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A Pagan Celebration of Yule
Cherie De Sues
Yule is close to the Winter Solstice, midwinter, is the longest night and it occurs either December 21st or 22nd depending on the shift of the calendar. This is a time of a gradual lengthening of nights and the shortening of daylight. Soon after, Pagans will celebrate Yule, which in the old European Norse language is Jul meaning wheel.
Many Western cultures call this time, Christmas, yet the origins of Christmas has very Pagan roots. Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" in the third century as part of the Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. Shortly thereafter, in 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus.
Pagan use this time as a spiritual focus to ancient holiday customs and incorporating new traditions that still draw on the ancient ways. Yule was always about ritual, feasts and activities for the young and old. Many Pagans use the Winter Solstice Eve and Day to be their focus for gift exchanges and feasts. Many will celebrate over the course of several days and nights as was done thousands of years ago.
Pagan homes will be adorned with sacred herbs like bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar. Incense like pine, cedar, bayberry, and cinnamon will be burned next to a Yule log, or a small Yule log with 3 candles. Add evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe for handing in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove-studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, and even Christmas cactus for color and variety. The colors used during Yule are red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, and orange.
Foods like cookies, caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb mixed with ale, sugar, nutmeg, and roasted apples will be a feast you'll not soon forget. Some of the activities will include caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging presents, kissing under the mistletoe, and honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule.
Many pagans who are also witches may do spellwork with matters that include peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness. For Pagans this is a time for introspection, giving to the needy and planning for the future. Many will donate food and clothing to the poor, volunteer their time to needy agencies and give back to the community. They'll add bird feeders to their yards and make pledges for the coming new year to environmental organizations.
Holly, mistletoe, and ivy are not just to decorate the outside of your home, they are welcome inside too. Doing this extends an invitation to aature sprites and faeries to come and join in your celebration. A sprig of Holly is kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune.
For more information on Pagan living, go to Irish Gypsy's Parlor for articles on holidays, deities, and spells.
http://www.cheriedesues.com Irish Gypsy's Parlor
http://www.cheriedesues2.com Author Main Website
Chérie De Sues writes medical thrillers, pagan paranormal and contemporary suspense romances from sensual to sizzling heat levels. Chérie is a full-time author of novels, novellas and short stories, and she can be found at Amazon and other fine bookstores. When Chérie takes a break from writing novels, you can find her at book signings, online, or traveling to research her next novel. Half gypsy and half Irish witch, she enjoys creating spells, participating in ritual circles and divining in dreams. She shares her home in San Diego, California, with her Irish terrier, Reilly.