Have Yourself a Merry Little Yule

Image Credit: Pinterest

A few years ago, my husband and I decided that Christmas had grown too commercialized for our taste. Our kids and grandkids all had their own lives and traditions which left us to ourselves each holiday season. Let’s face it. Christmas and gift giving are great if you have kids or grandkids but once they grow older the thrill is gone, and Christmas is not the same.

Image Credit: telp.com

Instead of looking at the holiday as a total loss, we decided to follow a more nature-based tradition. We started slowly by celebrating the summer and winter solstices the first year. We had a nice meal followed by a toast to the next half of the year. After that, we decided to observe the pagan calendar.

So, Ron and I celebrate the Winter Solstice (The Yule, or wheel), much like our ancestors of old, where fires were lit to represent the life-giving forces of the returning sun. The imagery of “the wheel” fits perfectly with the precept of the Buddhist Wheel of Life and our beliefs. Somehow, it all works for us.

Here is a bit of the history behind the meaning of the winter solstice. It is celebrated on December 21st of each year in the northern hemisphere. The Yule (pronounced EWE-elle) is the time of year when the darkest part of the year surrenders to the lighter half, as the sun begins to climb a bit higher in the sky each day.

Image Credit: photobucket.com

The longest night of the year is known as the Solstice Night. The following morning when the sun rises into the sky, a great celebration follows because Father sun had risen once again with the promise to increase the amount of sunlight each day forward until the summer solstice.

Our pagan ancestors long ago celebrated the changing of the seasons in the ancient ways. The Yule was celebrated and rejoiced with the lighting of bonfires in the fields, while the harvested crops were “wassailed” with apple cider toasts. Children shared gifts of oranges and apples which represented the sun. Evergreen boughs were used in decorations and became symbolic of immortality.

Image credit: lapuliabookofshadows.com

Holly and mistletoe were important symbols of continued prosperity and good luck inviting the nature sprites to come and join the celebration.

The Yule log according to tradition either had to be harvested from the homeowner’s land or given to them as a gift. The log could never be bought. The Yule log ended up in fireplace decorated with greenery, doused with ale, and dusted with flour where it was set ablaze from a bit of last year’s Yule log. It would burn through the night, where it continued to smolder for another twelve days when it was then put out.

Image credit: earthwitchdaily.blogspot.com

If all of these traditions seem familiar, that is because the pagan traditions were integrated into our religious and cultural traditions we celebrate today.

My husband and I will honor the new solar year with light, candles to be exact. I plan to do a Solstice Eve ceremony where I meditate in darkness followed by the lighting of a single candle to represent the birth of the new sun, expressing our hope in the future. We don’t have an indoor or outdoor fireplace where we can burn a Yule log, but I am going to improvise with pine scented incense. Our fireplace is electric, and I have to substitute. 😀

We will mark the day by sharing a meal and a toast to the sun that evening. Personally, I have some chakra cleansing meditations that I will do also. The day has become more spiritual for me as the years move on.

If the Yule celebration is something that would enhance your own holiday gatherings Theherbalacedemy.com shares some great ideas on how you can celebrate the winter solstice as a family.

Enjoy your holidays and spend time with the people you love. ❤

55 thoughts on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Yule

          1. LOL! My friend Wendy Anne Darling lives about an hour and a half north of us. They got bombed with snow… we’ve got nothing. There are a few flurries now and it is cold. 13 degrees F. Brrr. With the wind chill, it’s bitter. ❤

            Like

  1. Happy Solstice, Colleen 😀

    I find it a little fun, that the word Yule are so close to the Danish word for Christmas, as is Jul. But the pagan life have also had much influence in Scandinavia for many years.

    Wish you a wonderful time and good to read, that you found your way to celebrate. I don’t see any reason to celebrate Christmas here either. My kids are living in other countries and my Grand kid is so little yet, that he doesn’t understand this yet. So my days just go by for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So many holidays with lights, and all of them wonderful! (My daughters’ former high school Latin teacher who is a friend, sends Saturnalia cards, and she used to give the kids Saturnalia candles). Enjoy, and Happy Solstice, Colleen!
    I hope the Sun King brings much light to our dark world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Yule, Blessed Solstice to you and Ron! ❤ I love how you give us suggestions as to how we can participate in celebrations even if we cannot follow the traditional ways. This is an amazingly Spiritual time and as such, I have been feeling that connection. Love you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I’m rather eclectic in my beliefs as I like to believe in it all. There’s something of truth in all the traditions and when we combine them I feel more deeply connected to aspiritual path toward truth. No matter how you celebrate there is something in the season to bring us joy and thankfulness for being alive. You have taught me that. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely post. I’m also beginning to observe the pagan holidays, this Winter Solstice being the first! Our children are still young, so we still have Christmas and give gifts, but have scaled it right back, so that they have a few meaningful gifts of quality, as opposed to the large pile of mediocre commercialism. Each year we hope to further integrate ourselves into the traditional pagan celebrations. Happy Winter Solstice to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Yule Colleen, love this post ..Thais don’t celebrate Christmas it is just another day for them and presents to them unless they can wear it or eat it are superfluous. I think your way sounds calm, peaceful and brings a oneness to your world…Wishing you both a blessed winter Solstice.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We will it will be mats on the floor as my Thai family are coming so just a small gift each and lots of food and laughter…We have so pared back on gift giving since living here and everyone including the kids are just happy with what they receive which is lovely and no pressure on anyone….Enjoy yours my dear Colleen xx

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Robbie. I didn’t have good memories of Christmas as a child either so the entire season has always been difficult for me. My kids made it special when they young. I never had the opportunity of spending Christmas with my grands so that was difficult too. I try to hibernate and write during this time. ❤

      Like

  6. Happy solstice and holidays to you, Colleen. Such an interesting post. I’ve always been fascinated with the origins of our holidays and often yearn for the simplicity and meanings behind the celebrations. As a Christian, of course I strongly hold the belief in Emmanual on Earth, being born from spirit into man, and enjoy Christmas for primarily that reason. I am sick of the materialism of the whole holiday season and prefer to focus on family time, which means my hubby, dogs and I travel south 600 miles (SoCal traffic was especially horrible this year) to be with our loved ones. Thanks for the inspiring article!

    Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts with me. I'm listening...

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s