Yule is the winter solstice, around December 20th in the Northern Hemisphere. The celebration of the winter solstice is perhaps the oldest religious celebration of any kind, dating back at least 7,000 years, and perhaps many times that. The earth’s tilt has reached it farthest point from the sun – after this date, the sun begins to return – the rebirth of the sun.
From an Evolutionary Spirituality perspective, this Sabbat celebrates the birth of the light - that from the Big Bang, and from the supernova that forged the elements of earth (sometimes personified as grandmother Tiamat), and the ignition of the our local star, the sun 4 1/2 billion years ago. For those who see all of the universe as divine, this Sabbat celebrates the birth of God (the Universe).
Because the American celebration of Christmas incorporates many Pagan traditions, many of these observances will sound very familiar. Before Yule, decorate with evergreen decorations such as wreaths, holly, and a Yule tree. Lights are very fitting also, both inside and outside the house to celebrate this new light. A Yule log can be made and burned .
It can also be celebrated by getting up to welcome the sunrise on the morning of the Winter Solstice. This is often done from a location where the horizon can be seen, such as the shore of the ocean or a large lake. The weather is often cloudy, so knowing the exact minute of the sunrise is important. A short ritual can be done to greet the rising sun, and poems or readings can be read (one is below). Long rituals are not recommended due to the cold temperatures usually seen on the morning of Solstice (not to mention that long rituals aren’t fun for kids). After returning from that, the stockings are found to be filled, and presents are opened.
This poem can be read at sunrise on Yule. It also works as a unison chant.
- O Newborn Sun of love and light
- Rise quickly now, rise high and bright.
- O Glorious Sun of light and love
- You are far beyond the skies above.
- -- From Bluemoon, adapted by Equinox