A Group Goddess Ritual for Yule
Yule is the time of the Winter Solstice, and for some Pagans, it’s a time to say goodbye to the old, and welcome the new. As the sun returns to the earth, life begins once more — it’s a time to bid the Crone farewell, and invite the Maiden back into our lives. This ritual can be performed by a group of four or more.
Frequently, when I post rituals that are goddess-focused, inevitably I get messages from people demanding to know what to do when there’s no reference to the menfolk.
Clearly, this ritual is designed for at least four female participants, but if you don’t have that many, don’t sweat it — improvise, or allow one woman to speak all the roles. Likewise, If you have an all-male group, you could revise this rite so that it focuses on the battle of the Oak King and the Holly King, rather than the Crone and the Maiden. If you have a mixed group, make adaptations as necessary.
First, set up a Yule tree near the north side of your altar. Decorate it with lights and symbols of the season. If there’s no room for a tree, use a Yule Log instead.
Cover the altar with a winter-themed altar cloth if possible, and in the center, three white candles in individual candleholders.
The oldest female present should take on the role of High Priestess (HPs) to lead the ceremony.
Of the other women present, one represents the aspect of the Maiden, another the Mother, and a third the Crone. If you’re really into ceremony and symbolism, have the Maiden wear a white robe and stand in the east. The Mother can wear a red robe and stand to the south, while the Crone dresses in a black robe and veil, and takes her place to the west of the altar.
Each holds one of the three white candles.
If you normally cast a circle, do so now.
The HPs says:
It is the season of the Crone, the time of the winter goddess. Tonight we celebrate the festival of the winter solstice, the rebirth of the Sun, and the return of light to the Earth. As the Wheel of the Year turns once more, we honor the eternal cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth.
The Maiden then takes her candle and holds it while the HPs lights it for her. She then turns to the Mother and lights the Mother’s candle. Finally, the Mother lights the candle held by the Crone. The High Priestess then says:
O Crone, the Wheel has turned once more. It is time for the Maiden to claim what is now hers. As you lie down for the winter, she is born once again.
The Crone removes her veil and hands it to the Mother. The Mother then places it on the Maiden’s head. The Crone says:
The days will now get longer, now the Sun has returned. My season has ended, yet the season of the Maiden begins. Listen to the wisdom of those who have come before you, and yet be wise enough to make your own way.
The Maiden then says:
Thank you for the wisdom of your years, and for seeing the season through to its end. You have stepped aside that the new season may begin, and for this we give you honor.
At this time, the High Priestess should invite anyone who wishes to make an offering to the Goddess to come do so — offerings can be placed on the altar, or if you’re outdoors, in a fire. The HPs concludes the rite by saying:
We make these offerings tonight, to show our love to you, O Goddess. Please accept our gifts, and know that we are entering this new season with joy in our hearts.
Everyone present should take a few moments to meditate upon the time of the season. Although winter is here, life lies dormant beneath the soil. What new things will you bring to fruition for yourself when the planting season returns? How will you change yourself, and maintain your spirit throughout the cold months? When everyone is ready, either end the rite, or continue on with additional rituals, such as Cakes and Ale or Drawing Down the Moon.
Author: Patti Wigington
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