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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in yule
4 Wands of Yew: The Four of Wands and Yule

Our open Yule ritual run by my coven never usually falls on Yule (December 21st this past year). We had ours on December 8th, and it was a beautiful ritual but I didn’t truly see/feel that until afterward. As a member of the ritual team, I had my “eye of the prize” of helping to lead a ritual that would be beautiful and potent for the attendees, which led to me not recognizing the beauty of the actual ritual during it. My natural tendency is to go into extreme planning and practical mode when being a helper bee.

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It is finally winter here. We have had little in the way of snow; actually, only frost on a few bitterly cold nights -- which I then had to get up extra early to scrap off my car. But then the sun would rise and the day would warm and I would forget about the fifteen minutes of lost sleep.

Not today, though. Today dawned cold and gray and foggy. Then the wind rose up and pushed the fog away, and even most of the clouds. But it stayed cold. Even without Christmas looming in a few days, weather like this still would have driven people into the book store in search of hot cider, hot chocolate, hot tea and (of course) a good book.

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a1sx2_Thumbnail1_golden-holly.jpgYule is a tough time of year for me. Not because there is anything tragic. My holiday memories are pleasant. I am the only child of a single mom, who lived far from her family of birth. Christmas was just she and I opening presents and she would make little Cornish game hens for Christmas dinner. Sometimes we would join friends of hers but it was always congenial. My birthday is also at this time of year – the 23rd – as is hers – the 19th.  She was very careful to make sure I got separate birthday and Christmas presents. As an adult, I suffer from too much celebrating, and not enough of it being meaningful. Not to put too fine a point on it, but by the time New Year’s Eve comes around, I’m pretty done with celebrating, thanks-for-asking.

Something I realized was that, as an adult, I really didn’t have Yule traditions of my own. And really, its just in the last five years or so that I realized I wanted to celebrate my Pagan holiday in my own home, not just at a local gathering. Many of the trappings of Christmas are Pagan anyway, the tree, the holly, the wreaths, and of course, the Yule log. When I was a kid, I loved decorating the tree and putting up holiday decorations while listening to carols. Baking cookies was another favorite – and of course – eating them.

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  • Raymond Covey
    Raymond Covey says #
    Hi Selina, wonderful post! Your article made me consider how I celebrate Yule and how I view Christmas music. I feel awkward list

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I have a confession to make: Christmas is not my holiday. Never has been. I grew up Jewish, and the only time I ever celebrated Christmas was the couple of years I was married, way back in the 1980's. And these days, as a Pagan who runs an artists' cooperative shop (and sells her jewelry there), I am mostly just grateful that it isn't my holiday, so I don't have to feel guilty about focusing all my energy on making money...

This doesn't mean I don't celebrate at all, though. Every year, my group Blue Moon Circle gets together for a Yule dinner party at my house. We don't do a ritual, so it is a "safe" time for people to bring the husband who isn't comfortable with witchcraft, or the kids who don't sit still well. We usually invite a pagan-friendly friend or two, as well. BMC is really one big family anyway, so for us it is a time to gather as an extended tribe and enjoy being together and celebrating the light in the midst of the darkness.

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Happy holidays, people! Or, should I say Merry Christmas? Or Good Yule? Or maybe Happy Hanukkah?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Post-4_Nativity_2012_sm.jpg

Since we walk two different paths – my husband follows the Norse path, and mine is a mixture of several Latin American paths (mostly Venezuelan Spiritualism and Umbanda) - we celebrate both Yule and Christmas. In the last post, we created a very talismanic Yule Tree; in this post, we'll move into the creation and history of a Nativity Scene.

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Yule and the Winter Solstice

Yule and the Winter Solstice are two separate events for me, with Yule being celebrated around December 21-25 just to keep up with family that celebrates Christmas, and the solstice being celebrated when it actually occurs, which for 2012 (5:12am CST) and 2013 (11:11am CST) is December 21st where I live. I wrote an article already explaining why I try to get so exact with the date/time of the celebrations, if you’re interested.

On the Winding Path, I have a couple of different rituals that are done around the time of Yule, besides the main one, because this is such an important time of year. Although I live in a climate where it’s unusually mild for this time of year this time around, there have been years of great hardship from harsh weather here. It is in the balance between all of those cold and mild winters that I place my mind when thinking of the Winter Solstice because it represents the breaking of the grip of winter upon the land. In northern climates, this was more true because they hardly if ever saw the sun around this time. There are symbols from the times of our ancestors which have been carried through to today, even by the usurpers of our traditions, like the use of evergreens, or celebrating for twelve days. On the Winding Path, we don’t celebrate for twelve days, but evergreens do play an important role in ritual and just a decoration because it reminds us and signals to us the promise of the return of spring.

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