Tag Archives: Yule

Yule and the Wild Hunt

Odin’s Wild Hunt by PN Arbo 1872

Yule is one of the most important celebrations in the Heathen calendar and is usually celebrated on or around the 21st of December. The date of Yule/Winter Solstice can vary by a day or so each year, this year the Solstice actually falls on Tuesday, 21st December at 11.38pm.

For this month’s article, I’ve invited Vaygar Yngvi Elmersson, the Godi/spiritual leader of Rheinwood Hearth Kindred, to give his comments on Yule and the Wild Hunt.

Thoughts on Yule
By Vaygar Yngvi Elmersson

The concept of Christmas has often been a source of disappointment for me even after a life-long experience in Christianity. Coming into Heathenry twelve years ago, it was such an easy and enjoyable transition to observe Yule instead of the Christ-mass. Yule is possibly a Heathen’s most highly celebrated holiday. As a matter of fact, many of the traditions used in Christmas have their origin in the pre-Christian expression of Yule; the most immediately notable is that of the bringing of a tree inside the home and decorating it. So the idea of honestly celebrating something more aligned to my Germanic heritage excited me beyond measure, minus any guilt that might be levied against me via the Church hierarchy.

Heathen Yule actually has two stories prevailing within it. My initial exposure to Yule was that which surrounds the Winter Solstice. The second story is that of The Wild Hunt.

The Wild Hunt is a story involving Odin and his cohorts riding through the skies during the dark nights of Winter snatching up souls who venture outside their homes. As horrid as this spectacle might seem, to me, it makes perfect sense considering the land and the origin of this Myth. Coming from the Northern European Tradition such as this story does, in my opinion, it has been told, retold and embellished in an effort to discourage anyone from leaving the confines of their home during the dark and snowy nights of winter. Realistically speaking, it was simply dangerous to go outside one’s home for anything after dark for fear of getting lost or misguided in the night. It was easier for adults to tell children horror stories to scare them into submission rather than fill their heads with fanciful ideas. Connected to the Wild Hunt are even more realistically scary ideas of Berserkers and wild animals. Superstitions can play a vital role in controlling group behavior. I can see those of the Warrior/Viking aspects of Heathenry preferring to adhere to the stories of the Wild Hunt as it makes for much better story telling around the hearth-fire through Winter. This continues to be played out in today’s society with Heathen groups focused more on masculine deities like Odin, Thor and Tyr.

The Yuletide Celebration that I encourage with Rheinwood Hearth Kindred is that which surrounds the more agrarian nature of the Winter Solstice; that being, the shortest day and the longest night of the year with the encouraging of the return of the sun and warmth to the land. I have replaced “The Twelve Traits to Remember” previously offered by Swain Wodening; often connected to the Twelve Days of Yule (predecessor to the Twelve Days of Christmas), with our commonly held Nine Noble Virtues plus three very important dates of Mother‘s Night, the Winter Solstice and 12th Night which in my opinion were overlooked by Swain‘s effort. Rheinwood’s Twelve Days of Yule, starting roughly around December 20th, are patterned thus:

1st day of Yule – Mother’s Night-honoring the feminine
2nd Day of Yule – The Winter Solstice-encouraging the return of the sun
3rd Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Courage
4th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Truth
5th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Honor
6th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Fidelity
7th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Hospitality
8th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Discipline
9th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Industriousness
10th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Self-Reliance
11th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Perseverance
12th night-oaths, boasts and toasts

Any time during these Twelve Days of Yule, Rheinwood Hearth Kindred can meet for feasting and celebration! We also don period garb in an effort to connect with our culture, ancestors and gods. We celebrate our relationships with each other as Kindred by speaking words and sharing mead over our Kindred drinking horn.

The Rheinwood Hearth Kindred is located in Wichita, Kansas. We invite you to check us out.

For many Heathens the Wild Hunt is a strong tradition, which they still uphold even in this modern age. If you would like to find out more about the Wild Hunt, please go to each of the following links as they all have different points of view:

The Wild Hunt – Wikipedia page

The Wild Hunt – Orkneyjar page

The Wild Hunt – Hlidskjalf page

However you celebrate Yule, whether it’s by raising a horn to the ancestors or quietly sharing time with your loved ones, I wish you and yours a very Happy Solstice.

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.



Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
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Winter Solstice/Christmas

Winter Solstice (December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere and June 20 in the Southern Hemisphere) is the shortest day of the year and was also celebrated as Midwinter, Yule and later as Christmas.

I cannot help but wonder how the ancient people felt when the days grew shorter, the nights longer. They looked up in the sky, wondering at the sun’s great power to bring life to the earth and related it to a god. Without the scientific knowledge of how the earth rotates around the sun, it must have been frightening to think the sun might never reappear. It’s no wonder they created rituals on the shortest day of the year to bring back the Sun god.

Some of the earlier rituals involved animal, and possibly, human sacrifices. They also celebrated with holly, ivy, pine boughs, lighted trees (candles), warm beer and spiced wine drinks (wassail), roasted pigs, large Yule logs and large bonfires, songs and gifts in the hope that the sun would rise earlier and banish the cold, harsh winter. The traditions are still celebrated all over the world.

Later, Christianity incorporated the birth of Jesus into the celebration, naming him the new Sun god even though according to some historians, Jesus was most likely born in March or April. Here in the United States most people celebrate Christmas using some of the traditions of Winter Solstice.

In my house, we celebrate a combination of Winter Solstice and Christmas. I put up a Christmas tree and my Pagan Santa with his green cloak, staff and antlers. For me, this is a time to spend with family and friends, a time for sharing and a time for reflection. Each December I look forward to the end of winter and the beginning of a new season. Every ending is a beginning.

My latest release is a short, sweet, contemporary/paranormal romance called A Winter Solstice Kiss, which is part of the Winter Kisses anthology from Noble Romance.
Noble Romance Publishing http://www.nobleromance.com

Blurb: When Brianna decides to attend the Winter Solstice masquerade ball, she never thought she would end up kissing a handsome knight beneath the mistletoe, but they part without exchanging names and phone numbers–how will they find each other again?

Excerpt: She followed his gaze to mistletoe hanging from the low ceiling, glimmering with a tempting glow. Her breath caught in her throat. Captivated by his nearness, she imagined those masculine lips touching her. “I . . . .” Her feet froze to the floor. He had the most amazing blue eyes.
“It’s tradition,” he said, dipping his head and pressing a kiss to her trembling lips.
She couldn’t move her mouth at first, allowing his lips to capture her mouth in a thrilling crush. His forceful yet tender kiss awakened something inside her. She forgot who she was or that she was allowing a stranger’s lips to caress her. Her head spinning, she surrendered to him.
His hand cradled the back of her head and she was aware of the slight scratch of stubble tickling her face. The kiss grew more passionate and she almost dropped her cup, the only thing keeping their bodies from touching.
The heat from his skin sent a flush to every part of her body. Her breasts heaved and tingled. Excitement spread through the rest of her body, quickening her pulse. She wanted to stay there in his embrace, feeling a man’s lips giving her so much pleasure again.
“Okay guys, get a room already.” A reveler laughed and ducked into the bathroom.
She stepped away from the stranger, the magical moment broken. Blushing, she avoided eye contact with him.

Happy Yule, Winter Solstice, Midwinter and Christmas!

Kelley Heckart
‘Timeless tales of romance, conflict & magic’
http://www.kelleyheckart.com
http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/CelticChick
http://www.goodreads.com/kheckart
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604
http://www.myspace.com/phantomqueen3
My book page at Awe-Struck
http://www.king-cart.com/Awe-Struck/category=Kelley+Heckart/exact_match=exact

Pagan Holiday for December 21, 2009

Pagan Day for Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday (moon day) is the day of the Moon Goddess, Selene, Luna, & Mani.

~

Mondays are an awesome day to take care of matters or magical rituals and spells concerning:

Traveling, memory, one’s instinct, sharpening or increasing Psychic abilities, dreams, healing, home, ancestors and of course, family.

~

Monday belongs to the Moon and the Element of Water

3 More days until Christmas…but hold onto your hats Pagans because there is ALOT to celebrate today…

Today we celebrate:

Winter Solstice which is the shortest day of the year.

The Norse gave us Yule, so many will be celebrating that. Yule marks the turning point of Winter. It also brings an end to the past year. Have you ever heard of a Yule log? Well today, its lighted but from the fire from this year’s past. Its symbolic and very important. It means that Winter’s darkness is making its journey towards the light of Spring.

Now, listen close because we learned how the Norse gave us Santa and we learned about how they gave us the whole tradition of decorating the Christmas or Yule Tree…now listen to how they gave us mistletoe and that whole ‘kissing thing’.

On this day, a Norse woman could proudly and loudly speak her intensions…her hearts desire…telling all the name of the lover she wanted. She would do this by standing under the mistletoe by calling him forth.  It is my guess that her words would be sealed with a kiss. *winks*

Now don’t run off yet because we have more CELEBRATIONS!!!!

On this day the Druids would celebrate their festival Alban Arthuan

Also known as Arthur’s Light, we see the birth of the spirit of giving. Yes, on this day Druids would give gifts to the less fortunate— (recognize that one?) While this was also believed to be Arthur’s birthday, it was also a beautiful day filled with traditions that we see or hope to see during our own present time.

Today is also the Fourth Station of the Year which means—a time of enlightenments, when the light is born in the darkness of the womb.

I hope everyone is noticing the pattern this month with all of our Ancestors celebrations and can connect that with the world known beliefs and myths adopted by Christianity, etc? If you didn’t catch this one…think the birth of Jesus who was believed to be the light of the world…a light from the darkness (womb). it also falls back to the whole Geneses thing when the Christian God takes the light from the darkness etc.

And last but certainly NOT least, Egyptians will hold a celebration for Isis & Osiris. Why?

Because on this day, Osiris returns to the world…resurrecting…Osiris—light—death—darkness—resurrection—reincarnation—birth of Jesus—soon to be the birth of Horus—Osiris’s son given to the world—in some minds—the reincarnation of Osiris himself– will come about on December 25th. Oh I could connect this stuff forever lol.

Despite that, may I wish you ALL (Pagan or non-Pagan) a Blessed Yule, & a wonderful Winter Solstice!!!!!!!

From all of us here at The Pagan & the Pen!!!!

C.H. Scarlett

My Favorite Yule Treats

bloodiedquill

In years past, my mother, grandmother and I would do vast amounts of dainties; from miniature butter tarts to easy as a breeze no-bake cookies, at least 1200 treats graced the tables between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Nothing like homemade butter tarts, trust me! 😉

I promised my girls I wouldn’t do the crazy cooking that the rest of the family does, and would stick to a few of our most favorite. I imagine everyone has these in their cookbooks, but today’s my day to blog, so you’re getting them again. LOL

Peanut Butterscotch Slice

Ingredients:

½ c margarine
1 c peanut butter (smooth or chunky, your choice)
1 pkg Chipits butterscotch baking chips
125g mini colored marshmallows

Directions:

In a large microwave safe container, melt margarine and peanut butter together. Stir in butterscotch chips, returning to microwave for a few seconds if need be. Stir until smooth, then add the marshmallows. Turn out into 5×9 baking dish, cool and slice.

A wonderful variation on this, is switching the butterscotch chips with chocolate chips, and colored marshmallows with plain. We always make a double batch of each!

Cheater Fudge

Ingredients:

1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg. chocolate chips

Directions:

Melt milk and chocolate chips together, pour into 5×9 baking dish, cool and cut into small squares.

Brown Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

2 c flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/c butter
½ c br. Sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp cream

Directions:

Blend 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Beat sugar, butter and egg together, slowly blend in cream. Stir in flour mixture, slowly add remaining flour. Chill several hours.

Roll out to ¼” thick, cut with cookie cutters, and back at 375° for approximately 8 minutes. These can be decorated with colored sugar before baking, or iced with royal icing after they’ve cooled.

Traditional Rolled Shortbread

We’ve used these as ‘cakes’ during cakes & ale at our Yule circles.

Ingredients:

1 c butter
1 ¼ brown sugar
2 ½ c flour

Directions:

Mix ingredients together until well blended. Chill for 1 hour, or overnight. Roll out to ¼” thick, cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 300° for 30-35 minutes. These can be decorated with colored sugar, red or green maraschino cherries or pecan halves pre-baking, or iced with royal icing after cooling. We just eat ’em plain!

No-bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

½ c margarine
2 c sugar
½ c milk
3-4 tbsp cocoa
2 ½ c oatmeal
½ c shredded coconut

Directions:

Bring first four ingredients to a boil, and maintain boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in oatmeal and coconut. Immediately spoon onto wax paper using a teaspoon, allow to cool. They should harden while the cool, but if they don’t, carefully place them in the fridge for a half hour.

Woodticks aka Nut n Noodle Drops

See, I always knew these no-bake cookies as Woodticks (actually, these or the oatmeal ones described above were often referred to as Woodticks). It wasn’t until I was much older and asked about Nut n Noodle Drops at a friend’s that I found out most people aren’t so morbid as to name their cookies after a bloodsucking parasite. Oh well, they’re tasty, and the kids’ll love to make ’em!

Ingredients:

1 pkg chocolate chips
½ c peanut butter
2 c chow mein noodles
1 c spanish peanuts

Directions:

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in microwave safe bowl (about 2 minutes, but watch it closely!), and stir in noodles and nuts. Drop on wax paper-covered cookie sheet, and allow to cool overnight in the fridge.


Jodi Lee is publisher and editor in chief of Belfire Press and The New Bedlam Project. Her writing has appeared in several recent anthologies as well as magazines on and offline for the past decade. Having shelved her first novel for the time being, she is currently working on two (or three) novels set in the fictional town of New Bedlam.

Interested in some horror for the holidays? Pre-order Courting Morpheus, the anthology set in New Bedlam! Featuring the works of MR Sellars, Camille Alexa and more, the stories explore the insanity that builds as Morpheus is busy elsewhere…

Tell us you read about us here, and we’ll refund your shipping costs!
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