YULE | A CHRONICLE
Winter celebrations are as old as time. Ancient Egyptians honored the return of light by celebrating Ra, the Sun god. Old Romans reveled for days during Saturnalia. The Norse peoples called it Jul, and burned a continuous fire which is believed to be the origin of the Yule log. Scandinavian folklore honors the god Thor and the Yule Goat, which has undergone an evolution from a more threatening symbol to a beloved deliverer of gifts.
The Yule Tree has been known as the Tree of Life, the World Tree, and via Christianity, the Christmas Tree. A symbol of longevity, because it remains green through the winter, its evergreen presence is brought into the home to remind us to be calmly persistent and hopeful. It was traditionally decorated with only natural items such as berries, seeds, and nuts, so after the holiday it could be returned to the wild as a gift to the creatures who would feed from it through the depths of a long winter.
Rituals for Yule and the Winter Solstice include lighting candles, exchanging handmade items or found gifts from the natural world, quiet reflection upon the past year’s events, and ushering back the sun with song and feasting.
But there is really so much more you can do if you want to dive into a full-on celebration! There are wreaths to make, bells to ring, gingerbread to cook and fashion into a house, mistletoe to hang and make out beneath!
You can continue or bring back family traditions from your ancestry, create new traditions which speak to your heart more fully, or take part in spiritual traditions practiced by friends which you have never experienced before. This is also a beautiful time to gift what you can to those who have less, or access to less in this world.