Friday Form A Circle – De-Anna Alba’s Solitary Yule Ritual

December 25, 2009 at 10:55 am (Christmas, Circle, Friday, Lore, Magic, pagan, Ritual, Solitary, Solstice, Winter, Witch, Yule)

De-Anna Alba’s Solitary Yule Ritual
by De-Anna Alba

Yule is perhaps the easiest Pagan holiday for the solitary to celebrate. Practically all of the trappings of Christmas have Pagan origins. This enables you to utilize them without anyone wondering what you are doing. Begin with the tree itself. Of course you can have one if you wish. If you don’t want to sacrifice a tree to the holiday, an artificial one will do. Or, you could buy a small potted tree, use it for the season, and transplant it out in the Spring. It may or may not survive the transplant. If the use of a cut tree is OK with you, I highly recommend cutting your own. That way you can choose one using your Magical intent. Focus on your mission on your way to the grower’s and ask your inner self to recognize the tree that has agreed to sacrifice itself on your behalf. (It may have a special glow, an inner voice may tell you, you may just get a sense that you’ve found the right one.) Take along on offering of some sort to leave at the stump. An offering of herbs or wine would be appropriate. Be sure to thank it for its sacrifice before you start sawing.

Once you get it home, and are ready to do so, decorate it. Here again use your Magical intent and be aware of the symbolism inherent in what you are doing. The tree is an evergreen, reminding us that life is continual. Its color demonstrates that there is life even in this season of death and rest. As you put the lights on the tree remember that they are a bit of Magic encouraging the light of the Sun to return to the world at this, the season of deepest darkness. If you are decorating your tree prior to Yule itself you may wish to leave the lights unlit until Solstice eve in keeping with this symbolism.

If possible, choose or make ornaments in keeping with the seasonal symbolism. Glass ornaments are nice because the lights from the tree will shine through them. Snowflake, solar and lunar ornaments, infant and birthing symbols, reindeer and other animal representations (particularly any totem animals that you might have) are all appropriate. Any ornaments that are family heirlooms or have been given to you by members of your family serve as a reminder of ancestral connections you may have to particular places, cultures, or people. If you ordinarily string popcorn or cranberry garlands for your tree, you could turn this into a Magical act as well. Make each piece, or every so many (say, 13?) represent a wish or a piece of Magic that you’d like to see manifest in the world. Separate each wish/spell with a marker of some sort-a cranberry if stringing popcorn, 3 pieces of popcorn if stringing cranberries, whatever suits your fancy. Put the completed work on the tree. Then, when you turn on the tree lights for the first time, imagine/visualize all those wishes being released into the world to do their work as the Sun begins its return. Know that the spells will gain in strength and power as the Sun increases the light. (After Yule keep what you can of the garlands in a jar. Then burn the contents in your Midsummer fire-the time of the Sun’s greatest strength-in order to end the spells.) Give your gifts to others on the actual day of Yule if you can. You needn’t insist that they open them then if they are Christians and would prefer to wait until Christmas day. Likewise, if you have received any presents from friends or family already, you may wish to open your gifts on Yule. If this would upset family in any way, i.e. if they’re expecting you to open presents with them on Christmas eve or morning, then a good alternative would be to buy yourself a present on Yule. Make it something really nice in honor of the holiday.

The advent wreath is another major part of Christmas trappings that we can reclaim. After all, it’s shaped in a circle, it has four candles which in our case will represent the quarters, and it has a candle in the middle which can represent spirit or the Sun child. If you live alone the four candles can be of the appropriate quarter colors (Air-yellow, Fire-red, Water-blue, Earth-green in most systems, or whatever colors you choose to represent the quarters). The spirit/Sun child candle can be white, purple, or gold, depending on what you think best. If you live with a Christian family you’ll have to make do with the colors they choose. In that case it will be the thought that counts and the words you say in your head that matter. I see the weekly lighting of an advent candle as representing the formation of the Sun child’s body within the pregnant body of the Mother. As each candle is lit, a different portion of the baby’s body is formed and imbued with Magic, strength, and perfection, and I say (or think) words to that effect. A candle is lit each Sun-day for the 4 Sundays preceding Yule. Light the spirit or Sun child candle on Solstice Eve just prior to lighting your tree if you can. If you are a part of a Christian family, light a spirit candle in your room on Solstice Eve to complete the advent spell.

What follows is an example of what you could do and say in lighting the advent wreath if you find it appropriate. If not, say (or think) what you like. The ritual is taken from my book, The Cauldron of Change, Myths, Mysteries and Magick of the Goddess (IL: Delphi Press, ’93), p. 161. In the book the Sun child is seen as female. If you are uncomfortable with that, just change the gender of the pronouns. Prior to the lighting of the first (North) candle, the following prayer to the Goddess is made:

"Dark Shining One, Magna Mater, within Whose womb lies our hope and all possibility, deliver us from darkness into light. Grow great with child and bring to us the child of promise. Re-birth the world."

As the North candle is lit:

"From the mountain’s craggy peaks take rocks to form Her frame. From the subsoil of the plain take clay to flesh it full."

As the East candle is lit:

"From the four winds gather the wisps of a perfect mind."

As the South candle is lit:

"From the volcano’s fiery depths pump blood into Her veins."

As the West candle is lit:

"From the ocean’s vast expanse draw the waters for Your womb and rock Her gently, safe within You."

As the Spirit/Sun child candle is lit:

"Impart to Her a spark from Thy spirit and, at Her birthing, breathe life into Her lungs."

Then say:

"Return to us Thy darling daughter; Return to us the light; Return to us the green and growing and end this lifeless night."

Other than that you’re on your own. Be creative and have fun. If you have children, the myth of Santa Claus is important. He is a remnant of the Lord of Winter, the Horned God, Whose horns are now only apparent on His totemic animal the reindeer or stag. Your children are lucky. Santa Claus can remain real for them all their lives.  Yule is also a good time to stock up on real mistletoe. (Dried, it can be used in a variety of herbal/Magical preparations.) Just be sure to keep it out of the reach of children and pets. It’s poisonous if ingested. In fact, I would recommend not having it in the house at all if your children are under the age of 5. It’s amazing what they get into when you’re not watching, and you want to be sure they are old enough to clearly understand the danger involved in eating the berries. Enjoy the season. Enjoy it all the more knowing that practically everything everyone is doing was first done by Pagans! (Written by De-Anna Alba; from her book The Cauldron of Change, Myths, Mysteries and Magick of the Goddess;

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

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