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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 69 - 12/3/2001
What Are Your Favorite Yule Traditions or Memories?
What memories does the season of Yule invoke within you? What was your favorite one? What Yule traditions have been passed down to you and which ones will you hope to pass down in your family? What special celebrations, gift ideas or recipes would you like to share with us? As the Priest and/or Priestess of YOUR home, what energies or magick do you utilize to create your sacred space? Have others felt it when they have entered your home?
| Reponses: There are 17 responses posted to this question.
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| My Grandpa Always Got A Huge Tree For Us. Our House Back... ||Nov 26th. at 7:28:22 am EST|
|shepsut (columbus, Ohio US) ||Age: 31 |
my grandpa always got a HUGE tree for us. our house back then had 12 foot ceilings, so we had a ten foot tree. it always took up almost the whole living room. some years we had to go in the back door. even now, i try to get as big as a tree as possible, to remember my grandpa, and it's always real. as i hang the lights, and smell the pine, i can hear grumping" that's not right, you're doing it all wrong..."
| For Many Years, My Husband And I Have Rizen Befor Dawn On... ||Nov 26th. at 8:32:31 am EST|
|Susannah Ravenswing (Winston-Salem, North Carolina US) ||Age: 48 - Email |
For many years, my husband and I have rizen befor dawn on Solstice morning, bundling ourselves into our warmest garb and gathering together our offerings to the newborn sun. In the stillness of the fleeing night, we make the 40-minute drive from our home to Pilot Mountain, a great breast-shaped form which rises out of North Carolina's northwestern foothills.A landmark for the early Scottish, English amd German settlers who made their way westward, Pilot Mountain was also sacred to the Saura Indians who were the original inhabitants of her flanks.
We wait quietly in the warm car until the ranger unlocks the gate which guards the entrance to this state park, and make our way to the parking lot near the top of the mountain. The ground is frozen iron hard, often covered with windblown snow and ice, and the gnarled, wind-beated trees around us are pale grays and blacks and purple in the pre-dawn glow. Utterly alone, we carefully make our way up the winding, rocky trail that twists through brittle mountain laurel and over ancient boulders to the bare Little Pinnacle. Here, a great flat rock, enclosed by a stout timber rail and sheer cliffs caps the ridgetop, affording a 360 degree view of the awakening earth.
To the east is the Big Pinnacle, the sheer, rocky "nipple" upreared from the mountain breast. We face each other, standing with hands clasped, tasting the clean sweetness in the bitter wind, opening to the total stillness of the morning, and feeling utterly blessed to be present in such a beautiful and holy place. As the glow of coming dawn grows, we light sage and offer it to the directions with our prayers. In a natural hollow in the stones, we place tobacco and cornmeal, and a chunk of ambery copal, to thank the sun for his return. Then, facing east and the great rocky knob, we "sing up the Sun", shivering and fighting for breath. Bit by bit the bright orb appears right at the junction of the vertical side of the Big Pinnacle and the horizon. Slowly the golden disk rises across the dawn until it is captured between the forked branches of a gnarled old pine, like a plate of gold in a slingshot!
In joy we shout, "The Sun has returned, the Sun has returned!" and we laugh and kiss and marvel at the great ravens who alweays seem to pick that very moment to rise up from their nests on the craig and call to the morning.
Finally, frozen stiff but with warm hearts, we shuffle down the trail and back to the ordinary world, which seems much less ordinary now. Blessed be.
| Yule Is Our Family's Time To Offer Our Home And Hearts To... ||Nov 26th. at 11:33:48 am EST|
|Katherine Desmond (Weymouth, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 39 - Email |
Yule is our family's time to offer our home and hearts to all we know, and to some we will meet for the first time.
We start by cleansing and purifying both our ourselves and the energy of the house, creating a sacred space for feasting, nurturing, love, and healing. We fill the space with a mighty pine, scents, bells, and candles.
Using the dried and canned bounty of our herb and vegetable gardens, each dish is made with a touch of magick.
Handmade gifts of oils, herbs, vinegars, liquors, potions, preserves, dream pillows and scarves are shared with our guests.
We have been celebrating this way for 15 years, and each year, the circle gets bigger, more new friends, more children. We are truly blessed.
| Well, Now That I Have Just Learned That I Will Indeed Be... ||Nov 26th. at 12:23:14 pm EST|
|Ciarrai (Somewhere In Middlesex County, New Jersey US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Well, now that I have just learned that I will indeed be Priestess of my own home, then I guess I will be winging it this year. Starting my own traditions. Thanks for the inspiration, Wren, -- once again!
I made a beautiful Christmas presentation in my pre-Pagan/stll married days. But it was all phoney. We didn't live that way everyday. It wasn't real.
Time to be real. Time to make it special without having to compete w/ the mother-in-law and Martha Stewart. Time to make it my own. Again, thanks Wren!
On a lighter/corny side, my favorite Christmas holiday memory was when my brother would take the porcelein "NOEL" letters and make them spell "LEON." Drove Mom nuts but then she'd crack up laughing. Now, that was really magick to me! I guess I'd better find some porcelein letters to spell LEON...(I broke the L or the E or something when I inherited her old things!)
| Growing Up As A Kid, My Mom Would Celebrate St. Nicholas Day... ||Nov 26th. at 1:01:15 pm EST|
|Cedar Mantis (Gladstone, Oregon US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
Growing up as a kid, my mom would celebrate St. Nicholas Day. I believe it came from Germany and is rarely practiced anymore, only surviving from one generation to the next.
It is celebrated on the morning of Dec.6. The night before, you put a clean sock on the end of your bed, and when you wake up, it's full of goodies. Usually nuts, Brachs candies, candy canes, etc.
Now I'm a dad for the first time raising a baby boy in a Pagan household and I want this tradition to live on. I have great memories as a kid waking up with a sockfull of candy and wondering why the kids at school didn't have any!
As we all know, the return of the Sun is the true reason for the season and we are getting the place deck up with holly and pine. I was toying with the idea of creating a Pagan nativity set but at this point I'm not sure if it can be done.
| For Years -- Even Long Before I Became A Professed Pagan -- I Have... ||Nov 27th. at 6:32:49 am EST|
|Starwalker (Smyrna, North Carolina US) ||Age: 52 - Email |
For years -- even long before I became a professed pagan -- I have gone to the woods to select and harvest my holiday tree. I have walked the forests of Colorado, the wooded canyons of eastern Washington, and when there was no other option, the lands of tree farms opened to cutting in other states where I have lived. I have walked alone, as a single person, talking to the trees and asking them which would be a sacrifice to the renewal of the sun. I have walked with the man of my life as a couple, seeking... and discussing the messages of the forest. And I have walked with my children (if one can indeed say they WALK with children) as their excitement and energy bounded about the woods. All this comes back to me, at this time of the year, when I again make preparations to return to the forest, saw in hand.
This year, having walked alone for several years, I once again return to the woods with the man of my life...but with an interesting difference. THIS year, our journey to find the Yule tree will be by boat! Next weekend, seas permitting, we will set of in the skimmer and explore the abundance of the fractal-like Down East North Carolina coast, seeking the Tree. As always, the forest will lead us and the ritual hunt will confirm in my heart that it is indeed the season of Yule -- despite the lack of the cold and snow and Northern darkness for which I yearn
| Yule For My Family Is A Very Special Time, Growing Up My... ||Nov 27th. at 10:29:46 am EST|
|Skye MacLean (Dawson , British Columbia CA) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Yule for my family is a very special time, Growing up my parents didn't celebrate any hoidays ("don't need a specific day to feel good about life or know that it or you are special!" I would always hear).
Sometimes if we went to my biological fathers house, we would have christmas... usually consisted of many inebriated yuppies and my sister and I being stuck upstairs x-mas eve.. only to awake to fine that *santa* was too drunk to remeber to wrap our presents , so we would have to go back to our rooms till noon.
Not the greatest memories:) but they are mine and I would not have my own special traditions were it not for them.
I have three wonderful girls, and every year my mate and I try to make it the most magickal time of the year.
Our tree goes up exactly one month (to the minute!) before Solstice. We spend hours baking cookies and breads for family and friends. We cook up special bird / squirrel cakes
for our outdoor friends to enjoy.
Our celebrations always last 7 (don't worry - I won't list all the 7 days events!)or so days with people trickling in and out throughout the holidays to visit. I spend 2 days begging for it not to snow as I shovel off the pond for skating. We take torches out and circle the pond with them, light the bonfire to keep us fed and warm, and skate and sing into the night. We take long hikes and make snow-creatures.
On the day of Yule it is always the same:)..|We all rise early to watch the sun rise (yeah!!)We all help in preparing a huge breakfast feast consisting of bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, toast and the very traditional Champagne and orange juice! we all raise our glasses in a toast and feast!
We spend some time opening gifts and singing.
Then we start preparing our Yule feast of Turkey!
The rest of the day we skate, hike, and visit with company and friends. Before supper, we all go out to the Grove and hold circle, lighting a huge fire and sharing with each other our thanks for friends and the past year and our hopes, dreams and goals for the coming year.
We take a nature commune in the dark, torches held high and place goodies that we have prepared out for our forest friends, then take the long hike back to the house where our hot meal is waiting for us:)
Long into the night we love and play, thankful for who we are and what we have.
A very magickal..(and full!) time of the year for this household. I hope that my girls will continue with these traditions that my mate and I have come to love long after we are gone.
All Good things to you and yours this Holiday season!!
Tasia, TayLora and Sorcha!
| Seeing That I Celebrate The Holidays With My Family Who Are Not... ||Nov 27th. at 1:30:02 pm EST|
|Julie (Silver Creek, New York US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
Seeing that I celebrate the holidays with my family who are not Pagan, I celebrate on two different days and in two different ways.For 2 years now i have had my own Solstice celebrations that I will pass on to my family someday. My house consistes of me, my younger sister and my mom. On Thanksgiving night, we put up the tree. We spend all night decorating it, and the house. From then untill the Solstice, were busy making decorations out of pinecones and pine branches, apple sauce and cinnamon ornaments, and various other bright decorations.I also make special decorations for the tree to bring love, prosperity, health and happiness. I give these to family and friends, and they hang them on their trees and are delighted when they recieve them. Every year we have a "cookie party" where family and friends come over and spend the day baking cookies. We listen to holiday music and eat cookies all day! On the night before Solstice, I cleanse and purify the house, and ask for blessing to all. On Yule, I greet the sun and make treats for the birds that we feed every year. Our cats also get a special catnip treat and the dog homemade biscuits. On Christmas eve, we go to my grandmas house where all the family meets. We eat, sing songs, and exchange gifts. Then all the children sit in a circle, and my grandma reads The Night Before Christmas. When this is done, she gives us a small gift, usually a homemade pillowcase with christmas designs, I have over 15 of these! Christmas day santa has came and leaves us all kinds of goodies. Then the family all has brunch together, and I thank Spirit for everythinng I have.
| My Family Is Not Pagan, So I Usually Just Celebrate During Christmas... ||Nov 27th. at 4:18:58 pm EST|
|Riannon SilverMoon (New Westminster, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 19 - Email |
My family is not Pagan, so I usually just celebrate during Christmas.
that would have to be 2 years ago when my dad had to work over Christmas. We usually have a big family dinner on the 24th, but we couldn't that year, because I was the only one home. My dad was so upset, he didn't even get a tree. My boyfriend and I drove down to Home Depot on Christmas Eve, and my boyfriend bought my dad a tree. We took it back to my house and decorated it. We left a note, and set out for my mom's house. Several hours later, I got a phone call from my dad. He sounded like he was about to cry. That is my best Yule/Christmas memory.
As for Traditions ...
Like I said, I'm the only Pagan in my family so I celebrate Christmas with them. My dad and I have a large dinner on Christmas. Preparing the food for that dinner is like a ritual. We do everything by sight, and smell. We often have incence and candles burning throughout the evening. We decorate our tree, usually while the family is there. And we burn a Yule log (my dad goes down to the river a few weeks beforehad and selects the 'perfect' piece of driftwood to use in our fireplace.)
It creates a wonderful feeling in the house that lasts for weeks.
| I Am Looking For My Aunt. Her Name Is Gypsy French Richardson... ||Nov 27th. at 8:27:36 pm EST|
|Shadowsblade (Columbia Falls) ||Age: 20 |
I am looking for my aunt. Her name is Gypsy French Richardson, from denver. We lost touch and it is important that she contact us. If anyone can help it would greatly appreciated. I ask that she she call her brother Wes.
| My Father Was Pagan And My Mother Is Christian (i'm Not Sure... ||Nov 28th. at 10:33:36 am EST|
|Dyan (Potter Valley, California US) ||Age: 41 - Email |
My father was Pagan and my mother is Christian (I'm not sure he ever really explained the difference to her, but he did to me) so while my mother was preparing and planning Christmas, Dad was preparing for his own holiday. From his years-worth of firewood cutting, he would look for the log for Yule -- one that had something speical about it, from a certain tree, or discovered on a hike or camping trip (yes, he would carry a log out for great distance!). then on the Solstice we would have a small party of close family and friends, ostensibly to celebrate my birthday which is Dec. 25 and always gets lost in the shuffle. We'd feast and burn the Yule log, and go outdoors to look at the stars or enjoy the rain.
My dad passed over 18 years ago but I have always celebrated the Winter Solstice, even before I understood that I was Pagan. Now it is our major feast of the holiday season, and I always watch all year for that special log to warm our hearth on Yule.
| Alright, It's My Second Favorite Time Of Year (the First Being Samhain... ||Nov 28th. at 12:52:38 pm EST|
|Emerald Willow (Boise, Idaho US) ||Age: 21 |
Alright, it's my second favorite time of year (the first being Samhain)!!! Time for me to start making decorations for the tree, cookies for my friends and family, and little crocheted thingies just to keep extra busy. This year though I'm not with my family as they're back east...and I'm out near the west coast now. I've got a few friends and have made a few decorations but it just doesn't seem to be the same. Next year I will have my own tree and place but this year I do not...am I disheartened? Slightly. Will I give up on Yule this year? Hardly! I may not be able to give much or do much this year but I can still celebrate the sabbat and no matter where my family is, my heart is always with them.
My favortite memory of this time has always been the reaction my grandfather used to have when he'd open whatever silly little thing I'd gotten him that year and grin from ear to ear at me then fling open his arms and say in that scottish brogue of his "thanks lass!" I miss my grandfather, he died in April of 2000, but I can still hear his "thanks lass!" every time I think of him.
Happy Yuletide season.
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