Twelve Sacred Nights

12 nightsThere are many moments in the Wheel of the Year when time seems to be standing still and the veil between our world and the world of spirit becomes thin and penetrable. All the beautiful festivals of the Wheel invite us to dive deeply within and face our Spirit Guides and Ladies and Lords of the Dreamworld. The magical time in-between is also enclosed in Twelve Sacred Nights, when dreaming is so potent it can manifest the entire year to come.

The Twelve Sacred Nights is an old European custom, and its origins are embedded in timekeeping according to the lunar year. A lunar year comprises of 354 days, while the solar year has 365 days. The twelve nights that were left were considered sacred and as a ‘time outside of time’. During those nights the veil between the worlds is lifted, oracles are consulted, myths are being told and created, incense is burned, and people go deeply within, facing their darkest corners of being and preparing to be reborn into the light. This is the time when we can weave with the spirit and creation, and when nature becomes our tangible ally.

The Twelve Sacred Nights follow the Winter Solstice and are considered by some as beginning on Winter Solstice and ending on the 3rd of January; and by others as beginning on Christmas Eve and ending on 6th January. For me Winter Solstice is the beginning of the sacred nights. Each night symbolizes the month of the previous and the future year and each is filled with deep listening, journaling, dreamwork, ceremony and observing the all-knowing oracle of nature.

The Twelve Sacred Nights begin on the night before Winter Solstice with the Mother Night. This is the time when the Mother Goddess descends into the darkness of her womb/tomb in preparation to give birth to the Sun-Child, the child of the promise of the returning light. This is the entry to the liminal space – the space in-between. Like each birth it is filled with darkness and death, but also with the sprouting of the new. Each birth is a labour, a time of warriors and great battles – a struggle with fear, with the unknown, with the new that we hope will come and at the same time we are dreading. Each birth, no matter how small or difficult, creates us anew and allows us to shed our past and face the future. The Goddess is in Darkness, getting ready, becoming still, breathing, and then opening her body and through the void of her sacred womb releasing the first specks of light. This is the perfect time to connect with our own wombs, to dive deeply within listening to the messages and signs, listening to the song and the weave of your womb. This is also a perfect time to connect on a deeper level with the womb of the Goddess – with the Earthly Womb and the Cosmic Womb and allowing our bodies to feel and connect the vibrations of both. Because through the Darkness the Light is born. Through the void of creation everything becomes. And so, the Twelve Sacred Nights begin.

We are in darkness, and this is a perfect place to purify ourselves, the year we are leaving behind and the year we are going to welcome soon. During the first three sacred nights we are all in quite a low energetic point. We can become still, turn inward, listen, and empty all that doesn’t serve us anymore. Those three nights represent January, February, and March – both the year that is passing and the year that is still to come. By dreaming, looking to nature, journaling, meditating, sitting in ceremony, we can release all that needs releasing and prepare ourselves to receive the new, from the youth of the months that are yet to come. We can call in the wisdom of plant allies – of Sage, Myrrh, Mugwort, Juniper, and we can cleanse ourselves, our houses, pets, spaces, and objects. We can cleanse the space that the promise of the new year is being born in. And we can dream that coming year into being and manifest our destinies.

The fourth sacred night allows the focus to shift. Everything is cleansed and purified, so now we can begin to bring in the balance, to harmonize, and infuse our lives with new energy and impulses of growth. We can call in our plant allies – Sweet Grass, Melissa (Lemon Balm), Cinnamon and of course Mama Cacao – to help us find inner peace, protection, and blissfulness. Those five nights represent April, May, June, July, and August. Although still in the darkness of today, we can alchemize the summer of our past and future to learn, grow and progress with the help of the Spirit.

From the ninth night the time of the beginnings starts to brew anew. This is the time of blessing, and joy, but it is also a time of visions and connecting with our ancestors and the ancestors of the land we are living on. This is the time of retrospection, slowing down and looking within. This is the time of the last harvest. Those four nights represent September, October, November, and December. This is a time of ritual and celebration. We can invite our beautiful plant allies to join us as well – Frankincense, Rose, Rosemary, and Thyme. This is a time to remember and prepare ourselves for another turn of the wheel, and to feel our presence and the energies of the Web of Life.

The Twelve Sacred Nights is a time of ritual and reflection. It allows us to slow down and notice. It allows us to connect to our spirit allies, to nature around us, and to the dreamworld. It allows us to journal and post important questions. What happened to me last year? What wisdom am I bringing forth to the new year? Who was particularly important to me? Who am I letting go of? What cords am I cutting? What am I freeing myself from? But it also brings us to the now and today and allows us to become truly present. What did I dream about last night? Who did I meet the following day? How do I feel? What can I do to make myself feel better? What do I need to be careful about? Ask yourself questions on each of the twelve days and dream on each of the twelve nights. Ritualize your experience. Make notes. Get ready. But most of all have fun exploring the unexplored.

Happy journaling!

Happy dreaming!

Happy exploring!

With love,


Photo credit: Katarzyna Drabek