Although winter for us in the Northern Hemisphere is shrouded in dormancy and darkness, the December Solstice also marks the turning of the sun when the days slowly get longer.
Throughout the ages, the winter season has been celebrated by many cultures and has held many names. Yule is another name for the season of the Winter Solstice. There are several origins of the word Yule. For example, in the Old Norse, the word “jol” is a pagan festival celebrating the return of the sun. And interestingly, the Anglo-Saxon word for this festival is, “Iul”, meaning, “wheel”.
Many cultures looked at the changing of the season as the turning of a wheel; and the solstices, equinoxes and quarter days as spokes on The Great Wheel of Life.
I used to dread these short days and the long, colder nights. That was until I began to reach down deeply into my own roots and lineage and something inside me awoke. I began to experience for myself humanity’s deep, inner connections with the cycles and rhythms of the natural world. As the days got shorter and darker, I noticed a longing for the coming light and that would enter into some metaphorical womb and I naturally began reflecting on the past year and asking:
Where was I this time last year?
What happened on my journey?
What did I need to leave behind?
What was calling me forth in the New Year?
For most of us, the increased darkness leads us into our own dark night of the soul. This never fails me. Yule is deeply rooted in the final cycle of the year. It is both a time for shedding and seeding.
“It is at this time of year that the Goddess plays a dual role. As her dark aspect, “she who cuts the thread” she discards what is no longer needed. As her light aspect she is in the process of giving birth to the new Sun King who brings renewed hope and light into the world. It is a time of death and rebirth”.
This time of year has taught me that in order to bring in something new, a void needs to be created. One way I do this is to have an experience of completion and to let go of what n
longer will serve what is waiting to be birthed. In a culture that seems to be so ready to “get on with the next thing”, sitting with and contemplating what got done is often over looked.
I would like to share a completion practice that I have found useful.
- See it and name it. Choose three of your big achievements from the past year. Your milestones. Maybe you got married or divorced. Had a child or sent a child off to college. Maybe you held your first workshop.
- Describe it. What actually got done? What are the measurable facts about it? Be objective. Notice if you are addicted to “never good enough”. Did you meet your target but then see that there is more to do?
- What did it take? What would a video camera NOT see? What did it take from you? Did you pull it off even though you were terrified? Did you do it anyway even though you had a broken heart?
- Regard it. What did you learn? How did you grow? How do you have more substance now that you accomplished this? Is there something more to do?
- Let go. Is there anything you need to let go of that is no longer needed? If so, acknowledge it and declare yourself complete on 2015!
What does the season of Yule call forth from you? What are your practices?
May you experience the victory of light of darkness in your world!