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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
And so it is Yuletide

And so it is Yule. Unlike Christmas (and even unlike the Winter Solstice itself), Yule is not a single day, and its arrival is not determined by a single calendar date. It is a dark tide of energy that arises, generally on or around the Solstice, and Yule proper lasts for twelve nights, ending in Twelfth Night (which usually falls on or around Christmas Eve).

Its coming is not always predictable; one can plan for Yule and then feel the tide of energy arrive a day early, or a day late. In this modern era, most people are so harried by the commercialism of the Christmas season that they barely even notice when the tide comes in, if they notice at all. I own an online shop and my day job is in customer service, so I certainly am not immune to the hectic atmosphere that prevails. In the midst of the flurry of shopping and making, it can be difficult to feel the moment when the land whispers to you: “It is now.”

Our ancestors (in the Germanic countries) referred to Yule as Rauhnacht, the “rough nights” or “raw nights.” The Yuletide energy is not a gentle one; it is harsh, glaring, strident, echoing the energies of the Wild Hunt that rules this season. It actually meshes pretty well with the frantic shopping and feelings of desperation and often despair that surround Christmas. It can manifest in irritation and snappishness (tempers have been short in my household all week long), or in a surge of energy that one does not know how to channel. Many people respond to it by feeling the need to retreat from the world, to nest with books or movies—which is actually a wise choice. Traditionally, Yule was a time for gathering a home with families and friends—not just to celebrate the return of the sun, but because it was considered a dangerous time. The roads, the wildness, all of the in-between places were particularly dangerous; there was too much chance of encountering the Hunt, or even being taken by it. Only witches, seidhr folk, sorcerers, and other societal vagrants would choose to be out and about on these nights.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
And so it is Yuletide

And so it is Yule. Unlike Christmas (and even unlike the Winter Solstice itself), Yule is not a single day, and its arrival is not determined by a single calendar date. It is a dark tide of energy that arises, generally on or around the Solstice, and Yule proper lasts for twelve nights, ending in Twelfth Night (which usually falls on or around Christmas Eve).

Its coming is not always predictable; one can plan for Yule and then feel the tide of energy arrive a day early, or a day late. In this modern era, most people are so harried by the commercialism of the Christmas season that they barely even notice when the tide comes in, if they notice at all. I own an online shop and my day job is in customer service, so I certainly am not immune to the hectic atmosphere that prevails. In the midst of the flurry of shopping and making, it can be difficult to feel the moment when the land whispers to you: “It is now.”

Our ancestors (in the Germanic countries) referred to Yule as Rauhnacht, the “rough nights” or “raw nights.” The Yuletide energy is not a gentle one; it is harsh, glaring, strident, echoing the energies of the Wild Hunt that rules this season. It actually meshes pretty well with the frantic shopping and feelings of desperation and often despair that surround Christmas. It can manifest in irritation and snappishness (tempers have been short in my household all week long), or in a surge of energy that one does not know how to channel. Many people respond to it by feeling the need to retreat from the world, to nest with books or movies—which is actually a wise choice. Traditionally, Yule was a time for gathering a home with families and friends—not just to celebrate the return of the sun, but because it was considered a dangerous time. The roads, the wildness, all of the in-between places were particularly dangerous; there was too much chance of encountering the Hunt, or even being taken by it. Only witches, seidhr folk, sorcerers, and other societal vagrants would choose to be out and about on these nights.

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Yule Advent Calendar (and a belated Michaelmas outing)

Taking a look back into the archives of my personal blog, I found that I first began putting together what I referred to as my “Yule Advent Calendar” in September 2010. (The same year I took my service oath to the Wild Hunt.) Admittedly, advent (from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”) is a Christian concept, a series of festival dates that mark the progression of the Christmas season. I am not claiming that this custom was borrowed from paganism, but since so many other trappings of the Christian festival year clearly were, I felt no qualms about adopting the advent calendar for my own purposes in marking the series of festivals I observe leading up to Yule. 

This custom of adopting some of the festivals of the medieval Christian Church for my own purposes has since spread into other parts of the year, no doubt under the influence of my adoptive Disir, the group of women I've referred to as the Queens (most of whom were actual Queens in medieval Egnland). Shortly after discovering Michaelmas and Martinmas, I adopted Candlemas and began adding more traditional elements into my celebration of All Hallow's Eve, May Day and Lammas, and I wouldn't be surprised if that trend continues, since the customs and pageantry of medieval England (pre-Reformation) call to me quite powerfully. In most of the festivals I can feel an echo that harkens back to pagan times, as well as to the pagan customs that were slow to die away in the countryside. Whether or not this echo reflects the actual survival of a pagan practice, it enriches the experience of the festival for me and gives me that feeling I so love of being linked to the past and helping to carry the essence of lost traditions into the future.

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  • Jolene
    Jolene says #
    I wish I could have been with you this morning -- I love the cemetery tours that we do this time of year. Sounds like it was a gre
On Trust and Shadow Work (or, what happens when your gods say no)

My friend Nornoriel's posts Trust part 1 and 2 over at Patheos helped inspire this post—mostly by kicking my ass.

I almost decided not to post about this, because it's another one of those vulnerable-feeling areas (like His decision to change His face for a while). But recently I've been discovering that sharing these vulnerable places with others makes me feel less vulnerable about them (and maybe helps other people out with their own vulnerable spots in the process), so here goes.

During the past few years, it seems like I always fight with my Husband during Wild Hunt Season, sometimes spectacularly. (We always make up just as passionately afterwards, but I would rather just skip the fights and jump straight to that part.) Although the specifics vary, the theme is always the same: trust.

Now, most people wouldn't raise an eyebrow at the thought of not trusting Odin, of all People, and He would be the very first to point out that most people should not trust Him; they have no reason to do so, and would be far wiser not to. But I do—most of the time, anyway. After all, He is my Husband--bound to me by oaths, blood, and love.  Even more, He is my partner, my mate. We are building a life together.

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  • Beth Wodandis
    Beth Wodandis says #
    Your order, by the way, purchased a new camera! Little by little, the pieces are coming together...
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    Awesome!
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    A lesson I need to keep learning myself. (See my last blog post for a small window on that one) Also let me say I am SO glad some
  • Beth Wodandis
    Beth Wodandis says #
    Thank you! And yes, it is a difficult lesson, but the best parts of yourself only emerge once you stop trying to be someone else.
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    I love this post so hard I want to turn cartwheels. ...Comparing yourself to others is an easy trap to fall into. I've fallen in

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Draugadrottin

Continuing with my exploration of the Names of Odin in alphabetical order, He doesn’t have many heiti, or by-names, beginning with the letter D.  However, the one we'll be discussing today is among my favorites of all of His names anyway because it tells us so much about the essence of who and what He is.  It is generally translated as meaning “Lord of the Dead.”  Lets break it down, though, and see if we can learn more from it than that.

The drottin part of the name means chieftain, or lord, and has a cognate in the Anglo-Saxon drihten. The particular connotation here is that of a military lord, the leader of a war band (from Proto-Germanic *druti). This implies the sort of kingship portrayed in Beowulf, for example; not necessarily a hereditary role, but one decreed by merit and ability, the man who is elevated to kingship because other men look to him and trust in his abilities, the ring giver and keeper of the web of oaths that tie a war band, a tribe, or a people together.

The other half of the name, drauga, means the dead, but here again a particular type of dead person is implied.  In Germanic belief, the “ordinary” dead go to Helheim, where they are perhaps reunited with their loved ones and have a period of rest and rejuvenation prior to being reborn or going on about whatever work lies before them between lifetimes.  Some dead, in my belief, go to the abodes of the gods they have served during life if those connections are strong enough and if the god desires their continued service and companionship.  The Poetic Edda and Snorri’s Edda alike tell us that the battlefield dead are divided between Odin and Freyja, with Frejya getting first pick.  (Ladies first, after all.)

But the draugr (singular) is in a category all his own.  As depicted again and again in the Icelandic sagas, the draugar (plural) are “walkers” or “those who walk again after death.” 

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Money magic: is money the means or the goal?

There's been a lot of talk about money in the Pagan blogosphere in the past week, so much so that I wonder if it would be a service simply to round up those links once in awhile.  I'm barely making my self-imposed "money Monday" deadline this week as it is -- missed it, in some time zones -- so I won't be giving that idea another moment's thought quite yet.

One of the posts that really caught my eye comes from my fellow blogger here, Carl Neal, who cajoled readers to contribute to your favorite Pagan efforts.  One of Neal's personal favorites is the Wild Hunt blog, which is presently running its annual fund drive.  With four weeks left in the campaign, 108% of the needed funds to pay for servers, columnists, and administration have been raised.  In an early thank-you note, Jason Pitzl-Waters remarks, "Fundraising is a spell."  I agree, but I'm not sure it's the kind of spell most people might think it is.

...
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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, I frequently read the "Zero Hedge" website. Whilst it has its share of ideologues and cranks, both the articles and the
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Off to check out this website for myself!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I have spent decades talking to Pagans about the perceived “culture of poverty” within the Pagan Community.  That is the belief that “I can’t afford that and I never will be able to” or “I can’t go to that festival for $70, even though they will feed and house me for 3 days.”  I have spent the last year telling anyone and everyone who will listen that the Pagan Community needs a professional media corps.  If you’d like to see some of my arguments for why, check our website – www.PaganTV.org. 

I realized something a few weeks ago.  Pick the euphemism you prefer – “put your money where your mouth is”, “put up or shut up”, or “if you talk the talk you need to walk the walk.”  It is true that I spend a fair amount of money every year attending various Pagan events and festivals.  Like many of us, I also buy plenty of Pagan goodies from incense to altar tools to books, books, and more books.  All of those activities are good for our Community economy but really aren’t enough to help us get to where we need to go.

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  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Well said.

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