Popular Pagan Holidays
Autumn: The Croning Time
Daily Goddess Awareness
Well, You Don’t Celebrate Christmas...
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chri... Yuletide!
For A Religion So Opposed to Paganism, You Sure Stole a Lot of Our Stuff!
Samhain: A Time for Introspection---and Activism
The Dark Half of the Year
The Halloween Witch: Sense of Humor or Sense of Ire
Ah...To Be A Witch...
Winter Solstice By Any Other Name
Anti-Witch Bigotry: Still As Popular and Deadly As Ever
Spiritual Aspects of Yule
The Beltaine Storm
Winter Holiday Intentions and Food Magik
Ostara...It's Not Just For Kiddies Anymore!
Autumn Equinox: A Point of Balance on the Wheel of the Year
Lughnasadh: The Deeper Meaning
Imbolc: Traditional Celebrations for a Modern Time
Alicia Meets Grandmother Autumn: A Children’s Story
A Meditation on Samhain: How Lucky You Are.
The Solstice Flame: A Yule Story
Traditional Yule: Make your Own Homebrewed Mead
The Tale of the Holly King and the Oak King
Supermoms’ and Superdads’ Defense Against “Holiday Kryptonite”
A Celtic View of Samhain
A Story For Autumn
Ostara: Enter the Light!
Samhain: Learning to Release
A Summer Solstice Primer
The Oak King and the Holly King Revisited
Winter: A Joyous Holiday Season
The Best Thing About Death
Witches Lost in Halloween
Imbolc...or As The Wheel Turns
The Babylonian Ghost Festival
The Sacredness of Halloween
The Celtic Origins of Samhain
The Theme of Mabon
Dealing with the Darkness, Post-Samhain
Don’t Waste That Pumpkin!
The Samhain Experience
Lughnasa: Festival of the Harvest (A Druid's Perspective)
First Thanksgiving... in China
Solstice of the Soul
A White Christmas in Fuyang
Love Lives On: A Samhain Reflection on Death, Rebirth, and the Afterlife
Solstice Swim at Beach 69, Puako, Hawaii
A Samhain Dance
Beltane Beyond Sex
Imbolg - A Lesson of Positive Change
Yule and the New Year
The Story of Ostara
Planning A Good Death: A Samhain Process
The First Yule
A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~
Unity During Samhain
Season of the Blues
Yule...and Saturnalia Smurf Hats
Mabon..Balance and Reflection
Easter is Pagan
Bealtine: Blessing the Summer In
Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American Witch
Yuletide Thoughts, Life and Death
Ghosts, Omens, and Fact-Finding: Wandering In Today's Eco-Interface
The Blood is in the Land
Groundhog's Day is American for Imbolc
Preparing for Summerland During Samhain
Sandy Was The Name Of the Dark Goddess This Samhain
When The Crone Pays A Visit, You'd Better Pay Attention
Brighid's Healing Sword: Imbolc
The Summer Solstice: A Time for Awakening
Yules Lessons from Days of Yore: Perfect Love, Perfect Trust
The Promise of the Harvest
Samhain is Ablaze with Reflections of My Father
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Winter Solstice: A Witch's Yule Story
Article ID: 10381
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,006
Times Read: 21,821
RSS Views: 61,126
Author: Lady Abigail [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: December 18th. 2005
Times Viewed: 21,821
It seems that this year the Yuletide season hit the stores even faster than last year. We seem to expect that rush from commerce, to make a buck. While we are out buying our Thanksgiving turkey, we expect to hear, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.” But this year I noticed, while I was picking up candy for the trick-or-treaters, that Bing Crosby was already playing over the stores’ intercom systems. Then, driving home that evening, I noticed one of the homes in my neighborhood already had up holiday lights, to include a fully decorated tree in the window.
I just don’t think the ancients had any idea that the day we honor the returning of the sun was going to be turned into such a money-making occasion. I am personally proud of the fact that our Pagan traditions and celebrations are in no way responsible for this one.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love the holiday of Yule and the celebration of the Winter Solstice. I decorate, put up a tree, and prepare a delicious Yule feast. We exchange gifts and even sing Yuletide songs. And while it may seem odd to most, I am normally undecorated and have everything packed away by the 25th.
But, I didn’t always have the freedom to celebrate as I desired. I celebrated the Winter Solstice and Yule within the disguised decorations of Christmas. Perhaps all this misplaced jubilation is one of the reasons for the ‘holiday blues’ so many have during this time of year.
The confusion I dealt with surrounding the Winter holidays was my own. I knew the truth, but I learned as a child that speaking of it was not acceptable. You could talk about Christmas, Santa, gifts, and eating, but not the truth. Even today, our Pagan children are not allowed the freedoms of their holiday beliefs.
Yet, once I allowed myself the freedom to rejoice within the Solstice Rites and Yule, I found the inspiration to enjoy it all, even when I am sitting with family members, who have no idea what I believe, on the 25th of December.
Winter Solstice and Yule, which I learned meant, ‘Feast of the Wheel,’ was a celebration of the ancients. Solstice celebrations were not concepts practiced only by the ancient Europeans; these traditions and customs of honoring and welcoming the sun can be found throughout history, being celebrated by people on every continent. I learned that in this rite of Winter, we welcomed not only the coming of a new year, but the excitement and preparation of the rebirth of life. It was a time of readying and a time to reflect; a time to help others and honor those who had passed into the veil.
One of my favorite parts of this holiday is the tradition of the Yule Log. This Yule Log is a Witch’s Yule Log and is, perhaps, done a bit differently than others of which you have heard. A Witch’s Yule Log is used to call the spirits of your loved ones that have passed.
I can see my Great Grandmother’s house as clearly as if I was there today. It was made of wood; grayed by time and age. There were great stones which made the fireplace wall and flat ones stacked at the corners of the house that held it up from the ground. In the Winter, the back porch was filled with wood waiting for the fire. The windows give a warming, luminous glow from the candles placed in them for the holiday. And in my eyes, as a child, that was what love and peace must surely have looked like.
In December, it was fiercely cold, even in the house. You had to wait until the fires were rekindled and had time to warm each room. I didn’t always look forward to getting out of my cozy soft bed. It was warm and I liked being in a little nest of my own. I would sink deep into the down mattress, bundled tightly in my Great Grandmother’s handmade quilts; each quilt made from tiny pieces of the past, filled with stories of people and lives long passed from this world. But, I only needed to be called once, quickly grabbing my clothes and running into the kitchen where it was warm. I would stand behind the stove where the pipe came out of the wall and there I would dress, being cautious not to touch any part of the red hot stove.
I remember how I looked over and, on the kitchen table, saw a small box wrapped in green and red cloth and tied with brown cord. I was so excited and wanted to find out what might be in the box. My Great Grandmother sat down at the table with her cup of coffee and told me that I could open it. I shook it; it felt light. Then, as if I was performing some great act of discovery, I opened the box to find a big chuck of shiny, gray charcoal. I looked at my Great Grandmother with a curious eye, wondering what secrets this small black stone might possible hold. Smiling back at me, she said, “This is a key, a key to a doorway of those we love, but no longer see.”
That evening at sunset, Yule Eve, my Great Grandmother asked me to help her bring in the big log we had picked for the Yule fire. She stirred the coals in the fireplace, then put the small piece of charcoal from the green and red box onto the coals.
Soon, the small piece of coal began to glimmer again with new life. Then we carefully placed the new Yule Log into the fireplace. The shadows within the room danced from the light of the fire as it grew within the hearth. I lay on the floor looking into the fire, my chin in my hands, as my Great Grandmother begin to explain about this key of Yule. As she told me the stories of family that had passed, and of those she loved, I could sense the room fill with the spirits of those of whom she spoke. I began to see them as she did and to share in the memories of those all about me.
The Yule Log is burned to open the doorway between the veils. The small piece of charcoal is the key to the thinning of the veils. It allows the years past, and today, to join, that the spirits of our loved ones who have crossed over may join us during this holiday season. As long as the Yule Log burns, the spirits of those you love may cross, but only until it burns out.
While the Yule Log burns, you may talk, see, and visit with all those you love that have passed on to other planes. It is a time to share the stories of family and those you loved. It is a time to share traditions and honor those who have given us our history. This is not a scary thing, but something we look forward to each year, in love and joy.
Before the Yule Log burns to its end, you must take a piece and save it for the next year. (Of course, you must make sure it is completely out, a cold coal. I know this is silly to say, but if I don’t, someone will get burned.) Save the bit of charcoal until the next year, preferably in a red or green cloth.
The burning of the Yule Log and sharing the past is also a part of the magick used to assure the turning of the Wheel of Life or bringing on of the seasons. We are joined with our past as we look forward to our future. Maybe this is where the saying, "May the Spirit of the Season be with you always,” truly comes from.
May your holiday be filled with the magick that really makes up the season. Have a shining Solstice, happy Yule, and blessed New Year.
Copyright: Copyright © 012212000
High Priestess Ravensgrove Coven
Location: Greenfield, Indiana
Author's Profile: To learn more about Lady Abigail - Click HERE
Other Articles: Lady Abigail has posted 75 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Lady Abigail... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).