A time of recognition of the cycle of the Green Man, a time for sharing life with others.
The Winter Solstice or Yule marks the time of the shortest day; a time when the return or rebirth of the Light is acknowledged by cultures from around the world. Folks gather together on this day to welcome in the Light from the aspect of their various traditions.
Yule Greenery: Before modern times folks would decorate their homes at Yule with beautiful greenery such as Holly, Ivy and boughs of Fir etc, bought in fresh from their gardens and today many people, especially pagan and Craft folk, still follow this tradition. Bringing the greenery indoors can completely change and uplift the energies inside one’s home, taking one back to a timeless place beyond the bright tinsel, gaudy baubles and glitz of today’s modern celebrations of yule; allowing folks to find a much deeper and subtle connection to the season. The greenery we bring indoors at Yule has many connections to traditions and cultures around the world, throughout all time and there are many myths and legends associated with our Yule customs.
The bright red berries and sharp thorns of the Holly are thought of as a tree traditionally sacred to the ‘God of Winter’
and yet interestingly within the Gnostic teachings Holly is aligned with the Goddess and in particular has close sacred associations with Mary Magdalene. Often wands were and still are made of it and used in the recurring ritual battle between the Holly and Oak, the winter and summer tree kings. The Oak King, representing the light half of the year, rules from midwinter to midsummer and the Holly King, representing the dark half of the year, rules from midsummer to midwinter. Many pagans in their solstice/yule rites will re-enact this enduring tale and will take part in the retelling of the battle between these two mighty kings; the Oak King and the Holly King.
Before the Yule tree was born those of Craft would hang a large ball of evergreen and Holly within their homes at Yule. From the ball would be draped red, white and black ribbons and paper roses, apples and oranges.
The Ivy is known as a goddess tree, being also green in midwinter and so again is used for decorations; it was also used as a magical wand when twined around a suitable host.
The Holly and Ivy do have further symbolism associated with them, for they represent man and woman, going on forever; the Lord and the Lady and it is said that the true sexual implications of Holly and Ivy carols can be discovered in the many restored pagan versions of the present day carols.
The Fir is also a goddess tree and is linked with twelfth night or Epiphany, when the three wise men came, bearing gifts for Mary, Joseph and the tiny babe. In the pagan year however, it was when the young god now aged twelve was armed with his weapons and was sent forth by the goddess. The fir cones carried by the priestess in many religious rites were a masculine symbol and were said to endow the young god with virility and power. Fir trees themselves were believed to be spirits of fertility, being evergreen and undying.
Just why do we kiss under the Mistletoe? Mistletoe is an ancient fertility symbol, it is the god tree of the winter solstice, green when many other trees are dead, its green and gold leaves indicate life and the sun and its pearly white berries are symbols of the seeds of the sun and the semen of men. It has strong Druid associations and was/is used for magical and healing purposes and was banned from all Christian purposes. So beware next time you steal a kiss under the mistletoe – you might just get more than you bargained for! From all these various customs and myths involving greenery, spring forth the familiar Yuletide tradition of ‘Decking our homes with boughs of Holly!’
Roman and Persian Connections: The Romans also celebrated their own festival of Saturnalia from December 17th to December 24th. It was a time of merry-making, feasting and the giving of gifts and they too would decorate their houses with greenery and lights. The Romans also practiced the Mithraic Mysteries and some sources say they celebrated the birthday of Mithras on the 25th December, although not everyone agrees with this. It is interesting to note that Azazel‘s cherub was known by the Persians as Mithras, the god of light and there are origins that confirm Mithraism was indeed of Persian origin. Firmicus Maternus tells us Mithraism was based on the Persian rituals of the Magi (See the Error of the Pagan Religions). The Magi, such as the three Magi (wise men) who sought Jesus at his birth, were Zoroastrians. The cult of Mithras was embraced by Roman Legionaries; it being a contemporary religion to the early Roman Catholic Church by whom was adopted the Mithraic Sacrament. The worship of Mithras (Azazel) in subterranean chambers was done to symbolise his entrapment within the earth. Mithras (aka Azazel‘s cherub Behemoth, the disk) was at times referred to under the religious title of Sol Invictus.
Return of the Light: The reason for lights and candles at Yule; the winter solstice is very simple, for we are welcoming in the return of the light; the return of the sun, heralding in the lighter days to come. The return of the sun, the birth of the Light, the birth of the son, in themselves have given birth to many ancient myths and customs around the world. Again, as for the other sacred times and Sabbats of the year, the celebration is built around recognition of major and significant planetary alignments and changes, which causes a shift in our energies and consciousness here on earth.
Connecting to the Light: At this time of year, at Yule; the winter solstice, the dark can seem even darker, the nights can seem even longer and the days can seem oh so cold, especially if we have had issues in our lives that are hard to come to terms with. It can be a time of being alone and of loneliness and many folks simply hibernate during the dark months, awaiting the return of the light. So this welcome return of the Light can connect us to the Sun, Moon and Star of our past, present and future and in our Solstice prayers we can pray for inner guidance and request for the fire within our souls to be re-ignited as we ask that the Light will guide us through any challenging days that lie ahead. In connecting to the guiding Light, we are of course connecting to the Goddess whom the Templars acknowledge as personified on earth as the Lady Mary Magdalene, known in ancient scriptures by her name of Kiam. For She may shine upon all who wish it and guide us to that inner place of peace and sanctuary, that special nous within our souls. She will bless all those who ask guidance of her, will bestow her blessings upon all, of whatever path or spirituality we are, for we are all blessed and divine in the eyes of the Goddess.
Gnostic and Templar Connections: Within the Knights Templar teachings Yule is a celebration of Ilu or Nabu; a God festival. It is a time of recognition of the cycle of the Green Man, a time for sharing life with others. The future is developing within the womb of the earth, ad the energy begins to shape and map the cycles of the future. It is a time to change habits and reduce negative thoughts around us. We give praise to the Light upon the Earth, in the knowledge that the lines of life will continue.
The Crescent Moon of Ansar is featured in the Templar 21st degree, so could this crescent moon and its star have a
direct connection to the holy star of Christian mythology; the ‘star’ that guided the three (the sacred 3) wise men or Magi towards the son of god? (son of the G.O.D. – son of the Universe?) Within the Templar path are further hidden meanings to this story and to the meaning of the moon and star and thinking along those lines one can now discover the sun, moon and star hidden in the well know story of the birth of Jesus.
Many people who have trod a pagan path over the years will have realised that there was much more to the Jesus and Mary tellings than ever met the eye or had previously been taught and like myself have held on for a truth realising that it was often not being taught; that something was hidden. It is quite common knowledge these days to acknowledge that Jesus/Malak was not actually born in December and the date was ‘borrowed’ by those who deemed it necessary to keep the people of planet earth forever in darkness. But what a very magnificent way though, for the tellers and truth preservers of old to simply hide the truths they knew, displaying them for the peoples of the Earth as riddles for all to see (should of course they choose too). So they hid the truths of the universe; meanwhile the Christian tellings of the story endured but one needs only to peer behind the curtain to see the real telling of the birth of Jesus/Malak. The Christian’s have kind of been preserving Templar/Universal truths in a very well- know tale for hundreds of years without realising it. It’s all there in all the riddles and codes, hidden in plain sight, reiterating once again that the seen really can become the unseen and in these current days more and more folks are awakening to the truths and messages that the returning Light will thus bring forth….
Poem for Yule:
I heard the wind whispering. I felt the cool breeze in my hair.
I saw the Star and followed. I heard the eternal voice of the one who loves me.
If I leave no trace upon this land, I know her sweet laughter will forever guide me home
To the place where I belong. The winter’s chill and the long dark nights are no more.
The forgotten shadows fade And the Light within reveals the true beauty of Life.
I shall fear not the unknowing, I shall fear not life
I will embrace all, My cherished journey.
The Light beckons me on this night And I am led towards G.O.D. by her loving hand.
Yule in the Gregorian year of 2014
Written by yours truly with sources from ‘The Book of Christmas’ Time Life Books, ‘Who Really Killed Cock Robin’ Norman Iles, Prediction Magazine and ‘The Gentile Arts of Aquarian Magic’ Marion Green.’ Plus exerts from the Templar Degree Scriptures, my own thoughts and beyond.
A warrior of the Serpent Path; always questing upon the sphere of time
Bringing LIGHT to those open to receive