Yuletide: A Compendium

Over the years, I’ve posted quite a bit about my Atheopagan Yule traditions. I thought I’d pull links to them together here for easy reference.

Yule, overlapping so heavily with the Christian/secular holiday of Christmas, is a time when many of our Pagan traditions are widespread, and with many old threads of lore and practice layered over one another. Whether your household goes all out, with a tree and gifts and parties and the Holly King in his guise as Saint Nicholas, or simply lights candles to call back the light into the world, it is a time of both hope and fear, a time for reflection on what has gone before, a time for thinking about new projects and initiatives.

Personally, I like to do All The Things except buying and receiving gifts. The commercial consumption frenzy at this time of year really offends me (except for children, where I feel it is simply cruel to deny them what they see their peers experiencing every year), and I have enough stuff, so we dispense with that piece. But I like to drink the nog and mulled wine and seasonal ales, and erect and decorate a tree, and burn a Yule log with wishes for the new year, and eat too much and too well, and watch Hogfather, and sing carols (including the Atheopagan filks I’ve included in the hymnal) and listen to Renaissance Christmas music (This is my favorite album)…or jazz Christmas music…and visit with dear friends. And to tell ghost stories on Solstice night–an old tradition I hope will come back into fashion.

Plus, of course, a Yule ritual and feast thereafter.

So here are the various posts I’ve made on Yule practices, rituals and traditions over the years, with some Yuletide poetry as well. I hope they serve you in good stead and that yours is a warm, comfortable, joyous and love-filled Yuletide season.

An Atheopagan Life: November and December

What Shall We Give for Yule?

The Yule Log: a Winter Solstice Ritual

Mulled Wine: A Poem for the Yuletide Season

It Starts With Just One Thing

A Winter Spell

Atheopagan “Advent” Calendar: a fun project for the holidays

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Yule Offering #2: Courage

My second hope for you at Yule is that you engage the season with bravery.

This is the time when we stand up to darkness and cold and the prospect of much more of it, and we do so with a combination of brazen silliness and real strength: the kind of strength it takes to deal with difficult family members and multiple obligations and inclement weather and looming deadlines and planned projects and lists and unsnarling the bloody lights and figuring out where we put the tree stand last year and deciphering Grandma’s 40-year-old spider-scrawl on that recipe that simply MUST be made.

The many demands of life multiply at Yule. For some, this is reason enough for the whole affair to become oppressive and miserable…and often, lonely as a result, when they are the very ones who most need company and cheer.

So for you at this time, and continuing forward into the new year, I wish strength and perseverance. Even in these darkest of days, may you find it within you to rise to the many occasions, and embrace the flurries of tasks and obligations. May the terrible news that dominates the world’s discourse not demoralize you. May short days and cold not dampen your spirits, and may interactions and engagements steel you for the days ahead.

Courage to you, my friends. May the spirit of Yule warm you right through, and strengthen you against the freezing winds. May the sure knowledge of the light’s return hold fast in your hearts.

Warmer, brighter—and less complicated!—days are coming.

Persist.

Yule Offering #1: Stillness

Here’s my first hope for you at (what I consider) the New Year: the Winter Solstice, or Yule.

That after the holiday frenzy of Silly Season, after the parties and dinners and rituals, there comes a moment when you can just stop.

And be still.

And feel within you the glow of all your life’s wealth: the beauty, the love, the gifts that the very Earth itself rains down on you.

I hope that—even if only for a moment—you will feel your body swell with the joy that is your birthright, and you will know that you belong here, between soil and stars, a unique expression of the very Universe, looking back at itself. Knowing itself as alive.

May the stillness of snow and cold and the Sun’s pause in its journey fill you with happiness, and wisdom, and courage to go forward to a 2018 of promise and opportunity and joy.

A merry Yule to each of you. Thanks for being a part of what we’re doing here.

 

Mark