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 Yule..... winter solstice

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PostSubject: Yule..... winter solstice   Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:26 am

Yule (Jul)

Yule, The winter Solstice, celebrated approx. 22nd December.

Since time has been measured more accurately, and the Earth's orbit of the Sun has accelerated slightly over thousands of years, the solstice now falls approx. on the 21/22nd of December. At one time the solstice occured usually on the 25th December, and it was this day that was always celebrated by the ancients as Midwinter Day, the re-birth of the Sun. It was and still should be a traditional day of getting together and feasting, the sharing of gifts and thinking about others. Sadly, now in the 21st century, it is more like a mass exercise in commercialism, even though the church has tried to take over the ancient festival of Yule, so called Christians seem to have no idea what or why they are celebrating! All I see in my town are houses decked out with trashy lights and folk rushing about buying tacky gifts and even worse, loading up their shopping trollies with enough food to feed a third world country!

I would like to think that most Pagans or anyone of a spiritual path, or even anyone who just cares, will celebrate Midwinter's Day in the tradition of the ancients, by giving thanks to Mother Earth and the re-birth of the Sun. By thinking about others less fortunate, and cherishing their own family and friends. By caring about all the other life that we share this planet with.

Yule is the celebration of the rebirth of the Sun and taken from the old Nordic word Jul, meaning wheel of fire. The Sun is re-born and hence the cycle starts again, the "wheel" turns once more, and most of the Pagan celebrations at this time of year are based on the the Nordic Yule.
The longest night shall pass and give birth to longer days. Between Sanhain and Yule, the God of Night, the Holly King has ruled and been our guide.
The Goddess as Old Wise Woman has shown us wisdom. We now prepare ourselves for the God Of Day, the Oak King. Yule-tide traditions abound, decorations which precede Christmas by millenia are still preserved, but most people mistakenly believe these to be Christmas customs.

Holly is used as a decoration to depict the out going Holly King, usually in the form of a wreath, hung upon the door, and a Yule Log is brought in (today in the form of a cake) to celebrate his rebirth as Oak King. Mistletoe which is sacred to the Sun is used to invoke fertility and the healing powers of the increasing Sun. Sacred trees are decorated with offerings (The Christmas tree only dates back to Victorian times in this country). It is a time of gift giving and thanks giving to the Goddess and God for the gifts that they will bring to us.

Also worth a mention here is the Roman feast of Saturnalia, gift giving of "luxury" items seems to originate in this holiday. The feast of Saturnalia which honored the god Saturn was long established by the Romans before they invaded Britain, and was celebrated on the 19th December, originally for just the day, but later extended to seven days during the Golden Age. It was a time when masters waited on servants at mealtime, and gifts of light were given, particularly candles (this may have been in honour of a solar deity for the upcoming solstice).
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