Midwinter’s night in the sacred grove of Crann Brethadh. A priestess casts a spell of veneration, just as her forebears had done on this very night since the world was young and icebound. And in the snowy heartlands of ancient Britain peasant folk continue the magical traditions of joyful, raucous tree worship to scare away evil spirits and provide a good harvest – The Wassail.
Evergreen trees were always powerful symbols of rebirth at the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. The ritual of decorating the home with evergreen boughs and symbols of fertility at the winter solstice seems to have been passed down, more or less unchanged, since pagan times. It is a time where the fresh new sprigs of nature go underground and the maiden of spring sleeps. The Earth, like the Mother, carries the potential for future growth in her quietude. And in the depth of winter, the crone reveals herself, embodying wisdom, resilience, and the promise of eventual renewal.