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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in yuletide
Outdoor Ideas & Eight Great Reads for Family Yule

When the holidays roll around, it can be difficult to hang on to spiritual meaning. I have no beef with Starbuck cups or shopping mall Santas. But I want my kids to stay in touch with what Yule is all about. For us, that’s solstice, the longest night and all that it brings with it. It’s easy to honor Brigid and the gift of growing light and warmth at Imbolc when there’s no mainstream commercial holiday to vying for kids’ attention. But trying to merge commercial Christmas with Yule makes for a much harder sell.

One way I work to reinforce the spiritual meaning of Yule is to make sure my kids get plenty of time outdoors. It’s fun to bundle up and set out on bike or on foot. Family hikes offer a chance to enjoy the brisk air and observe what the season really brings. The kids enjoy the discovery of vacated nests, animal tracks in the icy ground or snow, and the different shades of evergreens. Armed with flashlights or dollar store glowsticks, they like to go out into the backyard and marvel at how early darkness arrives now, often before dinner! Our telescope is permanently set out on our front porch so we (or the neighbors, if so inclined) can marvel at the intensity of the Long Night Moon.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Being True to Myself at Yule

I confess that I’m not much of a kitchen witch. I can cook, but it doesn’t thrill me to labor over a hot stove. I eat to live; I don’t live to eat, and that attitude is almost an abomination in the South. People vacation here mostly for the culinary delights, especially the barbecue, and it is no wonder. Every issue of Southern Living is loaded with food porn. Thus, when you hail from a place that practically worships food as a god, it is generally expected that you, too, shall fall in line and pay homage to the almighty cookbook. I don’t, which makes the holiday season of gathering and feasting a bit awkward. So much of it centers around gastronomy, and that’s just not my focus.

What I really want in the weeks leading up to Yule is peace and quiet. I want reflection. I want a stack of books, a cup of tea, and solitude. I want that pregnant pause before another year begins. I want to review what worked, what didn’t, what changed, and what I’m doing with my one wild and precious life, as Mary Oliver wrote. In order to cultivate this for myself, I’ve had to say NO to all the voices yelling at me to buy this, go there, do that, cook this, and please him/her/them. I don’t have the time or energy for anything unless it feels like an authentic YES.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Solitarieone
    Solitarieone says #
    Ahhh. Your post made me feel so good, Jennifer. Someone who feels exactly how I feel. I live in the South, too, and I know the imp
  • Agnes Toews-Andrews
    Agnes Toews-Andrews says #
    Beautifully said and my sentiments, exactly, Jennifer. Thank you. Bright blessings! Agnes. www.isismoonpublishing.com
  • Dianne McGehee
    Dianne McGehee says #
    This is exactly how I feel. Thank you for expressing it so well. Oh, BTW, I live in Gulf Shores, AL, so your writing is really mea
  • Jennifer Miller
    Jennifer Miller says #
    Howdy neighbor! I'm glad to know another southern witch.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Making it Work

     Yule this year passed in a blur of work and school. We sent the little boys off to school Tuesday, giving ourselves one final day to finish holiday preparations: breads and cookies baked, packages wrapped and decorated, the sunfire collected by my husband and the Hestia candle on the stove top lit, ready for the rush of children and the Mystery of the longest night.


     As each year passes faster and faster, it seems, I am continually caught unaware, needlessly so, I feel. I know in January when the Solstice will occur: all I need to do is flip to the back of the calendar and look. In fact, I already know that next Yule will be December 21, 2017, and that the solstice will occur at 11:28 in the morning. This knowledge should prepare me, but the reality is that I will be so caught up in the day to day details of secular living that spiritual observances are often pushed aside until the last minute. I often feel I am shortchanging myself.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Yule Rush

Ah, life in the Broomstick Ghetto.

In the days since Mother Night, I've several times caught myself wandering: Why are all these people still running around?

Then I remember.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Troll Night

Well, it's here: the Thirteenth Night before Yule.

So potent a power is Yule that the Thirteen Nights cast a sort of shadow before them, a kind of inverse Yule.

These are the year's darkest nights. In the darkness, monsters assemble, more and more each night. It is the season of the troll.

Troll Night they call it, the thirteenth before Mother Night. At the doorstep, they lay out offerings, but the doors themselves they ward and hammer-sign from within. Here and no further, the wardings and offerings say.

Word is, the trolls will be particularly bad this year. Bad governance, or the threat thereof, always angers the beings of the land. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Myself, I'll be setting out some of the cherry vodka I made this June, and have been saving for Yule. Of course, I'll have a nip m
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Booze. Porridge. Sardines. I'm sure there are others, but that's what people that I know put.
  • Haley
    Haley says #
    So, what kind of offerings do Trolls like? Other than raw meat and unfortunate wanderers, of course.

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At long last, we’ve come to the valley of the year: the longest night, the middle of winter, and the apex of darkness. But as they so often say “it’s often darkest before the light” and cultures around the world have long celebrated midwinter with merry revelry, well aware that the Sun will soon return.

In our annual megapost for Yuletide, we’ve gathered as many stories as we could find about winter, seasonal merriment, and gift-giving for the holiday season. Many of the linked posts are from our own PaganSquare, but you’ll find plenty more if you feel inclined to look. We hope you and enjoy and wish you a very Merry Yule (and a Happy New Year’s)!

-Aryós Héngwis

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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