If you don't mind, could you please answer the questions below regarding the holiday you celebrate?
I am feeling a spiritual pull, not so much religious, but more earth based. I grew up going to a Christian church most Sundays, but it never really spoke to my heart. My df grew up without church and has no pull at all, but he does feel a connection to the earth. Now that we have our own family we really want to find a way to connect to the magic of the Christmas season, aside from the religious and consumeristic aspects. We are trying to find ways to celebrate in a new, concious way that holds more meaning.
Right now Christmas just doesn't feel authentic to us at all. I'm sure we will always celebrate though because there are aspects of the holiday we enjoyed as children that we want to continue. However, my whole thing is I want to know the "whys" about everything before we just adopt a celebration as our own. Perhaps maybe I am overthinking this, but I feel it’s important for us to understand the meaning behind each celebration in order to truly be nourished by the experience.
(I'm leaving it blank so you can fill in what you celebrate)
1. What does ______ mean?
2. What the origin of ______ and what does it celebrate?
3. What is happening in nature during this time and how will your celebration reflect this?
4, What symbols are appropriate to _____ and how will we display them?
5. Why do you celebrate _____ ?
6. How will you celebrate?
Thanks so much!
1. What does Winter Solstice/ Yule mean? Winter Solstice is in itself an astronomical occurrence marking the shortest day of the year. Many cultures have/do celebrate this and probably call it many different holiday names. Yule is (thought) to be what northern Europeans called it.
2. What is the origin of Yule and what does it celebrate? Yule celebrates the rebirth of the Sun God from the Earth Goddess. It is hard to say what the origin is. The practices and folk customs we have now are most likely a mix of what people did all over Europe, specifically Nordic countries. Some say there is similarities to Saturnalia from ancient Rome, celebrated between Dec 17 and 23.
3. What is happening in nature during this time and how will your celebration reflect this? Where I live it’s cold and rainy, sometimes a bit of snow. We see this as the dark half of the year. A time to go inside physically and spiritually. But outside it is a time to winter garden hardy plants, leave food out for the winter animals and faeries. It is a time to see the constance of the Great Goddess reflected in the evergreen trees and plants. And to honor animals like the stag (reindeer), bear and birds.
4, What symbols are appropriate to Yule and how will we display them? Evergreen trees and plants like holly, ivy, juniper, herbs, mistletoe displayed in decorated swags. Sun/solar symbols displayed as candles or sun figures. Colours green and red represent nature and sun. Stags/reindeer represent the God. Evergreen tree represents the Goddess. Yule logSanta as the jolly old elf or winter shaman. Stockings filled with gifts represent prosperity and magic.
5. Why do you celebrate Yule? 1) I see the solstices and equinoxes (and other holy days) as a wheel that turns throughout the year. WE help turn that wheel by gathering and celebrating. 2) We honor the sacred balance of light/dark. We honor the returning of the Light, we honor hope. 3) To feast and celebrate with family and friends.
6. How will you celebrate? This year we’re attending a multi cultural Winter Solstice event at the local Museum of Natural History. It has craft projects for kids, stories, songs and dance from around the world. We’re attending a family Solstice celebration and ritual. Decorating the house and opening gifts on Solstice morning. We also celebrate Christmas (sans the religious aspect) with family with Christmas tree, stockings, feasting and gifts. We take our DS to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap too.
In December I will be starting a "Family Circle" Winter Solstice thread so we can share our customs, related to family and doing ritual with children. Look for the thread :-)