Monday, December 19, 2011

Yule and Christmas


Moon Garden Grove celebrated Yule today. If you do not know what it is, the Winter Solstice usually known on the calendar as the 1st day of winter. It usually falls on the 21st or 22nd of December, depending on the year. This is the shortest day of the year (but you all knew that already). As a Pagan, Yule represents not only the shortest day of the year but the end of one season and the beginning of another. This is where our days start to get longer and Mother Earth starts to slowly wake herself back up after her winter slumber. Depending on where you are in the states spring is right around the corner. Or if you live here in Washington like myself, you know you will not be seeing any of that “green” stuff for a few more months.

To me winter feels as if the world is holding her breath, just waiting to exhale and when she does everything else does to. The world/Mother Earth breathes and everything lives again. Does that make sense? (maybe 4am is not the best time to write a blog).

Some back history on Yule:

Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun's "rebirth" was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer…

You can find the rest of the post here

Anyway, back to our celebration (know that you know a little bit of the history behind this solstice). Unfortunately I had to hid down stairs because I am pregnant and some of the incense that is used during ritual is not really safe for me to be breathing in. So my second in command ran the ritual today/yesterday. I seriously love this lady. Without her I probably would be so overwhelmed trying to do everything on my own. She saves my ass a lot and I am so lucky to have her by my side running this awesome little group of mine. So, even though I was down stairs I could still hear everything going on. I still felt the energy resonating in the house from the circle directly above my head. As always it was an amazing feeling.

Afterwards, we had a traditional Yuletide potluck dinner. There was lots of laughter and joy in the kitchen as everyone prepared their dishes to eat. The food was amazing (as always). As we laughed and ate and talked about today and life there is no doubt in my mind looking at us you would never guess we were mere strangers to each other only 4 short years ago. We have become not just really good friends but family to each other. There is nothing I would not do for these guys and visa versa.

After all the food was consumed we did a white elephant gift exchange. This was so much easier than drawing out of a hat and playing Secret Santa, like we did the first two years. It is so much fun to see what you are going to receive and how much time/effort is put into these gifts. This year I received two tea cups and my first ever tea ball. I am not much of a tea fan but I love lose leaf tea. I hope this helps me drink more tea in the future (Robin would be so proud). Now all I have to do is find out where they sell some really awesome lose leaf tea for me to try.

Shortly after the White Elephant Gift exchange we all said our goodbyes and headed home. All in all this years Yule festivities were amazing. Now I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my family and getting to see a few friends when I travel back home. Unfortunately my dear husband has to work but that comes with the territory. I am lucky that he has a good job so missing a few family holidays may be a sacrifice but we always make up for it in the end. Which leaves me to wonder:

Be is Yule or Christmas what are some things that you celebrate as a family together?