Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas: Yule, Saturnalia What's the deal? Part 7 - VII

Today The Sun is Born! - Christmas: Yule, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice; What's the deal? (Part 7 - VII)
December 21, 2008 07:23 AM EST (Updated: December 21, 2008 09:50 PM EST)
views: 150 | comments: 6
So We'll make this a part 7 of my Winter holiday series:

I posted up information earlier on in the series (link.) about the Northern European/Germanic YULE celebration, It was celebrated on the Winter solstice. Well, Today my friends IS the Winter Solstice!

In ancient times, at least in European customs, this was a time to stay in doors, light your Yule logs (Because not only did it keep you warm the fire also kept the darkness outside from creeping into your home.) If you went outside, you could get frost bite, hypothermia, or worse: be taken away by Odin/Wodin and his "Wild Hunt" and never be heard from again. Tonight, the Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, the Sun is at it's lowest point. This is a time to stay in doors and to contemplate about the upcoming year.

A lot of the "Christmas" traditions such as the hanging of the greens and erecting a evergreen tree and decorating it; among other traditions started at the European Yule. This was a way to make the houses look festive and to remind those dwelling within that though it may be bleak and dreary outside that the warmer months would soon be here.

The Europeans tried to make the most out of the situation, attempting to turn this time of being stuck in their homes into a holiday, they feasted on pork and beef...anything that could be cured and stored for use in the Winter time. They celebrated and made merriment in attempt to try to be happy and to forget what was going on outside, and to basically keep the occupants of the houses from going stir crazy.

In Rome: The Saturnalia festivities would be in full swing, this was a time to party it up, to live big, to feast, to dance, to sing, to even have sex if you wanted to. It was a carnival time atmosphere where the rules of law were temporarily suspended and the culture would flip upside down only for the festivities and it was only meant to be all in fun. Slaves would now be the slave owners. Workers would now be the Shop Owners, The Servants would now be the manor owners, and the Citizenry would now be the elected officials.  For more information, see my article on the Saturnalia here: Clickity Link.


In modern times, the Solstice celebrations among most Neo-Pagans (From my own personal experience and interactions) are based more so off of the Northern European/Germanic YULE celebrations. Though they put a modern spin on it.

While this is a time to stay in doors out of the cold and to reflect on this longest night of the year, in Modern times The Winter Solstice is seen as a time to honor the "re-birth" of the Sun. In Wiccan Tradition, The God is seen as an embodiment of the Sun, the Sun being a symbol representing him. (Likewise the moon is a symbol said to represent the goddess.) At this time in Wiccan lore it is said that the eternal Goddess is heavy with child, and she births both son/ and sun. That the newborn god will wax stronger as the days goes on, and so too does the sun, the days will get longer and longer until the Summer Solstice on June 21st. (The longest day and shortest night of the year)

Though, this may not be observed by the naked eye for a few weeks when it becomes apparent that the days are getting longer each day. If you have an Almanac or access to any source that lists the days weather as well as the time of sunrise and can see that after today the days start to get longer by a few minutes each day.

Today is the day to honor any god associated with the Sun. Mithra, Saturn, Thor I believe could qualify, and of course Jesus among other deities. (Though the Christians choose to celebrate on December 25th, and call it "Christmas"....and that is a topic for another time, which I've also wrote in my past writings Link. )

Wiccans and other Neo-Pagans tend to have a feast dinner. (like us, we're having a pork roast, Baked Potatoes, green beans, dinner roll, Salad, and dessert.)

They get with their friends and sing "Solstice" related carols, usually carols adapted from previously composed traditional "Christmas Carols".

I'd like to post a few of them up, however I don't know how that would work with copyright law, I try my best to only post original work. I've seen these Pagan/Wiccan "solstice" carols posted up on various websites all over the net - so I don't know if there is a free use agreement or not. At the very least I can provide URL's to where these Pagan Themed carols are located. However since I can find these all over the internet by doing a search for my favorite carol. I think it might be okay to share at least one here and provide links.

My favorite one is "God Rest Ye Merry Pagan Folk" (To The Tune of God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen)
Which can be found on the web:


Here - Among other Solstice Carols.

And Finally here - Among other solstice carols.

The Version I am using comes from the first link:

Gods rest ye merry pagan folk Let none of you dismay.
Remember that the Sun returns Upon this Solstice Day

The growing dark is ended now And spring is on its way

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

Comfort and Joy

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

The winter's worst still lies ahead

Fierce Tempest Snow and Rain

Beneath the blanket on the ground The Spark of life remains

The Sun's warm rays caress the seeds To raise Life's song again

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

Comfort and Joy

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

Within the blessed apple lies The promise of the Queen

Far from this pentacle shall rise The orchards fresh and green

The Earth shall blossom once again The air be sweet and clean

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

Comfort and Joy

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

For More Wiccan/Neo-Pagan themed "Solstice" carols check out the links I provided. As Well as These other links: Yule Carols., More Yule/Pagan Carols and Chants., Even More Yule Songs.

And they also may hold rituals to celebrate this time. And if you ever wondered just what a Wiccan or Neo-Pagan Winter Solstice/Yule Festival might include; well look no farther becuase I'm going to share that with you today.
If you are a good little Wiccan or Pagan, you'd probably have your solstice ritual already wrote up and parts assigned for your group. Somebody to call in each element. One person for Earth, One for Air, One For Fire, and Finally one for Water. Also, depending on your tradition a Person to call in the element of Spirit. However, since the God and Goddess are the embodiment of such, you would not have to do that because THEY are spirit.

You'd have the person or persons leading the ritual to call in the god and goddess or god or goddess or whatever deity of your choice would be.

You'd have people to help you with any special parts of the ritual you'd wish to include etc.

Of course Heather and I, we're lazy and guess what? We havent even started on writing a ritual! (If we even decide to do one, I'd like to but yeah.) And We don't really like the people in our local pagan community, we're also Anti-social! So it'll just be me and her, maybe her sister, sisters boyfriend, and Heather's brother...who knows...depending on if they have plans today or not.
So anyway, If I or We do write up a ritual I'll gladly add it to my article and share it.

Until then prefab Yule Solstice rituals found on the internet will have to do, to give the reader and Non-Pagan some example of what a Yule Ritual might include.

Here Be Links! To Example Yule Rituals found off the internet. (usually it's better to write them yourself, or at the very least customize and personalize them to suit you....Don't be a lazy Pagan...of if you be a Lazy Pagan you should be darn good at it.)

Example of a Yule Ritual.
More Examples.
More Example!
Another Example site - from a reputable organization THE ADF! Ár nDraíocht Féin - Isaac Bonewits Druid Organization.
One More and Last Link - another ADF YULE Link.



For more information on Yule Lore go here: Yule Lore.
Here are the links to the rest of the articles in this series:

Christmas: Yule, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice; What's the deal? (Part 1 - I) - The Introduction.

Christmas: Yule, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice; What's the deal? (Part 2 - II ) - YULE.

Christmas: Yule, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice; What's the deal? (Part 3 - III) - The Saturnalia and Feast of Sol Invictus.

Christmas: Yule, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice; What's the deal? (Part 4 - IV)- The Feast Of The Nativity and The Birth Of Jesus.

Christmas: Yule, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice; What's The Deal? - (Part 5 - V) - NO CHRISTMAS FOR YOU! (The Pilgrims outlaw Christmas.)

Christmas: Yule, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice; What's The Deal? - (Part 6 - VI) - Christmas becomes a modern nineteenth century (1800s)invention up to present day.

And here is a few more related articles I wrote:

Santa Claus! Who is he? Where did he come From? (A Brief History)
Open Letter To The People Who Presume There Is A "War" On Christmas.....


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