The Winter Solstice was immensely important because the people were economically dependent on monitoring the progress of the seasons. Starvation was common during the first months of the winter, January to April (northern hemisphere) or July to October (southern hemisphere), also known as “the famine months”. In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was almost the only time of year when a plentiful supply of fresh meat was available. The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but at the beginning of the pagan day, which in many cultures fell on the previous eve. Because the event was seen as the reversal of the Sun’s ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures which used cyclic calendars based on the winter solstice, the “year as reborn” was celebrated with reference to life-death-rebirth deities or “new beginnings” such as Hogmanay’s redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. Also “reversal” is yet another frequent theme, as in Saturnalia’s slave and master reversals.
This card have two meanings as well. On one hand we have the feast and the celebration, on the other hand we have the rest and hibernation, survival depending on what we have accumulated during the year. It’s also a good time for investments in physical goods such as houses, cars, electronics, etc.
The Ace of Disks represents all the joy of the carnal-physical-earthly things, but can easily fell into debauchery and depravation, dependence of sex and sexual obsessions. While the Ace of Cups signifies love and emotions, emotional attachment, the Ace of Disks is about getting physical and everything is about chasing pleasure and satisfaction.
In straight position signifies good investments, prosperity, accumulation of goods, pleasure; reversed signifies famine, loses, bad investments, poverty and depravation.
The element of Earth is attached to the signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, and it also rules the Second, Sixth and Seventh Houses. All the earthy metaphors are appropriate here: salt of the Earth, feet firmly planted on the ground and so forth. Those graced by an Earth sign in their horoscope are practical, grounded and dependable. These folks don’t take big risks; rather, they much prefer a sure thing.
Much like the elements are considered the building blocks in nature, Earth signs are the builders of the zodiac. To these signs, creation is a tangible proposition. Whether it’s building jobs or a home, or creating comfortable rooms within that home through the acquisition of possessions, Earth signers are all about what is solid around us. Those influenced by this element feel best once they have accumulated a goodly number of worldly possessions. The risk inherent in this, however, is that these individuals may become greedy and far too materialistic.
The element of Earth also confers a sense of duty, responsibility and reliability to those in its sphere. These are the people you can count on to be there when you need them. Those influenced by Earth also tend toward caution and conservatism, in both desire and approach. That said, they are sensualists, certainly in that they appreciate a good meal and fine wine better than anyone else.
The logical mind of an Earth Signer is always appreciated. In keeping with this measured approach, these folks also display considerable recuperative powers. On the flip side of things, however, those supported by Earth may be so caught up in their objectives that they might overlook the feelings of others. It is a big picture, after all, but these folks may be more concerned with the finish line than the journey they are taking.
Earth signs are dependable, practical and conservative, yet fairly materialistic. They have their feet on the ground but their eyes on the prize. (Source: astrology.com)
The December Solstice is on either December 20, 21, 22 or 23. It is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the shortest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the summer solstice and the longest day of the year.
The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December Solstice. The December Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted furthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun.
Being the longest day of the year, also means that people in the areas south of the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the Midnight Sun, i.e. have 24 hours of daylight, during this time of the year.
For people in the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice marks the exact opposite, the day of the year with fewest hours of daylight. North of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole there is no direct sunlight at all during this time of the year.
The December solstice has played an important role in cultures worldwide from ancient times until our day. Even Christmas celebrations are closely linked to the observance of the December solstice. (Source: timeanddate.com)
In Ancient Rome the Winter Solstice festival Saturnalia began on December 17 and lasted for seven days.
Saturnalian banquets were held from as far back as around 217 BCE. The festival was held to honor Saturn, the father of the gods and was characterized by the suspension of discipline and reversal of the usual order. Grudges and quarrels were forgotten while businesses, courts and schools were closed. Wars were interrupted or postponed and slaves were served by their masters. Masquerades often occurred during this time.
It was traditional to offer gifts of imitation fruit (a symbol of fertility), dolls (symbolic of the custom of human sacrifice), and candles (reminiscent of the bonfires traditionally associated with pagan solstice celebrations). A mock king was chosen, usually from a group of slaves or criminals, and although he was permitted to behave in an unrestrained manner for seven days of the festival, he was usually killed at the end. The Saturnalia eventually degenerated into a week-long spree of debauchery and crime – giving rise to the modern use of the tern saturnalia, meaning a period of unrestrained license and revelry.
The Feast of Juul was a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia at the time of the December solstice. Fires were lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. A Yule or Juul log was brought in and burned on the hearth in honor of the Scandinavian god Thor.
A piece of the log was kept as both a token of good luck and as kindling for the following year’s log. In England, Germany, France and other European countries, the Yule log was burned until nothing but ash remained. The ashes were then collected and either strewn on the fields as fertilizer every night until Twelfth Night or kept as a charm and or as medicine.
French peasants believed that if the ashes were kept under the bed, they would protect the house against thunder and lightning. The present-day custom of lighting a Yule log at Christmas is believed to have originated in the bonfires associated with the feast of Juul.
In modern times Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day, which falls on December 25.
However, it’s believed that this date was chosen to offset pagan celebrations of Saturnalia and Natalis Invicti. Some believe that celebrating the birth of the “true light of the world” was set in synchronization with the December solstice because from that point onwards, the days began to have more daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.
Christmas is also referred to as Yule, which is derived from the Norse word jól, referring to the pre-Christian winter solstice festival.
Yule is also known as Alban Arthan and was one of the “Lesser Sabbats” of the Wiccan year in a time when ancient believers celebrated the rebirth of the Sun God and days with more light. This took place annually around the time of the December solstice and lasted for 12 days. The Lesser Sabbats fall on the solstices and equinoxes. (Source: timeanddate.com)
Crowley: The Ace of Disks pictures the entry of that type of Energy which is called Earth. It is here proper to insist a little strongly upon one of the essential theoretical theses which have inflamed the constitution of this present pack of Tarot cards; for this feature is significant, and distinguishes it from the numerous crude efforts of uninitiates to put themselves forward as adepts. The grotesque barber Alliette, the obscurely perverse Wirth, the poseur-fumiste P~adan, down to the verbose ignorance of such Autolycus-quacks as Raffalovitch and Ouspensky; none of these or their kin have done more than “play the sedulous ape” to the conventional Medlaeval designs. (Their luck was out: the Tarot is a razor!) Eliphaz Levi was a master-scholar, and knew the true attributions; but his grade in the Great White Brotherhood was only 6o~5o (Adeptus Major); and he had no instructed foresight of the New Aeon. He did indeed hope to find a Messiah in Napoleon III; but of the complete spiritual upheaval which accompanies the Proclamation of a new Magical Formula he had no glimpse; no, not though he had Maistre Alcofribas Nasier to guide him!
Dr. Ge’rard Encausse, “Papus”, who followed Eliphaz Levi, felt himself even more closely bound by his Oath of Secrecy, so that his dealings with the Tarot are worthless; and that although he was Grand Master of the O.T.O. in France, and Grand Hierophant 97º of the Rite of Memphis on the death of John Yarker.
These historical data are necessary to explain why all previous packs are of little more than archaeological interest; for the New Aeon demanded a new system of symbolism. Thus, in particular, the old conception of the Earth as a passive, immobile, even dead, even “evil” element, had to go. It was imperative to restore the King-Scale colour attribution to that of the Aeon of Isis, Emerald Green, as was understood by the Egyptian Hierophants. This green is, however, not the original vegetable green of Isis, but the new green of spring following the resurrection of Osiris as Horus. Nor are the Disks any more to be considered as Coins; the Disk is a whirling emblem. Naturally so; since it is now know that every Star, every true Planet, is a whirling sphere. The Atom, again, is no more the hard, intractable, dead Particle of Dalton, but a system of whirling forces, comparable to the Solar hierarchy itself.
This thesis dovetails perfectly with the new Doctrine of Tetragrammaton, where the Earthy component, He’ final, the Daughter, is set upon the Throne of the Mother, to awaken the Eld of the All- Father. The NAME itself, accordingly, is no longer a fixed symbol, emblem of extension and limit, but a continuously revolving sphere; in the words of Zoroaster, “rebounding, whirling forth, crying aloud”.
It has been the custom of publishers or designers of packs to set their personal seal upon the Ace of Disks, for grammatical reasons not unconnected with the perhaps arbitrary differentiation in the Latin Language between the pronouns “meum” and “tuum”. Saith not the
“Steal not this Book for fear of shame!
The Ace of Disks-the Author’s name.
The Ace of Swords-thy corpse shall look
Like Agag’s did, in Samuel’s book.
The Ace of Cups-drink thou no less
Than Brinvilliers the Marchioness!
The Ace of Wands-thy death be reckoned
Like that of good King Edward Second!
The central symbol of the Ace of Disks is consequently the personal Hieroglyph of “the chosen priest and apostle of infinite space”, “the prince-priest the Beast”. (Liber AL. 1.15.)
This is to be compared with the Sigillum Sanctum of the Order ofA..A..
In the centre of all is yet another form of Tetragrammaton, the Phallus, showing Sol and Luna, with the number 666 duly inscribed, as if to equilibrate, to fit into the Vesica, with the seven sevens adding to 156 (BABALON2+I+2+I+30+70+50=(7+7)+ 7 + 77 + 77=156) as the Magick Square of 6 adds to 666 (,.,i~2= TO ME~A ~HPlON 300 + 70 + 40 + 5 + 3 + I + 9 + 8 + ’00 + 10 + 70 + 5o=t~’~~ 400 + 200 + ‘0 + 6 + 5o). Should one choose to interpret the vertical line above 666 as I, and add it, the number of the Scarlet Woman, 667, appears. (667 = H KOKKINH FYNH=8 + 20 + 70 + 20 + 20 + 10 + 50 + 8 + 3 + 400 + 50+ 8.) This cipher is enclosed in a Heptagram, as manifestly needful; and this figure again in interlaced Pentagons whose sides are extended, so forming a Wheel of 10 spokes whose boundary is a Decagon; and this again within a circular band, upon which is inscribed in full the name TO ME~A eHPION, of 12 (6 x 2) letters.
About this whirling Disk are its six Wings; the entire symbol is not only a glyph of Earth as understood in this New Aeon of Horus, but of the number 6, the number of the Sun. This card is thus an affirmation of the identity of Sol and Terra-and that will be best understood by those who have punctually practised Liber Resh for the necessary number of years, preferably in such Hermitages as those of the Sahara Desert, where the Sun and the Earth can soon be instinctively recognized as living Beings, one’s constant companions in a Universe of Pure Joy.
Waite: A hand – issuing, as usual, from a cloud–holds up a pentacle.
Perfect contentment, felicity, ecstasy; also speedy intelligence; gold.
Reversed: The evil side of wealth, bad intelligence; also great riches. In any case it shews prosperity, comfortable material conditions, but whether these are of advantage to the possessor will depend on whether the card is reversed or not.