During the magical 24 hours between Christmas Eve and Christmas day my site got spruced+swept by my lovely digital mage (she builds beautiful sites so if you need a site builder contact me and I’ll pass her secret info along!) It was just time to clean it up a bit and make things more lovely and easy for all of you fabulous folks!
This is an appropriate time for a magical site to get revamped because Christmas Eve kicked off the 12 day festival known as Epiphany in the Western Christian traditions and also Christmastide or, perhaps, most famously the 12 day of Christmas.
Epiphany celebrates the journey of the Magi–the Three Wise men–to visit the newborn son Jesus Christ. The Magi were foreigners and magicians who recognized a heavenly event when they saw one (and according to the story, a very beautiful star helped guide the way-so I am pretty sure they studied astrology). In the Orthodox Christian traditions, Epiphany also weaves in the Wedding Feast at Cana-of which I am a big fan-and in Latin American countries the celebration continues through Candlemas or Imbolg (which is on February 2nd and honors the great Goddess made Saint Brighid).
Back to Epiphany: traditionally this was a time when many Europeans believed that the dead walked and ghosts could be communicated with. The veils were considered especially thin just as they are at Samhain. According to Celtic scholar and Shamanic practioner Caitlin Matthews, these are also called Omen Days because each of the 12 days from December 25th until January 5th (when the actual fest of Epiphany is celebrated) will tell you about your coming year. To catch the omens you simply pay attention. What do you experience/see/feel on 12/25? That will give you a forecast for January. 12/26 will give you the forecast for February and so on. For me 12/25 saw lots of activity dealing with health and travel and surprise gifts that I loved. Yesterday I got honored by an awesome friend & colleague in her year end review and was voted Tarot Reader to Watch so I see awards and honors in February (and of course, tarot). We shall see what today brings!
There are many traditions and much storytelling surrounding Epiphany but this is my personal take: A young mother–in many ways an outlaw in her own land and with her own people–gives birth to a baby boy. Her man stands by her despite people telling him to abandon her. The child is born into humble circumstances surrounded by animals in an in between realm that is half inside and half outside foreshadowing that he himself will be a dweller of the in-between, a mediator, a walker of worlds. Something about the transgression of law and culture (the going against the grain, the challenge of the “norm”) in combination to the ultimate act of creation-the deliverance of a new and hot life into the world leads to union. It brought people of different lands and languages together as the humble shook hands with the high. And as a child was born, the knowledge of an early death was writ large into the sky.
No matter your own religious beliefs, this is where epiphany comes from…
it’s the invention that should have never happened but was discovered by accident
the harmony that arises from two discordant notes
the spark that is created when friction is applied to something utterly mundane
Epiphanies arise and shock new life into us precisely because we were not looking for them, not aware that they were right around the corner, waiting to embrace us and whisper magic into our ears. Usually they show up when we are tired, frustrated, and feeling like we have two pieces that simply cannot go together. That tension more often than not creates an in between place-and the in between is where magic thrives and epiphanies are nothing if not magical.
My petition for you today: may your Christmastide be blessed, may you heed the words of your Ancestors, and may the year be full of unsought epiphanies gleaming in their brightly jeweled boxes or hidden amongst the moss and branches of your favorite tree!