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I have had more elegant Yules than this, when there were more decorations up: more evergreen swag, a larger altar covered in small candles and mistletoe, a Yule log burning in a hearth. There have been years when I marked the Solstice with Yule feasts, parties, festivals, days and nights full of reveling, gluttony and socializing.
Across town, across my networks of family and friends, tonight, this whole week really, is full of these things. There are vigils around sacred fires, out on the prairie, at the edge of forests. There are hearths alight with sacred flames, and altars set up in warm homes and under chilly starlight. Tables loaded with venison, or pork, roasted root veggies mashed in butter. I think about my beloveds, far and wide, and send them love, as they vigil the night through, or call upon the Old God in his passing, or libate the Divine Mother. So many magickal, magickal things happening....
Me: How are you?
Ms. K: Oh, you know. Just had a good uglycry after finding my last photo of my grandmother. Good times. How are you?...
As we prepare for winter solstice, I like to share our family’s annual traditions and ritual processes. I’d also love to hear from readers in the comments with their own family traditions! We have celebrated the winter solstice together as our primary family ritual since 2003. There are several elements that remain constant from year to year and other elements that vary based on new ideas or projects that we decide to incorporate for that year.
The following is a brief explanation of three of our core traditions, which is then followed by a full ritual outline for a winter solstice ceremony! Make sure to read through to the end of my ritual outline for links to even more posts with further ideas and information.
Lots of us have a hard time figuring out holiday music. We want something that evokes the sound of Yuletide music from our childhoods but we don’t want to be forced to celebrate a religious experience that we don’t share. So here’s a short list of some Pagan Yuletide music that you can share!
This Endris Night by Heather Dale...
After the second Battle of Moy Tura, Macha traveled throughout Ireland. “What news?” they would ask wherever she went, and this is what she told them.
Although there is no evidence that the Kelts of Bronze and Iron Age Ireland observed the winter solstice—unlike their Stone Age predecessors who raised New Grange—Macha's proclamation of peace has long seemed to me a fitting articulation of the hope—and promise—of Yule.