Monday, December 21, 2009
The Goddess is pregnant. Homemade Wassail is brewing in the kitchen. The Wheel of the Year has turned once again, and for Pagans and those practicing Wicca, Yule has arrived. A beautiful occasion for giving thanks.
Yule, one of the lessor Sabbats, falls on December 21st this year and is also known as the Winter Solstice. Celebrations include nature inspired decorations, a hearty feast and candle lighting ceremonies. This holiday is the time to honor our achievements thus far and prepare for even colder days ahead. Creating a memorable celebration is easy to do when honoring the sun with lights, and all that the sun brings during the year.
Plan a simple feast meal with a cornicopia of seasonal fruits, nuts and cider soaked caraway cakes. Add cranberry juice, cinnamon and brandy to apple cider to create a wonderful warmed Wassil. Bake rosemary bread and gingerbread cookies with the children of the group. Set the table with plenty of red candles and pine cones. Begin with a blessing and words of gratitude.
Decorating the Yule tree is another traditional activity. Create festive strands of garland by stringing together dried rose buds, cranberries, popcorn or cinnamon sticks. Hang crystals, mirrors and fragrant spice sachets from the boughs. Brightly colored fruit add to the beauty of the tree. Light candles and be sure to have the youngest in the house light a very special taper to leave in the window.
Another important activity is giving thanks. On page 109, in the book Wicca for One, Raymond Buckland writes about the Yule observation,
Give thanks to the gods for what you have and for the hopes and promises that lie before you.
With the vanquishing of the Holly King, the Oak King gives us something to look forward to. Start the evening by watching the sun decend it's first time this winter. Remember all of the blessings of the previous year. Give thanks for all of the people and events that helped in reaching this part of the journey. Bless that which worked and promise to let go of anything that blocks the pathway to new desires.
Now look ahead and visualize expected changes in the coming year. What new ideas are sought after? Take a moment to anticipate the good things and give thanks for that which will arrive in the approaching days. Know, like the hours the sun shines, possibilities for the materialization of dreams, increase each day.