HP: We welcome all who have made their way on the coldest, longest day of the Wheel of the Year into our midst.
All: Hail and Welcome!
HPS: Yule is a time of sacred introspection, of merry gift giving and a time when the wits of men are are honed best as they are repeatedly tested by the Will of Nature. We often take for granted in a modern age, full of conveniences and distractions how our ancient brothers and sisters dwelt upon the Earth. A world devoid of comforts and pleasures and where nothing was taken for granted. Even the smallest crust of bread or the flesh of the wild beast who laid down it’s life so others may live was honored with respect and gratitude. Lost to us now, for modern society provides an illusion of security that dulls our wits and drives us to madness with it’s monotony.
Wade: The forefathers and mothers of the human race who dwelt in the frozen north were perpetually faced with the grim reality of their mortal existence on a continuing basis. They faced this certain coupling with their own demise with fire in their bellies hotter than any hearth. Let that pride swell up within you and restore the connection between our world and theirs. The sacred land calls to us, like a wolf howling at the luminous night orb to remind of what we have lost as a people.
It is those brave souls who survived and conquered, our link to the past which lives on in the spiral dance of our genes and in the well-known face of the person staring back at us in our mirror that we honor today.
HP: Let us listen to the words of the Bard, recounting our connection to the past, present and future of the wild Pagan heart that still beats within our breasts enshrouded only by the limit of our will. Like the hoary drums of cultures past, hear the beat reverberate upon the land, giving life to all things in the frozen stillness. Take a few deep breaths before you immerse yourself in the visions of our collective tribal memory.
Bard: Close your eyes!
*All close their eyes*
Imagine yourself in a world unfamiliar and unforgiving, bereft of the voices you call family and friends. A place where the forces of nature work against you and brought you to the brink of death quicker than the frozen wind thrumming against the hemlocks and oaks of a revered Grove of Druids. Gathered in a tight Circle, one of the Druids in the group holds out his hand to you to share in this vision. All who are gathered on the longest, coldest day of the year are fervently chanting the victory of the Oak King over the Holly King. As warmth gathers on their ruddy cheeks from the newborn sun, you can not help notice that the enduring legend of these champions brings a warmth all it’s own.
Breath in and out.
*All breath in and out three times*
Allow yourself to be spellbound in the vision of the crackling sound of ice as it crunches softly beneath the footfalls of a the leather-clad hunter. He makes his trek along a glacial river, carrying the carcasses of his meager hunt. These few scraps of meat will only ensure the survival of some of his people. Heavy is his heart as he reflects upon the many mouths to nourish with so little bounty. He does not despair. He cries out in shrill defiance at the hungry maw of death and plunges fearlessly back to the darkened wilderness – intent on retrieving more life-giving nourishment for the good of his people.
Wade: Stomp your feet!
*All stomp their feet three times*
Wade: You envision yourself riding beside the Native brave as he eagerly faces the thundering of thousands of hooves during the great buffalo hunt. The roar and hiss of the earth is almost deafening and you can consciously feel the magnificent pony beneath you quake and fight his own instincts to run in the opposite direction. As you and your Native guide come closer to the swirling stampede of debris and life, he pauses for just an instant and looks at you with eyes made of sparkling copper. He turns his attention back to the task at hand, raises his bow and swiftly delivers a killing blow into the heart of the powerful beast that just narrowly misses your pony.
OPEN YOUR EYES!
Draw in the breath that is given to us by our Earth Mother and exhale that breath to give life to the trees and plants that slumber within the frigid blanket of winter. We are a connected people, timeless and not forgotten in the pages of history unspoken.
HP: These are our people! These are our gifts! We come from these people, living in many distant lands, in many guises of dress, however united by our will. Let us remember who we are and the true gift of humanity’s will as it warms us on this cold day. It is our beliefs which pull the sun chariot across the azure sky and our collective bravery which has won many battles fought to protect who we are as a Tribe. We are no longer dulled by the mundane hold that modern life has upon us. Today, we receive our gift with pride in the presence of our many-faceted Gods and Goddesses.
HPS: Call to the Gods of bygone times! Call with confidence and clarity at the Beings in which have taught us and lead us. Call to your Gods!
All: *Call to a God or Goddess of Your Choice*
HP: Today, we receive the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Let us chant and remember WHO we really are in the midst of the Chaos caused by ignorance. As light has conquered darkness upon this very hour, so have we! Let us call!
ALL: WE ARE PAGANS! WE ARE PAGANS! WE ARE PAGANS!
HPS: Remember this. Live this. Never again allow yourselves to be any less than the truest extent of your being. Today, as the fire before us spits and sputters, we not only awaken the sleeping earth beneath our feet – we awaken the sleeping self – full of potential and greatness. Wherever you are along your path, know that the greatest gift of all stems from the self to the self. And in all things, be Pagan and free.
Cakes and Ale / May You Never Hunger