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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Yule rituals

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Yule Ritual Plan

Planning a ritual in the time of Covid may require some adaptations. My kindred usually does winter holidays indoors, as illustrated by the picture above of last year's Yule, but this year we decided to do a bonfire outside in my back yard. Outdoor events are considered safer than indoor ones.

Ritual planning can require some forethought even if you've conducted a lot of rituals. Here are some ideas for an Asatru style Yule ritual, which other kinds of heathens, pagans, and polytheists might like to vik as well. (Asatruars sometimes semi-humorously say we are "viking" something, because that sounds so much cooler than "stealing.")

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Celebrating the Wheel of the Year: Winter Solstice

Winter solstice rituals traditionally celebrate the rebirth of the sun. In a safe and socially distanced setting outdoors, build a bonfire and create a solstice altar to the east of it. Place a small cauldron with a candle in it on the altar, and surround it with mistletoe, ivy, and holly. Participants should wear masks and  also wear crowns woven from these evergreens. Begin the ritual by gathering around the fire. Hum softly, gradually building the hum to a one shout. This shout represents the cries of the Goddess giving birth once again to the sun, and to the new year. The ritual leader says:

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Winter Solstice All Around the World

Looking to ramp up your Winter Solstice shindig this year? I personally always like to adapt a theme to center it around. That keeps it fresh and interesting for your return guests and a welcome surprise for new faces. This year the First Day of Winter falls on a Saturday, which makes it a perfect time to hold your Solstice celebration on the actual day. If you go with an “around the world” theme, you can invite each of your guests to bring a dish or beverage to share, unique to their cultural heritage or family. This way you’ll also gain an eclectic smorgasbord of a menu! Since I’m enjoying my new position as associate digital editor at Taste of Home Magazine so much, I had to try out some of their culturally diverse recipes from the December issue.

Every successful soiree should have a signature punch. Here’s a fun one from Chile:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Liberal Dose of Yuletide Spirit

(or no two snowflakes are exactly alike – and that's pretty cool)

2017 has been quite a year, in more ways than one. At times, it can be a challenge to stay hopeful about what lies ahead in the future. Many of we free-spirited and open-minded nature lovers must find our simple pleasures where we can. If those of us adversely affected by the new tax plan put our minds to it, we can still stay positive and find some things to celebrate this holiday season that retain meaning and joy. It occurred to me that some of the best ways to do this, would be to act in a fashion about as anti-greed, anti-bigotry, and anti-big business corporate mindset as possible. Here's how you can proceed in 8 effective ways, in honor
of each of the eight sabbats:

1. Either opt not to exchange gifts and just spend time together; or keep it extremely simple. When I say simple, I mean price cap it at $12-$15 tops. Or, just stick to recycled white elephants or home-made presents. 2. If you do have a tree, keep it natural. These are healthier for the environment. Decorate with mementos of loved ones who have passed on, in the tradition of the Celts. 3. Make donations! Share charitably what you can for your favorite causes. Endangered animals, LGBT rights, public television and radio, Puerto Rico, and absolutely anything to do with the environment are just a few groups who would all love your help about now. If you can't donate money, share your time and volunteer for a local chapter. 4. Speaking of donations, clean out your clothes closet already. Anything you haven't worn all year or are saving for someday, pass it on instead to your local resale shop. 5. Bake some gingerbread cookies, but don't bother with icing if you don't feel like it. Personally, I just love the spicy molasses flavor and the way they make my kitchen smell. Instead of men, make gingerbread women, wildlife creatures (I am the proud owner of a wolf
cutout), or moon and star shapes. Don't hoard them. Make a few dozen and bring some along to share at each of your holiday parties. 6. Every morning you wake up frustrated after reading the news, sign as many petitions as you possibly can. Keep fighting the good fight, no matter what. It's only when we roll over and give up that dreams die, too. 7. Send an eco-friendly ecard. World Wildlife Fund always has a very nice selection at this time of year. 8. Watch all the goofy feel-good holiday movies that still make you feel good that you can. Od on the innocence of it. Two of my go-tos annually are Albert Finney in the 70s musical version of "Scrooge," and the original "Rudolph." The still timely messages in them both, never cease to warm my heart.

When you light the nightly candles, meditate on the world that you most want to live in. Let's all make it our goal next year to do everything we can to make that happen. Peace.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Frequently Asked Question: How do I celebrate Yule?

My answer: 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Midwinter Harvest

She's pregnant, hugely pregnant.

Midwinter's Eve gathers around her: firelight and song, laughter, preparations for ritual and feast.

No one is surprised when her labor begins. After all, it's what we're here for.

We revolve around her. She sinks into her birthing-crouch.

Her cry of triumph halts our dance.

She opens. From between her legs, a freshet, a torrent of abundance.

Apples, oranges, almonds, walnuts, filberts—and one lone pomegranate—pour forth and cover the floor.

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