Preparing for Yule, Part Two; Symbols, Songs and Decorations.

It’s now December and Yule is just a few weeks away. I am looking forward to it. Out of all the other celebrations, I find Yule has the most colour. Between the traditional colours of red, green, and white, there are blues, yellows and just about any other colour you can think of.

This week I want to share more traditional Pagan objects. Some you will know but I’m sure you’ll find others that you can fit into your holiday decorating.

Tools, Symbols and Decorations

http://twopagans.com/holiday/Yule.html

 

Songs

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/pantheon/2010/12/13-songs-for-yule/

http://sanfords.net/Pagan_Humor_and_Thoughts/Pagan_Yule_songs.htm

http://members.tripod.com/~willow_Firesong/YulCarls/

This has a Wiccan twist to some traditional Christmas songs and poems.

http://magickalenchantments.blogspot.ca/2008/12/pagan-yule-songs-chants-and-more.html

 

Food

http://www.ravenandcrone.com/catalog/a23/Yule-Food-Recipes/article_info.html

http://www.angelfire.com/wa3/angelline/yule_recipes.htm

 

Myself, I’m not sure if I’m doing anything special for Yule, after all, the world is supposed to end on that day so I could be a little busy. 😛 I might try a few of those recipes though. They sound really good.

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Preparing for Yule, Part One; Origins and Traditions.

Just a few weeks after Samhain and Pagans begin to prepare for Yule. What many people celebrate as Christmas is a mix of Celtic, Saxon, Nordic and Mithraic traditions. It’s interesting to note that more than one religion celebrates at this time of year.

Along with Christians, and Jews, Hindu’s celebrate Pancha Ganapati; a modern five-day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21 through 25 in honor of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture. It has been described as a Hindu alternative to Christmas.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancha_Ganapati

Ashura is celebrated by Muslim’s around the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_Ashura

Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhi_Day

And there is Kwanzaa; a week-long celebration by the African-American, African-Canadian community.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa

Here is a list of many winter festivals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_winter_festivals#December

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I found this web page that has a wonderful write up on many of the traditional Christmas symbols and their origins.

http://www.kynes.net/misc/yulesymbols.htm

Traditionally, Yule is the time when the Holly King passes over and Pagans celebrate the rebirth of the Oak King.  As I’ve stated before, I prefer to see the Lord and Lady together enjoying the seasons, so I tend to focus on the rituals of life and love at this time of year. I like the idea of spending time with my family, exchanging gifts and having good conversation over a good meal. Over the last few years, my Husband and I have cut back on the amount of gifts we give; focusing more on the spiritual side of the season. It’s interesting to note that the way people celebrate Christmas now is much different than it was celebrated a hundred years ago. Back then, only the rich celebrated with presents and good food. The poor did not celebrate the same way, except perhaps by attending church.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas/history.shtml

http://seeker7.hubpages.com/hub/Celebrate-Christmas-Past

 

Winter Solstice/Yule Ritual

I think that’s what I love about my path. What I do one year might not be the same the next. I’m a simple person. I like to do simple rites to celebrate the turning of the yearly wheel.  I put this together over a few days. It’s quick and easy, and the best part is that it is versatile. The prayers and other parts I got from Scott Cunningham’s books, and the first part I got from a spell a day email I think from Llewellyn Books, but I can’t remember.

Ritual

After a cleansing bath or shower, set up your altar so that it has a representation of the four elements (earth, air, fire, water), representation of the God and Goddess (candles or statues, or whatever you use), and a white candle in the center. There should be something for the Simple Feast. I like to combine food and objects, ie. using nuts and cookies for the Simple Feast as well as having them depict the element of Earth.

 For this rite I used walnuts/cookies for the element of Earth.

Sandalwood incense for the element of Air

A small red candle for the element of Fire

A goblet of fruit juice to represent Water.

 

 

 

 

 

Light the God and Goddess candles (if any) and the red candle while saying out loud;

Longest night and shortest day,
Magic comes bright.
We gather now on this longest night,
Honoring darkness, praising light.
Dancers hail the
standing stones,
As growing solar light returns.
Ancient ones at Newgrange gathered,
Awaiting dawns first light.
Hidden tombs and
carvings old,
Illuminated by solstice
sunlight bright.
World round, grateful souls
Celebrate this night of returning light.
May we see this shaft of brilliance,
A sign of summer growing.
Cut the evergreen adornments,
And build the sacred fire to coax the Sun higher.
Yule log embers and torches bright,
Warm our dreams this magical night.
Memories and ancient secrets
Of the Druids come to me tonight.
May this increase my wisdom now,
The ancestors guide my spirit.
Magnifying brilliance and promises to come,
Spirals dance in solstice first light.
Visions planted, now on this night,
Grow strong and clear with the light.
Holly, mistletoe, ivy, pine,
Magic be, on this day.
So mote it be.

 

Stand before your altar and gaze at the candles. Say these or similar words.

I sorrow not, though the world is wrapped in sleep,

I sorrow not, though the icy winds blast,

I sorrow not, though the snow falls hard and deep,

I sorrow not, this too shall soon pass.

Light the white candle and say:

I light this fire in You honor,

Mother Goddess.

You have created life from death,

warmth from cold,

The sun lives once again; the time of light is waxing.

Welcome, ever-returing God of thr Sun

Hail Mothr of All!

Now comes the meditation. You can stand if you want, or sit. I sit on a chair just because getting up from the floor hurts my knees. Think about the warmth of the sun. Imagine it growing stronger, feel the warmth on your face and what the growing warmth will mean to you. After a time, stand again before your altar and say:

Great God of the sun.

I welcome your return,

May you shine brightly

u[on the Goddess.

May you shine brightly

upon the Earth.

Scattering seeds and fertilizing

the ground.

All blessings upon you.

Reborn one of the Sun!

 

Traditionally, you do acts of magic here. Go ahead if you want. I say prayers for my family and what I hope for them for the coming year.

 

After my prayers, I thank the God and Goddess and sit down to eat the Simple feast. I eat the nuts and cookies, acknowledging the nuts as the seeds of my intent for the new year, and the cookies as the product of my hard work. I drink the fruit juice and acknowledge the festive part of the season. When I’m done, I thank the God and Goddess for their presence.

 

Remember not to blow out the candles. Use a snuffer or pinch out the flames, and DON’T leave the candles unattended.

 

~Blessed Be~

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