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Yule And The Circle Of Life

In December on the Winter Solstice we experience the shortest day and longest night. In ancient times this signified the birth of the male God to the Goddess. Our ancestors seen this as a sign that the long cold winter would soon end as the days begin lengthing and the nights grow shorter. This is how the early Catholic church determined that Jesus was born on December 25. They chose December 25 as a day in close proximity to the Winter Solstice. Although we can not be certain of why the 25th was picked, what is important now is that it was.

December 25 falls shortley after Yule, the day when the Sun King is reborn to the Goddess. As modern Pagans, Wiccans and Witches we must reclaim our holy day of Yule, the Winter Solstice. Follow your heart and teach your traditions to your children.

The Yule Log dates back to the Yule bonfire, as Yule is a celebration of the return of Light after the long darkness of winter. Thus it is customary to burn a Yule Log, usually oak or pine, as part of the Yule celebration. The Yule Log is seen as giving renewed energy and vitality to the Sun, marking the beginning of longer days. As in the old days you should save a portion of the Yule log. It is used to protect the home throughout the year and light the Yule log on the next Winter Solstice.

The seasons colors are red and green. The color red represents the females menstrual blood. Green represents the fertility of the coming growing season. Fancy breads, cookies and holly wreathes are also a part of the original Pagan (Witch) tradition. Food is prepared for the after dinner Yule celebration when the tree is lighted and the Yule log is burned.

One Pagan tradition is to place a BayBerry candle on your dinning table at sunset. Light the candle and allow it to burn itsself out to ensure wealth and happiness in the coming year.

Another Pagan tradition is to place a piece of holly bush on your altar for the Yule celebration. After the celebration, before dismissing the Quarters and taking down the Circle, write down a wish or wishes on pieces of parchament paper and tie them to the holly bush branches on your altar. Try to be direct and keep it simple. Bury the holly bush limb with your wishes attached to it during the next full moon, giving thanks to the Lord and Lady, to assure that your wishes will be realized during the coming year.

The Christmas Tree is also of Pagan origin. The lights, originally candles, on the Christmas tree represented the sun, moon, planets and stars on the Tree Of Life. The Christmas tree ornaments originally represented the souls of the dearly departed we wished to remember and honor on this sacred day. Sacred gifts were hung on the tree for deities in an offering of thanks for a bountifull year and to help insure the coming season would be good too. From this sprang the modern gift giving at Christmas.

Of course all this decorating was on a living tree, either small enough for a planter, or left outside. Our ancestors were smart enough to realize you could not put candles on a dead tree that had been cut down. If the family was fortunate enough to have a live tree in the home they normally planted it outside in the warmer weather when it became to large to keep inside. The notion of killing trees for Christmas is a rather modern one that is as ugly as it is barbaric.

Although the harvest of old meant crops and livestock, todays world is much different. Your harvest is the rewards for the seeds you planted in your job, family life, friendships. We all reap what we sew. The rewards we receive are not always in form we expect though. As a final observance of a successfull harvest look back on your year and reflect on what seeds you have planted. How where you rewarded? Was it what you expected?

For my wife and I this has been both a rewarding year and a year of sorrow. Our sorrow steams from several things. On March 14, 2003 Misterman passed into Summerland while he was craddled in my arms. Misterman was a healing manx cat who brought me some very sobbering messages from the otherside. Misterman is still missed. One day after that we had to place my wifes mother in a nursing home. During the year Anna Belle battled cancer in her lungs, bladder and bones. Plus she suffered a series of mini strokes. In August 2003 we had to call in Hospice. On a snowy night in December my wife lost her mother to cancer with Anna Belle's passing into Summerland. For me this was an educational year. I learned to love and let go. I learned patience and the art of listening. I learned to ease the suffering of the dying. I learned to live in the now, not worrying about tomorrow. Through Anna Belle I learned that family is what we make it. Anna Belle may have been my mother-in-law, but to me she was a friend who was like my mother. I am honored to have known Anna Belle. My harvest from all of this is the loving and caring relationship I have with my wife. And now together we are learning to live again in the light of our love and the love of God and Goddess.

This is a perfect time to celebrate family, love and togetherness. Honor those you love and who love you with a kind word, a gentle touch. Let them know you care.

May The Love And Wisdom Of The God And Goddess Be A Guiding Force For Us All.

Blessed Be



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