Calendar of the Sun
21 Yulmonath


Colors: Red, Green, White, Gold
Elements: Earth and Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of red, green, white and gold is laid a great bowl of spiced cider with ladle and cups, cakes in appropriate shapes, apples stuffed with nuts and dried fruits, and the figure of a great golden Sun. An eight-spoked wheel is hung from the ceiling, laden with evergreen boughs and candles, and the Yule tree is lit with lights.
Offerings: Hospitality.
Daily Meal: Feasting, ideally with others.

Ritual Note: Like all the eight high holidays, this day should ideally be spent not enclosed and isolated, but in common with the larger pagan community. This can be done a number of ways, including spending the day elsewhere, at the Yule ritual of another group or tradition, or by inviting in those pagans who would otherwise not be able to attend a ritual. Either way, the eight holidays should be a time of remembering the place of the house in the greater community. If the choice is made to go elsewhere, then no liturgy is needed for the day. If the choice is made to bring the greater community into the lesser one, the following ritual can be used:

East Caller:
Welcome to you, Old One.
Welcome to the Mother of Winter.
Welcome to the snow and ice,
The bitter cloud of your breath,
The white layers of your long skirts,
The flakes that you shake like feathers from your pillow.
May your blessings hold us safe.
May your chill winds pass us by.
May the bright promise of each clear day
Remind us of your power.
Old one, cold one,
Though we fear your storms,
Yet we welcome you
Into our winter hearts
With your cleansing breath
To blow away the old year
And usher in the new.

South Caller:
Welcome to you, Dark One,
Welcome to Black Pieter, Lord of the Coals!
Lord of goat-stalls and sheep-barns,
Lord of common hearthfires
And cold hands warming themselves
Over the fading coals.
Welcome to you, Lord as dark
As the black sky of this night,
The longest night of the year.
Dark like the darkness that rings us,
Pressing against our hearts,
Bright as the fire that we burn
To drive that darkness away.
You are present, Lord of Coals,
In every tiny candle-flame,
Lit against the closing of that dark,
And as we light a thousand flames,
You are present behind every one.

West Caller:
Welcome to you, Lord of Abundance!
Welcome to the scarlet Holly King!
Welcome to our warm fire
And the brightness of our fellowship.
Our door is open, and so are our hearts.
Our cup is full, and we have enough to share,
Enough to fill your cup thrice over,
Enough to fill our hearts thrice over,
Enough to light a blazing beacon
To bring the Powers of Abundance among us!
Let the waxing year yield up its riches!
Let our joy grow ever stronger with the Sun!
Let our cups overflow
With everything we could possibly desire!

North Caller:
Welcome, Grandmother Gift-Giver!
Welcome, broom-rider in the midnight sky,
Cousin to witches and herb-women,
Seeker after the Light of the Sun!
Mysterious stranger from the darkness,
Traveler over the Earth,
Remind us of our duty to strangers,
Of the obligation to hospitality,
How we are rewarded for those
To whose spirits we render aid.
Remind us of how every stranger
Could be, even unknowing,
The carrier of the spirit of Abundance,
Teach us not to judge by appearances,
To give generously to others,
And to know that the Universe remembers
Even if they do not.
Welcome, Grandmother,
Sweep away the dust of our greed!

Yule Invocation #1

(The one who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual lights the candles on the Yule wheel, saying, "We hold hope in our hearts for the return of the Sun." All repeat.)


Welcome to our hearth and home and tribe.
            This is the darkest day of the year, the longest night, when the Sun is swallowed up and dies. In ancient times, the Sun was brought back to life with fire and light on the Solstice.
            Let us imagine, now, those dark and ancient times. Go back six thousand years to a cold place. You are clad in clothing of rough wool and fur, and you speak a language unlike ours, yet with some words that will someday be passed on to us. Your people have lived in this cold place for so long that you remember the glaciers melting, the Ice Age receding. It is part of your creation myths.
            Imagine that you are standing in a clearing in the woods, the scent of pine all around you, just before dawn. It is freezing cold, and for days uncounted you have huddled inside next to a fire, with the sky too dark to work or even to see outside. Yet on this morning your eyes are fixed on a single standing stone, or perhaps a pole driven into the earth, which will prove the rebirth of the Sun which gives all life.
            Imagine that you watch the Sun rise, seeing it come up in its appointed place as it always does, and a hush of wonder falls over your tribe, crowded around you. It is the promise of the new year, the promise that the days will get longer, and eventually warmer, and the spring will come. You rejoice. You cheer. You weep with joy. You beat on drums and shout. You call this day Yeohwla, which means simply, the Winter Solstice.
            Someday strangers will come, driving wagons, great numbers of them. They will settle next to you, and intermarry with you, and teach of things like wheels and horses, and you will give them the words "wife", and "child", and teach them the mysteries of Yeohwla, which their descendants - and yours - will pass on as Yule. You will teach the mysteries of Hope and Rebirth, of fire and light that resurrects the year. And they will stand in that cold place and learn to praise the coming of the Sun, and so will their children's children. And so do we.
            Take flame now, flame from the wheel of the Sun, and carry it close to you, for fire is precious. It means warmth and light and cooked food. Be careful with it, neither letting it spread nor go out. Each of you light a candle and hold it close.

(Each comes forth and takes a candle from the wheel and holds it.)

Yule Invocation #2

(After each line, all repeat "Blessings and Praise!")

For the return of the Sun - blessings and praise!
For the gifts we give and receive - blessings and praise!
For all the gift-givers - blessings and praise!
For sunsets and starlight - blessings and praise!
For fabulous feast days - blessings and praise!
For those who cook them - blessings and praise!
For the great World Tree - blessings and praise!
For the light on the snowfields - blessings and praise!
For friendship and family - blessings and praise!
For robin and wren - blessings and praise!
For the spirits of the forest - blessings and praise!
For the lengthening days - blessings and praise!
For standing in community - blessings and praise!
For the strength of our faith - blessings and praise!

Song: Last Night of Hope

(All process out of the altar room, taking the candles to light other places in the house, until it is full of light. Then all return and share the cider together, pouring out the last of it as a libation.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]