Sunday, December 24, 2006

Yule 2006

At Yule, the light has receded to its lowest ebb. The Sun rises far to the south, transits low in the sky, and sets far to the south. This is the moment at which the light of the god is diminished, present only as spirit, and the goddess as crone reigns supreme.

Yule is the annual commemoration of darkness and the spark of returning light. As the season gets colder from here, we know by the increasing light that hope is returning. The seed of the god has been held safe in the heart of the crone, to be imparted to the maiden at the proper time.

Yule is the centre-point of the season of the Crone. This season begins at Samhain and ends at Imbolg, when the Crone passes the light she has protected on to the maiden, so that the process of rebirth can begin anew.

Fire and Air are the dominion of the god, Water and Earth the dominion of the goddess. Where these four combine, Spirit is brought to life. In a single seed, Spirit’s unlimited potential is stored in stasis, waiting for the right combination of elements to unlock its mysteries and fulfil its design.

The moist, sheltering womb of the Earth speaks to us of the Goddess. The warm heat of the Sun and the freshness of the breeze speak to us of the God.

Yule marks the turning of the wheel for the god in the same way that Samhain marks its turning for the goddess. At Samhain the Goddess becomes crone, the keeper of the light, the one whose gentle nurture keeps the light of Spirit safe while the God diminishes as he must. She goes from bearer of life (maiden and mother) to keeper of light. At Yule the God has completed his job as sage, and has died as he must, to remain in Spirit only, to be kept by the crone until the day of the maiden.

The God transcends mortality in life and death. The Goddess transcends mortality in quiet nurture. She turns her back to winter’s chill and protects the seed that is in her care.

The Goddess and the God depend on each other. Without the warmth of the sun and the freshness of the breeze, Earth is barren and cold. Without the womb of the Earth and the water which gives it life, the Sun and the air are without effect.

Where the goddess and god are set at enmity with each other, the fire of an angry god seeks to destroy the fertility of the goddess, and likewise the wiles of an embittered crone exploit the vulnerability of the god, despising the spark she is charged with nurturing. Strife is mounted on strife, each is set to consume the other, earth is ravaged, life is spent in vain and chaos ensues.

Where the god and goddess are brought into harmony with each other, the cycles of life, nurture, and endeavour, of contribution, wisdom, and abundance, and of death, regeneration, and cultivation, earth is enriched, life is spent productively, and order ensues.

It is most important for each of us to keep our goddess and our god in balance, and direct them each on the same path. It is no coincidence that families traditionally come together at this time, representing the eternal principle of nurture, which keeps the “light” of the family alive. All to often, however, it is the old rules and traditions of family, those cold hard, unyielding, unchanging patterns that quench the spark they would otherwise nurture. For such families, winter’s longest night is made all the more bitter.

As a personal meditation here today, Yule is about the seed of a new idea, not yet ready for planting, but waiting for the right time. Yule is a time for making new plans, for receiving new insights, and for setting new directions. The season from Yule to Imbolg, is the time for these plans to develop.

In a sentence, Yule is time to “shut up and listen”. Listen to the voice of your own emptiness, and have compassion for the emptiness of others: lend a hand where you can Listen to your physical ancestors, find ways to apply their wisdom, even if you walk a different path. Listen to your elders, those whom you look up to for any reason.

Time to act is Imbolg, now is the time to listen, to plan, to ponder.

So come, let us celebrate together the return of the light. Winter’s darkest night is now behind us.

Yule 2006 R. B. Smith

No comments: