Spiritual Aspects of Yule
As we approach the season of Yule (Winter Solstice, Alban Arthan), I personally find myself entering a state of both celebration and reflection. When I reach out and touch the heartbeat of Mannuz, I can sense the intense joy of our Sacred Mother. For her son, our God, is about to be reborn, thus completing yet another segment in the Wheel of Life. When we entered the New Year, which commenced with Samhain and began our life travels anew, I found myself filled with an anticipation and excitement of that which is yet to unfold.
But before I look too far ahead, I muse on that which went before. The highs and the lows of the preceding year, that are now all but fading memories. For each experience is a contribution to our spiritual growth, whether it had a positive or negative impact.
I personally feel that spiritual knowledge is a gift and that the more knowledge that one attains that the greater the gift becomes. And there is no greater gift then that of a life experience that has had some effect on our lives.
As the wheel of the year slowly turned, there were at times life experiences that seemed insurmountable, but we found a way over. There were life experiences that caused so much grief, that we cried a river of tears, but we found a way across. And of course there were life experiences that had us laughing so deeply that we could barely catch a breath, but we found a way to breathe.
And so though the past year has been bittersweet, there is still much to rejoice about within the coming Yuletide season.
It is no secret that some religious belief systems have superimposed the alleged birth date of their God over that of the God of the pagans. This was done, in spite of the fact that the placement of the constellations from that period speaks otherwise. But then Yule is not a time to foment ill will, even if an established cause could be presented.
Instead I feel an empathy for those who worship a distant and revengeful God to the exclusion of the Sacred Mother, for they are missing out on some of the most ancient joys of life. For not only do we as pagans have such a deep and enduring love from our Mother, but we also draw strength and wisdom from our sacred father. And between the two, we as pagans have an opportunity to walk the spiritual path with a steady sense of balance. It is through our own perspectives and actions that we maintain this balance or fall out of stride. As individuals, the choice is ours to make. We have the opportunity to draw upon the spiritual aspects offered by both our Sacred Mother and Sacred Father in order to advance within our spiritual growth.
Yule is a feisty, twelve day period of celebration, a time during which, feasting is a common activity. But while we feast on food to sustain the physical self, it is also a time to feast on the experiences of the year past in order to sustain knowledge for the journey ahead.
Yule is a time of reflection, then acceptance and then of moving on.
Upon the longest night of the year, our God is re-born from the slumbers of death. He brings with him the sacred light by way of the Sun. And from this moment forth the fertility of the land is once again restored. And so too are the fertility of fresh thoughts and new goals introduced into our hearts and souls. Our spirits cherish this moment of his birth for it is a time to shed the chains of the experiences past and to surge forth with a renewed purpose in our lives. The birth of our Sun God is an affirmation that life goes on and that the door to spiritual growth stands wide open.
Yule is a time to celebrate both the joys and the sorrows we have experienced up to this point. For both aspects, that of light and that of dark have strived to offer us a knowledge of life that we can use to build upon as we travel forth. The rebirth of the Sun God, who brings so much joy to the heart of our Goddess is a sign that even within the darkness one can always find a ray of light. For his birth marks the time when the Oak King vanquishes the Holly King. This analogy of victory represents the power of light overcoming the power of darkness. This represents a balance and a sense of hope in the challenges of life that await each of us.
The nights become shorter and the days become longer as life begins to stir within the grasp of the Winter Solstice in anticipation of the coming of Spring.
It is a time to realize that no matter how tough or insurmountable a barrier may seem, we have been given the gift of our life experiences as a tool to achieve our spiritual goals.
As a time of celebration, Yule is also a time to be with family and close friends with which to share the joy of our Blessed Mother as she smiles with anticipation at the thought of reuniting with her son, as the time of the sacred birth draws near. For from such relationships we receive the gifts of love. And like a seed that has laid dormant, awaiting the warm touch of the Sun to sprout forth and prosper, we should take heed and allow these moments of love to define our actions and our mind set as we venture forth into the approaching segments of the wheel of life. To let such an experience to wither away with the passing of Yule is to cast such a special gift asunder.
And so with that I wish each of you a very joyous celebration of our Sun God.