Yule ~ The Start to Our Holidays

Yule ~ The Start to Our Holidays

Today officially marks the start to the full holiday cheer for me. Unlike many people these days, I’m not a huge fan of Christmas. It’s nice to spend time with the family, and sure, who doesn’t love getting gifts? However, there’s a holiday this time of year that is much more suited to me. That holiday is Yule, the Winter Solstice.

The winter solstice is a time of reflection, a time to stop and take a look at the year that’s gone past and to think ahead to the year rapidly coming up. It marks the return of the sun, as tonight is the longest night and from here on days will be getting longer and the darkness lessening. The Goddess becoming the Great Mother once again and giving birth to the Sun King, bringing back the light.

In all truth, this will be the first year I officially celebrate Yule. A lot of that I owe to my husband. I’ve always wanted to celebrate, but never had the spirits to or felt confidant enough to. The last couple of years, I’ve spent the holidays alone. Truth be told, that was probably when I should have started to celebrate the most! But I just wasn’t in the spirits. But this year, Thom has encouraged me and given me the motivation I’ve been lacking. And today, on this our first Yule together and married, we give birth to new family traditions that we’ll (hopefully) continue on for years and years to come, passing them on to our children and their children.

Yule log

I’ve done quite a bit of reading the past couple weeks to prepare myself for today. Having never celebrated Yule, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to actually celebrate the solstice. So here’s a few things I came up with.

~ Make a Yule Log, or Bûche de Noël as it’s called by its original French name. I really wanted to make my first ever yule log this year. That was the one thing I knew for sure I wanted to make to celebrate the holidays. Though, the one pictured above isn’t actually my first one. It’s the second… The first one I made did not turn out at all. I got really upset and Thom had to come into the kitchen to get me to relax and decide on how to move forward. I decided to change recipes to this one and try again. The result is that gorgeous cake above. It was so hard not to dig right into it yesterday after all the work I put in. But I wanted to save it for tonight.

~ Turn off the electricity and have dinner by the fire. That’s right. Shut off the phone, computers, tablets, lights, everything. Get away from all that un-natural light and humm of the world and relax by a fire while enjoying a meal with loved ones. Even better if you cook with the fire.

~ After dinner, try a fire releasing ceremony. Take a moment to reflect on the year and any thoughts or feelings that you may have held on to that weren’t good for you. Things that you want to release from you. Once you have it, write it down on a piece of paper. Hold that paper in your hand and imagine what you wrote, imagine that piece of paper is that thing that you want to release. When you’re ready, throw it in the fire.

~ For couples, you can sit together thinking about the year ahead and plan out dates that you’d like to have. Maybe just a simple night out at a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try or something a bit more adventurous like a cruise or small vacation. Whatever they may be, have fun with it. Take note of the things you come up with together as you’re thinking about the year ahead and save them.

~ Take a moment to give a blessing to the earth below the frost and snow. Acknowledge that it’s still there, celebrating the return of the sun just like us and waiting for that warm sunshine to melt the cold and bring spring back to the earth.

~ Make birdseed ornaments! This one I can’t do since my apartments won’t allow us to hang things in the surrounding trees, but I will definitely be doing it once we have our own place. Mix up a batch of birdseed like this recipe here and create different shapes using cookie cutters. When they’re all finished, hang them in the trees outside as an offering to the birds who are still around.

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These are just a few things I came up with while reading some of the many traditions around the Winter Solstice. We’ll be celebrating Christmas as well since that’s what my family celebrates, but today is all about Yule and the earth.

How will you be celebrating the holidays?

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