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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in yule

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Leaving a Legacy: Winter Solstice

 

Sun and then rain and then sun and then rain. Everything is beautiful, fresh and green after a relatively dry June - the rain has finally come. Flocks of white sulfur-crested cockatoos careen in the morning shower, revelling in the morning light as the sun glints off their plumage. As the sun breaks through again, the breeze stirs the branches of the eucalypts causing heavy drops to shower down like diamonds. My tabby cat carefully pads his way through the weeds of my front garden, stopping to sniff a long green tendril and his coat shivers when the droplets leftover from the latest shower dribble onto his back. 

 

This is winter solstice in Australia. Or one version of it, anyway. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Long Farewell

Around here there's a social institution known as the Minnesota Long Goodbye, a fixture of local Politeness culture. “Well, guess we'll be heading out,” you say. But you can't leave yet; that would imply that you aren't enjoying the company, and are eager to go. 5 minutes later, you stand up. 5 minutes after that you put on your coat. Another 5, and you go to the door. Leaning against the door-jamb, you talk for yet another 5. Then you actually leave.

Yule is like that. This year the last of the Thirteen Nights was January 2; the Merry Monarch of Misrule (in her Steampunk crown) presided over one final debauch, and we sang the old Yule songs for the last time this season. Time to head on out, I guess.

But Yule itself has yet to come down. The tree and other appurtenances generally go up in mid-December and linger until mid-January or so: about a month, a twelving of the year. (By long-standing household tradition, our tree finally comes down on King Day: no work, no school.) Here in the Northlands, Yule ushers in the coldest, most housebound time of the year: “As the days grow longer, the cold grows stronger” goes the saying. (Variant: “As the day lengthens, the cold strengthens.”) On the couch the other night, I closed the novel I'd just finished reading, turned off the light, and laid back in quiet appreciation of the Yule Tree's ongoing beauty and magic: a fountain of light in the heart of darkest winter.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Crying Yule

In 17th century Yorkshire, after the morning service on Christmas Day, people used to take hands and dance through the church shouting “Yule! Yule! Yule!”

I'll bet the vicar just loved that.

Crying Yule as a refrain to seasonal songs, chants, and dances is an old custom in the English-speaking world (as it still is in Scandinavia) with parallels in a number of non-Germanic cultures. To take just one example, a standard refrain in Latvian Midwinter carols is Kalado, Kalado; Kalado means “Christmas,” but it's yet another descendant of the wide-spread and influential Latin calendae, like Provençal Calena and Russian Kolyadá. The calends of January have much to answer for in the course of cultural (and linguistic) history.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Cowan Yule

The single best defense against Christmas is a good Yule.

I sometimes worry that I live too much in the pagan ghetto. Most of my friends are pagan; I live in a pagan home, immersed from day to day and from season to season in pagan culture. I know that there's a wide world of non-pagans out there. But after all these years, I also know who my people are, where my home is, and what my work is.

Midwinter's Eve our job is to bring the Sun up out of the Dark. We sing the Sun down, we light the fire; we dance, we sing, we keep the fire-watch through all the long night. 7:47 a. m. Midwinter's Day will find us out on the east pedestrian walkway of the Washington Avenue bridge, singing the Sun up out of the Mississippi Valley. December is on average the cloudiest month of our Minnesota year, when Earth and Sun hide themselves in their mysteries. But in those years when we actually see the Sun rise out of the river valley, with light and color flooding back into the world, well...that's Yule in little, and the joy of it continues for a full thirtnight of days, a year in miniature. Because we are who we are, we're part of something much larger than ourselves, something that would happen whether we were here to see it or not. It's something that we're privileged to take part in, and so long as we continue to do so, our people will continue to be. It's a joyous responsibility.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Cristina. Here in the US at least, Christmas is so massive that it can sometimes seem like a force of nature. I think it's
  • Cristina Potmesil
    Cristina Potmesil says #
    This comment, "Christmas is a human construct. If no one celebrated it, Christmas would cease to exist." is amazing. Thank you.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In the weeks leading up to December 24, my 8-year-old kept asking the same question. She asked it in as many different ways as she could, trying to tease out the information she was convinced I was withholding. She asked it after her choir's holiday concert, she asked it when she and her sister came shopping with me for gifts. She asked it as we made cookies, as we planned menus, even as we drove up to Boulder for a children's Solstice celebration. However she put it, the question remained the same:

“Mom, is Santa Claus real?”

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thoughts about Solstice for 2014

Celebrating the turnings of the Wheel of the Year encourage us to meditate on the cycles of life. This year celebrating the Winter Solstice has proven is harder for me to enter  wholeheartedly than often in the past. At the Solstice we celebrate light’s return, and with it the rebirth of life from the mystery of death. This year perhaps it is fitting that it falls on the dark of the moon.  Yule honors the return of light while I am living in a society where the lights seem to be going out.

Ultimately my post will be positive, very much so.  But let us not pretend it is easy to see any growing light beyond that of the sun itself. 

...
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Gus -- wow, I had no idea you were an artist! Let's talk about this some more via email.
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I am the artist.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Although the list of woes (especially the political material, some of which I respectfully see differently than you) at the beginn
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Gus -- I absolutely love the image at the top of your post. Who's the artist?
TarotBlogHop: Yule Joy Of Gifting (Master List)

There is this magical, mystical circle that happens every six weeks. We call it the Tarot Blog Hop. As my Yule gift to you, I'd like to invite you to hop on board to see where it takes you. The Tarot Blog Hop was begun by me.

I had this idea that a bunch of Tarot folks could all blog on the same topic on the same day. All the posts would go live at the same time creating a pop-up community. In my head, it was like Brigadoon--that magical place that appears once every hundred years. Little did I know that there was a reason it was only every hundred years.

...
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joy Vernon
    Joy Vernon says #
    Whoohoo!!! I'm so excited! I have used that workbook before and think it's great!
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Hey Joy! You win. Send me an email or hit me up on Facebook, darling.
  • Joy Vernon
    Joy Vernon says #
    A nicely organized master list! I love your analogy of Brigadoon. Thanks for starting the BlogHop! I"m so glad to be a part of it.

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