Mid Winter and Yule
I love this time of year, I love shopping and eating, I love thinking what I can buy as gifts for my friends and family, I love the time off with my family and I love that moment of quiet stillness on Christmas day when I hear no motorway noise, no traffic, it’s just still and peaceful. There is the time though when my mind wanders to those less fortunate, the suffering, the lonely and the sick. The homeless and the animals that will not be having a merry time.
As with each sabbat, I celebrate it with a mixture of spiritualism and this one is no different.
The mid-winter Solstice occurs when the Sun is furthest away from where ever we live, giving us the longest night and shortest day, usually around the 21sT December.
It was back in the day, when the wise woman or man form the villages, the Shaman or the Druid would watch for this shortest day, then gather the people together ready to watch the sunrise again a few days later and celebrating that joy with festivities
The Sun God, so powerful would bring the changing of the seasons and eventually the harvest.
With each year from dark to light the Sun God would be reborn as a baby sun, a divine baby from mother Earth, The Solar deity thought to be in labor for the 3 days that followed the sun going down and giving 3 dark nights.
When I was younger I questioned a lady at our local Church of England as to why Jesus celebrated his birthday in December when it was most likely much earlier in the year, and probably not winter, and why Easter celebrating the rise of Christ changes each year, for surely he rose the same date? She was rather put off by me and said it was metaphorical before walking away! Now I know it was the Pagan calendar that came in first, using nature as its guide – making much more sense. I’m, not a fan or a follower of the name God-given to many things, I only believe in one God Source, however, I do believe in something I can only describe as branching off if you like, to form and create different energies and powers.
While Mother Earth labored for them a few nights, the people would keep watch with candles, singing songs and keeping vigil through the nights.
As Mother Earth gave birth to the new Sun God, they would celebrate all that they produced, our family’s, our food, our homes, and the gathering plus of course, rest.
The time it took to notice the change of daylight was around 3-4 days so it was then that the celebrations began calling them yuletide. Our ancestors would bring in a huge log and in the hearth or middle of a large hall, they would set fire to the middle of it and eat drink sleep and be merry over the festivities. Over the next 12 days, they would bring the 2 ends together and re-burn the middle for the next 12 days, which we now call the 12 days of Christmas. Now we take our thoughts for the next year and for the present year, write them down and attach them to the log to be taken away in the burn and blessed.
The star of Bethlehem was in-fact conjunction of 2 major planets in the sky, the astronomer Johannas Kepler determined that a series of 3 conjunctions of the planets Jupiter and Saturn occurred in the year 7 BCE. There would be 1 conjunction the planets lined up as seen from Earth earth the naked eye, because of the orbit of the Earth, they would appear to come apart or move backward. There would be the second conjunction when the planets lined up and a third when they came apart. This would have been around mid-September until Mid October on around 5-7 BCF. Meaning Jesus would have been born than not on 25th December. The Christians choose to keep the original midwinter dates and celebrations of the dark to light, the Sun God, Mother Earth, and the Solar Deity and make it their own. For me, Nature is more believable and obvious.
This year I celebrated with friends around her hearth, a yule log was burned and we wrote our wishes, hopes, and thoughts on it. I also use the 21st as a day I start the food opening, so the chocolates, biscuits and special drinks all get laid out on the main dining table with a festive cloth ready for us to pick as we choose. My gorgeous friend Donna bakes biscuits and treats over the festivities,, she gifted me a box full of star biscuits and choc treats, on the 21st I opened them and hung them on the tree ready for anyone who fancies a bite. On my Alters I have items and tarot cards that I want to reflect this time including yellow and red/brown & green crystals representing the Sun & Mother Earth. As a spiritualist Pagan, I also have lite candles (safety ones) representing the light that our passed over loved ones now follow and become.
Mystic Blessings Kate x