Happy Yule everyone. Also known as the Winter Solstice or Alban Arthan (Light of Winter) to Druids, it is the time to celebrate midwinter and the new solar year. Throughout human history, festivals have been celebrated at this time, whether as Saturnalia in ancie
nt Rome, Yule in Anglo Saxon and Nordic lands, or Christmas in Christian communities. Today is the shortest day and the longest night and the Solstice occurs at 11.12am. Since the summer, the days have been getting shorter and colder, but from now on, days will begin to lengthen and get warmer as we approach Spring again. It is a time of hope and renewal.
Yule is known as the day when the Sun is reborn because the earth has reachest its furthest point from the Sun and begins to get closer again after this. Wiccans celebrate this day with the myth of the mother goddess who gives birth to the sun god, while Druids tell of a battle between the Oak King and the Holly King, in which the Oak King overcomes the Holly King on this day and rules until Midsummer. Of course, the Mayans also saw this time as the end of an important 5000 year cycle and their calendar has sparked major interest around the globe as we approached today.
In the deepest darkness of winter, it is traditional to celebrate this time by decorating a Yule Tree, a Yule log and putting lots of lights and evergreen plants around our homes. It is a time to spend with loved ones and give gifts. It is a time to eat lots, drink lots and be joyful and merry. As Naturalistic Pantheists who want to celebrate the cycles of nature and connect with the world around us, we can go out and watch the Solstice sunrise, ringing it in with the sound of bells. We can also go for a walk in nature, toasting the trees, and putting out food for the birds and animals struggling to find something to eat in the cold winter.
However you choose to celebrate today, I hope you all have a wonderful Yule and a happy New Year.