According to Celtic tradition, the natural year begins at the winter solstice (December 21 this year), the longest night and shortest day of the year. This is a time of cleansing which is honored for 12 days – supposedly the time it takes to make the transition during a time of change. Similarly, we might celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, which are the days from Christmas Day till the Day of Three Kings on January 6.
One ancient custom is to “smoke” or “smudge” the entire house with burning herbs or incense on each of the 12 days to clear out any negative energy that may have accumulated during the year. (This means you walk through the house carefully with your burning fragrance.) Some traditional herbs used for this purpose are frankincense, myrrh, juniper, and many others. You could even substitute a mist or other application if smoke is not your thing. It’s really up to your preference and intention. Prayer and songs often accompany the ritual to enhance the effect.
As you clear out old negative energy during this time, you may want to also focus on bringing in your new (or continuing) intentions. What a wonderful way to combine our Christmas and New Year traditions. And if Christmas is not your holiday of choice, this works with any tradition.
Happy cleansing, and may the best of your intentions become your reality!
Blessings to you for a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and a happy, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous new year!
Marian at Juniper House