Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘The Yule Series’ Category

december-2012-031a1

photograph by Robin of MaidinSun Photography

(Photograph of a forest, with pine tree in the center. Behind the pine tree can be seen a red sun coming up, signifying a new day)

SpiritWolf steps forward and in sign language calls all the members to the Circle, as DeeLayne voices for her:

The wheel of the year turns on taking us from season to season one to the next. Life and time moving endlessly, it is as it will be, without beginning or end. And so it has brought us here to this place on this blessed Yule to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. We come to praise the Goddess and the God, to see the reign of the Kings change and to celebrate the Sun’s return.

Wolf Wind steps to the center of the circle, facing east. He is dressed in a robe of white, embroidered with wolves among twining holly and ivy against the white fabric background. He holds a long wooden pole, on the top is set a thick, lighted candle within an enclosed lantern of Oriental design. From the pole hang several items from the Shambala Buddhist tradition, celebrating Children’s Day – colored cloth ribbons, a bowl of saffron scented water, a small bowl/basket filled with fruits and sweets, chimes and small bells, and several small mirrors.

Wolf Wind walks to the east and begins his walk sunwise. He speaks as he goes, with DaveBear walking along beside him to translate his words into American Sign Language:

Ancient times we once again attend, within the circle where life portends. Walk the ancient path of old; ancestors watch the ceasing of movement from Nymia (sun) and Dawa (moon), the axis mundi of the soul. Let none pass the borders here, as shadow and light converge, save the witness of those gathered. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Wolf Wind completes the circle 2 two more times and returns to the center of the circle, planting the pole into the earth – after which he returns to his place in the circle.

Sharon steps forward and signs, as DeeLayne voices for her:

Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East and the elements of Air,
I do summon and call thee up to protect us in our rite.
I call upon your wisdom, summon your energy and love
to witness this celebration of renewal, blessings of Yule and the rebirth of the Sun.

Sharon lights the yellow candle of the East, and returns to her place in the circle.

yellow-candle

Thor steps forward walking to the South. Signing as DaveBear voices for him, he begins:

I call upon the spirits of Fire.

We invite you to join us this night for the rebirth of the Sun.

Bring to our circle this night the Fire of protection, faith, confidence, courage, and love.

We honor all the forms of the element of fire.

Hail and Welcome.

Thor steps forward to the red candle and lights it, then returns to the circle.

red-candle

Ocean steps forward. She is wearing the beautiful medieval-type green velvet dress she bought at the Renaissance Festival last year. Walking to the Western Corner, she faces outwards, and closing her eyes, stretches her arms out to the sky, silently calling upon the Spirits. Then turning to face the circle, in sign she invokes the West as DeeLayne voices for her:

I call upon the Goddess Yemaya

Mother Ocean

Goddess of the Sea…

She from whose womb

holds the waters from which spring all Life.

Come and join us here in our circle,

Come, for we honor you on this Solstice Night

as we do all Mothers.

Let Thy waters wash over us, cleanse us, and heal us…

May your waves of power and grace

Rock us deep in your love.

Hail and welcome.

Ocean then lights a blue candle in honor of Yemaya and all Spirits of Water, and returns to her place in the circle.

blue-candle

As Myrddin Earthdragon approaches the North quarter station, he removes a clay pendant necklace with leather cord, and places it at the North quarter. he says in ASL as DaveBear voices:

Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North and the elements of Earth,
I do summon, stir, and call thee up to protect us in our rite.
I call upon your wisdom, summon your energy and love
to witness this celebration of renewal, blessings of Yule and union of spirit.

Myrddin lights the green candle of the Earth, and returns to his place in the circle.

green-candle

Kiki steps in front of the altar. She holds her arms out in goddess position and signs as DeeLayne voices for her:

Ever loving Lady, we humbly ask for your presence in our circle. Come forth and help us celebrate this sacred Sabbat. Hail and welcome.

Kiki lights the silver Goddess candle and then steps back.

Darren advances to the altar. The staff he carries is placed into the ground, and with DaveBear voicing as he signs, he invokes the God:

We invoke Thee, antlered Ancient One,

both Lord and Victim of the Winter’s hunt;

giver of Thy flesh for the love of our lives,

in this, Thy season of Sacrifice.

We invoke Thee, shape-shifting Solstice Stag,

Thy hoof prints brushed away by driven snow

as Thou guardest the pathways to the Invisible.

Winter-reigning forest-phantom,

be here among us as we celebrate

this turning of the Solar Wheel!

Darren lights the gold God candle, and then steps back.

Luna steps forward, and with DeeLayne voicing, uses ASL as she shares the wisdom of Midwinter:

Tonight we celebrate the Sabbat of Yule, also known as the Winter Solstice, or Midwinter. This is both one of the oldest of the Sabbats, and also one of the youngest. Oldest in that ancient civilizations celebrated the solstice and the return of the sun thousands of years ago…youngest in that many of those ancient customs have translated themselves over the years to the more modern traditions of the holiday season we now know as Christmas.

The word solstice comes from the Latin sol stetit, which translates into “sun stands still,” a reference to the fact that for several days in December (and also in June), the sun appears to rise and set at more or less the same point on the horizon, appearing to stand still in the sky. These solstices divide the year into two – a Dark Half and a Light Half…six months of waxing sun and six months of waning sun. The Winter Solstice marks the return of the Sun, and thus the beginning of the Light Half of the year. As such, it was of tremendous importance to ancient peoples, governing the round of their lives, and serving as an anchor point in the natural as well as agricultural and pastoral year.

The Winter Solstice has always been a time of celebration – whether it be the return of the sun, the promise of evergreen boughs, or the birthday of the Midwinter King. This Child of Wonder has been celebrated in so many ways with so many names, throughout an extended period of time, but regardless of the culture or time period, always seems to share some similar characteristics. A surprising number of the gods of the ancient classic world maintained nativity stories which would later influence the development of that story best known and celebrated today – the birth of the baby Jesus. Amongst those deities are Tammuz (Mesopotamia), Attis (Asia Minor), Apollo (Greece), Mithras (Rome), Baal (Palestine), and Osirus and Horus (Egypt).

In modern times, Yule has come to be indissolubly linked with the festival of Christmas, and the celebration of the birth of Christ. The myths of this festival have become so deeply imbedded in our own culture that we now take many of the customs of the season for granted, and no longer stop to ask ourselves why we in fact do decorate a fir tree at this time, or place green boughs and candles in our homes, or erect a nativity scene, or have our pictures taken with Santa Claus. Yet, as we begin to consider the alternative history of Christmas, we come to recognize that many of these traditions have a far deeper meaning that we originally thought. There’s the story of the wondrous birth, as explained above. The Christmas Tree began life as the Solstice Evergreen, being adapted in medieval and Victorian times to the tinsel-decked image of today. Even the ancient carol “The Holly and the Ivy” comes from a pre-Christian age when the Lord and the Lady of the Greenwood were honored by the hanging of green garlands from ridge poles of houses. Indeed…holly and ivy, along with mistletoe, make up the three sacred plants of Yule…according to the Celtic Druids. And that good old character known as Santa Claus actually derives from the ancient shamans who were the first priests and magicians of the human race. The very notion of a gift giver descending from a high place bearing gifts can be traced back to the shaman’s habit of climbing up the world tree to reach the otherworld, and then climbing back down with the gifts of prophecy and wisdom to give to the rest of us.

Yet, regardless of how one chooses to celebrate this time of the year, or by which name…the Winter Solstice has been celebrated in different places and at different times throughout history; even today we can still acknowledge it in our own individual ways.

winter-sunrise2

Edain walks to the Center of the circle. Speaking while DaveBear interprets, she says:

For half the year, day by day the world has grown darker.

For half the year night by night, the dark has grown longer.

Tonight that ends, the wheel turns, our land returns to light.

Hark the call, listen well the Sun is reborn tonight.

Edain picks up a beautiful yellow, orange and red Sun Candle and steps to the south, lighting it from the flame of Fire. She then returns the candle to its place on the altar.

Edain continues:

The darkness was never complete… a spark was always waiting.

Waiting to return again and turn again, ever growing stronger.

The light will come back, the cold will recede and again we will dance in the warmth.

The wheel turns darkness to light and back again; Ever have we known this and turned with it.

The group responds: The wheel is turning, the light is returning.

Edain returns to her place in the circle.

Bridget steps forward, lights a white candle on the altar and says

In the greatest darkness

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Meical steps forward and lights a white candle on the altar, saying

Out of Winter’s cold

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Ghostie steps forward and lights a white candle on the altar, saying

From our deepest fears

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Jonathon steps forward and lights a white candle on the altar, saying

When we most despair

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

D’Angel steps forward and lights a white candle on the altar, saying

When animals sleep and hide

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Jim steps forward and lights a white candle on the altar, saying

When the river is frozen

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Cedar steps forward and lights a white candle on the altar, saying

When the ground is hard

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Crystal Dolphin steps forward, lights a white candle on the altar, saying

When hope is gone

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Beth steps forward and lighting a candle says

When times are hard

The group responds: The Sun is reborn! The wheel is turning, the light is returning!

Daille steps forward to the altar and lights a candle, saying

The shadows are fleeing

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Spirita steps forward and lighting another candle she says

Warmth comes again

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Melissa steps forward…lighting another candle she says

Light is returning

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Ivette steps forward to the altar, lights a candle and says

Summer will come once more

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Melanie steps forward and lighting another candle she says

Plants will grow again

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Vikee steps forward to the altar and lighting a candle she says

Animals will be seen once more

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Fyre Draconis steps forward and lighting another candle he says

Life will continue

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

MoonRose steps forward, lights a white candle and says

Green will come again

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Julia steps forward and lighting the final white candle she says

Death will not be forever

The group responds: The Sun is reborn!

Edain steps forward once again, saying:

The Sun is back, He is born again. Let us celebrate and rejoice. Waes-Hail ! Be Whole!

She returns to the circle.

Darren steps up to the altar, extinguishing the gold God candle. He signs as he speaks:

O Horned Lord of Winter’s Darkness,

Companion of the Leprous White Lady;

we give Thee thanks,

for Thou teachest us well of inner Mysteries

through the cold,

the dark,

and the foreboding spell of Winter,

even as we rejoice in Solstice joy!

Blessed Be,

O High Holy Lord!

Darren returns to his place in the circle.

Kiki steps in, she stands in goddess position and then both signs and speaks:

Oh wondrous Goddess, we thank you for your presence tonight. Go if you must, stay if you want. Hail and farewell!

Kiki snuffs out the silver Goddess candle and then steps back to her place in the circle.

Myrddin Earthdragon steps up to the Northern Corner, picks up the necklace and puts it on, then says with sign as DaveBear interprets:

Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North and the elements of Earth,
Spirits and Creatures of the Earth,
Our thanks and blessings accompany you
As you return in peace to your realm.
Go if you must; stay if you will – Hail and Farewell!

After snuffing out the Earth candle, he returns to the circle.

Ocean steps forward and walks to the Western Corner. Addressing the circle, she thanks the Spirits of Water in sign while DeeLayne voices:

Mother Ocean

with your waves of power and grace

You have rocked us deep in your love,

just as you have rocked the new Child of Wonder

born of the waters of Thy womb.

Goddess Yemaya

We thank you for your presence here

as we celebrated this Solstice Night.

We honor thee..

just as we honor your cleansing, healing waters.

Stay if Thy will,

Go if Thy must.

As we look to the dawning of a new year,

we bid you Hail and Farewell.

With her fingers Ocean snuffs out the candle, and then returns to her place in the circle.

Thor faces the south quarter and signs while DaveBear voices:

We thank all of the spirits of Fire for your presence here tonight.

We thank you for your protection, and the faith, confidence, courage, and love you share with us..

We honor all the forms of the element of fire.

We have seen the rebirth of the sun and look forward to his growth and strength.

Stay if you will, Leave if you must.

He steps forward and gently pinches out the candle and returns to the circle.

Sharon steps to the yellow candle in the Eastern quarter, with DeeLayne interpreting while she signs:

Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East and the elements of Air,
Spirits and Creatures of the Air,
Our thanks and blessings accompany you
As you return in peace to your realm.
Go if you must; stay if you will – Hail and Farewell!

Sharon snuffs out the candle and returns to the circle.

Wolf Wind steps forward saying, and as DaveBear interprets into ASL, announces:

The circle is open, but unbroken! With Love and Trust, may the God and Goddess be forever in our hearts. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.

The Friends of the Crossroads exit the ritual space, leaving the colorful Sun candle and the white candles to continue burning safely in their candleholders, in celebration of the Winter Solstice and the return of the Sun.

solstice-altar


Heartfelt thanks to the members of Crossroads Pagan Study Group for their participation in this ritual.

Special thanks to DeeLayne and DaveBear for their interpreting services. 


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »