Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Why Do We Burn Yule Greens? or: How Do You Dispose of Something Sacred?



At the end of the Yuledays, we take down the greenery that has gladdened our darkest nights, and we burn it.


(In the old days, of course, it wasn't just Yule that was bedecked with seasonal greenery, but all the holidays. Think of Harvest Home's leaves and sheaves, for example.)

The greenery that bedecks a holiday partakes of the sacredness of the holy tide, and you don't just throw away something sacred. What is sacred needs to be disposed of in a sacred way.

In Received Tradition, there are three means of sacred disposal:

By Earth: i.e. by burial.

By Water: i.e. by deposition in a river or body of water.

By Fire: i.e. by burning.

(Those familiar with the Threefold Cosmology of the ancients will readily see the analogues here.)

At Yule, Earth and Water may well be—and here in the Northlands, virtually always are—frozen.

But in Winter, everyone likes a good Fire.



For AE




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Tagged in: Yulesend yuletide
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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