A very simple solitary ritual by Kate West, found in The Real Witch's Handbook.
The main themes of this festival are the rebirth of the Sun, the start of the days of increasing light and the rise of the Oak King.
The simplest way to celebrate Yule is to rise before dawn to greet the rising Sun. Many diaries and almanacs will give the time of the rising and setting of the Sun, and for that matter, the Moon. If you live near the sea, tide-tables will perform the same function. If it is possible, go out, preferably to a high place, to watch the Sun rise. Alternatively, choose a window facing the direction of Sunrise. As before, call upon the elements, the Goddess and God to be with you. As the Sun rises above the horizon, give thanks for the return of the light and warmth that it brings.
This is the very beginning of the return of new life to the land, the spark of light which brings promise with it. As a time beginnings it is also a time to reflect upon any new starts you may wish to make and perhaps dedicate them to the returning Sun. If you are outside, look around you for a stone, pebble or twig – you are sure to see something which catches your eye – and take this as a reminder of the promise you have decided to make.
The Celebration of Yule,
Winter Solstice and Christmas
The true Yule celebration does not involve Jesus, a manger or angels. Those traditions were
added many years later. The original Yule celebrations involve much more ancient rituals and beliefs.
Other names for this festival are: Winter Solstice, Alban Arthan, Finn's Day, Festival
of Sol, Yuletide, Great Day of the Cauldron, and Festival of Growth.
As we learned in our previous study of Samhain, ancient peoples celebrated the time between
Samhain (October 31) and Imbolc (February 1) as the winter quarter, seed-time of the year.
While at Samhain the aging God died, at Yule he was reborn through the Goddess each year.
Incidentally, this is where Christians got the idea that God came down and was born on earth
at Christmas and that Mary was the "Mother of God"....you see, almost all Christian traditions
are rooted in the rituals and traditions of more ancient cultures.
On the Winter Solstice, the darkest of nights, the Goddess becomes the Great Mother and
gives birth to the new Sun-king or the Son of God, or whatever you choose to call him. And on
this dark night, there springs a new spark of hope, The Sacred Fire, the Light of the World, the
Coel Coeth. To read about the cult of Mithras as the origin of Christianity, Click Here.
On the eve of the Winter Solstice, normally around December 21, the Yule log is the center of
celebration. All light and power is extinguished just before midnight. We meditate together
with each other about the meaning and great gifts of the dark to nourish our dreaming, heal our
fatigue, etc. Then we each make light again. Then the Yule log is brought inside, lighted on the
first try with spliters saved from the previous year's log, and must continue burning for twelve
hours for good luck. It should be made of ash.
Later, the Yule log was replace by the Yule tree, but instead of burning it, candles were lit on it.
The evergreen, holly and mistletoe all symbolized fertility and everlasting life. Winter, honours the
body sacredness, wisdom, strength, and the capacity to survive and renew/ rebirth.
It is where we remember to respect and honour the gift of life itself, especially in its material
blessings, and simple happinesses.
After the Christian takeover of the Yule traditions. the master of the house would place the
Yule log on the hearth, sprinkle the trunk with salt, oil and mulled wine, and make the
appropriate prayers. Sometimes young girls would have the privilege of lighting the log
with the splinters from previous years, sometimes the mother of the house had that
privilege. It was said that the cinders of the log would protect the house from lightening
and the malevolent powers of the devil.
In pre-historic times, winter was a very difficult time for Aboriginal people in the
northern latitudes. The growing season had ended and the tribe had to live off of
stored food and whatever animals they could catch. The people would be troubled
as the life-giving sun sank lower in the sky each noon. They feared that it would
eventually disappear and leave them in permanent darkness and extreme cold.
After the winter solstice, they would have reason to celebrate as they saw the sun
rising and strengthening once more.
There have been many and varied rituals and celebrations formed over the centuries
in connection with these times of year. I encourage you to either use these, or form
your own traditions which are meaningful to you. There is no one tradition that is more
holy, righteous, or "correct" than others. Rituals are designed to pass on from one
generation to the next the values and beliefs that are important to you. As such, you
are entitled to celebrate that which brings you joy, happiness, and communicates a
sense of hope and connection to the next generation.
The word Yule comes from the Germanic "yula" meaning "wheel", the wheel of
life, represented by the changing seasons and the cycle of light and darkness,
death and birth. It is a time of celebration that, though we have reached the
lowest, darkest time, things are looking up, starting over. It is a time of great
hope and joy, no matter what your personal spiritual beliefs are.
Yule incense and oils appropriate to this time of year: rosemary, myrrh, nutmeg, saffron,
cedar/pine, wintergreen, ginger, bayberry.
Religious folk worldwide observe many seasonal days of celebration during the month of December. Most are religious holy days, and are linked in some way to the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. On that day, due to the earth's tilt on its axis, the daytime hours are at a minimum in the Northern hemisphere, and night time is at a maximum. (In the southern hemisphere, the summer solstice is celebrated in December, when the night time is at a minimum and the daytime is at a maximum. We will assume that the reader lives in the Northern hemisphere for the rest of this essay.)
People view other religions in various ways, and thus treat the celebrations of other faiths differently:
|Some people value the range of December celebrations, because it is evidence of diversity of belief within our common humanity. They respect both their own religious traditions and those of other faiths for their ability to inspire people to lead more ethical lives. Religious diversity is to them a positive influence.
|Others reject the importance of all celebrations other than the holy day recognized by their own religion. Some even reject their religion's holy days which are seen to have Pagan origins (e.g. Easter and Christmas).
|Some view other religions as being inspired by Satan. Thus the solstice celebrations of other religions are rejected because they are seen to be Satanic in origin.|
The seasons of the year are caused by the 23.5© tilt of the earth's axis. Because the earth is rotating like a top or gyroscope, it points in a fixed direction continuously -- towards a point in space near the North Star. But the earth is also revolving around the sun. During half of the year, the southern hemisphere is more exposed to the sun than is the northern hemisphere. During the rest of the year, the reverse is true. At noontime in the Northern Hemisphere the sun appears high in the sky during summertime and low in the sky during winter. The time of the year when the sun reaches its maximum elevation occurs on the day with the greatest number of daylight hours. This is called the summer solstice, and is typically on JUN-21 in the Northern Hemisphere -- the first day of summer. "Solstice" is derived from two Latin words: "sol" meaning sun, and "sistere," to cause to stand still. The lowest elevation occurs about DEC-21 and is the winter solstice -- the first day of winter, when the night time hours are maximum.
In pre-historic times, winter was a very difficult time for Aboriginal people in the northern latitudes. The growing season had ended and the tribe had to live off of stored food and whatever animals they could catch. The people would be troubled as the life-giving sun sank lower in the sky each noon. They feared that it would eventually disappear and leave them in permanent darkness and extreme cold. After the winter solstice, they would have reason to celebrate as they saw the sun rising and strengthening once more. Although many months of cold weather remained before spring, they took heart that the return of the warm season was inevitable. The concept of birth and or death/rebirth became associated with the winter solstice. The Aboriginal people had no elaborate instruments to detect the solstice. But they were able to notice a slight elevation of the sun's path within a few days after the solstice -- perhaps by DEC-25. Celebrations were often timed for about the 25th.
|ANCIENT BRAZIL: Brazilian archeologists have found an assembly of 127 granite blocks arranged equidistant from each other. They apparently form an ancient astronomical observatory. One of the stones marked the position of the sun at the time of the winter solstice and were probably used in religious rituals. 20
|ANCIENT EGYPT: The god-man/savior Osiris died and was entombed on DEC-21. "At midnight, the priests emerged from an inner shrine crying 'The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing" and showing the image of a baby to the worshipers." 1
|ANCIENT GREECE: The winter solstice ritual was called Lenaea, the Festival of the Wild Women. In very ancient times, a man representing the harvest god Dionysos was torn to pieces and eaten by a gang of women on this day. Later in the ritual, Dionysos would be reborn as a baby. By classical times, the human sacrifice had been replaced by the killing of a goat. The women's role had changed to that of funeral mourners and observers of the birth.
|ANCIENT ROME: Saturnalia began as a feast day for Saturn on DEC-17 and of Ops (DEC-19). About 50 BCE, both were later converted into two day celebrations. During the Empire, the festivals were combined to cover a full week: DEC-17 to 23.
By the third century CE, there were many religions and spiritual mysteries being followed within the Roman Empire. Many, if not most, celebrated the birth of their god-man near the time of the solstice. Emperor Aurelian (270 to 275 CE) blended a number of Pagan solstice celebrations of the nativity of such god-men/saviors as Appolo, Attis, Baal, Dionysus, Helios, Hercules, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, and Theseus into a single festival called the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun" on DEC-25. At the time, Mithraism and Christianity were fierce competitors. Aurelian had even declared Mithraism the official religion of the Roman Empire in 274 CE. Christianity won out by becoming the new official religion in the 4th century CE.
|ATHEISTS: There has been a recent increase in solstice observances by Atheists in the U.S. For example, The American Atheists and local Atheist groups have organized celebrations for 2000-DEC, including the Great North Texas Infidel Bash in Weatherford TX; Winter Solstice bash in Roselle NJ; Winter Solstice Parties in York PA, Boise ID, North Bethesda MD, and Des Moines IA; Winter Solstice Gatherings in Phoenix AZ and Denver CO: a Year End Awards and Review Dinner (YEAR) in San Francisco, CA.
|BUDDHISM: On DEC-8, or on the Sunday immediately preceding, Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day (a.k.a. Rohatsu). It recalls the day in 596 BCE, when the Buddha achieved enlightenment. He had left his family and possessions behind at the age of 29, and sought the meaning of life -- particularly the reasons for its hardships. He studied under many spiritual teachers without success. Finally, he sat under a pipal tree and vowed that he would stay there until he found what he was seeking. On the morning of the eighth day, he realized that everyone suffers due to ignorance. But ignorance can be overcome through the Eightfold Path that he advocated. This day is generally regarded as the birth day of Buddhism. Being an Eastern tradition, Bodhi Day has none of the associations with the solstice and seasonal changes found in other religious observances at this time of year. However, it does signify the point in time when the Buddha achieved enlightenment and escaped the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth through reincarnation -- themes that are observed in other religions in December.
|CHRISTIANITY: Any record of the date of birth of Yeshua of Nazareth (later known as Jesus Christ) has been lost. There is sufficient evidence in the Gospels to indicate that Yeshua was born in the fall, but this seems to have been unknown to early Christians. By the beginning of the 4th century CE, there was intense interest in choosing a day to celebrate Yeshua's birthday. The western church leaders selected DEC-25 because this was already the date recognized throughout the Roman Empire as the birthday of various Pagan gods. 1,2 Since there was no central Christian authority at the time, it took centuries before the tradition was universally accepted:
Many symbols and practices associated with Christmas are of Pagan origin: holly, ivy, mistletoe, yule log, the giving of gifts, decorated evergreen tree, magical reindeer, etc. Polydor Virgil, a 15th century British Christian, said "Dancing, masques, mummeries, stageplays, and other such Christmas disorders now in use with Christians, were derived from these Roman Saturnalian and Bacchanalian festivals; which should cause all pious Christians eternally to abominate them." In Massachusetts, Puritans unsuccessfully tried to ban Christmas entirely during the 17th century, because of its heathenism. The English Parliament abolished Christmas in 1647. Some contemporary Christian faith groups do not celebrate Christmas. Included among these was the Worldwide Church of God (before its recent conversion to Evangelical Christianity) and the Jehovah's Witnesses.
|DRUIDISM: Druids and Druidesses formed the professional class in ancient Celtic society. They performed the functions of modern day priests, teachers, ambassadors, astronomers, genealogists, philosophers, musicians, theologians, scientists, poets and judges. Druids led all public rituals, which were normally held within fenced groves of sacred trees. The solstice is the time of the death of the old sun and the birth of the dark-half of the year. It was called "Alban Arthuan by the ancient Druids. It is the end of month of the Elder Tree and the start of the month of the Birch. The three days before Yule is a magical time. This is the time of the Serpent Days or transformation...The Elder and Birch stand at the entrance to Annwn or Celtic underworld where all life was formed. Like several other myths they guard the entrance to the underworld. This is the time the Sun God journey's thru the underworld to learn the secrets of death and life. And bring out those souls to be reincarnated." 14 A modern-day Druid, Amergin Aryson, has composed a Druidic ritual for the Winter Solstice. 15
|INCA RELIGION: The ancient Incas celebrated a festival if Inti Raymi at the time of the Winter Solstice. Since the Inca Empire was mainly south of the equator, the festival was held in June. It celebrates "the Festival of the Sun where the god of the Sun, Wiracocha, is honored." 16 Ceremonies were banned by the Roman Catholic conquistadores in 1572 century as part of their forced conversions of the Inca people to Christianity. A local group of Quecia Indians in Cusco, Peru revived the festival in 1944. It is now a major festival which begins in Cusco and proceeds to an ancient amphitheater a few miles away.
|IRAN: Shabe-Yalda (a.k.a. Shab-e Yaldaa) is celebrated in Iran by followers of many religions. It originated in Zoroastrianism, the state religion which preceded Islam. The name refers to the birthday or rebirth of the sun. People gather at home around a korsee -- a low square table -- all night. They tell stories and read poetry. They eat watermelons, pomegranates and a special dried fruit/nut mix. Bonfires are lit outside. 17
|ISLAM: During the period 1997 to 1999, the first day of the Islamic lunar month of Ramadan occurred in December. The nominal dates were 1997-DEC-31, 1998-DEC-20 and 1999-DEC-9. The actual date for the start of Ramadan depends upon the sighting of the crescent moon, and thus can be delayed by a few days from the nominal date. This is the holiest period in the Islamic year. It honors the lunar month in which the Qura'n was revealed by God to humanity. "It is during this month that Muslims observe the Fast of Ramadan. Lasting for the entire month, Muslims fast during the daylight hours and in the evening eat small meals and visit with friends and family. It is a time of worship and contemplation. A time to strengthen family and community ties." 4
Because Ramadan is part of a lunar-based calendar, it starts about 11 days earlier each year. In the year 2000, the nominal date will be NOV-27. Ramadan is thus not associated with the winter solstice as are other religious celebrations. It is just by coincidence that it has occurred during December in recent years.
|JUDAISM: Jews celebrate an 8 day festival of Hanukkah, (a.k.a. Feast of Lights, Festival of lights, Feast of Dedication, Chanukah, Chanukkah, Hanukah). It recalls the war fought by the Maccabees in the cause of religious freedom. Antiochus, the king of Syria, conquered Judea in the 2nd century BCE. He terminated worship in the Temple and stole the sacred lamp, the menorah, from before the altar. At the time of the solstice, they rededicated the Temple to a Pagan deity. Judah the Maccabee lead a band of rebels, and succeeding in retaking Jerusalem. They restored the temple and lit the menorah. It was exactly three years after the flame had been extinguished -- at the time of the Pagan rite.
Although they had found only sufficient consecrated oil to last for 24 hours, the flames burned steadily for eight days. "Today's menorahs have nine branches; the ninth branch is for the shamash, or servant light, which is used to light the other eight candles. People eat potato latkes, exchange gifts, and play dreidel games. And as they gaze at the light of the menorah, they give thanks for the miracle in the Temple long ago." 5
Modern-day Jews celebrate Hanukkah by lighting one candle for each of the eight days of the festival. Once a minor festival, it has been growing in importance in recent years, perhaps because of the pressure of Christmas.
|NATIVE AMERICAN SPIRITUALITY:
|NEOPAGANISM: This is a group of religions which are attempted re-creations of ancient Pagan religions. Of these, Wicca is the most common; it is loosely based on ancient Celtic beliefs and practices. Wiccans recognize eight seasonal days of celebration. Four are minor sabbats and occur at the two solstices and the two equinoxes. The other are major sabbats which happen approximately halfway between an equinox and solstice. The winter solstice sabbat is often called Yule. It is a time for introspection, and planning for the future. Wiccans may celebrate the Sabbat on the evening before the time of the actual solstice, at sunrise on the morning of the solstice, or at the exact time of the astronomical event.
Monotheistic religions, like Judaism, Christianity and Islam, tend to view time as linear. It started with creation; the world as we know it will end at some time in the future. Aboriginal and Neopagan religions see time as circular and repetitive, with lunar (monthly) and solar (yearly) cycles. Their "...rituals guarantee the continuity of nature's cycles, which traditional human societies depend on for their sustenance." 8
|NEOLITHIC EUROPE: Many remains of ancient stone structures can be found in Europe dating back many millennia. Some appear to have religious/astronomical purposes; others are burial tombs. These structures were built before writing was developed. One can only speculate on the significance of the winter solstice to the builders. Two examples of passage tombs are:
|VAMPYRES: We use the term "vampyres" to refer to real individuals who have a need to ingest small quantities of blood in order to maintain their strength. They are often confused with those to which we refer as vampires -- imaginary beings who exist only in religious legends, creative fiction and horror movies. Vampyres celebrate "the Long Night," a festival at the Winter Solstice. Many groups of vampyres gather together at this time to celebrate. "It is a festival of community where everyone relaxes and socializes. It is also the traditional night to recognize new members of the community or a coven, or to perform rites of passage." 18|
I really appreciate this article Sonja.....something I can teach my two youngest.... and I learned several things as well!I knew that most of our Holidays came from the Pagans.The Catholic church used this method to make it easier to convert Pagans to Christianity/Catholicism.But-wow....loved the Buddhist one(love Buddhism)-we'll have to research this one more:)Thank You!
Love To You Dear Sister!
Thank you, Angela and SohiniBen :-)
Here's an article I found at Wise Witches' Society:
Posted by Lady Genevieve on December 2, 2011 at 3:00am
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Yule celebrates the rebirth of the Sun, the Sun God, and honors the Horned God. Yule is the longest night of the year, when balance is suspended and then gives way to the coming light. It is a time to look on the past year's achievements and to celebrate with family and friends. In ancient times, the Winter Solstice corresponded with the Roman Saturnalia (Dec. 17-24), pagan fertility rites, and various rites of Sun worship. This day is the official first day of winter. The Goddess gives birth to the Sun Child and hope for new light is born. The origins of most of the Christian Christmas traditions come from the Pagan Yule celebration, such as the Christmas tree, the colors red and green and gift giving. Yule is also known as the Winter Solstice, Midwinter, Alban Arthan, Finn's Day, Festival of Sol, Yuletide, Great Day of the Cauldron, and Festival of Growth.
At the Winter Solstice, the two God-themes of the year's cycle coincide. Yule, which according to the Venerable Bede, comes from the Norse Iul meaning "wheel", marks the vanquishing of the Holly King (Dionysus), God of the Waning Year, by the Oak King (Apollo), God of the Waxing Year. The Goddess, who was Death-in-Life at Midsummer, now shows her Life-in-Death aspect; for although at this season she is the "leperous-white lady", the Queen of the cold Darkness, yet this is her moment for giving birth to the Child of Promise, the Son-Lover who will re-fertilize her and bring back light and warmth to her kingdom.
An extraordinarily persistent version of the Holly King/Oak King theme at the Winter Solstice is the ritual hunting and killing of the wren - a folklore tradition found as far apart in time and space as ancient Greece and Rome and today's British Isles. The wren, "little king" of the Waning Year, is killed by his counterpart, the robin redbreast, who finds him hiding in as ivy bush (or sometimes in Ireland in a holly bush, as befits the Holly King). The robin's tree is the birch, which follows the Winter Solstice in the Celtic Tree calendar. In the acted-out ritual, men hunted and killed the wren with birch rods.
There is an ancient Egyptian ritual involving Isis and Osiris, and his brother/enemy Set, who kills Osiris and is driven away by the shaking of Isis' sistrum, to bring about Osiris' rebirth. For the festival, people decorated the outside of their houses with oil-lamps that burned all night. At midnight, the priests emerged from an inner shrine crying, "The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing!" and showing the image of a baby to the worshipers. Osiris and Horus, his son/other-self, represent at the same time the solar and vegetation God-aspects; Horus is both the Sun reborn (the Greeks identified him with Apollo) and "Lord of the Crops". The lamps burning all night on the eve on Midwinter survive, in Ireland and elsewhere, as the single candle burning in the window on Christmas Eve, lit by the youngest in the house, and as the modern lights that are strung on the outside of houses.
Placing cakes in the boughs of the oldest apple trees in the orchard and pouring on cider, as a libation was an old pagan Yuletide custom practiced in England, and known as "Wassailing the Orchard Trees". It was said that the cider was a substitute for the human or animal blood offered in primitive times as part of a Winter Solstice Fertility Rite. After offering a toast to the health of the apple trees and giving thanks to them for producing fruit, the farmers would then enjoin the trees continue producing abundance.
Holly, Ivy, and Yule Decor
At Yuletide, the Elder Heathens decorated their homes with ivy, holly, and boughs of evergreens. Ribbons were also used and the entire home covered with garlands and wreathes. Modern Heathen should do not less in an attempt to capture the Yuletide spirit. Below are three of the more common house decorations. Yule Tree: The tradition of the Yule tree comes from Germany. Originally, it is believed the trees were decorated outside and gifts left for the land wights. This custom can still be observed in other parts of Northern Europe. With Christianity, the trees were brought inside to hide from the church. Modern Heathen trees can be decorated with Heathen symbols as well as the commercial lights, glitter, and ornaments. If one wants they can decorate a tree outside instead as the Heathens of old did. Yule Wreaths: Modern tradition uses a Yule wreath at the Mothers' Night symbol as an oath ring. This wreath is oathed upon as well as wished upon, and then burned at the Twelfth Night blot. Therefore these wreathes are best made out of natural substances such as cedar branches. Other wreathes can be used as decorations around the house. Lights: In the more northern countries, Lucy Day, which was a festival of lights, is celebrated and seems an ancient holiday in connection with Yule. Candles, torches, and other forms of light were left burning to light up the night skies. Today we can use electric lights for the same purpose.
Morris dancing, particularly the variety consisting of swordplay also took place during the Yuletide. Morris dancing to quote Linetwigle of the Ealdriht in her paper, Dance in Northern Tradition consisted of "stamping, leaping and hopping, rapping of swords or planting rods against the ground (these denoting a connection to fertility of the land), and the wearing of bells, plus a plethora of regional variations." Morris dancing also consisted of blackening of the faces (as did often mumming and hoodening) to either scare off evil spirits, or to mock the Wild Hunt. YULE LOG The tradition of using a Yule Log today varies greatly depending on where you live and your own personal tradition of magickal and spiritual practice. Some people have fireplaces or even traditional hearths and are able to carry on the practice in the same way that many of our ancestors may have done it. But for those that are urban Pagans, living in apartments without fireplaces, or who may not be comfortable using a fireplace even if they have one, the tradition has evolved and some permanent or reusable Yule Logs are becoming more common. These consist of a log of a specific type of wood, decorated with greens, fruits, and pine cones, and then candles are placed on top and burned instead of the log itself. Basic practice of old was that a selected log was kept in the home throught out the year atop the mantle.During specific happy occasions such as birthdays,births,and various other occasions,ribbons and cards,other decorations would be placed on the log throughout the year.During Yule,the log would be lit in celebration and honor of the beliefs and tradions and would be looked back upon for all of the many good things that had happened throughout the year and the many blessings of the new to come.
Few holiday traditions have endured as long or seen so many variations as that of wassailing. Its origins are unknown, but it is mentioned in texts dating as far back as the Fourteenth Century. In one such text, the leader of a group took a bowl and, raising it to the crowd, shouted "Wassail!" an Old English term meaning "to your health There are three variations of the wassailing. One is the filling of a common bowl or cup, often referred to by ancient clergy as the Loving Cup, which was passed around a room to be shared by all. Another variation calls for the bowl to be taken to each individual house, so that neighbors might partake of the wassail as friends. The third is a celebration of the apple harvest and the blessing of the fruit
Unfortunately, most people have never tasted a true old-fashioned mincemeat pie (also called mince pie). The flavor of real mince meat pie (not the bottled version purchased at your local store) is sort of like a Middle Eastern mixture of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Mincemeat developed as a way of preserving meat without salting or smoking some 500 years ago in England, where mince pies are still considered an essential accompaniment to holiday dinners just like the traditional plum pudding. This pie is a remnant of a medieval tradition of spiced meat dishes, usually minced mutton.
Today, we are accustomed to eating mince pie as a dessert, but actually "minced" pie and its follow-up "mincemeat pie" began as a main course dish with with more meat than fruit (a mixture of meat, dried fruits, and spices).Traditional mincemeat pie contains shredded meat and suet along with fruits and spices and cooks for hours. As fruits and spices became more plentiful in the 17th century, the spiciness of the pies increased accordingly.The pie has been served at royal tables and, at one time, was banned by the Puritans since it was a symbol of the Pagan Yule celebration. It was said that eating mince meat pie would bring bountifulness for the upcoming coming year and that if you ate mince meat pie for each of the twelve days at a different neighbors house that you would have success immeasurable.
Mistletoe is especially interesting botanically because it is a partial parasite (a "hemiparasite"). As a parasitic plant, it grows on the branches or trunk of a tree and actually sends out roots that penetrate into the tree and take up nutrients. But mistletoe is also capable for growing on its own; like other plants it can produce its own food by photosynthesis. Mistletoe, however, is more commonly found growing as a parasitic plant. There are two types of mistletoe. The mistletoe that is commonly used as a Christmas decoration (Phoradendron flavescens) is native to North America and grows as a parasite on trees in the west as also in those growing in a line down the east from New Jersey to Florida. The other type of mistletoe, Viscum album, is of European origin. The European mistletoe is a green shrub with small, yellow flowers and white, sticky berries which are considered poisonous. It commonly seen on apple but only rarely on oak trees. The rarer oak mistletoe was greatly venerated by the ancient Celts and Germans and used as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans. The Greeks and earlier peoples thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs.
Herbs of Yule: Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.
Foods of Yule: Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).
Incense of Yule: Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.
Colors of Yule: Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange
Stones of Yule: Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.
Spellworkings of Yule: Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.
Deities of Yule: Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon,Albina (Tuscan), Angerona (Roman), Anna Perenna (Roman), Fortuna (Roman), Gaia (Greek), Grian (Irish), Heket (Egyptian), Isis (Egyptian), Kefa (Egyptian), Lucina (Roman), Persephone (Greek), Rhiannon (Welsh
Traditional Mincemeat Pie
1 1/4 pounds round steak, cut into small pieces
1 cup apple cider
4 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and finely diced
1 1/3 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups dried currants
2 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 pound chopped candied mixed fruit peel
1/2 cup butter
1 (16 ounce) jar sour cherry preserves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (16 ounce) can pitted sour cherries, drained with liquid reserved
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a Dutch oven, combine beef and apple cider. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until meat is tender. Remove meat and coarsely chop, then return it to the pot.
Stir in chopped apples, sugar, currants, raisins, citrus peel, butter and cherry preserves. Add ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Let simmer, uncovered, over low heat until mixture is very thick, about 90 minutes. Stir in cherries and remove from heat.
Refrigerate tightly covered for at least a week before using.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Put filling in unbaked pie shell and place pastry on top. Crimp edges and poke several holes in top pastry. Brush top with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
The Solstice - Horus & Jesus
The Sun-God Horus was worshipped nearly 1,000 years before the story of Jesus. The below information is fascinating, disputed by most Christian leaders but accredited by many historians. Edgar Cayce did report that the bible was 'changed' at the Council of Nicea in 237 AD. This is widely believed to have been done in order to enable the Roman political powers to have a wider political reach to super-cede the religious concepts of the Greek Pagan & Egyptian deities and coincide with noted days of religious observance. It is also well known that many 'Sacred Sites' of ancient religion had temples removed and cathedrals constructed over them. The bible does not mention a birth-date for Jesus, but it is interesting to note that the early Political Christian movement placed it on the December solstice.
Use your discretion in reviewing these interesting parallels:
Horus & Jesus - The Striking Parallels
1.Both were conceived of a virgin.
2.Both were the "only begotten son" of a God, Osiris & Yahweh.
3.Horus's mother was Meri, Jesus's mother was Mary.
4.Horus's foster father was called Jo-Seph, and Jesus's foster father was Joseph.
5.Both foster fathers were of royal descent.
6.Both were born in a cave (although sometimes Jesus is said to have been born in a stable).
7.Both had their coming announced to their mother by an angel.
Horus; birth was heralded by the star Sirius (the morning star). Jesus had his birth heralded by a star in the East (the sun rises in the East).
8.Ancient Egyptians celebrated the birth of Horus on December 21 (the Winter Solstice). Modern Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. Some scholars however, believe that the solltice occurred on Dec 25th in ancient calendars....which if true combines and aligns the dates.
9.Both births were announced by angels ..
10.Both had shepherds witnessing the birth.
11.Horus was visited at birth by "three solar deities" and Jesus was visited by "three wise men".
12.After the birth of Horus, Herut tried to have the god child Horus murdered. After the birth of Jesus, Herod tried to have Jesus murdered.
13.To hide from Herut, the god That tells Isis, "Come, thou goddess Isis, hide thyself with thy child." To hide from Herod, an angel tells Joseph to "arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt."
14.When Horus came of age, he had a special ritual where his '3rd Eye' was restored. When Jesus (and other Jews) come of age, they have a special wisdom ritual called a Bar Mitzvah.
15.Both Horus and Jesus were 12 at this coming-of-age ritual.
Neither have any official recorded life histories between the ages of 12 and 30.
16.Horus was baptized in the river Eridanus. Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan.
17.Both were baptized at age 30.
18.Horus was baptized by Anup the Baptizer. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
19.Both Anup and John were later beheaded.
20.Horus was taken from the desert of Amenta up a high mountain to be tempted by his arch-rival Set. Jesus was taken from the desert in Palestine up a high mountain to be tempted by his arch-rival Satan.
21.Both Horus and Jesus successfully resist this dark power (duality) temptation.
22.Both have 12 disciples.
23.Both walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, and restored sight to the blind.
24.Horus "stilled the sea by his power." Jesus commanded the sea to be still by saying, "Peace, be still."
25.Horus raised his dead father (Osiris) from the grave. Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. (Note the similarity in names when you say them out loud. Further, Osiris was also known as Asar, which is El-Asar in Hebrew, which is El-Asarus in Latin.)
26.Osiris was raised in the town of Anu. Lazarus was raised in Bethanu (literally, "house of Anu").
27.Both delivered a 'Sermon on the Mount'.
28.Both were crucified.
29.Both were crucified next to two thieves.
30.Both were buried in a tomb.
31.Horus was sent to Hell and resurrected in 3 days. Jesus was sent to Hell and came back "three days" later (although Friday night to Sunday morning is hardly three days).
32.Both had their resurrection announced by women.
33.Both are supposed to return for a 1000-year reign.
34.Horus is known as KRST, the anointed one. Jesus was known as the Christ (which means "anointed one").
35.Both Jesus and Horus have been called the good shepherd, the lamb of God, the bread of life, the son of man, the Word, the fisher, and the winnower.
36.Both are associated with the zodiac sign of Pisces (the fish).
37.Both are associated with the symbols of the fish, the beetle, the vine, and the shepherd's crook.
38.Horus was born in Anu ("the place of bread") and Jesus was born in Bethlehem ("the house of bread").
39."The infant Horus was carried out of Egypt to escape the wrath of Typhon. The infant Jesus was carried into Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod. Concerning the infant Jesus, the New Testament states the following prophecy: 'Out of Egypt have I called my son.'"
40.Both were transfigured on the mount.
41.The catacombs of Rome have pictures of the infant Horus being held by his mother, not unlike the modern-day images of "Madonna and Child."
Noted English author C. W. King says that both Isis and Mary are called "Immaculate".
42.Horus says: "Osiris, I am your son, come to glorify your soul, and to give you even more power." And Jesus says: "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once."
43. Horus was identified with the Tau (cross).
Fascinating similarities have been identified between these two, however some of the similarities are considered debatable. Although some academics argue the interpretations & authenticity of some, but not all of these interesting parallels. And of course, most orthodox religions deny them outright. None the less, this is quite thought-provocative & fascinating !