Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December's Dichotomy

There's a strange dichotomy surround December. On the one hand, it's the end of the year...for so many of us, the beginning of the end if you will, of the cycle of life. Winter begins the final phase of in the cycle, and in the north, the earth begins her work to break down the remnants of life, enriching her reserves in the process and preparing already in a small degree, for the promise of spring. With December's dawn, wintry weather begins to change the landscape, taking away the bright colors of autumn and replacing them with peaceful, glistening white blankets of snow. And inside our homes, out of December's elements, many of us rejoice in the promises of hope and joy and salvation. Families and friends revel in the spirit of the holidays, sharing love and laughter and amidst the frosty air and glowing fireplaces, hearts and minds that were filled with the hectic pace of modern day life grow the proverbial two sizes and all around, there is magic in the air! (First Snow 8x10 by terrymillsphoto)

What a strange month indeed... but how much do you know about the facts and folklore of this twelfth month of the year? In keeping with my custom of ushering in the months by sharing a bit of trivia about the new month with you, I invite you to learn a bit more about this month named in honor of its position as the tenth and final month of the ancient Roman calendar!

December is one of seven months of the Gregorian calendar that has exactly 31 days. The month starts on the same day of the week as September. December's name comes from the Latin word root “decem”, which means ten. December is the month with the shortest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest daylight hours of the year in the Southern Hemisphere.

The narcissus and the holly share the honors as December's flower of the month. I think we're used to seeing holly on many items since it's also a common symbol of the Christmas season, but I was thrilled to find this lovely Birth Month/Birth Stone Greeting Card - December from flowergirl cards.** It features a lovely bunch of almost pure white narcissis against a beautiful blue background. This card would be perfect for your best girl friend's December birthday! Did I mention the sweet Swarovski crystal that makes it sparkle? I love this card!

If cold December gave you birth
The month of snow and ice and mirth
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate'er you do.

Turquoise is the modern birthstone for the month of September, but the beautiful blue zircon, December's traditional birthstone, can also exhibit a lovely shade of turquoise blue, so that little poem seems to allow for both gemstones! Out of the people that I know that were born in this month, the preference seems to be divided right down the middle, and after seeing these beautiful examples of both stones, I'm sure you can see why!

The word topaz is derived from the Sanskrit word "tapas," meaning fire. This is because Blue Topaz was considered by ancient civilizations to have cooling properties. Not only was it believed to cool boiling water when thrown into the pot, but to calm hot tempers as well! This gemstone was credited with many other healing powers, among them the ability to cure insanity, asthma, weak vision and insomnia. The Blue Topaz was even thought to have magical properties in its ability to make its wearer invisible in a threatening situation. It is the hardest of the silicate minerals. The blue hue is created when topaz is heated, whether the heat source is natural or engineered by man. Blue Topaz typically comes in three shades - Sky, Swiss and London Blue. London Blue is the deepest blue and is often used as a less expensive substitute for Sapphire.
A gift of Blue Topaz is symbolic of love and fidelity. (AAAA 4.50 Carat 10x8mm Natural Blue Zircon 14K White gold diamond ring (.33ct) from mastergoldcraft)

Turquoise, December's other birthstone, got its name because it was initially brought to Europe by way of Turkey. This stone is one of the first gems to be used in jewelry. Turquoise was considered by ancients to be a sacred stone, protective against all manners of evil and ill health. The most exquisite specimens of this beautiful gemstone are mined primarily in Iran and the southwestern United States. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, considered one of the best qualities of this gemstone, is mined here in Arizona, about 75 miles away from me! As you can see from this ring and the rough stone in the background, it is stunning indeed! A gift of Turquoise represents friendship and luck. (Sleeping Beauty Turquoise on TWO FEATHER BRIDGE - Sterling Silver by ChrisMuellerJewelry)

Do you share a December birthday with any of these famous December born people? I'm surrounded by December born people - including my husband, my sister, my daughter's significant other, and my soon-to-be-born new grandson! If your birthday is in December you may find yourself described in this way: Great sense of humor. Cheerful and vibrant. Ambitious. Short tempered. Impatient. More logical than emotional. Attractive looks and pleasing personality. Honest and trustworthy. Generous. Amiable. Dynamic. Love to be praised. Independent streak. Patriotic. Good dresser. Fun to be with. Outgoing.

December arrives in the sign of Sagittarius, giving way to the ninth sign of the zodiac cycle - Capricorn, the sign of the Goat - on Dec 21 2010 11:38 PM (GMT).

The Native American names for the full Moon this month are the Snow Moon, The Twelfth Moon, The Bitter Moon, or Peach Moon, depending on the locale of the tribe. The full moon also occurs on December 21st. This day also happens to be the winter solstice, so astrologically speaking, it's a very busy day! (Winter - Snow - Full Moon - B and W with grey landscape ACEO by HauntedSwampDesigns)

Month-long celebrations for December include World Aids Month, Universal Human Rights Month, Spiritual Literacy Month, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, National Write a Business Plan Month, Tomato and Winter Squash Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, and Read a New Book Month. Important holidays for this month include: Hanukkah begins at Sundown - 1st, Christmas - 25th, Kwanzaa - 25th, Boxing Day (UK) - 26th.

The angel for the month of December is Anael, who is the "angel of love and communication." He can also help us to stop looking outside for inner happiness and respond to these problems from within. When we find inner happiness, beauty and light we can then grow with self-confidence. Then these qualities will start to shine on us and those around us and encourage others to grow as well. He gently provides you with the virtue of determination and supplies you with the energy needed for you to fulfill your Dharma (which means gaining enlightenment by releasing illusion).

December's trees are the Hornbeam, Fig, Beech and Apple Tree. The apple is ripe with symbolic meaning and mythical folklore. They can signify wisdom, joy, fertility, temptation, peace, love, masculinity, and youthfulness.

The Wild Birds Unlimited bird of the month for December 2010 is the mockingbird. Northern Mockingbirds have been known to so skillfully imitate sounds such as squeaky gate hinges, sirens, and barking dogs that even an acoustical analysis could not tell the difference between the mockingbird and the original sound. (9 inch Northern Mockingbird Original Bird Wood Carving from jjstudio)

According to the Chinese agricultural calendar, December is the month of the Rat. Hmm... I'm thinking back to all of those December birthdays in my family (hehehe)

December is linked to many more interesting facts, legends and folklore... some downright incredible, others just fun to know! I hope you enjoy the few that I've posted here!

I'd like to say thank you to the featured shops for the display of their items to illustrate my post. Please be sure to visit them all, as well as the other great Etsy shops that are featuring December related items!

Happy December everyone - I hope it's a month filled with love and joy for you all!
**designates an undiscovered or underdiscovered shop!

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