Winter is upon us.
Hearthfires are lit, garlands are hung, and trees are decorated. Whatever we can do to bring light and colour into our days, we do. For it is the darkest of sabbats, and the Goddess demands you feel her icy breathe upon your face and hear her voice howling in the wind.
The weak and frail Lord of the faded Green sits in his snowy hall, waiting for his son to be born and bring hope back to his kingdom. Beasts and birds burrow and nest to gain shelter from the cold, while humans huddle around their fires telling stories, sharing hot broth and warming mead. The milky sun sinks into the frosty ground as night falls across the land and Nature sleeps.
Yet, there upon the dawn, a new light bursts upon the horizon. The clouds recede and pay homage to the returned Sun, youthful and filled with renewed energy. In a graceful arc He leads a regal path across the sky, surveying his kingdom below half hidden beneath it's coat of white. As the whisper of His return is passed from creature to creature, each lift their head from their weary slumber to gaze in awe at the new born king. Excited fluster fills homes as young ones hurry down stairs to find the presents beneath their evergreen tree...a final parting gift from the Yulefather before he hangs up his red and green cloak and passes his legacy on to his solstice son.
Music and merriment commence, family and friends love and laugh, and crones cuddle maidens as they comb their golden heads from sleep to play. Boy Jack is out in the green riding his new shiny bike, while his sister Cerridwen stirs the cooking pot on her new Kitchen set, serving make-believe broth to her favourite corn dollies. The young twins Holly and Ivy sit eagerly in their seats, while Mother Brighid butters them the thick slices of bread that neighbour John Barleycorn brought round as a gift. Surrounded by toys, Father Herne begins the wild hunt for the right sized batteries, while dozing Grandfather Time views the family festivities from behind his heavy eyelids, dreaming of memory lanes and the flowers of yesteryears.
And there from his cozy crib, giggling and gazing up out the frosty windowpane, Baby Yule watches the Midwinter Sun pass over, it's gentle warmth lighting his face with a hopeful glow...
The son becomes the Sun, as the Sun becomes the son.
Merry Solstice Blessings,
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Yule or the Midwinter Solstice is the time of year when we experience our shortest day and longest night - the sun is at its lowest point in the sky at noon. Yule meaning 'wheel' is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. Our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Sun god at Yule, and the expulsion of the evil winter spirits. The winter solstice was considered a mysterious and powerful time, for it is at this point the sun begins to make the return journey across our skies.
After the longest night of the year the sun is seen as growing stronger and the return of the warmer season is welcomed - the concept of rebirth became strongly associated with the Winter Solstice.
Three days after Yule many people exchange gifts and celebrate Christmas - the birth of Jesus, as our ancestors celebrated the return of light and the sun growing in strength. The well-known figure of Father Christmas may have derived from the Pagan god, Herne the Hunter. Yule was celebrated with bonfires to stimulate the ascent of the sun, and lamps illuminated houses decorated with evergreens to simulate summer. It is a time to look on the past year's achievements.
Daylight hours now become longer leading up to the mid summer solstice, where waits the Holly King to meet the Oak once more.
The Yule Log - during medieval times, the decorated log was ceremoniously carried into the home on Christmas Eve, and placed in the fireplace. Traditionally the Yule log was lit with the saved stump of last year's log, and then it was burnt over the twelve days of the winter celebration, and its ashes and stump were kept until the following year to sprinkle on the new log, so that the fortune would be passed on from year to year. In France and Germany ashes from the Yule log were mixed with the cattle feed to ensure their health and in other regions the ash was sprinkled around fruit trees to increase their yield of fruit.
Yule wreaths were traditionally made of evergreens and holly and ivy. Holly represents the female and ivy the male and the wreath's circle symbolizes the wheel of the year. Both holly and ivy were used as protection in the home against bad spirits.
In Wiltshire the winter solstice is still celebrated by the lighting up of the white horse at Alton Barnes. Tea lights in jars are placed on the chalk, so that the horse glows with candlelight.
If you are interested in learning more about this Winter Festival you may be interested in this course offered by Esoteric Bookshop 'Treadwells' in London on the 14th of December.
See Event Here:
Or, again if you live in London or the South East you may be interested in joining in at an Open Solstice Ritual. The Pagan Federation Host one every Sabbat and details of their Yule Solstice Ritual can be found here:
Yule is a very special time for us here at Celtic Moon.
We will be celebrating with a Solstice Party - Food, Drink, Merriment and Singing - a way of Celebrating the returning light and spending time with our Beloved Circle.
I personally Love this festival because for me it is about spending time with my loved ones and thinking back on the last year and on the year ahead.
Vandrake and I have a very special year ahead, with the Birth of our first child at Beltane, and the changes that come from transition from the Maiden and the Lover to the Mother & the Father... all very exciting and also very daunting!
Whatever you are doing this Solstice, however you are going to celebrate, I wish you all love, magick and good cheer for the holidays.
May the Gods bless your time with family, kith and kin and may your Yuletide evenings be warm and cosy!
Brightest Yule Blessings,