Rev. Dr. Kheti A. Sahure
The Temple of Kheti
Yule or the Winter Solstice is scientifically based on the standing still position of the Sun; this has been practiced for over 10,000 years by many cultures (especially Native Americans, Spanish and Mexican Indians) around the globe with ceremonies and festivals over 12 days). Yule is a kind of spiritual, psychic, and physiological renewal of mind, body, and soul involving the 4 elements (Earth or North, Air or East, Fire or South, and Water or West) and the 5th element being the Spirit Guide at the top of a right side up pentacle and pentagram (which are mathematically based on geometry). The winter solstice is unique among days of the year--the shortest day and the longest night. Darkness rules but only briefly; from now until the summer solstice, the nights will grow shorter and the days longer even in Alaska.
The Winter Solstice's turning point was carefully monitored in many ancient cultures. The stones in the circle at Stonehenge were aligned to ascertain the dates of midsummer and midwinter, as well as the positions of the moon throughout the year. Even older than Stonehenge is the tumulus at Newgrange in the Boyne River Valley in Ireland. It was built in approximately 4500 B.C.E. On the morning of the winter solstice, a shaft of sunlight enters the mound, travels down a stone corridor, and illuminates the spiral designs on the back wall of the cave.
Yule is one of four Lesser Pagan Sabbats (with the religious festivals or holidays being Ostara, Midsummer or Litha, and Mabon) within the symbolically and constantly turning wheel of the year. Yule has long been celebrated as the rebirth of the sun (the Sun God Ra/Re), of sunlight, and the continual existence of life itself. According to Celtic folklore, the Oak King and the Holly King represent the two sides of the Greenman or the Horned God (Cernunnos); the Oak King oversees the lighter part of the year (at Litha) while the Holly King oversees the darker part of the year at Yule.
In the northern hemisphere, Yule is generally celebrated on or around December 21st depending upon the day of arrival of the full moon prior to this Sabbat. Yule festivals, ceremonies, and rituals can consist of a simple solitary prayer all the way through an elaborate social and spiritual gathering of men, women, and children. Depending upon their spiritual path, some folks observe Yule for 1 day or from 3, 7, or up to 12 days.
~ Merry Yule, Winter Solstice & Blesséd Be ~
Compliments of Lord Starwalker
Begin by using the Full Moon ritual, which is published elsewhere, and the Sabbat Ritual also printed. The altar is adorned with evergreens, such as pine, rosemary, bay, juniper and cedar, and the same can be laid to mark the Circle of Stones. Dried Leaves can also be placed on the altar.
The altar is adorned with evergreens, such as pine, rosemary, bay, juniper and cedar, and the same can be laid to mark the Circle of Stones. Dried leaves can also be placed on the altar.
The cauldron, resting on the altar on a heat-proof surface (or placed before it if too large), should be filled with ignitable spirit (alcohol), or a red candle can be placed within it. At outdoor rites, lay a fire within the cauldron to be lit during ritual.
Say the following:
"I sorrow not, though the world is wrapped in sleep.
I sorrow not, though the icy winds blast.
I sorrow not, though the snow falls hard and deep.
I sorrow not; this too shall soon be past".
Ignite the cauldron or candle, using long matches or a taper(never a lighter).
As the flame(s) leap up, say:
"I light this fire in your honor, Mother Goddess. You have created life from death; warmth from cold. The Sun lives once again; the time of light is waxing. Welcome, every returning God of the Sun! Hail, Mother of all".
Circle the altar, and cauldron slowly, clockwise, watching the flames. Say the following chant, slowly, for some time: at least one minute.
"The wheel turns, the power burns".
Meditate upon the Sun, on the hidden energies lying dormant in winter, not only within the earth, but within ourselves. Think of birth not as the start of life, but as its continuance.
Welcome the return of the God
After a time, cease and stand once again before the altar and flaming cauldron. Say:
"Great God of the Sun,
I welcome your return.
May you shine brightly upon the Goddess;
May you shine brightly upon the Earth,
scattering seeds and fertilizing the land,
Reborn one of the Sun".
Now celebrate the simple feast.
One traditional Yuletide practice is the creation of a Yule tree. This can be a living, potted tree, which can be later planted in the ground, or a cut one. The choice is yours.
Appropriate Wiccan decorations are fun to make, from strings of dried rosebuds and cinnamon sticks (or popcorn and cranberries) for garlands, to bags of fragrant spices, which are hung from boughs. I thank that the boys will enter into this with full spirits. Quartz crystals can be wrapped with shiny wire and suspended from sturdy branches to resemble icicles. Apples, oranges and lemons hanging from boughs are strikingly beautiful, natural decorations, and were customary in ancient times.
Many enjoy the custom of lighting the Yule log. This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess. If you choose to burn one, select a proper log (traditionally of oak or pine). If you are devoid of a fireplace, use a small log with two holes drilled for candles. It will work sufficiently well. Carve or chalk a figure of the Sun (such as a rayed disc) or the God (a horned circle or a figure of a man) upon it, with the while handled knife, and set it alight in the fireplace (or just the candles on the log) at dusk on Yule. As the log burns, visualize the Sun shining within it, and think of the coming warmer days.
Now as to food:
Nuts, fruits such as apples and pears, Wassail, lambs wool, hibiscus or ginger tea are fine drinks for the simple feast, or any Yule meal.
When all is finished, proceed to the usual closing according to the Sabbat ritual.