Yule (Winter Solstice)
approximately Dec. 21
Theme: First day of Winter; Rebirth; Stillness
Type: Solstice/Solar Holiday; longest night of the Year
Yule marks the longest night of the year -- the triumph of the dark half of the year. Night and darkness have reached their apex and the Wheel turns to restore balance. The dawn heralds the return of the sun, bringer of light, warmth, and growth. In the days following Yule, the suns power grows steadily, encroaching upon the night, pushing back the darkness.
The darkness of this longest night holds many lessons. One of the most powerful is the awareness that hope and light spring forth from deepest darkness. Here, indeed, is the message that the darkest hour comes just before the dawn. As we wait quietly in the darkness, we honor the stillness and the mystery of the night, and light candles or a Yule log to summon the suns return. In the summoning of the sun, we work in partnership with Nature to preserve balance. Similarly, when faced with difficult challenges in our lives, we are partners with the Universe in manifesting hope out of despair.
The Yule tree (recognized in modern times as the Christmas tree) is an ancient symbol of life, fertility and vitality. Even in the dead of Winter, the Yule tree is evergreen ... a reminder of the life-force of Nature. Trees are brought into the house and decked with lights to celebrate Life and the returning of light after the darkest night.
Yule is also a celebration of dawning potentiality. As darkness gives way to light, the Earth lies sleeping. To us, the Earth appears dead, dormant, but deep within her soil lies the slumbering seed awaiting the power of the newborn sun to activate its growth. At Yule, we look within ourselves for the sleeping seeds, and identify the situations, blessings, activities we would like to germinate and grow in the coming year. We honor the need for the regenerative stillness, the rest before the energetic growth of springtime. Yule is a time of transformation and rebirth. Rituals and personal healing work centered around rebirthing are customary at this time.