Yule 2021 – Restoring Hope Across the Globe

yule 2021
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Yule 2021 – Celebration Introduction

Throughout history, the winter solstice has been a reason for great celebration.  Even though it is the shortest day of the year, our ancestors were hopeful on this day.  It was dark and dreary, but they knew that each day from Yule forward would get a little bit longer and the sun would shine a little bit longer.  It was the thought of a Spring day and new shoots springing forth from the earth, that kept them going.  The weight of their existence seemed a little less tiresome by keeping that thought in mind.  Just as we feel the weight of so many things in modern times, I say, have hope, for it will get better.  Yule is a great time for celebrating the turning point, which is more important today than in the past.  With the Full Cold Moon having peaked only a few days earlier, the waning moon will still give plenty of illumination to your nighttime celebrations.

Soon after we celebrate Yule 2021, the calendar year will come to a close. I’m certain most of us are more than ready to bid it farewell.  The world has been changing at a pace unseen before, in the past few years.  A global pandemic continues to disrupt all things we used to call normal.  Politics, border crises, inflation, lockdowns, and forced inoculations have caused division and fear among the citizens of the planet.  There is a general feeling of negativity that is really hurting the spiritual energy of the planet.  However, we must not lose hope.  There are plenty of good things happening across the world too.  People are turning away from the big corporations and lending more support to their local communities, the world is finally tackling the great plastic islands floating around in our oceans (and winning), and the global effort to end poverty is making great strides.  Scientists are discovering new species of animals, 3-D technology is being used to create everything from heart valves to eco-friendly living spaces, and people are waking up to the fact that they have choices when it comes to working.

I’m one of those positive-thinkers that is predicting things will get better in 2022.  Hope will be restored and the human race will find a way to come together again, despite our differences.  If we all put our best foot forward, together we can make it happen.  This year, in North America, Yule falls on December 21st; let that be Day 1 of restoring hope.

Yule 2021

This Yule ritual is written to be performed outdoors, complete with a roaring fire and plenty of winter libations, so dress warm and enjoy!

What you’ll need to prepare for this ritual (as written)

Quarter Candles – Red (South,) Yellow (East,) Green (North,) and Blue (West)
Goddess Candle – Large White Candle
Small Sturdy Candles for each person
Yule Log
Bonfire or fire circle

Any portion of the ritual that is bracketed with <> refers to instructions for the ritual leader and should not be spoken aloud.

The 2021 Yule Ritual Call to Action

“Citizens of Earth, I bid ye gather ‘round.  Tonight we stand on sacred ground.  On soil, snow, sand, or rock, we gather by firelight in this chosen place.  Restoring hope and holding space.  Behold! We look to the Moon above and the world all around with a great anticipation! Our Yule circle is now cast!”

The Calling of the Yule 2021 Quarters

East

Citizens of the Earth, turn your gaze to the EAST, the direction of AIR and the source of the new day.  For tomorrow the sun shall rise from the east and with it the hope of longer days and a great warming.  It is a great rebirth that we are on the cusp of and one that will be felt in every corner of the world, just as the powerful winds circumnavigate the planet, so shall this great hope travel.   We call upon the spirits of the East to keep the message circulating and remind the message carriers that we are all leaders when it comes to helping our fellow human.  <light yellow candle>

South

Now turn your gaze to the SOUTH, the direction of FIRE, where illumination, light, heat and the eternal flames of creation work in unison to make our lives better.  The great spark of life continues to bring new things to existence.  Things for humankind to behold and wonder about.  Things to feed our passion for knowledge and drive us to achieve that which seems unachievable.  As we stand united on this night to celebrate Yule and the return of the sun, we offer our gratitude but shall agree to never rest until all humans are united as one great tribe with a single purpose of bringing happiness to the land.  <light red candle>

West

We now look to the WEST, the direction of the WATER, where the cleansing waters originate.  As mighty rivers spill forth across the land, sharing the sacred fluid of existence, we are reminded that our strength is nothing when compared to the great elements.  Our form is singular, while the water has three.  And yet, we are capable of transformation.  We are capable of releasing anger and greed and violence and self-adoration.  As we move into the new days ahead, we must give up the self and become involved in the tribe of the world.  As one cohesive race of people, we are as strong as the mighty rivers and deep in knowledge as the great oceans.  <light blue candle>

North

And at last we turn with great reverence and humility to the NORTH, the direction of the EARTH spirits, the direction of thought, and the direction of wisdom.  We must acknowledge that humankind is not doing enough to preserve the planet.  False prophets offer platitudes and empty words to the masses, while the humble servants of the soil ensure that this world is protected for the future generations.  As the great wheel turns, I call upon each person to invest in Mother Earth; plant something,  clean something, get to know the wildlife and the bees.  Take time to commune with the trees and become a true citizen of the land.  Together we can bring hope to the earth and all of humankind.  <light green candle>

Goddess

Great Goddess, Great Mother, Wise Woman, She who is known by many names and comes in many forms.  She who embodies fertility, love, and spirit, whether as mother, maiden, or crone.  Unseen but always present, she is our guide and our source of inspiration.  We invite you to be with your servants on this great Yule celebration.  We seek insight and guidance but also for forgiveness and redemption.  As we cross from the dark half into the light half, we seek council and advisement to do more than just exist; we seek to live and love and be the bringers of hope, but without the need for accolades and praises.  We seek to remain humble and useful to our fellow human beings and for this we bow our heads and offer prayers to you.  <Light Goddess Candle>

Musical Interlude

Wow!  A great night of celebration has been placed upon our tables.  As we begin our Yule 2021 ritual, we need to raise our collective energy.  I’ve been told that there is no better way than through music.  With this ritual, as every other ritual, the choice of the opening song if often a lengthy process.  This year, please enjoy a wonderful cover of Solstice Carol, by Merrigan.  The words of this song are so powerful and have great meaning.  You’ll definitely add it to your personal collection.  Written originally by the Wyrd Sisters.

Welcome to All Ye Citizens of Planet Earth

Our Yule 2021 celebration is one of the old ways mixed with modern needs.  From our ancestors we’ve carried the tradition of celebrating Yule as the longest might of the year.  For those of us in the modern world, we are celebrating hope and renewal for the planet.  This great shift called the solstice has been a celebrated event for more than 12,000 years and in every land from sea to shining sea.  Many ancient monuments still stand as a testament of this day holding significance in the highest of high levels.  Humans have always been drawn to the light and with the Great Wheel turning from the dark half of the year to the light half, we are motivated to sing high praises across the lands.

In pre-historic times, winter was a scourge upon the earth.  The frigid weather, lack of sunlight, and ice made growing crops impossible.  Wild game was scarce as the animals went into deep hibernation or migrated to where food was available.  Early humans were dependent on whatever they could dry, preserve, or otherwise store away for the winter.  As the days became shorter and shorter, fears grew and the difficulties associated with starvation, lack of running water, and long periods of darkness caused despair.  Many feared that the light would never return and the earth would be plunged into chaos.  But things would change when the winter solstice occurred.  The days would grow a bit longer and their hope would be restored and for that they celebrated.

Likewise in the frigid lands that the Norse peoples inhabited, the winter solstice was seen as a great time of hope.  They called the celebration Jul, which eventually became Yule.  Weeks before the solstice, the men and their sons would develop a symbol of the passing that we still have today.  They would travel into the forest and return home with a long thick log, of which one end would be placed in the fire.  The burning log would be fed into the fire for as many days as it took until it was nearly burned away; understanding that sometimes this could take several weeks.  This log would eventually be known as a Yule log.  No one really knows when , but the tradition spread to the Celts in Britain and the Gaelic tribes throughout Europe.  The celebrations, which included sacrifices, drinking, feasting, and cleansing rituals, grew and became more specific by culture.  Yule logs were decorated with pine cones, ivy, and sprigs of holly, and consecrated with wine and salt before being set alight.

Each element was significant as part of a greater ritual to usher in a fruitful spring by burning away the remnants of the past.  As the log came close to being totally burned, the end was saved and kept safely tucked away for use the following year, when it was used to light the new Yule log.  The ashes were spread throughout their fields as protection against evil and misfortune.  When Christianity came to Europe in the fourth century, many families continued to celebrate the Yule log tradition inside their own homes, eventually adding the practice into what is called Christmas today.

Lighting the Yule 2021 Log

Before we light this year’s Yule 2021 Log, a few facts for anyone who may be new to this practice.  Yule logs cannot be purchased.  They can be gifted to you or harvested from your own land, but no money shall ever change hands.  Do not buy a Yule log nor just try to ‘find’ one.  Once you start the tradition of burning your own Yule log, make sure you save the end as we will do tonight, to light the next year’s log.

Many cultures would consecrate their Yule log before lighting it, often soaking it with wine, spices, herbs, and crushed flowers.  We’ve consecrated this log and are prepared to give it life!

<Leader should light the remnant of the previous year’s log first and then use it to light the yule 2021 log>

“In remembrance of the ancient traditions of our ancestors, we set this consecrated Yule log alight.  As it burns, we shall feel its warmth, embrace in the fact that the days will soon grow longer, and feel a new hope as the weigh of all negativity from this year will be burnt away”

<set your Yule log alight, being cautious around the fire>

Welcoming the Return of the Sun

<Ritual Leader should distribute candles to all participants>

The darkness is upon us, and we wait with a great anticipation for the morning sun to rise.  The frozen air hangs heavy in the sky and the moon looks down upon our great gathering.  The elements of winter are foreboding and their presence reminds us that even though the longest night shall soon be over; winter will not.  And yet we are not afraid as our ancestors might have been, for the world has changed and resources are aplenty.  Yet we still honor those ancient traditions.

On our alter burns a candle; white as the new fallen snow; pure as the Goddess for whom it represents. Her flame is like a single ray of sunlight.  A ray of light which grows into a great rising, such as that we expect to see when the morning comes.  We gather to honor that light and share that light across the land.  Transport your memories back to when a single flame was more than just a fire; it stood for hope and gave comfort to those who witnesses it.

Tonight, in spirit we are with our ancestors as they shared this light.  Step forward and engage with the Goddess and the power of the ancestors by lighting your candle, thus taking a ray hope into your own hands.

<allow each participant to light their candles from the Goddess candle>

Focus on the light each of you now hold.  Now without fear or competing energy, visualize what your intentions are for the light half of the year and how you will accomplish them.  Contemplate what changes you want to make in the coming year and the people you will interact with.  Make a pledge to yourself on this night to use this spark of hope to make positive and lasting changes in your life.  Remember that our planet is depending on each of you and the human race is crying out for servants of rebuilding hope.

<Have everyone say this prayer together>

The wheel keeps turning
We’re always learning
Some things change
Others remain

Fires burn
The Sun returns
Our hope does too
As light breaks through

The land renewed
Hope restored

<ask the group to slowly back away from the center until they are on the edges of the sacred circle>

As the Great Wheel turns, and the sun returns, realize that each of you are your own ray of light.  You bring your own sunshine to your life through your positivity, your gratitude, and your love for one another as members of the human race.

Blessed Be !

Cakes & Ale

<depending on the weather, you may wish to share food, drinks, or just socialize around your fire – spend as much time as you’d like, but remember to honor the sacred circle and it’s boundaries – once everyone has had their fill, proceed to the next step and close your circle>

Closing our Yule Circle

Great Spirits of Earth, our message of hope is not hollow and our convictions are not empty words.  As we close this circle we offer praise and thanks for the blessings you provide.  We pledge with all of our hearts to be a better citizen of the world and bring hope to our fellow human being in this coming year.  <extinguish green candle>

Great Spirits of Water, as we prepare to disperse, each leaving to take their own journey, we ask that you cleanse our souls and wash away that which may be holding us back from being the very best version of ourselves.  We give thanks to you for teaching us the wisdom of transformation, so that our souls may continue to grow and seek new knowledge and gain new perspective. <extinguish blue candle>

Great Spirits of Fire, as the final embers of our Yule fire burn away to ash, we use this time to reflect upon the great celebration of the sun returning and the hope that it brings.  Our ancestors are watching and we ask that you will continue to provide as you always have.  We know that we must be the catalyst in bringing our fellow humans together to pave the way for better tomorrows for all. <extinguish red candle>

Great Spirits of Air, once again we offer praises for your never-ending support and guidance.  On this Winter Solstice, the gales from the east have reminded us of your great lessons of trust.  Invisible but more powerful than any human, you remind us that we must believe in that which we claim to be for and resist that and those who might wish to challenge the good deeds and practices we embark upon in the coming year.  <extinguish yellow candle>

In closing, we humbly and without malice or ill-thought offer our deepest thanks to the Goddess in all her forms on this Yule night; the youthful Maiden, the fertile Mother, and the wise Crone – We only pray that we can live up to the great teaching of all the great ones who have walked this earth before us.  We wish for peace, hope, and growth in this coming year. <extinguish Goddess candle>

“This Yule circle is now open, but never broken.”

Huzzah!

Additional Reading

The Yule Log

 

 

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