Celebrating Our Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Yule, Winter Solstice

Yule Comments & Graphics
December 19, 20 and 21st

Winter Solstice, Midwinter

The Solstice, taken from the Latin for “the Sun stands still,” is considered to be the true New Year—astronomically as well as spirituality. At this time, we see the simultaneous death and rebirth of the Sun-God, represented in the shortest day and longest night of the year. From this time forward, the Sun grows in strength and power as the hours of daylight increase.

Midwinter, or Winter Solstice, marked the end of the first half of the Celtic year. As with Samhain, which was the Roman festival of Pomona and the Christian All Souls grafted on to it, the Celtic Winter Solstice was subsequently confused with the Roman Saturnalia, and later the Christian Christmas. Mythologically, most of the Midwinter celebrations focused on the symbology of a new or younger God, overthrowing the older or Father God, which would then bring forth a new and more potent life to the people and the land.

Although the Solstice takes place on December 21, Midwinter(renamed Yule by the Anglo Saxons) covers several weeks on either side of the Solstice. In medieval times, Yule began around St. Nicholas’s Day and ran until Candlemas. Eventually, Yule was redefined to mean either the Nativity (December 25) or the 12 days of celebration beginning on this date. The word Christmas then replaced Yule in most English-speaking countries. However, the Danish preserved Yule as a way of maintaining their old style of festivities that incorporated several weeks of celebration.

In Wicca and modern Paganism, the Winter Solstice is the time of new beginnings, a time to reflect on the past and project for the future. Magickally, the Winter Solstice affords us a perfect time to formulate a plan of action, a goal we can work towards during the coming year.

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A New Understanding

A New Understanding

Author:   Gralyn 

Yesterday I went to a site I have recently become involved with and nosed around for a while. Of course what interested me most were the courses of study they offered: Wicca, Druidism, Master Religions, etc.

Ordained as a Reverend, Bishop, and Wiccan High Priestess; self dedicated years ago as High Priestess to Goddess, I immediately was given to doubts as to my worthiness to these titles. I needed more education, more credentials!! I suddenly became most unworthy in my mind. I have never been involved in a “real” Wiccan environment, so how can I claim to be Wiccan? I am a solitary witch by personal choice. Yes, I’ve studied and read and asked hundreds of questions. Done several “on-line” courses. I’ve done all of the “steps” to be Wiccan; I’m very active in on-line covens, etc, but I’ve never been active in a hands-on coven, with people who look at me and say, yes, she’s a High Priestess, she did all the steps, we saw her do it!! I mean – to be “Christian” I had to be baptized twice!! Go to Sunday school from a little child and be an active member of a church, only then, I was told, could I be “Christian”. Knowing that I am no longer adhere to fundamentalist Christian beliefs and knowing that paganism is deep within my very being, how on this earth or in God/dess’ heaven I could even claim to be a “title” was well, on my part, stupid, ignorant, pompous!!!

Doubt ran amuck!! Which course was I to take to make myself “authentic”? A REAL Christian, a REAL Wiccan, a REAL something!! Would one be enough? How many do I take? Will I have to “give up” my personal beliefs and believe only one way? Could I continue to blend my knowings, my understandings and still be my titles? Where on earth was I going to come up with the money for all of this…I panicked.

I go to a wise and gentle friend who is a High Priest of Wicca, a Bishop, who dedicated me, whom I have great respect for. Sending his response back to me I began to ponder it and found myself “reading” between the lines…the message I received was; “This is all well and good and more education is always welcomed, you can never have enough information; but, why? I know you, you have more than met any and all requirements to hold these titles”…OK….Why?

Why do I have these doubts when in my gut and heart I know exactly who I am and who I am connected too? Why do I allow myself to fall back into the darkness and have to crawl my way back into the light? Why do I doubt something I KNOW to be true and doubt myself for being where I am right now? Isn’t this doubting my Lady and Lord?

Contemplating the “why” I begin to remember these past years of study, hard study, hard thinking, commitments I have come to, dedications I have had, promises I have made. All the bridges I have crossed with friends and family, in some cases total strangers, and realized to doubt is to find an answer. To allow one understanding to die in order for another to live is to shed darkness for light.

Goddess reminded me that I am first and foremost truly in love with Her, so much so that I cannot imagine a second without Her. She sustains me, guides me, and teaches me. She has introduced all of the “unseen” to my eyes, so that I “see” Her awesome creation (s). I know her to be in every particle and molecule of my life. She makes the words of my brother Jesus, other sisters and brothers (Masters and Teachers) who have come before and after, understood in my mind. She intervenes and allows me to understand my Father God, the lessons I am to learn in this life’s journey. She reminded me that I am just exactly where she wants me to be, right now, this moment. To “be” something, Wiccan, Baptist, High Priestess, any title is fine; mans’ words, mans’ titles; man’s religions, but She knows exactly who I am and I am Hers, of Her, Her Daughter and that I am loved…unconditionally.

You see, I forgot for one human minute, that I haven’t the right to say, ”I am not worthy”. I forgot in my humanness that I do not, under any circumstances, have the right to discount anything or anyone that She places in my life. I had forgotten exactly how worthy I am. She tells me every time I hear the bird sing, hug my grandchildren, gently touch the face of my beloved. She shows me in the clouds and in the quiet of the morning, the deep of the night in the awesome power of a magnificent storm. When I stand proudly under a full moon and raise my arms in praise and eternal connection She reminds me who I am, who She is, who They are.

The decision I made? The knowing I came to? The lesson I was taught? Accept myself with pride, humility, and love. To KNOW that all will be given to me to understand and to use for Her as She/They see fit. If this includes further studies, then so be it; but it will be for information, not for personal identification. I understand now that all I have to do is just allow myself to be. Allow myself to be held, protected, guided and most of all loved – unconditionally.

She helped me understand that people need titles and those who hold them, to feel safe and secure. If someone seeing my title of Rev, Bishop, or High Priestess brings them to me for a need in their lives, then I trust that my Lady and Lord will use me and give me words of wisdom and the action (s) I need to meet their needs – to learn to love them – unconditionally.

Will I doubt again? Probably, I am human. But no longer will I panic. Instead rejoice within the darkness knowing light and understanding are just around the corner.

As I sit here I feel Her smiling gently, softly caressing my hair and saying, ”Now my daughter, isn’t this ever so much better?”

Yes, My Mother, My Goddess, it is.

Gralyn
Rev/Bishop/High Priestess COCM, ULC

Mabon Ritual Just For You – Solitary

Mabon Ritual  Just For You – Solitary

Altar Arrangement:
My altar almost always contains the following tools at minimum:
Athame
God and Goddess candle or representation
Pentacle
Incense – I usually use Cinnamon for Mabon
Chalice
Small Cauldron containing Salt
Gemstones as needed
Candles as needed

Circle Casting:
(Note:  I light incense and altar candles before this part of the ritual)

Hail to you Spirits of the North and the power of Air,
I do summon, stir and call you up to witness these rites and to guard this sacred space.

Hail to you Spirits of the East and the power of Earth,
I do summon, stir and call you up to witness these rites and to guard this sacred space.

Hail to you Spirits of the South and the power of Fire,
I do summon, stir and call you up to witness these rites and to guard this sacred space.

Hail to you Spirits of the West and the power of Water,
I do summon, stir and call you up to witness these rites and to guard this sacred space.

This sacred circle is cast
between future and past.

As above, so below,
The circle is made whole.

So mote it be!

At this time I will be invite my personal guides – both known and unknown

Invocation:

They who are called by many names, I honor you!

Father God, come join with me!
Tonight, I offer thanks for the blessings you have given me.
and for the sacrifice You have made for my benefit.
I mourn for You and rejoice in Your rebirth to come.
Autumn’s grain is Spring’s seed.

Mother Goddess, come join with me!
Tonight I offer thanks for the blessings to come.
As sunlight wanes and shadow grows,
I celebrate your mysteries.
With death comes new life.

Now I will offer a prayer of personal thanks to the Deities.

Meditation:
As this is the time of the autumnal equinox, I will focus on achieving balance.

Raising and directing power:
I will be releasing negative self image by writing our my self hatred and burning the paper.  Afterwards, I will be raising power for healing myself and others I know who are in need.  When I have directed the power to it’s purpose, I will earth the power.

Thanking the Deities:
Mother Goddess, Father God,
Who created All and are All
I thank you for your presence here
and for the blessings you have bestowed on me!
May Your love stay with me now and evermore.

I will now thank my personal guides.

Opening the circle:
Spirits of Air, Earth, Fire and Water,
Go if you must or stay if you will.
I humbly thank thee for your presence tonight!
Though the circle is open, it remains unbroken.
As Above, So Below.
So I have said.
So mote it be.

Understanding Prayer

Witchy Comments & Graphics


Understanding Prayer

Anon


Heavenly Father (or Mother), help us remember that the woman driver who cut us off in traffic last night, is a single mother who had worked nine hours, was rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry, and spend a few precious moments with her children;

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams, with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester;

Remind us too, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares…

Help us also to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles, blocking our shopping progress, are savouring this moment, knowing that based on the biopsy report she got last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Holy Divine, remind us each day that of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not just to those who are close to us, but to all of humanity. Let us be slow to judge, quick to forgive, and show patience and empathy and love.

Amen