December 25, 2007 at 7:37 pm | Posted in life | 4 Comments

The holiday of Yule is the celebration of the winter solstice. The days have been getting shorter and the nights longer, and the noontime sun dips lower into the southern sky. But at solstice, that descent stops, and before the days start getting longer there is a pause; for a couple of days the length of night holds still before shortening. It is this pause, this stillness, that we mark with celebration.

Yes, the return of the light is exciting, and the prospect of the oncoming spring fills us with hope, but the pause has equal importance. It is a time when we can stop to appreciate what we have and plan for the coming year. The word solstice comes from the roots sol, meaning sun, and stice, meaning stand still.

This year I continued my efforts to connect to the local pagan community by volunteering to participate in the production of the 7th annual winter solstice celebration sponsored by a local drumming group, “Let’s Drum.” Though at first there were no parts to play, I was eventually able to fill in for someone who couldn’t make it. It felt good to participate, to assist in the production and be part of the ritual.

It was a very nice Yule ritual. There were over 30 people in attendance. We rehearsed the night before, and the rite was on Friday. We were lucky to have a very gifted musician (and a wonderful spirit) assisting us. I’m not going to describe it with a play-by-play; there were consecrations of elements, invocations of directions and god and goddess, raising of energy, a meditation on darkness, and a spiral dance. And there was wonderful energy.

I have been taking my efforts to meet the local pagans very gradually. This is mostly because I am very busy with work these days, but also because I have been so far removed from pagan practice for recent years. Even though it has been 20 years since I started on this path (more than half my life!), I have considered keeping my ears out for a Wicca 101 class in the area. I don’t feel that I need such a thing in order to pay proper attention to my own spirituality, but it might be a nice reminder of things I haven’t thought of in many years, a chance to meet new people, and fill in gaps in my knowledge. I already know I do well in a class type structure.

In summary, the celebration was wonderful. I haven’t felt that way in a long time, and it was very good for me. I need more of it. I must nourish myself spiritually; that side of me has been starving, and I didn’t realize it.



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  1. I just got off the phone with Al, (I think you remember him) who has recently moved to Colorado. We both discussed how we want more spiritual involvement in our lives. This past year I have been to more pagan rituals/circles (including a wonderful Yule-ish circle yesterday) than I had in perhaps a full decade prior. When I circle, when I do yoga, when I attend shamanic healings, when I go to a drumming event… these are all things that enrich and transform me, and remind me that life is more than just the struggle to the next thing. Especially where I live there are so many available groups and disciplines, and I intend to have them shift higher in my priorities. ‘Cause you know, I’m hungry.
    Happy Yule.

  2. 20 years. Yes, it really has been that long. I should know. I was there. OK, I wasn’t THERE, but I was nearby, soon afterwards to HEAR about it, and that’s almost, well not really the same at all. Nevermind.

    Yet it is still all fresh in my mind. One thing I wondered about then was whether the journey would grow stale. After all, a time as long as 20 years of personal growth was unfathomable to me then.

    Now, after these 20 years, I think, for me personally, I can say the discoveries still seem pretty fresh. Wow, and 40+ more years of discoveries to come.

    Man this is a long trip. I should have brought a blanket, or at least a basket of cookies.

  3. Long trip, alright. And this map they give you when you start isn’t worth the paper it’s written on!

  4. Oh, I would say the map is EXTREMELY valuable and quite accurate. Alas, it is not written on paper, but something a bit less… Or rather, a bit more…

    Feeling rather philosophical this morning.

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