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Yule Lore

Also called: Yule, Jul, Saturnalia, Christmas, solar/secular New Year, Winster Solstice

Scientifically speaking, a solstice is either of the two events of the year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the equatorial plane. The name is derived from Latin sol (sun) andsistere (stand still), because at the solstice, the Sun reaches a maximum or a minimum.  The cause of the seasons is that the rotation axis of the Earth is not perpendicular to its orbital plane, but at an angle. As a consequence, for half a year the northern hemisphere tips to the Sun, with the maximum around 21 June (summer Soltice), while for the other half year the earth tips away from the sun, with the maximum around 21 December (winter solstice).   Spiritually, Yule is one of the four minor Sabbats, which celebrates the rebirth of the Sun, the Sun God and honors the Horned God. Yule is the longest night of the year, when the balance is suspended and then gives way to the coming light. It is a time to look on the past year’s achievements and to celebrate with family and friends. In ancient times, the Winter Solstice corresponded with the Roman Saturnalia (Dec. 17-24), pagans fertility rites and various rites of Sun worship. This day is the official first day of winter. The Goddess gives birth to the Sun Child and hope for new light is born. The origins of most of the Christian Christmas traditions come from the Pagan Yule celebration, such as the Christmas tree, the colors red and green and gift giving. Yule is also known as the Winter Solstice, Midwinter, Alban Arthan, Finn’s Day, Festival of Sol, Yuletide, Great Day of the Cauldron, and Festival of Growth.  Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, the boughs were symbolic of immortality, the wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly, mistletoe, and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes. It was to extend invitation to Nature Sprites to come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to pay visit to the residents.

The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder’s land, or given as a gift – it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred wood of the world tree from Norse Mythology also known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.

Yule is the birth of the Sun God, who will eventually chase away winter and bring summer and life back into the planet.  Although winter looks bare and cold, it is a time of hope and joy – a celebration of the warm seasons that lay ahead.  The days will grow longer instead of shorter and we can look forward to warmth of the sun being brought back into our days and nights.

Yule Gods and Goddess

Goddesses: Albina (Tuscan), Angerona (Roman), Anna Perenna (Roman), Fortuna (Roman), Gaia (Greek), Grian (Irish), Heket (Egyptian), Isis (Egyptian), Kefa (Egyptian), Lucina (Roman), Persephone (Greek), Rhiannon (Welsh)

Gods: all reborn and Sun Gods; Apollo (Greco-Roman), Attis (Anatolian), Balder (Norse), Cronos (Greek), Helios (Greek), Hyperion (Greek), Janus (Roman), Lugh (Irish), Oak/Holly King (Anglo-Celtic), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian), Ra (Egyptian), Saturn (Roman), Sol (Roman)

Yule Herbs

Holly, mistletoe, evergreen, poinsettia, bay, pine, ginger, myrrh, valerian, cinnamon, nutmeg, oak, orange.

Yule Incense

Rosemary, myrrh, nutmeg, saffron, cedar, pine, wintergreen, ginger, bayberry.

Yule Incense Recipe
by Scott Cunningham

2 parts frankincense
2 parts pine needles or resin
1 part cedar
1 part juniper berries

Yule Incense
From Wylundt’s Book of Incense

1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. pine
1 tsp. cedar
1 tsp. frankincense
1 tsp. myrrh
few drops mulberry oil

Yule Incense
From Wylundt’s Book of Incense
1 part cypress
1 part oak bark
1 part juniper berries

Yule Stones

Bloodstone, ruby, garnet, cat’s eye, clear quartz, jet, ruby, diamond, garnet, alexandrite, kunzite, citrine, green tourmaline, blue topaz, pearls

Yule Animals

Stags, squirrels, wren/robin, phoenix, trolls, memecolion.

Yule Foods
Roasted turkey, nuts, apples, caraway rolls, dried fruit, fruitcakes, gingerbread men, mulled wine, eggnog, wassail.

Yule Gingerbread
by Terri Paajanen

Holiday cookie cutters can turn your gingerbread into a festive treat.

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
4 tbs milk
1/2 cup light molasses
2 tbs dark molasses
2 tbs ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda

PREPARATION:

Preheat your oven to 375F. Combine all the dry ingredients (except baking soda) in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 tbs of milk into a large saucepan along with the molasses (both) and butter. Melt together over low heat.

Add beaten eggs and flour mixture to the melted ingredients. Dissolve baking soda in remaining 1 tbs of milk, then add to the batter. Pour batter into a greased 10-inch baking pan. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

 

Wassail
by Terri Paajanen

One variety of wassail, or hot mulled apple cider. Make up a batch of this before you go Yule carolling.

INGREDIENTS:

4 litres apple juice or cider
1 lemon, chopped
1 orange, chopped
1 lime, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground anise

PREPARATION:

Mix ingredients in a large enamel pot, and simmer for about an hour. Serve hot. Adding brandy or rum is a nice touch when served for adults

Roast Port with Rosemary
By Terri Paajanen

A very simple recipe that can play center-stage on your Yule table.

INGREDIENTS:

4 lb pork roast
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Rosemary, dried
Olive oil

PREPARATION:

Preheat your oven to 325F. Place the roast in a pan, then rub the meat first with olive oil and then the chopped garlic and rosemary. Pierce the pork with a knife and stick in some pieces of garlic and rosemary.
Cook for approximately 35-40 minutes per pound of meat.

Yule Altar

Colors: red, green, white, gold.
Decorations: mistletoe, holly, small Yule log, strings of colored lights, a candle in the shape of Kris Kringle, homemade wreath, presents wrapped in colorful paper.

Yule Spells and Ritual Work

Peace, harmony, love, increased happiness, a healthier planet, Personal renewal, world peace, honoring family & friends

Yule Activities

Yule Log

The Yule log has not survived into modern celebrations for the most part, and for most modern Heathens would be difficult to do without a fireplace or wood burning stove. You may therefore wish to set up a symbolic Yule log. You can carve it with wishes for the New Year, garland it, do what you wish. If you have a place you can burn it outside during Yuletide, you may wish to do so. Traditionally, the Yule log was brought in on Mothers’ Night, it was then set ablaze and hoped to burn all Twelve Nights (remember this log was nearly an entire tree to be burned in the long pits of a long house). Different areas had different customs concerning the Yule log. Everywhere the log was garlanded and decorated with ribbons prior to the procession to the longhouse. The procession was, as most procession during the holidays, a joyous one. Once burning no one could squint in the presence of the log, nor were barefooted women allowed around it. In Yorkshire, England, they practiced what is called mumping or gooding. Children would go begging and singing from house to house as the log was brought in. In other areas, the children were allowed to wassail the log the first night and drink to it.

Sing Pagan Solstice Carols

There are hundreds of pagan carols out there.  I strongly suggest you search for some that your family will enjoy!

Here are a few examples:

Joy to the World
(It Came Upon a midnight clear..)
=================================
Joy to the World, the Light has come
Let every heart, prepare Him room
And Heaven and Nature sing
And Heaven and Nature sing
And He-av’n and Heaven and Nature
sing!
Welcome our Lord, who brings us Light
Our Lady gives him birth!
His Living Light, to warm our hearts,
And wake the sleeping Earth (x3)
Light we the fires to greet our Lord
Our Light, our Life, our Lord!
Let every voice, sing holy praise
And Heaven and Nature sing (x3)

 

Silent Night
============
Silent night, Solstice Night
All is calm, all is bright
Nature slumbers in forest and glen
Till in Springtime She wakes again
Sleeping spirits grow strong!
Sleeping spirits grow strong!

Silent night, Solstice Night
Silver moon shining bright
Snowfall blankets the slumbering Earth
Yule fires welcome the Sun’s rebirth
Hark, the Light is reborn!
Hark, the Light is reborn!


Silent night, Solstice Night
Quiet rest till the Light
Turning ever the rolling Wheel
Brings the Winter to comfort and heal
Rest your spirit in peace!
Rest your spirit in peace!

 

Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful!
==========================
Oh, come, all ye faithful
Gather round the Yule fire
Oh, come ye, oh, come ye,
To call the Sun!
Fires within us
Call the Fire above us
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
Our Lord, the Sun!

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee!
Born again at Yuletide!
Yule fires and candles flames
Are lighted for You!
Come to thy children
Calling for thy blessing!
O, come, let us invoke Him! (x3)
Our Lord, the Sun!

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Yule Rituals

A Simple Solitary Yule Ritual
By Scott Cunningham in “A Guide for the Solitary Practioner”

Tools:

The altar is adorned with evergreens such as pine, rosemary, bay, juniper and cedar, and the same can be laid to mark the Circle of Stones. Dried leaves can also be placed on the altar.  The cauldron, resting on the altar on a heat proof surface (or placed before it if too large), should be filled with ignitable spirit (alcohol), or a red candle can be placed within it. At outdoor rites, lay a fire within the cauldron to be lit during ritual.

1)      Arrange the altar, light the candles and incense, and cast the Circle of Stones.

2)      Recite the Blessing Chant.

3)      Invoke the Goddess and God.

4)      Stand before the cauldron and gaze within it. 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 be past.

5)      Ignite the cauldron (or candle), using long matches or a taper. As the flame(s) leap up say:

 

I light this fire in Your 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 returning God of the Sun!
Hail Mother of All!

6)      Circle the altar and cauldron slowly, clockwise, watching the flames. Say the following chant for some time:

The wheel turns; the power burns.

7)      Meditate upon the Sun, on the hidden energies lying dormant in winter, not only in the Earth but within ourselves. Think of birth not as the start of life but as its continuance. Welcome the return of the God. After a time cease and stand once again before the altar and flaming caldron. Say:

Great God of the Sun,
I welcome Your return.
May You shine brightly upon the Goddess;
May You shine brightly upon the Earth,
scattering seeds and fertilizing the land.
All blessings upon You,
Reborn One of the Sun!

8)      Works of magick, if necessary, may follow. Celebrate the Simple Feast, the release the Circle.

 


Solitary Yule Ritual
By Asiya

Tools Needed

Holly sprig
Mistletoe sprig
Black votive candle
Green candle
White candle
Gold candle
Cauldron

Preparation

1) Place the gold God candle at right top of altar, and the white Goddess candle at the top left.2) Place your Cauldron to the right of the altar, with the black votive candle, Holly sprig around it, inside.

3) Cover cauldron with lid or cover plate. Place the green candle and mistletoe where they will be behind you at the beginning of the ritual.

The Ritual

1) Cast the circle.

“From the darkness is born the light,
From void, fulfillment emerges.
The darkest night of the year is at the threshold,
Open now the door, and honor the darkness.”

2) Take the lid/plate off the cauldron and light the black votive candle inside. Give silent honor to the Holly King, the ruler of the dark half of the year. Meditate on the seasons of the past year, and how their lessons have brought you to where you are today. When ready, begin again:

 

“Dark my surroundings, and cold be this night
But Your labor, Blessed Mother, has reborn the sacred Light.
The child divine, the most honored Sun
Shall return with the sunrise again; Two will be One.”

3) Remove the holly from around the black votive candle. With your projective hand (right if you’re right-handed, left if you’re left-handed), present the holly to the four elements.4) Then place it behind you, to signify the death of the Holly King. Turn back to the altar.

5) With your receptive hand, reach behind you, and bring forward the mistletoe and the green candle.

6) Present them to the elements, slide the mistletoe over the green candle and place the candle in the cauldron. Light the green candle with the black votive candle and say:

“Behold the rebirth of the King of the Woodlands!
Behold the Oak King, strong and vital he rises!”

7) Snuff the black votive candle and with your projective hand, place it behind you. Turn back to the cauldron, close your eyes, and silently honor the Oak King. Begin again:

“Awake now Your Mother, Your Lover, Your Lady
Awake now the Goddess of Life, Death, Rebirth.”

8) Take the green candle out of the cauldron and light the white Goddess candle on the altar. Put the green candle back into the cauldron. Take the white Goddess candle with both hands and hold out at arm’s length over the cauldron:

“Awaken, my Lady, look upon Your divine child,
His rebirth while You slumbered was subtle and silent.
The Stag King, the Green Man, Lord of Fertility,
He awaits Your wakening, gentle and benevolent.”

9) Place the white Goddess candle back in its holder. Assume the Goddess position. Say:

“All hail the Oak King; His rebirth, a promise.
All hail the divine child, Giver of Life.
All hail the blessed Sun, reborn to the Mother
For He retakes His throne at the end of Solstice Night!”

10) Meditation. Cakes and Ale.

11) Face the cauldron and the green candle still burning bright.

“Before my circle tonight, I close with blessings
I ask for this house and my kin.
Tomorrow at daybreak, when I arise
A special flame I will carry within.
And a gold candle upon my altar I’ll light
Adding my will to the Sun King’s intent
To climb aloft in the vaulted skies.
And for strength back to me; the strength I’ve sent.”

12) Snuff the green candle. Place the mistletoe on the pentacle. Close the circle.

13) Leave the gold God candle on your altar to light upon rising in the morning.


Winter Solstice Ritual

Tools:
In addition to your usual tools, you will need:

  • A Green Altar Cloth
  • A Cauldron w/Lid or Cover Plate
  • Holly Sprig Wreath
  • Mistletoe Sprig Wreath
  • 12 Low Vibration Stones (flat oval river rock work well)
  • 1 Black Votive Candle, 1 Green 12″ Taper Candle, 1 White 12″ Taper Candle, 1 Gold (12hr) Pillar Candle
  • Pine or Yule Incense
  • Bowl of Water w/ Pine Sprig in it
  • Plate of Sand
  • Athame
  • Other Personal Items of choice

Preparation

This ritual showed be performed right after sunset. About an hour before, sweep area moving in a deosil manner. Yule symbols such as Poinsettias, Pine Cones, and even a decorated Yule Log nearby (if too big for altar) adds to the ambiance.

1) Place the proper candles and symbols at the four cardinal directions.
2) Place the gold God pillar candle at right top of altar.
3) Place the white Goddess taper candle at the top left.
4) Place your Pentacle (or a plate with a Pentagram drawn on it) in the center of the altar.
5) Place your Cauldron to the right of the altar, with the black votive candle, Holly sprig wreath around it , inside. Cover cauldron with lid or cover plate.
6) Place the green taper candle and mistletoe wreath where they will be behind you at the beginning of the ritual.
7) Outline your circle perimeter with 11 of the low vibration stones (save 12th to close circle when you enter.
8) Place the rest of your tools and props according to personal preference.
9) Take a shower or bath for purity. Sit quietly for a period to ground and center.
10) When ready put on some soothing music associated with the Sabbat and your ritual.
11) Enter the standing stone circle and close with 12th stone.

The Ritual

1) Cast circle by envisioning flames of Yule colors red, green, and gold coming up between the stones. When all become a continuous line, step up to the altar and begin:

“From the darkness is born the light, From void, fulfillment emerges… The darkest night of the year’s at the threshold, Open now the door, and honor the darkness.”

2) Take the lid/plate off the cauldron and light the black votive candle inside. Step back from the cauldron and give silent honor to the Holly King, the ruler of the dark half of the year. Call quarters, start by lighting yellow candle in the East:

“Powers of Air, step forth from the darkness, Enter my circle , as dark gives ‘way to light. Bring along with you the essence of pine trees, Remind me of Springtime As I face Solstice Night.”

3) Light the pine incense and place on Pentacle/Center Plate. Light the red candle in the South:

“Powers of Fire, step forth from the darkness, Enter my circle, as dark gives ‘way to light, Bring along with you the first glint of tomorrow, Remind me of Summer As I face Solstice Night.”

4) Pick up the Athame and brandish it in the flame of the candle to reflect the light. Place on the Pentacle/Center Plate. Light the blue candle in the West:

“Powers of Water, step forth from the darkness, Enter my circle, as dark gives ‘way to light, Bring along with you bittersweet memories Remind me of Autumn As I face Solstice Night.”

5) Pick up the bowl of water, sprinkle water with pine sprig in Pentacle/Center Plate. Light brown candle in the North:

“Powers of Earth, step forth from the darkness, Enter my circle, as dark gives ‘way to light, Bring along with you the land that now slumbers, Remind me of Winter And this cold Solstice Night.”

6) Pick up the plate of sand, sprinkle sand in a line around the other symbols. Step back from the alter for a moment and contemplate the seasons of the past year, and how their lessons have brought you to where you are today. When ready, begin again:

“Dark my surroundings, and cold be this night But Thy labor, Blessed Mother Has reborn the Sacred Light… The Child Divine, The most honored Sun Shall return with the sunrise Again, Two will be One.”

7) Remove the Holly wreath from around the black votive candle. With your right hand, present it to the four elements in a deosil manner.

8) Finally, in a clockwise motion, place it behind you, to signify the death, “passing”, of the Holly King.

9) Turn back to the altar. Then with your left hand, reach behind you, and in a clockwise motion bring forward the Mistletoe wreath and the green candle. Present them to the elements, slide the wreath over the green candle and place the candle in its holder in the cauldron. Light the green candle with the black votive candle:

“Hark! Behold the Rebirth of the King of the Woodlands! Behold the Oak King, strong and vital he rises!” Snuff the black votive candle and with your right hand, place it behind you in a clockwise motion. Turn back to the cauldron, close your eyes, and silently honor the Oak King. Begin again: “Awake now Thy Mother, Thy Lover, Thy Lady – Awake now Thy Goddess of Life, Death, Rebirth.”

10) Take the green candle out of the cauldron and light the white Goddess candle on the altar. Replace the green candle in the cauldron. Take the white Goddess candle with both hands and hold out at arm’s length over the cauldron:

“Awaken, my Lady, look upon Thyne Divine Child, His rebirth while You slumbered Was subtle and silent. The Stag King, the Green Man, Lord of Fertility, He awaits Thy wakening Gentle and benevolent”

11) Place the white Goddess candle back in its holder at the left top of altar. Step back and assume the Goddess position. In a bold voice:

“All hail the Oak King, His rebirth; a promise All hail the Divine Child, Giver of Life All hail the Blessed Sun, reborn to the Mother For he retakes His throne at the end of Solstice Night!”

12) Now is the time for meditation and any spellworkings. Spellworkings associated with Yule include those for peace, harmony, love, and happiness. Next celebrate with the Cakes and Ale (Fruitcake* and Spiced Cider *) ceremony, saving some for the wee Folkes, outside.

13) Thank the Goddess and snuff Her candle. Thank and release the elements:

“Carry sweet tidings, ’round the world and beyond, I charge thee as messengers Earth, Water, Fire, and Air Let all rejoice loudly in the Oak King’s return Teach all that you meet, with the glad tidings you bear.”

14) Snuff each Quarter candle in a widdershins manner. Step back and face the cauldron and the green candle still burning bright.

“Before my circle, tonight, I close Blessings I ask for this house and my kin Tomorrow at daybreak, when I arise A special flame I will carry, within… And a gold candle upon my altar I’ll light Adding my will to the Sun King’s intent To climb aloft in the vaulted skies And for strength back to me; three times, strength I’ve sent.”

15) Snuff the green candle. Take the Mistletoe wreath and place it on the other symbols on the Pentacle/Center Plate. Release the circle. Clean up, leaving the gold God pillar candle in center front to light upon rising in the morning.

You are done.

References:

Adapted by Akasha Ap Emrys to share with all her friends and those of like mind–
Copyright © 1997-99 Akasha, Herne and The Celtic Connection wicca.com. All rights
reserved.


Family Yule Ritual

Because this is not a supper ritual we don’t do the standard Circle casting and calling of the quarters for it. Instead we just establish sacred time and Welcome the Goddess and the God.

This candle ritual is based on one by Ceisiwr Serith in his book THE PAGAN FAMILY. The best part about this ritual is that the kids have such fun doing it. Now when we talk about getting ready for Yule they know which ritual it will be: “Oh, goody! We get to turn off all the lights!” Although it’s a “fun” ritual for them, they’re actually remembering that Yule is The Winter Solstice and that means the dark time is coming to an end. We’ve established a family tradition which I hope they’ll carry on with their own kids. )

SPECIAL NOTES: This is the Winter Solstice. Solstice means “sun stands still.” This is the longest night of the year, the night that darkness rules. It also marks the turning though. From here on the days will slowly be getting a little bit longer and the light a little bit stronger as the Wheel turns back towards Springtime. Yule is halfway around the Wheel Year from Midsummer, which is the Summer Solstice. It’s the first official day of Winter. Most of the customs that come to us today about Christmas originated in Pagan times with Yule. Like bringing a tree into the house, and decorating it with fruit and popcorn. Or putting candles in the windows. And let’s not forget the holly and the ivy. Or the songs, like Deck the Halls. Or the stories. One of our family’s favorites is “THE FIRST SONG.” It was written by Andras Arthen of MotherTongue and can be found on their album: THIS WINTER’S NIGHT. I will include it in a separate posting for those who would like it.

EXTRA SUPPLIES: Seasonal decorations, a bell, the Sun candle (we use a 9-inch yellow pillar candle), a small votive candle for each person at the table (it’s nice if your child can have their favorite color) and the safety lighter.

***

Begin by having the children turn off all the lights all over the house, to simulate the dark of the year.

Be sure to explain to younger kids why you’re doing this, before you start, so they don’t get scared. If you have an upstairs have them start there first. Making sure you leave a light on on the stairs so they can find their way back down. Younger children will probably need an escort, since the dark is scary for them, even if this ritual is supposed to be fun. Work your way back towards the ritual table, turning everything off as you go. When you’re ready everyone should be gathered around the table and the house should be in complete darkness, except for one candle to read by.

The Adult says quietly:

Tonight is the Winter Solstice
The night that we celebrate Yule.
Tonight is the longest night of the year
The night when darkness will rule.

Making sure the safety lighter is right at hand, the Adult blows out the last candle, plunging the room into darkness. Keep the little ones close so they don’t get scared because the house will be very dark and very quiet. Sit there in the quiet and let the dark grow. After a minute the adult says:

But the light will turn this night

Click the lighter and let flame burn brightly for a second. Then end with:

To return
And turn the dark to light once more.

The adult then lights the Sun candle and says:

Tonight the dark time ends.

Pause for a moment and then continue:

Since Midsummer the Wheel has turned
Bringing us into the dark time.
But tonight the dark ends.
It is Yule, the Winter Solstice.
And from here the days will get longer
The Sun will start to grow stronger
Winter’s hold will be loosened
And soon Spring will come back.

The adult lights his/her candle from the Sun candle and places it in the middle of the table saying:

The Wheel is turning
The light is returning!

Then each person at the table, starting with the adults and proceeding to each child from the oldest, lights their candle from the sun candle and repeats:

The Wheel is turning
The light is returning!

When everyone has had their turn and all the candles are lit, bask in the glow of the candle light. Now is a good time to talk about the importance of light to the different celebrations of this holiday season.

Pagans have the Yule log, Christians light Advent candles, Jews light the menorah for Hanukkah and African-Americans, the kinara for Kwanzaa. (If you’re looking for a neat holiday video for the kids, pick up THE PUZZLE PLACE Christmas tape. It doesn’t actually say “pagan” but it handles the whole light thing very nicely) The meaning of the light might vary from culture to culture but they have in common that all their rituals take place on or near the Winter Solstice. This then should be a time of great celebration and rejoicing. Yule might be the longest night of the year, but it marks the return of the Sun. The change won’t come over night of course, but the Wheel has turned and spring is on the way.

When you’re ready send the kids hurrying through the house to turn all the lights back on — and I mean ALL the lights. Every light in every room should be turned on (at least for a little while) to drive away all the darkness and shadows.

When everyone is back at the table the Adult says:

Winter is a time of darkness.
But it doesn’t last forever.
It is only a stop on the Wheel
And soon the Wheel will turn again
And bring us back to Spring.
This is the lesson the Earth teaches us,
That no matter how dark it gets
The light always returns.
The night will always end
And a new day begin.

Now you can put out the Yule candles. The Adult goes first and says:

May the light of the Yule candles
Burn in our hearts
All throughout the Winter
And through the coming year.
Blessings of the Season on us all.

Each person extinguishes their candle (using a candle snuffer or long metal spoon for safety) in the same order they lit them. As they put it out have them say: Blessings of the season on us all. The ritual is over!

References:

Excerpts from A WICCAN PRIMER: Rituals for Children ©1996 Wind*Dancer

 

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Yule Songs

OH, COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL!
-Ellen Reed

Oh, come all ye faithful
Gather round the Yule Fire
Oh, come ye, oh, come ye,
To call the Sun!
Fires within us
Call the Fire above us
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
Our Lord, the Sun!

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee!
Born again at Yuletide!
Yule fires and candle flames
Are lighted for You!
Come to thy children
Calling for thy blessing!
O, come let us invoke Him (x3)
Our Lord, the Sun!

SILENT NIGHT
-Ellen Reed

Silent night, Solstice Night
All is calm, all is bright
Nature slumbers in forest and glen
Till in Springtime She wakens again
Sleeping spirits grow strong!
Sleeping spirits grow strong!

Silent night, Solstice night
Silver moon shining bright
Snowfall blankets the slumbering Earth
Yule fireswelcome the Sun’s rebirth
Hark, the Light is reborn!
Hark, the Light is reborn!

Silent night, Solstice night
Quiet rest till the Light
Turning ever the rolling Wheel
Brings the Winter to comfort and heal
Rest your spirit in peace!
Rest your spirit in peace!

GLORY TO THE NEW BORN KING
-Ellen Reed (1st verse)

Brothers, sisters, come to sing
Glory to the new-born King!
Gardens peaceful, forests wild
Celebrate the Winter Child!
Now the time of glowing starts!
Joyful hands and joyful hearts!
Cheer the Yule log as it burns!
For once again the Sun returns!
Brothers, sisters, come and sing!
Glory to the new-born King!

Brothers, sisters, singing come
Glory to the newborn Sun
Through the wind and dark of night
Celebrate the coming light.
Suns glad rays through fear’s cold burns
Life through death the Wheel now turns
Gather round the Yule log and tree
Celebrate Life’s mystery
Brothers, sisters, singing come
Glory to the new-born Sun.

YE CHILDREN ALL OF MOTHER EARTH
-Ellen Reed
( Tune: “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”)

Ye children all of Mother Earth
join hands and circle around
To celebrate the Solstice night
When our lost Lord is found.
Rejoice, the year has begun again
The Sun blesses skies up above
So share the season together now
In everlasting Love!

GLORIA
-Ellen Reed

Snow lies deep upon the Earth
Still our voices warmly sing
Heralding the glorious birth
Of the Child, the Winter King
Glo — ria!
In excelsis Deo!
Glo — ria!
In excelsis Dea!

Our triumphant voices claim
Joy and hope and love renewed
And our Lady’s glad refrain
Answer Winter’s solitude
Glo — ria!(etc.)

In Her arms a holy Child
Promises a glowing Light
Through the winter wind so wild
He proclaims the growing Light.
Glo — ria! (etc..)

Now the turning of the year
Of the greater Turning sings
Passing age of cold and fear
Soon our golden summer brings.
Glo — ria! (etc..)

HARK THE NEO-PAGANS SING
-“Sunblade”
(Tune: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”)

Hark the neo-Pagans sing,
Glory to the Holly King!
Peace on Earth and mercy mild,
God and Goddess reconciled,
Hear us now as we proclaim:
We have risen from the flames!
Our ancient Craft now we reclaim,
In the God and Goddess’ names
Hark the neo-Pagans sing,
Glory to the Holly King!

Herne by highest love adored,
Herne the ever-reborn Lord,
At all times behold Him come,
Offspring of the Holy One,
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail Incarnate Deity!
Our ancient Craft now we reclaim,
in the God and Goddess’ names
Hark the neo-Pagans sing,
Glory to the Holly King!

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