December 29, 2016 – Honoring All The Gods

On ths evening, when ten lights of Yule shine bright, we honor the great multitude of mighty stars that glow high above. The Mother’s First Children, all the great Gods and Goddesses. There are many of us who call to and listen for the Shining Ones, and a great deal of of serve a great diversity of Gods. Where the ninth night was devoted by the specific Gods who frequent our home, the tenth is in honor of all the Gods and Goddesses.

The fire is lit, ten candles sparked from it’s light.

On this, the tenth night, we honor the Gods.

To the Shining Ones!

First Children! Most Noble!

Praise be to you!

You have offered us knowledge, vision, healing, and grace, when we were weak and in need.

We bring you offering of Wine, that you may share in our joy.

Wine is poured into the offering bowl.

We bring you water, that you may be nourished as you have us.

Water is poured into the offering bowl.

We bring you words of love, as you have loved us so.

Thanks and heartfelt love are expressed.

May the gifts we give honor the gifts we have been given.

Shining Ones, accept our offerings!

December 28, 2016 – Honoring Our Patron Gods

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There are only three nights of Yule remaining. Nine candles dance at the front of the altar, casting bright lights to dance off the icons of this home’s Patronesses. While the dead and the breath of nature are all integral to the health and power of every Druid, our relationship with the Gods is one of the most if not the most special bond we hold in our practice. This ninth night of Yule is dedicated to honoring the Goddesses of our home and thanking them for the great words and deeds they have exchanged with us this year.

The intimacy of this bond led me to a ritual slightly different than the previous nights. The candles were lit and I just read to them in turn, from an earlier prepared script, detailing my sincere emotions about knowing each of them…

Artio. You were the first to call to me. You came through the hands of a dear friend and have been beside me ever since. You have been a fast friend, a kind mother, and a fierce guide. I’ve felt your heart, heard your voice, the warm trickle of blood rent from your savage claws. My love for you is so deep and should our paths ever part, I’ll forever carry your blood within me.

Nantosuelta, Lady of the stream, friend of Raven and Hive. Where a bear may feast, a raven may crow. I was led to you on my journey, following a trail of black feathers, mischievous song, and bird houses…. So many bird houses. You have been a welcome ally in our home, ensuring a purity of being and lending the aid of your flock to guide visitations between the realms.

Nehalennia. You are the latest to sit at our altar. Our meeting was long overdue, the ocean a forest long ignored by my fool, longing heart. When I felt the courage to pour my heart out at you, to surrender myself to the beauty over which you survey, your voice finally came to me. And it echoed again and again, louder and louder. I could have never assumed that your guiding light might find its way to the heart of our home altar, but here we are. I thank you for your protection in all my travels and treasure our moments together where the sea strikes the sand.

Also too I would give honor to Sucellus and Belenus. You both have been kind to us this year and hope to know you better in the coming days. Too, love goes to the many Gods and Goddesses we honored in this year’s Grove rights.

December 27, 2016 – Celebrating the Evergreen

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We have arrived on the eighth night and on this night we sing the praises of the robust Evergreen. In the east and west both, the mighty Evergreen stand in summer lights and in the darkest and longest nights. A boon to animal and man in the cold winter, these robust Evergreen are a mighty symbol of immortality and renewal.

On this day we honor the great spirit of the Evergreen, which will stand forever between the waters and the stars, a great spirit of health and well-being in this dark time of the year.

We light the lantern, touching eight candles of Yule with the sacred flame.

Evergreen, we honor you on this eighth night of Yule!
With perseverance you grow, in the face of overwhelming obstacles,
in circumstances that make you stronger,
you transcend the odds, rising in strength,
renewing after every dark night.
Teach us, by your everlasting presence,
to persevere through dark and cold,
to wait and weather the most furious storms,
to bloom ever-green and shining no matter the gloom of the sky.
Your power to harm and to heal are balanced within.
Teach us to balance within ourselves,
for our greater good and for the good of our tribes.
Evergreen, shining tree of wisdom and strength,
Accept our offering!

An offering of cool, clean water is given.

December 26, 2016 – A Celebration of Winter

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The days grow longer, the nights grow shorter. Winter is still very much upon us but as we dance and celebrate the return of the Sun to the skies, so does the Goddess of Winter, for His light melts her beautiful snow and ice, returning the water to the cold where She reigns, coloring the mountaintops with sparkling white that he might, again, cast his light upon in their dance… All while the Earthmother slumbers in the cold.

On this night we honor the hag of white, Callieach Bheara, who strikes the earth to ice with her ancient staff. She who is most ancient. She who cavorts playfully upon the peaks even here, where the ocean resists her hoary touch, where the warmth of spring rules near endlessly even on the longest nights. Still, even though this place is not blanketed by your ice and snow, we still honor and respect your time of the year and we still feel your frigid winds on late nights and early mornings.

The lantern is lit and seven candles of Yule are kissed by the holy flame.

White maiden, hag of many faces,
Callieach, we honor you.
You of ice and snow,
you, herald of Winter and mistress of the cold!
We honor you with wine and with praise.
With your icy breath and your frigid stave
you breathe white blankets over far fields,
blow cold wind down from the mountain’s peak,
storing the waters of the land as we wait for the return of Spring.
Starry skies reflect your light,
from tundra fields of sleeping earth,
keeping watch over all the land,
who sleeps beneath a quilt of snow.
Winter Goddess, we honor you.
Winter Goddess, accept our offerings!

An offering of wine is poured. (My hand slipped a bit during my giving so She got a little extra. Also I made a mess.)

December 25, 2016 – Honoring The Dead

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Today is an especially holy day for many people around the world. It is a day of rest and reflection, of celebrating the hard work done year round, harvesting the fruits of our labors.

Christmas day marks a day to enjoy merriment with co-workers, good cheer with friends, and opening gifts with family. It is also a special day for honoring the dead.

This day marks the halfway point of the Yule celebration. With six lights across the altar we give praise and thanks to the long line of our blood, those that came before. While we are but buds on the tip of a branch, the mighty dead of our line stretch infathomably deep, down down into the dark, cold waters below.

It is from that well from which we gather strength and glean wisdom, for even though their bodies have fallen their power is no less great.

While I am regrettably unfamiliar with many intimate details of my lineage (though I hope to make a project out of it next year) I do know of one great spirit whom I owe everything to. Honored Grandmother, great snow bear, Janet. While I knew not much of what you taught, much of what we saw, those creatures in the endless green, I still knew… Truly knew the power you planted inside me. That seed lay dormant for so long, a seed regrettably found only once you passed and then returned to speak.

I thank you for giving me my blood, for teaching me the ways of the wood, for showing me the magic of the streams, for planting the seed of faith inside me. I pray that my branches grow as mighty as yours, that another might find shelter beneath my bough.

I call the lantern to glow, and share it’s light with the first six candles of Yule upon the altar…

On this, the sixth night of Yule, the center of our celebration,
we pay honor to the Ancestors at the center of our practice, of our hearts, and of our homes.
Many of our beloved dead taught us to pray,
taught us to honor and love the Gods,
and built the foundation of our religious ideals.
We invite the mighty dead to join us by the fire and share in the bounty of this year,

An offering of adoration and thanks are given from the heart.

Honored guests in our home,
so many times have you hosted us in our youth and formative years,
hosted our Mothers and Fathers and their Mothers and Fathers,
and we are proud to host you in return.

Ancestors of Body, whose blood courses through our veins,
Ancestors of Heart, whose love has brought us healing
and helped us to thrive,
Ancestors of Wisdom, teachers and mentors,
Ancestors of Hearth, who taught us to pray,
Ancestors of the Household, who taught us to respect our guests
and to be good guests in our travels,

We give you honor and respect,
We give you comfort and welcome,
We give you thanks and praise,
This day and always.

Ancestors, accept our offerings!

Grandmother, without your guidance I would surely not find myself on this path today. I truly hope my paws may grow to fill the shapes you left in the snow that one magical night.

December 24, 2016 – Honoring the Housewights

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Tonight, when the fifth light is lit, we honor the spirits of the home. While we, man and animal both, inhabit this place we call home other spirits are just as alive within these four walls. The Housewights, the spirits of this place, are with us always, have been with others, and will be with those who set here when we should depart. They protect, bear ancient wisdom, and sometimes engage in a little light mischief. To honor the spirits of our home, whom we find often very joyous and playful, I prepared a humorous little poem just for them.

As always, the flame is lit, and the Yule candles brought to life in turn.

On this night the fifth candle is lit and we pay honor to you, kin of our home,
those beings who share this space with us, neighbors and friends all.
We honor you.
We have spent many years under this roof together.
You have heard our joys and triumphs.
You have witnessed our sorrows and pains.
You have heard our laughter and anger and prayers.
You have secreted away treasures in the dark, and left mischief.
You, dear house-kin, are family.
I have prepared a poem of mirth to share with you, in the spirit of the mischief and joy you bring to us.

The offering is given in a space set aside for them.

Tonight we honor you for the important place you hold in the home.
We share that you may know our heart’s fullness and that it might be worthy to fill this space in which you have long resided.
House-kin, accept our offerings.

December 23, 2016 – Honoring The Fathers

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Tonight the fourth light is kindled. On this night we give thanks to the fathers. Fatherhood has always been a difficult subject for me, personally. My birth father left me when I was very young and, growing up, I had several father figures who came and went. The one constant was my grandfather, husband to my grandmother. While relationships with whom I would call father indeed feel thin and incomplete, I have no less of an appreciation for those who take up the mantle. Any man can be as steel, but it takes fatherhood to temper a sword.

So on this night, honor and blessings be to the fathers. My fathers, my fathers’ fathers, and the fathers I learn and laugh with every day. All bear a strength and wisdom uniquely their own.

The lantern is lit, the flame springs alight once more, eager to spread the magic of Yule along the altar. Four candles flame and grow, spurred by the seed of the altar fire.

On this fourth night of Yule when the darkness begins to ebb once more,
we pay honor to those who stood beside us at our new beginnings,
who aided us in strength and in mind as we pursued our endeavors.
Tonight we honor the fathers of old.
Fathers of our lines, Fathers of our hearts,
Fathers of my Father’s Fathers, we invite you to our fire this day.
Those who celebrated our victories, those who brought determination,
those who continued to motivate us through trials,
those who kept our homes full of bread,
those who worked to make a future for us.
Ancient Fathers, we honor you.
Take these gifts.

An offering of bread is made.

May you be filled with the fruit of our labors as you taught us to labor for what we sought to build.
Ancient Fathers, accept our offerings.