From the Back Cover
'The Winter Solstice' gives new meaning not just to Christmas, but to the whole winter season. Folklore expert John Matthews traces the history behind many of the sacred traditions of the holiday season and provides refreshing and practical suggestions for celebrating the Winter Solstice as a joyous, life-affirming, spiritual festival.
• Delight in the surprising multicultural origins of Santa Claus, the Yule Log, mistletoe, and the Christmas evergreen.
• Revive old traditions and discover new ones through lively descriptions of the revels of Old Europe and the solstice ceremonials of traditional peoples of many lands.
It is just before sunrise on a cold December day some three thousand years before the coming of Christ. For those crouched at the heart of the mound, it must seem as though light has been banished forever. The, suddenly, a tiny sliver of sunlight strikes the stone slab at the back of the chamber. Slowly it widens, climbs upward, illuminating a number of mysterious carvings – circles and spirals, zigzag patterns. For the people crouched in the centre of the great mound of 'Brug na Boine' (also known as New Grange) every symbol has meaning. But by far the greatest significance is the return of the sun itself. The light that enters the dark womb of the earth brings with it the promise of the warmth and light to come.
JOHN MATTHEWS was born in the North of England. He is an internationally renowned authority on the Arthurian and Grail traditions, with a special interest in the lore of the Celtic peoples. A professional writer since 1980, he has produced nearly thirty books on these subjects, as well as numerous short stories and a volume of poetry.
His best-known and most widely read works are 'The Grail: Quest for Eternal Life', 'At the Table of the Grail', 'Taliesin: Shamanism and the Bardic Mysteries in Britain and Ireland', 'Within the Hollow Hills', and 'Healing the Wounded King'. He is currently working on a new edition of the great medieval classic, 'Le Mort D'Arthur', and a book on the Celtic saints.
He has also co-authored, with his wife Caitlin Matthews, a pioneering two-volume study of the Western Mystery Tradition, 'The Western Way' (now reprinted as a single volume) which has revolutionised contemporary approaches to the ancient British mysteries and their offshoots. Together they designed and wrote the bestselling 'Arthurian Tarot' and compiled 'The Arthurian Book of Days'.
John and Caitlin Matthews give frequent workshops and courses on Arthurian and Celtic traditions in the United States and Europe. They also produce a quarterly newsletter. They live in Great Britain.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
JOHN MATTHEWS HAS BEEN A PROFESSIONAL WRITER SINCE 1980 AND HAS PRODUCED OVER FORTY BOOKS ON THE ARTHURIAN LEGENDS, ESOTERIC WISDOM, AND THE GRAIL, AS WELL AS NUMEROUS SHORT STORIES AND A VOLUME OF POETRY. HE AND HIS WIFE CAITLIN CO-AUTHORED A PIONEERING STUDY OF THE WESTERN MYSTERY TRADITION, WHICH HAS REVOLUTIONIZED CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES TO THE ANCIENT BRITISH MYSTERIES. TOGETHER, THEY CREATED THE BESTSELLING ARTHURIAN TAROT, WHICH HAS BEEN TRANSLATED INTO SEVERAL LANGUAGE. JOHN ALSO ADVISES ON FILM PROJECTS. BETWEEN 1989 AND 1992 HE CO-ORGANIZED THE MERLIN CONFERENCE. HE IS MUCH IN DEMAND AS A SPEAKER IN EUROPE AND AMERICA.