This year I have travelled a very personal development across the year. From a casual interest attending a local group to hear talks on various subjects (ranging from local history in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth areas, to understanding what happened during the Salem Witch trials), I embarked on learning more about paganism. This year, 2015, is my first time celebrating Yuletide with a full understanding.
I have learnt the origins of Yule, blessing the woodlands, thanking nature for its fruits, understanding that Yule is centred around the changing of our daytimes and celebrated on Winter Solstice. I have been fortunate enough to participate in a beautiful candle ceremony, alongside the group lighting a candle after a reading filling the darkness with light. It was magical and has held more meaning for me than previous Christmases.
I have learnt that Yule is the 21 December where groups meet and celebrate the new year and prepare blessings for the next 12 months. The 24 December is a day to celebrate and honour my mother, the 25 December is when to start paying attention to the weather (the following 12 days from the 25th provide insight into what the weather is likely to be like each month for the following year).
Everybody has their own faiths and traditions at this time of year. My family haven’t been big on Christmas for a number of years, celebrating Yule with my local group has reinjected the spirit of this time of year, teaching me about new beginnings and coming together as a community. It may sound cliché but genuinely, everything has a sparkle around it and I love it! Celebrating my very first Yuletide, here are my little contributions:
A Prayer to Earth at Yule:
Cold and dark, this time of year,
the earth lies dormant,
awaiting the return of the sun,
and with it, life.
Far beneath the frozen surface,
a heartbeat waits,
until the moment is right,
A Sunset Prayer for Yule
Celebrate when the sun sets on the longest night of the year
The longest night has come once more,
the sun has set, and darkness fallen.
The trees are bare, the earth asleep,
and the skies are cold and black.
Yet tonight we rejoice, in this longest night,
embracing the darkness that enfolds us.
We welcome the night and all that it holds,
as the light of the stars shines down