This post is in response to questions posed by Aine over on The Deepest Well blog.
The questions pertain to Yule and doing a ritual. The Yule rituals I have been in have all be done with my coven, the Coven of the Rising Phoenix.
Do you perform ritual at this time of year?
Yes. Funny thing is that I have always done a ritual at this time of year. Now the ritual may not have been of the Yule variety but what my family and I did every year since I can remember can be considered a “ritual”. Every year we would all load up in a car and travel to the Grandparents houses to celebrate Christmas, eat to capacity and open gifts. It was quite ritualistic.
I still adhere to the family gatherings as work allows but I now have one more ritual to perform; the ritual to celebrate the returning of the sun, the Yule ritual.
Do I use someone else’s script, my own, or do I combine them?
I choose to combine them. I find that combining a ritual that was written by someone else with piece of my own design it makes the ritual richer. I might add a line to the calling of the quarters, or I might completely redo them but keep the rest. For this year’s ritual I found a great ritual online that expressed exactly what I was looking for in some respects but not in others. So I took what I needed, augmented where I needed and added what I needed and BAM!…Yule Ritual.
Well maybe not so much BAM. As I began to create the ritual, placing the parts and assigning parts to people I found myself with another’s mind. Having never experienced divine intervention I was quite taken aback. A part of the ritual, the working, was going to be making a Yule potpourri whilst chanting and charging the herbs. I was “told” that is not what should be happening and I was given a “nudge” toward what should be done for the working. I will admit that what I did write out and that we did do was quite magickal if I do say so myself.
Do I perform the same ritual every year or change it up?
The Yule rituals have been different each year with this year’s being the first one I have created for the coven as well as the first one my partner and I have hosted in our home.
What associations do you associate with Yule?
For me personally I will always associate this time of year with gathering with family and friends, whether it be for Christmas or Yule. I will always remember waking up on Christmas day, getting all dressed up and going to church services with the family and then heading over to one of the grandparents house for dinner and gifts. The smell of my grandmother’s cooking, my grandfather sitting in his chair in the kitchen, listening to the radio, usually a ball game. He never did watch them on TV. The sight of my other grandparent’s huge tree, decorated and stuffed at the base with wrapped gifts. The anticipation of what was wrapped in the brightly colored and shiny paper under the trees and the joy of ripping said paper apart to get at what was hidden. The screams of delight at toys and the silence toward clothes. The warm and loving smiles from my parents and grandparents no matter how we reacted. Even the hard times, for with out them we are less then we are now. The shyness felt when confronted with relatives that I hadn’t seen since the last time. Sitting in front of the TV, watching Rudolf, Frosty, and Charlie Brown all on the same night. Eating too much candy and still wanting more.
As my grandparents pass beyond the veil traditions are lost and associations change. New traditions emerge and families that were at one time split return together to celebrate as one again. Change in beliefs opens up new associations and new traditions. Celebrating the returning Sun and the promise that in a few months warmth will again venture across the land if only for a time. Gathering with new people whom I now consider another family as I celebrate with them. Turning the Wheel.
Remember your past. Keep hold of the traditions that you have whether they be relevant to your spiritual path or not. They are a part of you, they make you, without them you are diminished. Create new traditions and keep them as well. Celebrate and Honor as you choose to do but remember your families, friends and the Divine in all that is.