Yule, is a time of mixed emotions for pagans. The widely celebrated Christmas holiday is not a part of our traditions. But we are well aware of the fact that the Christmas holiday takes its form and meaning from our ancient pagan practices. Virgin births, festive lights, decorated trees,wreaths and bells, fires, and feasting are all at the heart of the pagan Yule observance.
The Wheel of The Year is often symbolized by the wreath. Its circle has no beginning and no end, just as the Wheel of The Year-its time coming back to its point of origin again and again without end. The use of this decoration at this time of year is a direct result of the pagan practice of making wreaths out of natural materials to decorate homes and altars for Yule.
Because the symbolism of the wheel was so important to Yule,it became a day sacred to Goddesses of the spinning wheel, the spinning wheel being a metaphor for the great Wheel of The Year. The idea of spinning to create things, has become a part of modern paganism in the form of casting spells. When we make magick, we often say we are spinning a spell, or spinning a charm.
You can make your own unique Yule wreath out of wire, pine cones and artificial fruit. Pine cones are representative of male fertility. Most fruits, especially apples, are symbols of the Goddess. Creating a wreath out of both makes a symbol of the union of Deity on the Wheel of The Year.
Gather or buy as many unbroken pine cones as you need,depending on how big a wreath you want to make. Purchase a sturdy wire wreath frame, some florist's wire, and artificial fruit. Velvet ribbons or bows are a nice touch too. Attach the pine cones to the frame with the wire, varnish them, and add the fruit once it has dried.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the dry ingredients and the oil together. Beat the remaining ingredients together until light and fluffy. Add to the dry mixture and stir together. Let the mixture chill overnight in the refrigerator. Divide into 4 sections. Roll out each section on a generously floured surface, until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 min until light golden color.
Ginger was an herb sacred to both Apollo and Sol, Sun Gods from Greco-Roman paganism.
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 4 cups flour
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 4 teaspoons ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients except the flour. Add the flour slowly, mixing well each time. The dough should be slightly stiff. If the mixture seems too dry, add a teaspoon or two of water. If too wet, add more flour. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 an inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out the gingerbread man. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for approx 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wax paper to cool. Use colored frosting from a pastry tube to decorate your cookies.
SUGGESTED RITUALS FOR YULE
Celtic Threefold Blessing
On your altar you will need a chalice, or some sort of receptacle to hold water. Cleanse your area and call your circle as usual. Evoke the Triple Goddess of your choice. She will need to be present to bless you. (note:evocation is the process of calling into your presence another being)Select a tool which to you symbolizes the ability to direct power,a wand, an athame, pentacle, etc. Stand facing the direction you feel is the home of the deities. Hold your tool in your power hand (the hand you write with). Spread your arms and legs out, in a position resembling a pentagram. Invite or request, never demand, your chosen deity's presence. Repeat a phrase such as "(DEITY), I ask that you please come to me here and now in this sacred space. I ask that you join with me in this Threefold Blessing." Raise your tool high above your head, then bring it down in an arc in front of you, touch it to the ground, and tap it 3 times on the ground, repeating the deity's name. Welcome Her, thank Her for coming.
Now you are ready to perform the Blessing. Take your right hand, dip your fingers in the water. Place your wet fingers on your feet and say:
In the name of the Maiden, bless my feet that they might always walk along the straight and blessed path. Blessed be
Place some water on your womb or genital area and say:
In the name of the Mother of us all, bless my womb(or loins), my creative center, that I might be fertile and fruitful in all my endeavors. Blessed Be.
Place some water on your forehead and say:
In the name of the Crone, bless my head that it might always seek knowledge and truth so that I might grow in wisdom. Blessed Be.
You can then perform any other rituals you deem appropriate, or simply sit and meditate before closing your circle.
When Yule comes round, you should feel free to have a lighted tree in your home, hang a wreath on your door, ring the bells, and give gifts in memory of loved ones, and sing to welcome back the God. This is a joyous Sabbat which marks the return of the Sun God both to the Goddess and to his people.
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