YULE by Gwydion Cinhil Kirontin

Y U L E   by Gwydion Cinhil Kirontin
     
     Ou˛ Christiaţ friendˇ arň ofteţ quitň surpriseń a˘ ho¸ 
enthusiasticall¨ wň Paganˇ celebratň thň "Christmasó season«  
Eveţ thougŔ wň prefe˛ t´ usň thň worń "Yule"Č anń ou˛ 
celebrationˇ ma¨ peaŰ ß fe¸ dayˇ beforň thň 25thČ wň nonethelesˇ 
follo¸ man¨ oŠ thň traditionaý customˇ oŠ thň season║ decorateń 
treesČ carollingČ presentsČ Yulň logsČ anń mistletoe«  Wň migh˘ 
eveţ g´ s´ fa˛ aˇ puttinš u­ ß "Nativit¨ set"Č thougŔ fo˛ uˇ thň 
threň centraý characterˇ arň likel¨ t´ bň interpreteń aˇ Mothe˛ 
NatureČ Fathe˛ TimeČ anń thň Bab¨ Sun-God«  Nonň oŠ hiˇ wilý comň 
aˇ ß surprisň t´ anyonň  wh´ knowˇ thň truň histor¨ oŠ thň 
holidayČ oŠ course.
       
       Iţ factČ iŠ trutŔ bň knownČ thň holida¨ oŠ Christmaˇ haˇ 
alwayˇ beeţ morň Pagaţ thaţ ChristianČ witŔ it'ˇ associationˇ oŠ 
NordiŃ divinationČ CeltiŃ fertilit¨ ritesČ anń Romaţ Mithraism«  
Tha˘ iˇ wh¨ botŔ Martiţ Luthe˛ anń Johţ Calviţ abhorreń itČ wh¨ 
thň Puritanˇ refuseń t´ acknowedgň itČ mucŔ lesˇ celebratň i˘ (t´ 
themČ n´ da¨ oŠ thň yea˛ coulń bň morň hol¨ thaţ thň Sabbath)Č 
anń wh¨ i˘ waˇ eveţ madň *illegal¬ iţ Bostoní Thň holida¨ waˇ 
alread¨ to´ closel¨ associateń witŔ thň birtŔ oŠ olde˛ Pagaţ godˇ 
anń heroes«  Anń man¨ oŠ theÝ (likň OedipusČ TheseusČ HerculesČ 
PerseusČ JasonČ DionysusČ ApolloČ MithraČ Horuˇ anń eveţ Arthurę 
possesseń ß narrativň oŠ birthČ deathČ anń resurrectioţ tha˘ waˇ 
uncomfortabl¨ closň t´ tha˘ oŠ Jesus«  Anń t´ makň matterˇ worseČ 
man¨ oŠ theÝ pre-dateń thň Christian Savior.
       
     UltimatelyČ oŠ courseČ thň holida¨ iˇ rooteń deepl¨ iţ thň 
cyclň oŠ thň year«  I˘ iˇ thň Winte˛ Solsticň tha˘ iˇ beinš 
celebratedČ seed-timň oŠ thň yearČ thň longes˘ nigh˘ anń shortes˘ 
day«  I˘ iˇ thň birthda¨ oŠ thň ne¸ Suţ KingČ thň Soţ oŠ God--b¨ 
whateve˛ namň yo§ choosň t´ calý him«  Oţ thiˇ darkes˘ oŠ nightsČ 
thň Goddesˇ becomeˇ thň Grea˘ Mothe˛ anń oncň agaiţ giveˇ birth«  
Anń i˘ makeˇ perfec˘ poetiŃ sensň tha˘ oţ thň longes˘ nigh˘ oŠ 
thň winterČ "thň darŰ nigh˘ oŠ ou˛ souls"Č herň springˇ thň ne¸ 
sparŰ oŠ hopeČ thň Sacreń FireČ thň Ligh˘ oŠ thň WorldČ thň Coeý 
Coeth.
       
       Tha˘ iˇ wh¨ Paganˇ havň aˇ mucŔ righ˘ t´ claiÝ thiˇ 
holida¨ aˇ Christians«  Perhapˇ eveţ morň soČ aˇ thň Christianˇ 
werň rathe˛ latň iţ layinš claiÝ t´ itČ anń trień morň thaţ oncň 
t´ rejec˘ it«  Therň hań beeţ ß traditioţ iţ thň Wes˘ tha˘ Mar¨ 
borň thň chilń Jesuˇ oţ thň twenty-fiftŔ dayČ bu˘ n´ onň coulń 
seeÝ t´ decidň oţ thň month« FinallyČ iţ 32░ C.E.Č thň CatholiŃ 
Fatherˇ iţ Romň decideń t´ makň i˘ DecemberČ iţ aţ effor˘ t´ 
coop˘ thň MithraiŃ celebratioţ oŠ thň Romanˇ anń thň Yulň 
celebrationˇ oŠ the Celts.
       
       Therň waˇ neve˛ mucŔ pretensň tha˘ thň datň the¨ finall¨ 
chosň waˇ historicall¨ accurate«  Shepherdˇ jus˘ don'˘ "tenń 
thei˛ flockˇ b¨ nightó iţ thň higŔ pastureˇ iţ thň deań oŠ winte˛ 
-- no˘ eveţ iţ thosň climatesí  Knowinš thisČ thň Easterţ halŠ oŠ 
Őthň ChurcŔ continueń t´ rejec˘ Decembe˛ 25Č preferrinš ß "movablň 
dateó fixeń b¨ thei˛ astrologers according to the moon.
       
       ThusČ despitň itˇ shak¨ star˘ (fo˛ ove˛ threň centuriesČ 
n´ onň kne¸ wheţ Jesuˇ waˇ supposeń t´ havň beeţ born!)Č Decembe˛ 
2Á finall¨ begaţ t´ catcŔ on«  B¨ 529Č i˘ waˇ ß civiŃ holidayČ 
anń alý worŰ o˛ publiŃ businesˇ (excep˘ tha˘ oŠ cooksČ bakersČ o˛ 
an¨ tha˘ contributeń t´ thň deligh˘ oŠ thň holidayę waˇ 
prohibiteń b¨ thň Empero˛ Justinian« Iţ 563Č thň Counciý oŠ Bragß 
forbadň fastinš oţ Christmaˇ DayČ anń fou˛ yearˇ late˛ thň 
Counciý oŠ Tourˇ proclaimeń thň twelvň dayˇ froÝ Decembe˛ 2Á t´ 
Epiphan¨ aˇ ß sacredČ festivň season«  Thiˇ las˘ poin˘ iˇ perhapˇ 
thň hardes˘ t´ impresˇ upoţ thň moderţ readerČ wh´ iˇ luck¨ t´ 
ge˘ ß singlň da¨ ofŠ work«  ChristmasČ iţ thň Middlň AgesČ waˇ 
no˘ ß *single¬ dayČ bu˘ rathe˛ ß perioń oŠ *twelvň days*Č froÝ 
Decembe˛ 2Á t´ Januar¨ 6«  Thň Twelvň Dayˇ oŠ ChristmasČ iţ fact«  
I˘ iˇ certainl¨ lamentablň tha˘ thň moderţ worlń haˇ abandoneń 
thiˇ approachČ alonš with the popular Twelfth Night celebrations.
       
       OŠ courseČ thň Christiaţ versioţ oŠ thň holida¨ spreań t´ 
man¨ countrieˇ n´ faste˛ thaţ Christianit¨ itselfČ whicŔ meanˇ 
tha˘ "Christmasó wasn'˘ celebrateń iţ Irelanń untiý thň latň 
fiftŔ century╗ iţ EnglandČ SwitzerlandČ anń Austriß untiý thň 
seventh╗ iţ German¨ untiý thň eighth╗ anń iţ thň SlaviŃ landˇ 
untiý thň nintŔ anń tenth« No˘ tha˘ thesň countrieˇ lackeń thei˛ 
owţ midwinte˛ celebrationˇ oŠ Yuletide« Lonš beforň thň worlń hań 
hearń oŠ JesusČ Paganˇ hań beeţ observinš thň seasoţ b¨ bringinš 
iţ thň Yulň logČ wishinš oţ itČ anń lightinš i˘ froÝ thň remainˇ 
oŠ las˘ year'ˇ log« Riddleˇ werň poseń anń answeredČ magiŃ anń 
ritualˇ werň practicedČ wilń boarˇ werň sacrificeń anń consumeń 
alonš witŔ largň quantitieˇ oŠ liquorČ corţ dollieˇ werň carrień 
froÝ housň t´ housň whilň carollingČ fertilit¨ riteˇ werň 
practiceń (girlˇ standinš unde˛ ß spriš oŠ mistletoň werň subjec˘ 
t´ ß bi˘ morň thaţ ß kiss)Č anń divinationˇ werň cas˘ fo˛ thň 
cominš Spring«  Man¨ oŠ thesň Pagaţ customsČ iţ aţ appropriatel¨ 
watered-dowţ formČ havň entereń thň mainstreaÝ oŠ Christiaţ 
celebrationČ thougŔ mos˘ celebrantˇ d´ no˘ realizň (o˛ d´ no˘ 
mentioţ itČ iŠ the¨ do) their origins.
       
       Fo˛ moderţ WitchesČ Yulň (froÝ thň Anglo-Saxoţ "Yula"Č 
meaninš "wheeló oŠ thň yearę iˇ usuall¨ celebrateń oţ thň actuaý 
Winte˛ SolsticeČ whicŔ ma¨ var¨ b¨ ß fe¸ daysČ thougŔ i˘ usuall¨ 
occurˇ oţ o˛ arounń Decembe˛ 21st«  I˘ iˇ ß Lesse˛ Sabba˘ o˛ 
Lowe˛ Holida¨ iţ thň moderţ Pagaţ calendarČ onň oŠ thň fou˛ 
quarter-dayˇ oŠ thň yearČ bu˘ ß ver¨ importan˘ one«  Thiˇ yea˛ i˘ 
occurˇ oţ Decembe˛ 21s˘ a˘ 4:0Ş p.m«  Pagaţ customˇ arň stilý 
enthusiasticall¨ followed«  OnceČ thň Yulň loš hań beeţ thň 
cente˛ oŠ thň celebration«  I˘ waˇ lighteń oţ thň evň oŠ thň 
solsticň (i˘ shoulń ligh˘ oţ thň firs˘ tryę anń mus˘ bň kep˘ 
burninš fo˛ twelvň hoursČ fo˛ gooń luck«  I˘ shoulń bň madň oŠ 
ash« LaterČ thň Yulň loš waˇ replaceń b¨ thň Yulň treň butČ 
insteań oŠ burninš itČ burninš candleˇ werň placeń oţ it« Iţ 
ChristianityČ Protestantˇ migh˘ claiÝ tha˘ Martiţ Luthe˛ inventeń 
thň customČ anń Catholicˇ migh˘ gran˘ St« Bonifacň thň honorČ bu˘ 
thň custoÝ caţ demonstrabl¨ bň traceń bacŰ througŔ thň Romaţ 
ŐSaturnaliß alý thň wa¨ t´ ancien˘ Egypt«  Needlesˇ t´ sayČ sucŔ ß 
treň shoulń bň cu˘ dowţ rathe˛ thaţ purchasedČ anń shoulń bň 
disposeń oŠ b¨ burningČ thň prope˛ wa¨ t´ dispatcŔ an¨ sacreń 
object.
       
       Alonš witŔ thň evergreenČ thň holl¨ anń thň iv¨ anń thň 
mistletoň werň importan˘ plantˇ oŠ thň seasonČ alý symbolizinš 
fertilit¨ anń ever-lastinš life«  Mistletoň waˇ especiall¨ 
venerateń b¨ thň CeltiŃ DruidsČ wh´ cu˘ i˘ witŔ ß goldeţ sicklň 
oţ thň sixtŔ nigh˘ oŠ thň moonČ anń believeń i˘ t´ bň aţ 
aphrodisiac«  (Don'˘ tr¨ ití  It'ˇ highl¨ toxic!ę  Bu˘ 
aphrodisiacˇ mus˘ havň beeţ thň smalles˘ par˘ oŠ thň Yuletidň 
men§ iţ ancien˘ timesČ aˇ contemporar¨ reportˇ indicatň tha˘ thň 
tableˇ fairl¨ creakeń unde˛ thň straiţ oŠ ever¨ typň oŠ gooń 
fooń anń drinkí Thň mos˘ popula˛ oŠ whicŔ waˇ thň "wassaiý cupó 
derivinš itˇ  namň froÝ thň Anglo-Saxoţ terÝ "waeˇ haeló (bň 
wholň o˛ hale).
       
       Medievaý Christmaˇ folklorň seemˇ endless║  tha˘ animalˇ 
wilý alý kneeý dowţ aˇ thň Hol¨ Nigh˘ arrivesČ tha˘ beeˇ huÝ thň 
"100tŔ psalmó oţ Christmaˇ EveČ tha˘ ß wind¨ Christmaˇ wilý brinš 
gooń luckČ tha˘ ß persoţ borţ oţ Christmaˇ Da¨ caţ seň thň  
Littlň PeopleČ tha˘ ß cricke˘ oţ thň heartŔ bringˇ gooń luckČ 
tha˘ iŠ onň  openˇ alý thň doorˇ oŠ thň housň a˘ midnigh˘ alý thň 
eviý spiritˇ wilý  departČ tha˘ yo§ wilý havň onň luck¨  montŔ 
fo˛ eacŔ Christmaˇ puddinš yo§ sampleČ tha˘ thň treň mus˘ bň 
takeţ  dowţ b¨ TwelftŔ Nigh˘ o˛ bań lucŰ iˇ  surň t´ followČ tha˘ 
"iŠ Christmaˇ oţ  ß Sunda¨ beČ ß wind¨ winte˛ wň shalý see"Č tha˘ 
"hourˇ oŠ suţ oţ Christmaˇ DayČ s´ man¨ frostˇ iţ thň montŔ oŠ  
May"Č tha˘ onň caţ usň thň Twelvň  Dayˇ oŠ Christmaˇ t´ predic˘ 
thň  weathe˛ fo˛ eacŔ oŠ thň twelvň monthˇ  oŠ thň cominš yearČ 
anń s´ on.
       
       Rememberinš tha˘ mos˘ Christmaˇ customˇ arň ultimatel¨ 
baseń upoţ  olde˛ Pagaţ customsČ i˘ onl¨ remainˇ  fo˛ moderţ 
Paganˇ t´ reclaiÝ thei˛  los˘ traditions«  Anń thuˇ wň alý  sharň 
iţ thň beaut¨ oŠ thiˇ mos˘  magicaý oŠ seasonsČ wheţ thň Mothe˛ 
Goddesˇ oncň agaiţ giveˇ birtŔ t´ thň  bab¨ Sun-Goń anń setˇ thň 
wheeý iţ  motioţ again«  T´ concludň witŔ ß  long-overduň 
paraphraseČ "Goddess  bless us, every one!"