Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blessed Yule

Yule or the winter solstice happens around Dec 21 and is the longest darkest night of the year. It is a pagan celebration that follow many of the traditions of the season. From decorated trees, carolling, presents, Yule logs and mistletoe.

The holiday of Christmas has always been more Pagan than Christian with its Nordic divination, Celtic fertility rites and Roman Mithraism. Martin Luther abhorred it and Puritans refused to acknowledge it for its close association with the birth of many Pagan Gods and heroes like Oedipus, Hercules, Apollo, Mitha etc. Many of them possessing a narrative of birth, death and resurrection, that was uncomfortably close to Jesus. Plus many of them pre-dated the Christian Saviour.

According to Pagan belief, the Winter Solstice is the birthday of the new Sun King. On this darkest of nights the Goddess becomes the Great Mother and once again gives birth. That is why Pagans have much right and joy in celebrating this season as much as Christians.

More so because the Christians were rather late in laying claim to it and tried more than once to reject it. There had been a tradition in the West that Mary gave birth on the 25 but no one could decide on the month. The Catholic Fathers in Rome decided to make it in December to coincide with the Mithraic celebrations of the Romans and the Yule celebrations of the Celts and the Saxons.

There has never been any doubt that the date chosen was not historically correct because shepherds just don't "tend their flocks by night" in the dead winter! If one were to use the New Testament then this evidence would point to the birth of Jesus to be in spring.

Christian or Pagan, it really doesn't matter because this is a magical season. Regardless of our interpretation, it is a time to show the people we love how much we care and in the darkest night of our soul, springs the birth of new hope and fire within us.

Blessed Yule Everyone!

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