This is a public ritual and anyone is welcome to attend!
Please bring a pot luck item for a community feast afterwards and a small donation to help cover hall rental.
Doors open at 5:30, ritual begins at 6:00 sharp.
Light is returning;
And though this is the darkest hour,
No one can hold back the dawn.
– From Mother Tongues Firedance
Silent night, indeed. On the eve of the Winter Solstice, the whole Universe is palpable with the Goddess’ labor pains. The air is thick with anticipation, and a peaceful merriment burns warmly in my soul throughout the night. As dawn approaches, my bleary-eyed children crawl out of their sleeping bags. They’ve set up camp for the night under the sparkling Yule tree. We pour out the hot chocolate and nibble on baked goods we made the night before. We cuddle up under a blanket and watch as the Sun makes it’s glorious appearance in the sky.
The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, when the Mother Goddess, heavy with child, labors until morning when she gives birth to the Sun Lord. As he grows stronger day by day, he will warm the Earth and bring back the budding bloom, the new seeds for future crops and warmth and joy to life again.
Winter was a scary time for our Norther European Pagan ancestors. Imagine for a moment what it would be like:
Harvest is over. Food stores are already beginning to run low and the land where you hunt and forage is barren. For quite some time, the nights have been growing longer and longer, and the days shorter and shorter. The air has grown colder and you know the earth will soon be blanketed in snow. Nights are now freezing, even indoors, and you long for the warmth of the sun. You know that in the weeks ahead, there is going to be little opportunity and need to go out of your small, cramped dwelling for long periods of time. Like every year, your family will spend the next few months huddles together, rationing food and firewood, praying that stores don’t run out, praying that no one gets sick, so that you’ll make it through the long, lonely, stretch of cold and darkness. You’ll have little to do, except keep working for survival and wait.
Then comes the turning point– the Solstice. It might be the longest night, but a seed of hope is planted. The sun will only get stronger, the daylight only get longer, from here on out. Yes, you might still have dark times ahead, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
So what do you do? You celebrate, of course. Use up the last of the perishables before they rot. Enjoy the company of your community before you retreat indoors. Celebrate life with merriment to cheer yourselves up and comfort each other about the frightening period ahead of you and reassure each other that it will not last longer than it has to..
The mythology of the Yule season symbolizes new beginnings and hope. We don’t face the same challenges today, but we can still focus on the meanings of rebirth and hope and what they signify to us in our lives– that no matter how bad things can get, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. There is always a new opportunity ahead to which we can look forward. There is always a reason to be thankful and celebrate.
Thanks to: http://www.squidoo.com/wheeloftheyear_yule