Yule is a midwinter period that runs approximately from winter solstice to the 6th of January. The word Yule is thought to have its roots in Scandinavian languages and the meaning has common roots with the Swedish word Jhul, which means wheel. Winter solstice, the starting point of this period, is one of the major « turning points » in the cosmic wheel of the year, marking the moment when the days start becoming longer and the nights start becoming shorter..
At the same moment, in the Southern hemisphere we celebrate summer solstice, the shortening of the days and the lengthening of the nights.
The importance of the winter solstice in ancient cultures is very evident by the winter solstice alignments that we see in many ancient temple sites or neolithic sites. Some examples are:
– Goseck, Germany, a neolithic henge aligned with sunset and sunrise on winter solstice
– Stonehenge, England, that is on a sightline aligned with the winter solstice sunset.
– New Grange, Ireland, aligned with the winter solstice sunrise
– Maes Howe, Orkney Islands Scotland, aligned with sunset on winter solstice
– the temple of Karnak, Egypt, aligned with winter solstice sunrise
and so on, and so on….
Yule is a period of pagan festivities, we celebrate the future flourishing and future abundance of springtime and summertime that will solidly take root in the insights and comprehensions we gained during autumn, the season of introspection and reflexion. Our dynamics start to shift from reaching inward, to spiralling outward. Instead of descending into darkness, we start ascending towards light. We slowly start preparing ourselves to share the fruits of our inner labour, thought and reflexion and we start inviting people in. This is why this feast is traditionally celebrated with family and loved ones, with our inner circle, before expanding out to our greater social circle in springtime and summer.
Yul celebrates the love and peace we cultivated on the inside through inner balance and harmony and we now start diffusing and radiating on the outside.
Yule celebrates the return of the sun, the rebirth of light and life. In Catholic tradition we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the son, the bringer of light, who is born from the union of male and female energy (symbolised in ancient Egypt by the birth of Horus from the uniting of Isis and Osiris). Symbolically, the birth of the sun (son) represents collaboration and harmony. Seemingly opposing energies work together and unite to create a harmonious future.
It’s the feast of rebirth and hope for the future, like the inner flame that never dies down and that slowly starts spreading through our inner realms and among the inner circles of our social life. Yul marks the moment when we move from inner to outer awareness, with a hopeful eye towards the future. It’s the perfect opportunity to spend some time with your loved ones and share your hopes for the future in a loving and caring environment.