Celebrating Yule 2018.
As far back as anyone can find records of, humans have celebrated the Winter Solstice and the birth/renewal cycle of life. It falls between December 20th and December 23rd, depending on the year. From the highlands to the Oceanside’s, our ancestors would come together in celebration on the darkest and longest night of the year. The reason for such great celebration was to welcome the return of the Sun King/rebirth of the Oak King. After enduring the first few months of winter, this passing night meant that each day afterwards would be a little bit warmer, the days a little longer, and a bit more light would shine.
This ritual is an outdoor version, complete with a roaring fire and winter libations, so dress warm and enjoy!
What you’ll need to prepare for this ritual (as written)
Quarter Candles (4 total) in these colors – Red (South,) Yellow (East,) Green (North,) and Blue (West)
Goddess Candle – Large White Candle (I use a three wick candle for the Goddess)
God Candle – Gold or Yellow
Parchment and pencils for everyone
Yule Log (we use the same one year after year and keep it stored under our bed)
Goblet or ceremonial cup with spirited libation of wine, ale, or mead
Bonfire or fire circle
Any portion of the ritual that is bracketed with <> refers to instructions and should not be spoken aloud.
<Opening Statement – A call to action for the participants to stop talking, gather, and prepare to begin the ritual>
“All ye travelers come gather ‘round, With sky above; on sacred ground, Together we consecrate this meeting place, Outside of time, outside of space, Behold! The circle is cast!”
Join Us as We Call the Quarters
We call out to the AIR Elementals of the East – bearers of the great currents that purify the atmosphere – join us tonight in this great gathering – cleanse our mental plane from negative thoughts, pride, prejudice, and jealousy <light yellow candle>
We call out to the FIRE Elementals of the South – keeper of the great cleansing flames – join us in this great gathering – infuse our every molecule with the spiritual fires of creation so that we may continue to grow <light red candle>
We call out to the WATER Elementals of the West – guardians of the oceans, the lakes, and the rivers – join us in this great gathering – wash away that which has polluted our lives and recharge our souls with your energy <light blue candle>
We call out to the EARTH Elementals of the North – guardians of the four seasons, the soil, and all that depends upon it – join us in this great gathering – share your strength and ensure all living things have the means to flourish <light green candle>
In the dawning hours the universe, the great Sun God looked down upon Mother Earth and smiled. His happiness brought warmth and light to a tiny blue world called Earth. Such as it became the time of humankind, and as the first footsteps made contact with earth, those eyes turned skyward to observe the movements of the heavens. They saw the change that was in constant motion and began to see how those movements affected life on the physical and spiritual plane. <Light God Candle>
Praises to the Goddess – for it is she who brings new light and hope. On this longest and darkest night we must rely on her guidance as we look deep within ourselves to rediscover our greatest gifts. Tonight; together, we can share our energies and ignite a new spark for the coming year; our own Sacred Fire, and our own inner Light that we can offer to the world around us. <Light Goddess Candle>
<No pagan celebration is complete without some form of singing, dancing, and music – use this interlude to find your inner voices and enjoy a night of celebration>
Some rituals are best performed solitary, as their magick is of the individual type. Others are best when friends, family, and anyone seeking knowledge gather under the stars and moon together. Energies, food, and libations are shared and a feeling of joy is had by all. Welcome to our Yule 2018 celebration of togetherness.
Before we begin, we’d like to offer everyone an opportunity to cleanse their spirit – please, take time now to cast out that which has been a lodestone upon your physical or spiritual life – use the cleansing fires of this gathering to cut the cords which tie down your spiritual growth so that you may be renewed with the first light of the morning sun.
<offer paper and pencils and provide time for each participant to approach the fire and burn anything which might be anchoring them to negative actions or thoughts – if the focus is too large or non-flammable, then have them write it down on a sheet of parchment and burn it>
Burning Prayer <ask everyone to join hands and repeat after the orator>
We cast out that which has burdened our lives, releasing the negative energies back into the ether to be reclaimed and recycled by the Great Guardians who stand watch over all that we do in life. So Mote it Be!
<Please Observe a Moment of Silence to Allow for Individual Meditation on What Each Person Has Released>
With so many things available to talk about around Yule, you may be wondering why our theme tonight is togetherness. It’s quite simple and moreover, quite important that we put an extra effort into staying close knit. Our world is rapidly changing and each day something new emerges to separate us. Whether it be politics, technology, weather, or other physical differences driving the change, the nuclear family in this country is losing its identity. Even those families which are still intact often seem like strangers to one another due to the lack of face to face communication.
Our world is rapidly becoming a realm of individuals who are slowly imploding into themselves and becoming closed off and spiritually neutered. They are like the thickened sap of a winter maple tree, which soon hardens and becomes nearly like stone. Traditional gatherings are fewer and fewer and attendance is smaller each year. Everyone always has something more important to do, or so they say. A nation of individuals is easily conquered, bankrupted, or destroyed as individuals only care about their own welfare and best interests.
A group, on the other hand, finds common ground; common interest; and practices common-sense. They share with one another and teach what skills they have to the others. Everyone keeps an eye out for each other and their children. They refuse to accept any member to bully, harass, or otherwise injure another member. They come together to pray, to celebrate, to mourn, and to seek comfort. No one is left to fend for themselves in hard times, and no one goes to sleep with an empty stomach. Togetherness is a power most people never stop to measure. It’s infinite in resources and has a lifespan of generations.
So I ask each of you to simply remember these words when you encounter an opportunity to stand apart or stand together with your loved ones. Think about where value in your life lies and what you want your children to know. It’s not just something we do on holidays, and it’s not a part-time activity. Togetherness is a way of life.
<ask everyone to hold hands>
Consecration of the Yule Log
Yule is the end of the old solar year and the beginning of the new one. Traditionally, the end of the year is a time to look back and reflect but it is also a time to look ahead to the future, to make plans and set goals.
The Yule Log has been part of this celebration for longer than anyone here can remember. A few things to remember. Once it’s lit, it should never be allowed to burn out on its own as that would be a sign of bad luck in the coming year – it should be purposefully extinguished and a piece saved for the next year’s Yule celebration. A Yule log cannot be sold nor purchased – it can be gifted or cut from your own land, just as long as no barter or money changes hands. This log has been burned for many Yule rituals and it carries all the energies of this circle with it.
And so we offer a toast the New Year, to those gathered here both in physical form and in spirit – and as we consecrate this sacred wood, we also pledge to focus our energies to endure, accomplish, and manifest our desires and tasks during the coming cycle.
<Raise the cup in toast to the gathering and then pour the cup’s contents over the Yule log>
“You who have died are now reborn. Lend us your light through the winter months as we await the spring.”
<Place the Yule Log into the fire>
We toast to celebrate the New Year!
We toast to celebrate the coming of the light!
We toast to celebrate friendship and family!
And most important, we toast to togetherness. Look to your right and to your left, across from you and behind you – these are your brothers and sisters – this is your family – no one shall ever be in need as long as we have each other – no one shall ever be lonely – no one shall ever go hungry – no one shall ever have to endure the pain of life without a listening ear and strong shoulder to cry upon – we are each a stick, easily bent when alone, but invincible when tied into a tight bundle!
<depending on the weather, you may wish to share food, drinks, or just socialize around the fire – spend as much time as you’d like, but remember to honor the sacred circle and it’s boundaries>
<Closing the Circle>
We offer thanks to the God and welcome the longer days ahead <extinguish God Candle>
We offer our thanks to the Goddess; the youthful Maiden, the fertile Mother, and the wise Crone – Live within each of us throughout the coming year <extinguish Goddess candle>
Power of Earth, leave us with the wisdom of cultivation and conservation so that we may steward the lands for future generations <extinguish green candle>
Power of Water, fill us with the energies of the never-ending tides so that we may fulfill our duties and destinies <extinguish blue candle>
Power of Fire, warm not only our bodies, but our hearts and souls, so that we may give to those who are in need <extinguish red candle>
Power of Air, remind us that strength often comes to us invisible and mysterious and we should have no fear of the unknown <extinguish yellow candle>
“This circle is now open”
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