging from a red ribbon isolated on white XXXL

Mistletoe bunch hanging from a red ribbon isolated on white XXXL

Nature Whispers

According to Celtic tree astrology, those born between Nov. 25 and Dec. 23 draw wisdom from the sacred elder. Highly intelligent and energetic, elder archetypes are known as the “seekers” of the zodiac. Variety is this sign’s spice of life, but they’re most compatible with alder (March 18 – April 14) and holly types (July 8 – August 4).

Narcissus — aka daffodil — is the birth flower of December. Those familiar with the Greek myth know that Narcissus was a beautiful hunter who fell so deeply in love with his own reflection that it killed him. Speaking of hunters, the sun remains in the astrological sign of Sagittarius (the Archer) until the winter solstice on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Consider gifting your favorite Sagittarian with a potted daffodil, a vibrant spring perennial that carries messages of rebirth, clarity and inner focus.

December birthstones include zircon, turquoise and tanzanite — all blue, the color of communication and truth. In 2001, a 4.4 billion-year-old piece of zircon crystal was found in Jack Hills, an inland range north of Perth, in western Australia. Known as the “stone of virtue,” this ancient stone offers grounding and balancing energies to those who wear or carry it.

Kissing Bough

The ancient Druids believed that the mystical properties of mistletoe could ward off evil spirits, while Norse mythology rendered it as a symbol of love and friendship. ’Tis the season, and nothing spells romance like cutting a sprig of it from the branches of a sacred oak, apple or willow. During the early Middle Ages in England, mistletoe was used to ornament elaborate decorations made of holly, ivy, rosemary, bay, fir or other evergreen plants. Kissing boughs, as they were called, symbolized heavenly blessings toward the household. If you find yourself standing beneath one with someone you adore, consider it a heavenly blessing indeed.

hyacinth and daffodils flower on window sill in early spring

hyacinth and daffodils flower on window sill in early spring

Winter Solstice

As we approach the winter solstice — the longest night of the year — we look up to the planets and the stars to gain insight into the final hours of 2016. The Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of Tuesday, Dec. 13, until the earliest hours of Wednesday, Dec. 14. Although a full moon will make viewing conditions less than ideal, the possibility of sighting upward of 120 meteors per hour is reason enough to add the Geminid shower to your list of things to do this month. You’ll also want to note that Mercury goes retrograde from Dec.19–31. This will be a good time to review plans and projects. Test your soil. Think about next year’s garden, reflecting on the crops that fared well — or didn’t — in 2016. Consider waiting until Mercury goes direct on Jan. 1 to order seeds.

I Heard a Bird Sing

I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December.

A magical thing

And sweet to remember.

“We are nearer to Spring

Than we were in September,”

I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December.

— Oliver Herford, From Welcome Christmas! A Garland of Poems
(Viking Press, 1955) 
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