The Twelve Holy Nights
December 24th - January 6th
Clock, St Mary's Ottery. Photo: M. Reinhart 1999.
Buy recordings of a webinar on
December 19th 2020, hosted by the Astrology University.
(audio, video, slide presentation, notes)
Some practical suggestions
for following the process in your own way
Participating 'solo' in the Twelve Holy Nights process, in your own way, either alone or with a group of 'fellow travellers' can be a nourishing and inspiring experience. Many people do this, in different places around the world, creating a resonant field and a network of light which aligns with the Zodiac, and surrounds the Earth.
Firstly, download these notes and make yourself a calendar of the sequence. There is a generic calendar included, but you might want to make your own. Optionally, note significant astrological aspects occurring on specific dates, or any day which is particularly special to you for personal or family reasons.
The 'Twelve Holy Nights' process starts every year on December 24th. It continues all through the following 12 days and nights, until January 6th, taking one sign of the zodiac per day, starting with Capricorn and ending with Sagittarius.
The first and last of these dates are the
days of 'preparation' and 'closure'.
The dates and sequence can be shifted slightly if need be. For example, some people prefer to start after Christmas Day, on December 26th, and others go through the zodiac beginning at Aries and ending with Pisces.
Once you have done the process as described in the box above - from Capricorn through to Sagittarius in a forward direction through the signs, you might want to experiment and see which 'feels right' for you. This could change over time. There is no 'right' way, but do invite a depth experience by the way you set it up.
Additionally, and optionally, you might want to 'track' the signs of the Zodiac around your own horoscope, noticing the signs which rule the cusps of the houses. This often invokes surprising insights about your inner and outer life.
Important: stay with the sequence you've chosen and be sure to follow it right through to completion.
Best to allow one 'entry' day beforehand, and one 'closure' day afterwards. Typically, this means starting on December 24th and ending on January 6th, so 14 days in total.
The 'Twelve Holy Nights' process really does 'belong' to this time of year, for astronomical and other reasons. While it is possible to 'transplant' it to other times of the year, in order to provide a framework for simply studying the zodiac, the real magic is revealed over December/ January.
Here's why ...
Every year during this time-period the Earth is at perihelion, its closest point to the Sun. (This proximity is not affected by which hemisphere you live in, as it is an orbital factor, rather than a rotational, seasonal one.) As the relationship between the Sun and the Earth defines the Tropical Zodiac (the 'usual' zodiac in Western cultures), both the symbolism and the physical energetics are at their most potent during this time of year. This is also why the Moon's light during this time appears so bright, sharp and intense.
Secondly, download the free MP3 on which some suggestions are offered. There are some meditative sounds at the end of the talking, and these also run quietly in the background during the first part of the recording.
(See bottom of this page for download instructions. You can also listen online from the link above.)
- Click here for photographs of an extraordinary series of Zodiac sculptures created during the Twelve Holy Nights. The work of English sculptress Gertraud Goodwin has truly captured the essence of each sign in elegant sculptural forms ...
Click here for the exquisite Zodiac series by the Dutch artist Johfra Bosschart***
Use the 'Gallery' on this website - Click on the thumbnails to access larger images and poetry gallery.
If you are planning to do the process, use the time from late November (Advent in the Christian calendar) until December 24th (Christmas Eve) to consider how you might engage with it: prepare your space, yourself and your schedule of activities to encompass your intentions. And be sure to leave a 'closure' day on January 6th, to make a gentle 'exit' from the process.
Collect together your journal, dream book, reading material, drawing and writing materials, favourite music, zodiac cards - whatever you feel will support the process. Or be bold - let go of as many 'props' as you can, and just allow yourself to be present to yourself and your process, mostly in silence, perhaps using only the Zodiac glyphs.
Be sensitive to how you can best configure your own individual and personal resources for this journey ...
- Will you look for friends to share the journey with, in person or by Zoom/Skype/phone?
- Or will you 'fly solo'?
- Or schedule brief occasional check-ins with 'fellow travellers' during the process rather than totally sharing the journey?
- How deep do you want to go?
NOTE: I offer an online group gathering each year in early January, for those who have followed the process themselves, and would like to debrief and share with others their experience of the Twelve Holy Nights. In 2021 it will be on January 9/10th (depending on your location).
Let the process 'form itself' as your intention grows.
Get physical ...
If you do Yoga as part of your practice, see if you can sense and feel the symbols of the zodiac within poses which are familiar to you. If you're not familiar with Yoga, take it easy and don't hurt yourself ... No need to tie yourself in knots trying to 'impersonate' the symbols physically!
You can always sit quietly and feel, sense or imagine them within or on your body. A beautiful and nourishing process to engage with, indeed. It's not difficult to see the symbol of Aries in a face, for example ... follow the line from the tip of the nose upwards, and feel it branching out across both eyebrows! Feel that 'Aries Ram' and contemplate how your sense experience relates to this sign ...
A special note for those who will be unavoidably busy with family, work commitments, care duties, friends or socialising during this period ...
No need to feel that this process is out of reach! You can participate in whatever way makes sense for you and your life. A little forethought and planning, with a bare minimum of time spent
each day will still connect you in.
Nice to remember that you're not alone doing the process, as you'll be joining with a large number of people all over the planet, also doing it ...
Experiment with it ...
Your inner intention will carry you, and you may well have the delightful experience of noticing 'Zodiac manifestations' right in the midst
of busy days and nights.
And this is part of the 'message' ... that The Sacred accompanies us every day, everywhere, in all circumstances.
Important: make a definite 'beginning and ending' for the process, an 'entry and exit'. If possible, schedule a day on either end to 'bookend' the process. This helps your focus, and also keeps the energy concentrated and contained. Also, be sure to follow through on any intentions you set to spend time with the process, and complete it if you start. Do be realistic and plan for something 'manageable' that fits with your circumstances.
The zodiac picture above shows the points of the stations of Venus,
sometimes considered to be the 'Star of the Magi'.
Grateful thanks to Sophia Smith, to whom this prayer was given in 2009.
Download instructions: right-click the link, and then scroll to 'Save Target As'. You can then choose where the file should be downloaded to, and the name. Recording is about 35min long.