Many who practice a Pagan or Wiccan religion also have families who are not of their faith. Thus creating a riff this time of year. In my family only a handful of family members are still pagan. Most of them are white witches but not all. My husband born a Catholic is a pagan practicing in the old Celtic style. I am more eclectic in nature. We go to their Christmas celebration and also host Yule.
Before the celebration ask everyone who comes to bring an ingredient for potpourri: sprigs of fragrant evergreen trees -- pine, yew, spruce, cedar, juniper. Fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, basil, thyme and spices such as cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, nuts, small pine cones and winter berry can also be added for color and texture. We put a large cauldron large enough to hold the offerings as well as room to break the ingredients into small pieces and mixing them.
Begin by saying your intentions:
We are gathered here tonight for the Winter Solstice. A time when the longest night gives birth to the return of the sun. It is a time of hope, promise and new beginnings. So tonight we gather giving thanks and blessing this yuletide Potpourri while sharing past memories, adding our hopes for the future, and sending our love to those who have left this earth. After wards we will all take some home to remind us of the love and dreams we have shared and the good times that still lie ahead.
After everyone has told their stories and put their ingredient in the cauldron, the potpourri is complete, everyone joins hands around it and say something like this:
May our thoughts and energies surround and fill us, infusing that which we have created so that the feelings we share tonight carry forth with each of us in this gift of our Yuletide potpourri. Though we go from here in our separate ways, hold in your hearts the unity of sharing that it may be extended to others. Let's share a moment of silent while giving thanks for our many blessings. (pause) As light returns to Earth, let Light be rekindled in our hearts and minds, and may we know and share the blessings of peace and love.
Candlelight Ritual for Winter Solstice Night
Here you can either have 12 candles or tea lights (one for each of the twelve zodiac signs) or any multiple of twelve lights plus a sprig of evergreen. Place the candles in a circle around you and family equally spaced apart in a complete circle. Place the evergreen in the center of the circle. Now light your candles one at a time. Blessing each candle with the hopes of the new year. (each may light one or one person lights all. )
NOTE: Candle luminaries can be made by putting little tea candles (the kind that come in tins) within small paper cups. These burn safely, even outdoors in moderate wind, as the metal holds the wax until it burns away.
Begin with a centering meditation. Then with these candles, create a circle, calling the quarters and inviting God Sun and Goddess Venus.
O Sun bright bearer of life and light I call upon you to share your warmth and light to enter our dark places the year has left. Shine brightly upon those we love, those we lost, and those we have no yet met. Remember our brothers the winged ones the crawlers and the unseen. Know their pain and give them hope. Share your wisdom with all who call upon you.
O Venus, come to us in love, sending peace throughout the land. Grant us the gift of loving freely, tasting life relishing every moment while giving freely of our ourselves throughout the year. Grand us the beauty of a peaceful existence with all of our mother Earth's inhabitant.
Then, as you say this next verse, step through the Yule wreath, make your personal transition from the old year to the new:
On this Yuletide eve I cast off the old year and greet the new year with light and love, so mote it be.
After all have passed over the evergreen say
In Spirit together, we are one family, Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.
After the circle of Light has been formed, other favorite traditions could be followed, such as the burning of the Yule Log, the blessing of sharing of cakes and beverages and also thoughts and experiences of the ritual. Following the closing of this rite, you will be allowing your candles to burn all the way down naturally, so be sure that they are safely placed and can be monitored for safety.
In closing, offer thanks to the Guardians and to Sun and Venus for this sacred night as you visualize the Light of Peace spreading in all directions outward from your circle all across the Earth, joining with other circles of Light in other places. Then open the circle.
We then serve our Yule meal for everyone including pets and woodland creatures.
We bring a basket of goodies to a near by stream to share with the creatures that live there. We leave it under a tree laid out on a paper napkin. We also make bird feeders from pine cones smeared with peanut butter and seeds which are hung in the near by trees, lastly we feed the water swimmers some bread. In the basket I usually bring corn on the cob, some sugar beets, the boney remains of our meat entree, and some honey cakes for the faeries.
Before going to bed I invite the faeries in for the winter. Remember they can be tricksters.
As the sun sets on this eve, I invite you faerie folk inside
I ask only that you forgo your faerie mischief
to live in harmony with my family
May you enjoy a hearth to warm yourself by,
good company to spend time with
and the space to go about your business without worry's,
As this is a place to share in harmony,
Blessing to all whether you came in or not.
I also make faery hearts for those who choose to remain outside.
Arrange seeds and nuts in a pleasing manner in cookie cutter, pack
With peanut butter, repeat arrangement on top. Freeze shape until
Cut a 3" length of wire and fold in half. Push ends into top of shape
To make a hanger. Thread a length of ribbon through wire, tie ends
Together, hang heart where faeries will be sure to see it, and you
Will see them play. Bright Blessings!