Yule is almost upon us! Out of all the pagan festivals, the traditions of this one have been carried into modern day the most. Whether people realise it or not. From gift giving, to father christmas, pine trees and spooky stories told round a fire. What remain as christmas traditions now, have roots in the way our ancestors lived in harmony with the Earth and her seasons. (except now it is mostly attached to capitalism). For a description of Yule and it’s traditions, have a look at my previous post here. For This post I am including more advanced rituals to celebrate and connect with the Magic of Yule.
Like many European Pagans, My personal Yule celebrations are a mish mash of honouring the old ways and what fits in modern life. There are so many different pagan paths, each having their own midwinter practices. I connect most with Norse and Celtic Paganism, the heathen path is something that has been calling to me more and more recently. Perhaps this is why my Yule practices observe so many of the Norse tradition (more likely its because so many of the standing traditions are also Norse). My festivities begin with Mothers Night or Mōdraniht on the 20th (the night before solstice) and end on the 31st aka 12th night or Oath Night. Again, in the UK, the presence of these traditions still lingers anyway. Look at New Years eve! It might not be widely known where these traditions are rooted but they have continued into the modern age regardless. For me it fits, Honouring the darkness and all that brought us here before the balance of light and dark tips makes sense. Drinking to the year to come, raising good vibes, asking for blessings and making promises before we officially begin the new year makes sense. Having a break from work to honour the turning of the wheel and revelling in the tween time is present at many festivals but the tradition of doing so for so long, and across so many faiths is unique to this time of year.
The Ancient romans celebrated Saturnalia at this time. Taking part in many acts of subversion as if to acknowledge the feeling of potential in these days. Saturn was the god of boundaries, structure and limits. In Greek mythology he is Kronos. The games and carnivals of Saturnalia feed into the party vibe we have at Christmas still today (fuck it, it’s christmas!). For my Norse ancestors there was always a reason to feast and celebrate but at Yule there is also a sense of banding together for the Wild Hunt was a risk at night. For my Anglo-Saxon ancestors it was also a much needed reprieve from hunkering down through winter.
I have noticed I am not alone in intuitively building my own Yule rituals in line with the 12 days of Yule. Some have created a ritual for each of the 12 days, honouring different gods and taking part in activities that reflect that. I love it. My life calls for a little more fluidity. I have delighted in discovering all of these different rites though and noticed similarities in what I feel naturally called to do anyway such as leaving offerings for animals and spirits on particular days, using the tween days for divination and crafting charms for the home. As it stands, the only ones I really seem to stick with are Mothers night, a feast day gathering with loved ones and the last day being a day where we look ahead and make oaths to our future selves.
For this post I am offering 3 rituals: one for Mothers night to honour the dark and all that has brought us here, A mistletoe charm to harness the increasing energy of the sun and blessings from The Holly King. And 1 to bring a boozy blessing for the home. Sign in below to gain access.
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