My First Big Yule
A Time For Change
What will my first big Yule be like? To be fair I've celebrated Yule before, sort of. Kind of decorated, kind of went out and looked at the sun. Super impressive right? I'm laughing as I write that so go ahead and chuckle, I don't mind. The thing is, Yule can be confounding if you weren't born into a witchy or pagan family and I have all the same Yule books and rituals on hand that you do, but it is different.
Imagine not having a relative to go to to ask what you should do. Imagine having no one to share it with. With Christmas, and all my Yule decorations are mysteriously old Christmas decorations, I still yell to mom or dad though they've been gone many years that the lights aren't working, the mistletoe ball is missing, or half the figures of the Nativity, now a celebration of many Gods and Goddesses, are missing.
Knowing the traditions from a book, or You Tube video are quite different from having them handed down. They most certainly mean something to me and by my pagan ancestors they are mine, and yup, I can argue that as a witch I'm reclaiming all pagan traditions anyhow. So maybe that's the secret.
To remember that the stockings and tree are pagan, so are the garlands of pine, and the feasting. So is every darn aspect we have. Admittedly, the other religions are more than welcome to share our traditions, but it is a comfort to know our pagan ancestors, and I'm an all American mutt, celebrated them too.
Nor does this mean I won't still celebrate Christmas in a secular fashion, but I think why Loki was pushing for a change, and trust me, He was, is that Christmas had devolved from a day spent with the family I no longer have into a cold and lonely day I frankly didn't want to face again. You know Him, given the tiniest opening, there He is.
My First Huge Yule Altar, Yay!
Christmas Had Changed
I'm a the more the merrier type person, so even though I grew up in a Catholic home my good hearted mother, bless her, always let me keep an open mind about other deities. So while I was taught at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ I was free to at least think and dream about other Gods and Goddesses though actual worship was forbidden. But I spent time with Them and so in a way I've always had both.
My parents, in their defense didn't know the pagan origins of many of our beloved family customs, nor did they know the winter solstice and Yule are the same exact thing. And they did try here and there as I was more open about being a witch to try and support me, but they had no idea what to do and before the Internet even with various books neither did I.
Oh, I had books and an idea, but it never felt quite right. I never felt the connection to Yule I do now until rather recently. Maybe because with the passing of my parents and my bio family excluding me from the Christian holidays Christmas, as best as I tried to keep it, became something cold and unhappy.
A day when I thought more about what I no longer had instead of being able to enjoy the natural beauty of the day, because you know, there are still trees and stuff outside. So while I will honor the holiday and give a respectful nod to the Divinity I was raised with, we parted on good terms and I think it only right and loving to give a Divinity His given day, things will change.
Found Branches and Pine Cones
I Will Likely Not Be Skyclad
As awesome as the prospect of making the neighbors call the cops is, and truly, it is entertaining, the temperatures around here are frigid and I'd likely get a visit from a jolly policeman if I even thought about a massive bonfire. Yeah, sometimes being a single witch bites you in the tail feathers.
But there are candles, and there is the faux fireplace that replaced the real gas one because it was slowly killing me. Not ideal, not the perfect Yule I'd always envisioned, but it will work with me. I'll have my gods and ancestors, and heck, buses are running, I could possibly go out but I think the day will go differently than that.
How will it be?
I honestly don't know at this point. If Loki hadn't been prodding me to switch over for once and for all I'd have kept treating Yule as a day to kind of, sort of celebrate with all the mirth and good cheer of a dour Puritan, and celebrated Christmas. Not as the birth of Christ, but as the secular holiday I remembered and took comfort in. The day I know consists of getting up early, bad TV programming and eating way too much candy from my stocking.
So, in all honesty, Yule will be pretty much the same as Christmas day was, with more YT thrown in so I can at least see other pagans, sort of. And hear proper Yule music as I actually haven't bought a CD in years. And maybe, hopefully, amid the roasting of chickens and such there will be time to get a proper Yule walk in.
It is surreal, knowing that life will be thrumming along as my neighbors rush to stores and try to find the perfect Christmas gift. I will have a modest little pile, a little more than I'd planned but most of the gifts were "free" as I Bing like crazy and earned Amazon gift cards. I can always open just one and save the rest for Christmas day, but we shall see.
So, no, it won't be a dour and present-less Yule as some folks enjoy, there will be feasting and plenty of it. There are already frozen chocolate chip scones and two decadent pumpkin pie bars for my dessert. I tucked some mini Coke bottles into an order and there is frozen chicken. Not a grand feast for twenty, perhaps, but it will be just me so it will be more than enough.
I will hopefully manage a minor miracle of getting veg before that time but if I don't, I'll roast the chicken off with canned yams or something. And there simply must be time outside and magic, but I work best at the last second. Planning ahead never did me a whit of earthly good.
Ritual De Yule - Wicca
Won't You Miss Jesus?
One, I never saw being a witch as an excuse to exclude any God. Christians may have distanced themselves from other pagans by claiming to have the one true God, but honey, Yahew is as pagan as the rest of them. He just took off like blazes after that whole death of Ba'al (Hadad) incident. Ba'al is alive and well, thank the Gods, and He's actually the brother I love more, so, yeah.
And before you all get too hard on His bro the whole slaying thing could be a form of our Oak and Holly King battles or just some positive press by the followers to make this new fangled one and only God seem like the one true God by getting rid of his family. Oh, dear.
For me, I kind of sort of accepted that Jesus was a good guy, and maybe He was the son of God in some way, but once again as pagan Gods love to interfere the figure I was calling Jesus was way too cool, laid back and not big enough on sins or Church to be the real deal. I should have had my suspicions early on as He had an overwhelming fondness for the outdoors and witchcraft. Yeah, either Jesus is way cooler than they suspect or I got a wily pagan God instead.
So it is more a year of thinking fondly of all Godly babies and as Christmas went secular a while ago for me to be honest, it's all good. I'm not a grouchy enough witch to not give Him a place at the table should He so choose to visit, but I'm not about to leave my pagan Gods either. Come to think of it, the God I was raised with never had a problem with magic and other Gods either, so maybe it was Ba'al all along.
Bastet Is Ready
There will most likely be a stocking, let's admit it, there will be a stocking. And I'll manage something for inside. And the place looks like secular Yule and proper Yule exploded, everywhere. Even my office is a forest of little trees. Faux, my dears, and in colors the woodland Gods seem greatly amused by. There's only one proper green one and the rest are like 1950's miniatures.
I still have some decorating to tuck into here and there, and for Yule proper I'll get up a little more light, for one day only to light the way for the newborn God and spend time with the Goddess. So a long night, drinking way too much homemade cocoa and celebrating my Gods. Not a big old ritual, but something shall be done and hopefully the neighbors won't invoke the police on me.