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If we were to give our family’s beliefs a name, we’d probably fall into the eclectic group of Pagans. We rely on the circular cycles of the rising sun and the ever-changing seasons, we try our best to listen to the earth, and we believe that less really is more. The Earth is our Mother, and we are her children. It is our duty to treat Her and everyone on our journey with the kindness and respect that all creatures deserve, for we know, that everything comes back to us in its own time. Remember that old adage “what you give is what you get”? Well, we say it’s true.
It’s December, and while the earth is cold and barren, we acknowledge that this time is meant to be the quietest part of the year (which may be why some find the hustle and bustle of the season so overwhelming). It’s a time when we turn inwards, into our homes and into ourselves. We reflect. We consider what changes we may wish to make in the coming year, and we create, whether it be soulful foods for our families or gifts to give to celebrate the Solstice, or as we also call it, Yule.
December 21st marks the longest night and the shortest day of the year; together with friends, we will celebrate the return of the sun, the spring! We’ll eat, oh we’ll eat! We’ll offer food to our ancestors by leaving a plate of treats on the back step, and new to this year’s itinerary (and much to our daughter’s excitement), we will decorate a tree outside with dried foods and other edible decorations. Most importantly, we will tell the tales to our children that have been told and retold since the beginning of time. We will be sure to share the wisdom of those who came before us, teaching lessons learned along the way.
Although my husband and I were both raised with plenty of Christmas traditions, we are infusing our family’s celebration with more of the things that represent what is true to our beliefs. So this year for Yule we’ll:
Celebrate with a live Yule tree, bringing our connection with nature indoors.
Bring as much light as we can to our home on the darkest eve of the year using Christmas lights and candles - perhaps even in the windows (a pagan tradition). And our favourite - lighting the lanterns at the four outside corners of our home from the hearth fire.
We’ll weave in the tradition of the Yule log this year. Although it used to be an entire tree trunk, we will choose a hardwood section to throw onto our fire, sending out our intentions for the coming year. Afterwards, we will collect the coals from the log and save them for next year’s fire, just as our ancestors did. We’ll give as many handmade gifts as we’ve been able to create, since everyone knows, those are the most meaningful.
And of course, we’ll attempt to catch the first crack of dawn on the 21st, the beginning of the New Year.
HayMama is an artiste (pronounced with an 'eeste') tackling a multitude of works, mother raising three kiddos, lover of books, seeker of knowledge, consumer of great coffee, follower of nature, lover and friend to her one and only. You can find the beginnings of her work here