Every year on/or around the longest night of the year a group of us get together at our friend Casey’s house. She decks out her tree in pretty white lights but leaves off the more Christmas-y decorations until after our circle. There are candles everywhere!
After dinner we all gather in her living room for our ritual in celebration of the longest night of the year...
By Deborah Globus
YOUR ALTAR SHOULD HAVE A CENTRAL CANDLE AND TWELVE TEA LIGHTS (ONE FOR EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR) SET UP IN A CIRCLE AROUND IT. HAVE ON HAND A TAPER FOR LIGHTING, A BASKET OF DEAD DRIED LEAVES – ENOUGH FOR EACH PARTICIPANT- AND A BASKET OF STORY-BEADS OR TOKEN ITEMS FOR EACH PARTICIPANT.
TO START, EXTINUISH ALL LIGHTS BUT THE ALTAR CANDLE IN THE CENTER. CAST CIRCLE. (For Yule we gratefully borrow a Tolkien-esque version of calling the directions that we found on line years ago…)
Leader: The wheel of the year turns on and on bringing us to and from one season and from and to another. What will be is; what was will be. All time is here and now in this sacred circle. We come together on this, the longest night of the year to celebrate the winter solstice, to celebrate the rebirth of the sun.*
It is the longest night of the year; the darkest time of the year. ( HAND OUT LEAVES TO PARTICIPANTS AS EACH “DARKNESS” IS SAID) The year which has seen it’s share of
And the witnessing of sorrow and pain
It is the longest night of the year. The darkness… (BLOW OUT CANDLE) presses in around us. The dark is frightening. The dark is uncomfortable. Something deep down inside of us, something old and instinctive wants us to shrink from the darkness, to move away from, to rush to light the lights and break the silence. Anything, so as not to be with the dark.
The long night will last until sunrise. If we can just be patient – just BE with the darkness until then…
The gift of darkness is the gift of desire. It is only the space between the breaths that makes us long for another, it is the pause that awakens our wanting.
And in the wanting is potential. (LIGHT TAPER)
In the dark we are made aware of our potential and as the light begins to grow (BEGIN TO LIGHT ALTAR CANDLE AND TEA LIGHTS, SLOWLY AND DRAMATICALLY) it lightens our gifts, that which we have to offer the world. The gift that we alone can give.
As the light grows we can blow away the old year (BLOW LEAVES TO OUTSIDE OF CIRCLE) blow away the old sorrows and troubles and doubts. We can step forward and claim the gifts inside of us that are ready to shine out into the world. (HAND OUT STORY-BEADS)
As you hold your beads in your hands, look inside and see all the gifts that you have, everything special and unique about you. Look more closely, now and choose one, just one that longs to be focused on in the upcoming year. What is ready, like the solstice sun, to be reborn, to grow and expand? (PUT ENERGIES INTO STORY-BEADS. FOR ADDED POWER YOU CAN SPEAK YOUR GIFT INTO THE CIRCLE AND SHARE WITH THE OTHER PARTICIPANTS)
CAKES AND ALES. (We always have a non-alcoholic drink for our tea totalers and underage participants but wine is traditionally used; and we like cookies or chocolate to share on Yule because Vicky and Colette make awesome cookies! Use whatever you’re comfortable with but I highly recommend cookies. And chocolate.)
CLOSE CIRCLE. (Again, we use that lovely Elvish piece but there’s lots out there to choose from some have some fun looking around on line or in your local bookstore for something that works for you.) GATHER ENERGY FROM CIRCLE AND DIRECT OUT INTO THE UNIVERSE OR TO WHEREVER IT’S MOST NEEDED.
Leader: The circle is open but unbroken. Merry meet, merry part…
All: …merry meet again!*
*from Sabbats by Edain McCoy