Yule was one of the prettiest rituals we have done. The idea of ritual is to move the participant to a different spiritual and emotional place. A visual display can move folks to that place and that is what we tried to do. Music is also moving and I am blessed in that (apart from me) my circle includes some wonderful singers.
First, about the music. We sang several traditional Christmas songs, with the words updated, when necessary, to make them more Pagan. Some songs predate the Christian Christmas and we lean toward those songs, but familiar carols make the singer feel as though the singer is "coming home" and part of the Yule spirit.
The theme of the ritual was "Yule Wishes". I set up a small Yule tree. The one I purchased was of wire twisted and bent into curlicues. I chose this because it seems symbolic of the idea of "tree". It was also like the tree of life as depicted in old Celtic art. And it would allow the ornaments to stand out.
The ornaments were clear glass. We drew symbols on them and wrote words on them to express our wishes for ourselves, our families or the world. We dropped a tiny light into each on after turning it on before hanging it on the tree. If I were to do this ritual again, I think I would break it into 2 parts, one for creating the ornaments and then one for hanging them. This would allow the ink to dry. We had some smearing issues, which didn't affect the overall look of the tree, but would have been tidier.
Once all the ornaments were hung, we added a string of tiny tree lights and star shaped tinsel. We raised the power and send it out to all who could use it and who could accept it.
And of course, ended with a last carol, because, after all, it was Yule.
With all the unhappiness and strife in the country today, I thought a Yule ritual for peace would be appropriate. We long for peace within ourselves and also among the people of the country and the peoples of the world. We want to make peace with the Earth and provide for our children a safe and livable world.
We decided to create a symbol of peace and interdependence to bring our hearts to a peaceful place. We filled our hearts with peace and then send that peace out to those who can open their hearts to it.
That symbol started as a large circular frame. During the ritual, we interwove ribbons of many colors within the circle it, symbolizing the interdependence of all people and the need for a framework of peace to bring the world to a better place. We added a 5-pointed star to the center of the weaving to bring the spirits of intelligence, strength of will, emotional stability and wisdom to the work for peace. The 5th point brings the spirit of the peoples of the world – their striving for peace and freedom.
We sang of peace: “The Peace of the River” and “Let there be Peace on Earth”. We read poems and personal statements. We ended with Chief Seattle’s observation that “Whatever befalls the Earth - befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life - He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
In this season when we celebrate “Peace on Earth and Good Will to All”, may all our hearts be calm and may we go forward as peaceful warriors bearing the banner of Freedom and Justice for All.