Yule the Feast of Odin Yule 21

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cimerianarcania
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Yule the Feast of Odin Yule 21

Post by cimerianarcania » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:06 am

Yule - The Feast of Odin....

Yule is the greatest feast of the year for it marks the changing of the seasons. Yule is the death of winter, and the true beginning of the New Year, and the warming of the green world, preparing to welcome the new life, which shall appear in the spring. Yule is the winter solstice, and is celebrated for one week either side of the solstice, which is called the Feast of Odin.
The circle at StoneHenge of course was laid out, not to align with the sunset at midsummer, but to align with the sunrise at midwinter, celebrate the birth of the new year.
The spirit of Yuletide is Odin, the Lord of Death, and the dedication of this feast is to Odin also. At this season he is known to walk amongst men in disguise as a wandering old man of wisdom, and a teller of tales. He will reward those who are hospitable and generous at this time. He will also reward dutiful and selfless children.
Even as he will reward those who are kind and generous, so his icy wrath will fall upon those who are cruel and selfish during the cold and dangerous weeks of winter. To refuse shelter or food to a traveller at this season could well mean his death.
Even today, with proper housing and the many fuels and forms of heating available. Many of those who are vulnerable will still die during this season, for their shelter, fuel and food will not be enough.
Against such cruelty and selfishness, Odin's reward is often a swift but horrible death in dishonour. One cruel Lord in ages past was forced to trip and fall upon his own sword, and another was frozen to the high seat he was so fond of. These are just two such rewards' which are recorded in the ancient tales of Odin's wonderings in the world of men, for those who would deny aid to those who were in dire need.
This day may also be called the Feast of Hodur, for it is the night when Hodur's influence and rule upon the world is at its greatest. As such, it is a time when men shall reflect upon the year which is now past, and dream about the year which now is before them.
It is a time for feasting and drinking with family and with beloved friends. It is a time for sharing, and for the telling of tales of the once ways of honour. Tales of heroes and of history. Tales of the gods and of the ways of Odin, and what he seeks in the men who follow him.
It is also a time for the giving of promises, and of betrothals. It is a good time for the ceremony of marriage and for the exchanging of vows and gifts. Marrages at this time will yield children between August and September, when the green world is at its strongest. The first winter for the child will be hard, but the first year is always hard.
Here is fair warning that an oath given at this time must be honoured. All of the gods will stand as witness to the vow, as it is made, and for such a vow to be broken shall be deemed to have been an insult to them.
All folk at this time must find two oaks for each hall. One shall be hale and living, one shall be fallen yet not corrupted by time.
The hale oak is left to continue, and it is hung with crystals of quartz and amethyst, toys and fairy gifts, which shall be left in place until the rise of spring. The tree shall be not marked or damaged in any way, to honour Herne and the green world.
The fallen oak will be debranched and wrapped in holly twigs, and bines of ivy and mistletoe. It is then taken into the hall and laid upon the great fire. Here it shall lay until destroyed, fed into the fire inchmeal as it burns, slowly over the two weeks of Yule, a week before the feast and a week afterward.
The branches, if they are still green, may be used to decorate the roof beams of the hall that it may seem as spring is within the hall, though it may be winter without. Holly, ivy and mistletoe shall also decorate the hall.
These branches shall all be left in place until the Feast of Frey, the true spring, when they also shall be consumed by the flames, with the dust and sweepings of the hall, and any furniture and fitting that are to be replaced. This is the origin of the spring clean.
To those who would celebrate Christmas instead of Yule I say no, do not do this for it is a false honour. Christ was born on the 15th September 7 BC and so his feast day is correctly one week before the Feast of Thor.
The 25th of December is the birthday and the holy day of Mithras, the ancient deity of the balance, who presented a bright aspect and a dark aspect, thus allowing men to freely choose their own path.
The 25th of December was the day of the Winter Solstice, 2,000 years ago, but the seasons preceed the years, and a day is lost every 500 years. The festival that was held on the 25th of December then has lost four days since, and falls now on 21st December.
For many years the religions of Mithraism and Christianity existed together with quiet harmony and respect, until the Edict of Milan in 313 CE.
Christianity was declared the sole religion of the Roman Empire in 325 CE by the Council of Nicaea. From this time the following of Mithras gradually diminished, although it was never actively persecuted.
The is still a temple to the dark element of Mithras, in the basement of Canterbury Cathedral, the level below the sub crypt, although the Dean and Chapter, the cathedral authority, deny its existence. This is a shame, but it is to be expected of the church.
The last I heard, the sub crypt had been sealed, and a heavy stone sarcophagus had been placed over the only access to the temple chamber.
Ceremony Notes. In the centre of the circle is a contained fire, beside which the godi stands. Those in the circle face inwards, with eight calling in the Spirits of the Elements. Please note that, although there is a summoning, there is no dismissal; the Spirits are summoned to help us through the year until next Yuletide.
The godi stands at the centre of the circle, with the participants facing him. He will then move sunwise about the circle, calling in the Spirits of the Elements.

Godi Here we are gathered now, at the Yuletide, to mark the turn of the seasons as they go from birth to rebirth. The days now will grow longer and the nights shorter. Here we greet the Elemental Spirits, and mark the rebirth of the power of the Sun.

Godi (facing Spirit) May that of the Great Spirit empower us.

Spirit Winter is the time for reflection on what has passed in the year that has ended, within the community and within the soul. Let Odin, King of the Gods and the Spirit of Yuletide, give us knowledge this coming year, and the wisdom to use that knowledge for good. Spirits of truth and honour be with us this night.

All Hail, and well met.

Godi (facing Fire) May the Spiritual Fire warm us.

Fire Winter is the time for roaring fire for warmth and life, and candles that we may work and play still. Let Surtur, King of the Fires that began and shall end this world, cleanse our spirits this year. Spirits of fire and light be with us this night.

All Hail, and well met.

Godi (facing Earth) May the Earth support us.

Earth Winter is the time when the Earth is bare and most trees stand naked in the ground. No food can be grown while the Earth sleeps. Let Thor, the Thunderer, Friend of Mankind, give us and the Earth Strength at need this year. Spirits of Earth and nature be with us this night.

All Hail, and well met.

Godi (facing Metal) May our skills increase.

Metal Winter is a good time for working at the Forge, reparing tools and weapons ready for use in the year ahead. Let Wayland, God of all Craftsmen, and Protector of The Craft, aid and improve our working this year. Spirits of deepest Earth and metal be with us this night.

All Hail, and well met.

Godi (facing Stone) May the Spirits beneath the Stone grant us their lore.

Stone Winter is a good time for carving stone for reparing buildings, wells and springs in the new year, ready for the young animals, the autumn harvests, and the spring rains. Let Mimir, God of Knowledge and Wisdom, Guardian of the Well of Life, give us deep lore, and the wisdom to use it for good. Spirits of deepest Earth and stone be with us this night.

All Hail, and well met.

Godi (facing Wood) May the Spirits of Nature refresh our souls.

Wood Winter is the time for decorating the trees that grow upon the land with trinkets from the hall, and decorating the hall with twigs and branches from the trees. Let Herne the Hunter, the Green Man, Lord of the Wild Wood, awake the power of all that is natural within us. Spirits of the green wood be with us this night.

All Hail, and well met.

Godi (facing Air) May the Spirits of Air lift our hearts.

Air Winter is the time for cold winds and freezing breezes. A cleansing of the dust of the old year. Let Frey the Fruitful, Lord of the Winds, bring us the harvests of life that we have earned. Spirits of wind of air be with us this night.

All Hail, and well met.

Godi (facing Water) May the still waters calm us.

Water Winter is the time of snow and ice, when the waters grow still, and rivers flow no longer. It is a time of beauty, yet also of many dangers. Let the Goddess, the Lady of the Waters, ever open the clear waters of Truth to us. Spirits of bright water be with us this night.

All Hail, and well met.

Godi (upon the northern side of the fire, facing south) Now let all of these powerful Gods, and Spirits of the Eight Elements walk with us, in work or rest, in joy or in sorrow, until the next turn of the Wheel: and beyond. So moot it be!

All So moot it be!

Godi Our circle of strength and friendship, forged of the Eight Elements, is now forged and bound. If any in this holy circle has anything to bring forward, for the interest or benefit of the circle and those who stand within, let them do so now, in perfect peace and harmony.

The Circle Shall Be Left In Place.

Feast or Social Gathering

Those who follow the whicker, or wicken ways, will of course use the four primary directions in their ceremonies, rather than the eight principal elements. The following is the line of one such ceremony that I attended a few seasons ago.

Elder
For a few months, the days have been growing shorter and the nights longer. After today, little by little, the hours of light will again increase. The days will grow longer until once again it is summer. We celebrate now the time of midwinter, which is called Yule. It marks the birth of the sun.

Cast Circle.

Banishing.

Bless Elements Incense & Water.

East
Winter is the time for cold winds and freezing breezes. Spirits of the wind and of the air be with us today. We bid you hail and welcome.

All
Hail and welcome.

South
Winter is the time for sitting in front of roaring fires for warmth and blazing candles for light. Spirits of fire and light be with us today. We bid you hail and welcome.

All
Hail and welcome.

West
Winter is the time of snow, of water turning to ice and the frost that nips us. Spirits of sparkling water be with us today. We bid you hail and welcome.

All
Hail and welcome.

North
Winter is the time when the Earth is bare and most trees have no leaves. No food is growing now while the land sleeps. Spirits of Earth be with us today. We bid you hail and welcome.

All
Hail and welcome.

Elder
Lord and Lady of ice and snow,
Who make the stormy winds to blow,
Be in our circle here this night,
And bless the coming of the light,
We bid you hail and welcome.

All
Hail and welcome.

Elder
Brightener of darkness, hail,
Keeper of clearness, opener of the depths,
Gifts of plenty are arising,
Winter wonders, white snows fall,
Joyful be the heart within us,
Open wide the guesting door,
Wisdom waken in abundance,
Warm our beings to the core.

Elder
In the greatest darkness
All
The light is reborn!

Elder
From our deepest feers

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
When we dmost despair

All
The light is reborn!

When all seems lost

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
When the Earth lays waste

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
When animals hide




All
The light is reborn!

Elder
When the leaves are gone

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
When the river is frozen

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
When the ground is hard

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
Shadows are fleeing

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
Light is returning

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
Warmth will come again

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
Summer will be here once more

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
Plants will grow again

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
Animals will be seen once more

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
Green will come again

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
Life will continue

All
The light is reborn!

Elder
We will now meditate on the power of the unconqured Sun.
There will be a cone of power with drums and chanting.
Sending energy to the Earth.

Pass around a bowl of golden water each person to anoint themselves while visualising the return of the light. There will then be a sharing of the cakes and the wine.

Elder
End The seasons turn. We bring the light, we raise the sun from the dark of the night.
Thanks be to the God and the Goddess, farewell.

North
All powers and elements of the North, we bid you farewell, and thank you for attending our rite.

All
All hail and farewell.

West
All powers and elements of the West we bid you farewell, and thank you for attending our rite.

All
All hail and farewell.

South
All powers and elements of the South, we bid you farewell, and thank you for attending our rite.

All
All hail and farewell.

East
All powers and elements of the East, we bid you farewell, and thank you for attending our rite.

All
All hail and farewell.

Elder
Let us now mark out and open the circle, three times moonwise of the wheel.

All
The circle is open, but yet unbroken. May the love of the Goddess be forever in our hearts.




All
Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry May We All Meet Again.




Another traditional aspect of the Yule Festival which is sadly neglected is the Mummer's play, celebrating in drama the eternal battle between light and dark. These forces are represented in the seasons by the Oak King and the Holly King. There is also a Wise Woman, a Wise Man, a Robin and a Wren.

Wise Woman Pray silence , my sisters and brothers and take head to our play. We've come to make a merry rhyme, all on this Solstice day. Listen to us and you shall hear the story of the Wheel's turn, so take your ease and listen well, while the Yule log it does burn.
Wise Man There are two Kings that rule the year, its waxing and its waning, the Holly King for when the Sun goes down, the Oak to watch its gaining. But don't just listen to what I say, walk in Oak King and clear the way. (Enter Oak King carrying a sword or axe. He stands in front of the altar and proclaims his challenge)
Oak King In comes I, The Oak King, from the other side of the year I came, with my crown of leaves and acorns, a King of greatest fame. I watched over the year's waxing, but since June in the ground I've lain, and now I come this Solstice night to fight the Holly King again. I saw the Holly King standing by, I took an oath that he should die, I'll cut him down in his prime and banish him until another time. (Enter the Holly King. He stands beside the Oak King and in a proud stance and proclaims his defense to the challenge)
Holly King In comes I, The Holly King, in the year's darkest time, of me they sing. My berries red and leaves of green thorn give people hope on the darkest morn. I reign through the waning of the year and I'll fight that Oak King, if he be here. His leaves are gone, his branches bare, but my leaves shine in the frosty air. Oak King, (turns to face him) you cannot challenge me, the days are yet dark, my people agree.
Oak King King Holly, your people long for the light, they don't wish their days to be turned into night. They need sun to banish the frost and the snow, for trees to leaf and crops to grow. My leaves may now be cast asunder but my branches bear buds for summer splender and now as ruler I must take my turn, put up your sword, and this lesson learn.
Holly King I'll put up my sword to defend my throne, and I'll fight well for the crown, before I'm done. (They now begin to fight until the Oak King is defeated and laid upon the ground holding his wound)
Wise Man See how they fight long and hard for the crown but King Holly has won. The Oak King is down. (King Holly struts around as if he has won a battle)
Wise Woman - No wonder it looks like King Holly has won for the people need cheering when the day's without sun. They need his red berries and green thorns sharp to garland their feast and shine in the dark. But the wheel it mus turn, the year must go round, so I call on the Robin to heal this wound.
Robin In comes I, Robin of the Wood, I come to heal the Oak King, for the people's and the year's good.
Wise Man How will you heal him, Robin?
Robin I'll pluck from my breast some feathers red, the colour of blood to raise the dead. I'll lay them on his wound so deep, their magic will bring him round from his sleep. (Robin places the feathers on the Oak King's wound and after a few moments the King slowly begins to rise. The battle between the Kings begins again until the Holly King is defeated and falls to the ground with a wound)
Wise Man And so the Oak King rises, tall and strong, and once again the battle is long, but now the Holly King is down, the Oak King has won the waxing year's crown.
Wise Woman But the people still need their midwinter cheer, they can't see the Oak's splendour at this time of the year. They want shiny red berries and leaves that are green, so I now call on the Wren, the Greenwood Queen.
Wren In comes I, the Wren so small, the Holly King is my master so I come at your call.
Wise Man Can you heal this fallen King?
Wren I can heal him so he will stay and cheer all our hearts until the twelfth day, and although Oak is King, Holly is Lord Of Misrule, to gladden your hearts at this good feast of Yule.
Wise Man How will you heal him?
Wren King Holly has a Lady, the Ivy in her bower, with jet black berries and sweet scented flower, her leaves are as green on the dark Winter morn as those of the Holly, but without any thorns. When the Lady Ivy lays down by his side, the Holly will rise and take her as bride. (Wren takes the ivy and places it upon the Holly King's wound who slowly awakes and rises from the ground)
Wise Woman Together they will grace our midwinter hall till on the twelfth day they will leave us all.
Wise Man Then the days will lengthen again and the Oak King truly begins his reign, at Imbolc, when the green shoots rise the Holly will seem to go out of our lives.
Wise Woman But soon once more the wheel will turn and the old story again we will learn. (Holly King and Oak King stand proudly side by side in front of the altar and all present bow before them)
Wise Woman - And now our story we have told, a tale of wisdom for young and for old. From the parts we played let us all be free and our own true selves we now shall be.

THE END
Hugs, MJ

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