Winter Holidays: A Feast for the Eyes!
By Sylvia M DeSantis
Almost everyone loves the treats and traditions that accompany a winter holiday! Do you stuff stockings? Light a Menorah? Lay corn on the mkeka? The popularity of crystals in today’s culture makes them a vibrant addition to nearly every kind of holiday celebration. Once reserved for pagans and healers, crystals add wonder and awe to the many ways we celebrate winter’s silent darkness.
Perhaps you or a friend will be laying a Kwanzaa table this winter holiday, celebrating the deep and abiding traditions of family, community, and culture for the seven days between December 26 and New Year’s Day. In addition to the many traditional ways individuals honor and show respect for Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles of Blackness, one might incorporate the traditional Kwanzaa colors of green, red, and black through gemstones that both reflect the principles of Kwanzaa and enrich the spirit of the celebration through their vibration.
Since the traditional use of red at Kwanzaa honors ancestors’ spilled blood, black represents the proud Black race, and green suggests hope, rich winter gemstones such as Bloodstone, Ruby, and Garnet easily complement the proud Kwanzaa table—richly laden with candles, a mat, grains, a unity cup, and corn—both visually and energetically. Bloodstone’s ability to create spirituality in everyday life, ruby’s passionate and inspirational nature, and garnet’s motivational fearlessness celebrate the core principles of Kwanzaa in a powerful and vibrant way.
Another holiday tradition that celebrates passion, determination, and triumph over hardship includes the lighting of the Menorah. A cornerstone of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, lighting the Menorah symbolizes, very literally, the miracle of light on a night centuries ago when a band of Jewish rebels lit their temple lamp with enough oil to burn for one meager night and celebrated a holy miracle when the oil lasted for eight days. Lit at nightfall each evening, the eight branches of the Menorah represent the eight nights of miraculous light cutting through the darkness. Sunstone, a beautiful and sparkly stone, stands out as a perfect Chanukah accompaniment. With a profound connection to light, and its embodiment of the regenerative powers of the sun, sunstone can shine light and hope into winter’s darkest corners.
Additionally, Lapis Lazuli, a deeply hued blue stone associated with the release of stress and deep peace, recalls Chanukah’s celestial blue decor. Not only does lapis’ deep hue match the traditional color of the tallit, or Jewish prayer shawl, but its veins of Pyrite are also reminiscent of gelt, these days shared in the form of chocolate-covered gold coins, a symbol of ancient Judea’s ability to mint coinage.
While Kwanzaa and Chanukah demonstrate the sedate beauty of carefully orchestrated holiday traditions, Christmas and Diwali (an Indian tradition) both tend to celebrate winter holidays with more gregarious explosions of color and pomp. Beyond the cacophony of lights, color, and sound encouraged by retailers, the quiet and sacred basis of Christmas lies in the immaculate birth of Jesus, on December 25, ~7 BCE. While red and green dominate most Christmas displays and celebrations, the holiday has opened itself up to almost all color schemes and themes. Each year, individuals unwilling to entertain the overt commercialization of a truly beautiful holiday whose essential principles encourage compassion, selflessness, hope, and peace, focus on the more earthbound elements that underscore much of Christmas tradition. Unbeknownst to some, many of the wonderful, nature-inspired elements we enjoy so much at this time, such as decorating a tree, using candles, hanging mistletoe and enjoying Yule logs, come from our Pagan forbearers.
While almost any crystals would complement a season of joy, giving, and compassion, some Christmas favorites include those that bring us peace, hope, light, and love. Lepidolite, a remarkable stone known for its amazing uplifting, anti-anxiety properties vibrates at a high frequency and includes violet, pink, and purple swirls, all calming colors of the upper chakras. Other favorites include what I lovingly term “the angel stones”: Seraphinite, Angelite, and Celestite, crystals of the very greatest angelic vibration that both call forth and celebrate the angel guardians who surround us daily. Coincidentally, these angel stones often share a color palette with some December’s traditional birthstones such as Turquoise, Apatite, and Blue Topaz, among others, and hold special vibrational power for those born during the month of December.
Similar to more earth-based celebrations, the Indian celebration of Diwali, or “Festival of Lights,” relies upon the auspicious position of the moon and changes from year to year, generally falling about two weeks after the Hindu month of Kartik (October/November). Lasting for five celebration-filled days, Diwali is the most important festival of the year and honors wealth and prosperity, light, strength, and love and devotion between husband and wife through traditional activities performed together in the home.
Specific activities celebrating Diwali occur on certain festival days and include welcoming Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, with gold or silver; driving away the darkness with small pots of light; honoring deities with milk and lavish draping of Pearls, Rubies, Diamonds, and other precious jewels; and the garlanding of husbands by wives who speak prayers for long life. At its core, Diwali exemplifies beauty, light, and love, and so choosing the vibrations and visual beauty of Rubies, Pearls, and Diamonds—stimulators of love, prosperity, and an attunement to others—brings high intuitive vibrations to this sacred event.
What are your favorite winter holiday traditions? Whether you use candles to shed darkness, provide a bountiful feast for family, celebrate with specific colors, sights, and sounds, or simply sit quietly under the stars to contemplate your place in the vast Universe, crystals willing to help you on this journey abound. Choose that to which your heart is drawn this winter holiday season, and feel the earth’s bounty in your hands.
Crystal Therapy; Doreen Virtue & Judith Lukomski
The Crystal Bible; Judy Hall