30 Nov 2013

WW4BB Presents:13 Sacred Days & 12 Sacred Nights of yule

Posted by Amanda Masters on 11:39:00 pm

The 13 days of Yule are a Blessed Tradition in the Masters household, not only my kids look forward to it but my husband and I as well count down the days. it used to be that we dreaded the holidays, the rushing the present buying, and the worry of will we have enough. Not anymore (thank the Gods)all thanks to the our simple 13 days of Yule tradition. Now we look forward to the holidays with our family and friends and the children appreciate not only the gifts they receive but everything else they get to do.


last year I talked about our tradition so this year I wanted to talk more in depth about what the 13 days is all about and what the 12 nights signify to us!


Over the last couple of years I have also talked about other aspects of the Yule traditions that we incorporate like the Holy King and Oak King Battle, and the Yuletide Stories that we tell. 




13 Sacred Days & 12 Sacred Nights


The magickal – but also frightful season of deepest darkness starts in the Celtic tradition at Samhain and slightly earlier in the Nordic. During this supernatural season of Yuletide we walk between the worlds. The veil between the worlds is thin and all sorts of otherworldly beings roam the earth. The dead are allowed to return to earth and we may visit the Otherworld (careful!!). If we keep our senses sharp, we may encounter not only elves, trolls or ghosts, but also gods and goddesses.

Whereas the activities subside the closer we get to Yule / Winter Solstice, we may encounter many strange and wonderful beings again during the Twelve Nights of Solstice (Twelve Sacred Nights) or “Rauhnaechte” as we call them in German. Once more for the last time during this dark liminal season the activities of the otherworldly visitors increase.

The twelve nights, the “Twelve Sacred Nights of Yule” start with Mother's Night (December 24th) and are considered the “time between the years”, the difference of days between the lunar year and the solar year. As the old would end with Winter Solstice the New Year would only start at the end of the Rauhnaechte (January 6th). Truly a period that is timeless.    
The mysteries connected with this interval and their observation cannot only be traced back to Germanic and Norse cultures but also to customs in ancient  Rome (Mithras-cult) as well as in India, Japan and China.

The sun seems to be standing still; time seems to be standing still. The old is not yet gone, the new is not yet strong enough. The powers that propel the Wheel of the Year are getting manifested here. All is hurled around. Chaos is ruling. The nights are longest, way north the polar nights are ruling with seemingly everlasting darkness. This is the wolf’s time mentioned in the Edda, a particularly wild and frightening time filled with mystery and powerful magick.

Particularly during this time many old customs are still observed in Central Europe: Animals are believed to be able to talk.

Once more Odhin / Wotan rides the storm winds with his army of the dead. Wildness is rampant during these days when the sun has turned but the increasing light is not yet visible. The air is filled with the barking of His hounds, the whinnying of the horses and the cries of the Valkyries. Work has to be stopped - justice may not be administered, water may not be taken from wells, grain may not be thrashed, the house may not be cleaned or swept nor may any baking be done. Food is laid out to appease the wild travelers and to keep harm away.

The festivities and terrors last until the days are once more noticeably longer (January 6th). Then the Wotan and his wild horde will travel back into the mountains until next fall.

Mother Holle, who traveled the land in her own Wild Hunt during the dark time between Samhain and Yule in her aspect of Hel (germ./nord. Goddess of the Underworld) and who as such carried the souls of the yet unborn children, now travels the land once more in her aspect of Frigg (germ./nord. Goddess of Motherhood and family).

During Her time no laundry may be washed, hung or ironed. Other than cleansing people, house and animals profusely with incense, cleaning is not allowed. Holle is a stern goddess who makes sure that we live and grow according to our destination. She checks that everything is kept well in order. 

Even though She expects that us to work assiduously during the year, she now wants us to rest and contemplate on our destination and inner self. She makes sure that we keep to Her rules, distributing favours and punishment as She sees fit.

She appreciates small gifts and veneration though.

This quiet time of “stand still”, contemplation and divination ends on the 13th day (January 6th) with a wild celebration of Holle or Percht. After this She will return to her realm.

The nights are a magickal time for divination. The future of the coming months may be read, each month on the appropriate night. It is a mysterious time of listening to the whispers of the Runes and for dream working. Dreams are an ancient form of divination, of divining the divine will and receiving advice and guidance. Take your dream pillow and dream yourself into the coming year.

In this time when “the powers of light fight the powers of darkness” (myth of the Holly King & Oak King) we are sensitive and vulnerable as is the newborn light and need protection. We look back on the old and prepare for the new. We get together with neighbours and friends, cleanse our home spiritually and do our divinations for the coming year.



Literature (Yuletide):
                       
Diana Stein - Casting a Circle                                       
D.J. Conway - Moon Magick
P & Dan Campanelli - Ancient Ways pp 114 ff
P & Dan Campanelli - Wheel of the Year
Starhawk, Baker, Hill - Circle Round pp. 231 ff
G. Dunwich -    Wicca Craft, pp. 30/31
E. Hawke - In the Circle pp. 125 ff


The 12 days of Yule celebrates a
symbolic journey of the sun through the 12 months of the
coming year to help bring good tidings to all. Each of the
12 days of Yule represents one of the 12 upcoming months.
For each day, a candle is lit and we honour something for
which we are grateful in our lives. Each of the 12 days also
honours the houses of the zodiac into which the sun will
enter in the next year. The quality of each of these houses is
used as the subject of recognition for each of the 12 days.
The following is a list of the houses of the zodiac and their
correspondences.

1st House = self
2nd House = possessions
3rd House = communication or place
4th House = home
5th House = pleasure and creativity
6th House = health
7th House = partnerships or loved ones
8th House = change or cycles
9th House = philosophy or learning
10th House = career or life path
11th House = friendships
12th House = the subconscious or mysterious

**********

This is the season of Yule:
The time when we honour the return of the sun's light
and set our hopes for a bright and joyous new year.
The 12 days of Yule celebrate the rebirth of the sun
and its symbolic journey of blessings.
From this one flame of Spirit we light the other candles.

**********

One
On the first night of Yule we light one candle
to bless who we are.

Two
On the second night of Yule we light two candles
to bless what we have and who we are.

Three
On the third night of Yule we light three candles
to bless where we live, what we have, and who we are.

Four
On the fourth night of Yule we light four candles
to bless our home, where we live, what we have, and who
we are.

Five
On the fifth night of Yule we light five candles
to bless our creations, our home, where we live, what we
have, and who we are.

Six
On the sixth night of Yule we light six candles
to bless our health, our creations, our home, where we live,
what we have, and who we are.

Seven
On the seventh night of Yule we light seven candles
to bless our loved ones, our health, our creations, our home,
where we live, what we have, and who we are.

Eight
On the eighth night of Yule we light eight candles
to bless the sacred cycles, our loved ones, our health, our
creations, our home, where we live, what we have, and who
we are.

Nine
On the ninth night of Yule we light nine candles
to bless our chance to grow and learn, the sacred cycles,
our loved ones, our health, our creations, our home, where
we live, what we have, and who we are.

Ten
On the tenth night of Yule we light ten candles
to bless our paths in life, our chance to grow and learn, the
sacred cycles, our loved ones, our health, our creations, our
home, where we live, what we have, and who we are.

Eleven
On the eleventh night of Yule we light 11 candles
to bless all our friends, our paths in life, our chance to grow
and learn, the sacred cycles, our loved ones, our health, our
creations, our home, where we live, what we have, and who
we are.

Twelve
On the twelfth night of Yule we light 12 candles
to bless the sacred mysteries, all our friends, our paths in
life, our chance to grow and learn, the sacred cycles, our
loved ones, our health, our creations, our home, where we
live, what we have, and who we are. And with these lights
we welcome the reborn sun into the new year.


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