For my final journal entry on Yule… It’s going to be a bit different. Less clinical, less step by step. Let’s just talk. Pull up a chair.
The penultimate night of Yule, “Bringing In The Boar” as it were, was celebrated in our home simply and without terribly much fanfare. We ate good food, we played fun games, we spent intimate time with our loved ones, family and friends all. The final night, the Twelfth Night, New Year’s Eve here in the USA… I mostly slept. I just felt so drained. I was exhausted from the cold and the rain and all the commotion around the holidays (Christmas and NYE in the same week? Woof!) and my body just couldn’t take it. So I hibernated deep that one day.
Today I awoke. I was refreshed. I felt eager to enjoy the sun, to enjoy myself, and take time in full to perform a full Core Order ritual looking back on the year, looking back on the twelve nights, thanking and honoring The Kindreds, calling for omens and blessings, and closing the year properly with a full, proper rite.
This was my first year performing a full, nightly Yule celebration with set rituals and offerings for each night. It was at times tiring and many times very enchanting. It was my first season taking great care to wave goodbye to Belenus on his long journey, and waking up early to welcome him back. It was my first season acquiring special holiday decor for a home altar, acquiring special offerings for the occasion, and gathering special gifts and extra special warm thanks for my new friends here on Earth (and all around).
I’ve not… Honestly unpacked all my feelings about celebrating a full twelve nights of Yule. I am certain that I am happy I did it, however, and that I want next year to be better prepared. I came with a book of maps this year, but next year the faintest of footpaths may be found from whence I came the year prior.
Also this past year. I don’t quite have the mental energy to talk on it. It’s been a hell of a thing… For me and for so many others. I’m certain I’ll have more eloquent words to speak on all that a little later on (I’m looking at you February).
And so we come to the omens. As the crown of my Twelfth Night ritual I called upon each of the Kindreds to channel insight through the runes, to share words of wisdom that I might keep in my breast for the new year.
The Mighty Dead spoke through Mannaz, the Man. Mannaz calling out from the voices of the dead, particularly this year, is starting the show with a show stopper. The Man is tied to the self, to the hearts that surround us in kinship, the concept of mortality, and the threads of fate. To hear the Mighty Dead cry Mannaz is inspirational and cautionary. I must be good to myself. I must take care, focus on my well-being, focus on my health and life. Too I must look to my brothers and sisters around me. Those seeking an arm, or a kind word, or otherwise. I must strengthen my respect and understanding of mortality. I am neither a child nor am I an elder, but death is ever so much more on the tongues of my peers and I still have a… Great fear surrounding loss. I must also pay close attention the threads woven by my ancestors. To learn more about the dead of my blood that lie beyond what I know.
Mannaz is loaded with power tonight.
The creature spirits and nature-kin brought me Laguz, the water. Laguz has been a rune that has carried me along for much of the past year. Laguz bends like the river, and too must I flow ever forward out to the sea, changing course and flowing around stone and bend.
Last, but not least, the Great Gods and Goddesses, the First Children, spoke Tiwaz. I felt as if this rune had never shouted from the altar at me before. It looked so foreign, yet it feels familiar. Named after the god Tyr, it is Justice. It is the power of guidance and law.
In it’s totality, the closing omens for Yule call on persistence, flexibility, sureness of the health of self, and a focus on the exchange of guidance and knowledge with my brethren that we might find power and order in the coming year, while acknowledging and better understanding the ways of sustaining life and knowing death.
It’s easy for me to see these omens, exhale deeply, and say something along the lines of “This year is going to be for real, isn’t it?” and it very well may be. But even the most serious year of hard work and intense emotion can have rest and levity. Perhaps I will find a way to be more vigilant for moments of calm and joy instead of associating effort with exhaustion all the more.
I hope your winter holiday was wonderful, friends. I hope the turning of the year found you well and, if you resolve to change for the coming days, remember to elevate yourself as well as others.