Monthly Archives: December 2012

‘Twas the Night Before Yule

‘Twas the Night Before Yule
– Author Unknown

‘Twas the night before Yule, when all ‘cross the heath,
not a being was stirring; Pagan, faerie, or beast.
Wassail was left out & the alter adorned,
to rejoice that the Sun King would soon be reborn.
The children lay sleeping by the warmth of the hearth,
their dreams filled with visions of belov’d Mother Earth.
M’lady & I beneath blankets piled deep,
had just settled down to our own Solstice sleep.
Then a noise in the night that would leave us no peace,
Awakened us both to the honking of geese.
Eager to see such a boisterous flock,
When we raced to the window, our mouths dropped in shock!
On the west wind flew a gaggle of geese white & gray,
With Frau Holda behind them in her giftladen dray.
The figure on her broomstick in the north sky made it clear,
La Befana was approaching to bestow Yuletide cheer.
From the south came a comet more bright than the moon,
And we knew that Lucia would be with us soon.
As these spirits sailed earthward o’er hilltops & trees,
Frau Holda serenaded her feathery steeds:
“Fly Isolde! Fly Tristan! Fly Odin & Freya!
Fly Morgaine! Fly Merlin! Fly Uranus & Gaea!
May the God & the Goddess inside you soar,
From the clouds in the heavens to yon cottage door.”

As soft & silent as snowflakes they fell:
Their arrival announced by a faint chiming bell.
They landed like angels, their bodies aglow.
Their feet left no marks in the new fallen snow.
Before we could ponder what next lay in store,
There came a slow creaking from our threshold door.
We crept from our bedroom & were spellbound to see
…There in our parlor stood the Yule Trinity!
Lucia, the Maiden, with her head wreathed in flame,
Shown with the radiance for which she was named.
The Lightbringer’s eyes held the joy of a child,
And she spoke with a voice that was gentle, yet wild:
“May the warmth of this household ne’er fade away.”
Then she lit our Yule log which still burns to this day.
Frau Holda in her down cloak stood regal & tall;
The Matron of Solstice, the Mother of all.
Under her gaze we felt safe & secure.
Her voice was commanding, yet almost demure:
“May the love of this family enrich young & old.”
And from the folds of her cloak showered coins of pure gold.
La Befana wore a kerchief on her silvery hair;
The veil of the Crone who has secrets to share.
In her eyes gleamed a wisdom only gained by spent youth.
Her voice was a whisper but her words rung with truth:
“May health, glad tidings, and peace fill these rooms.”
And she banished misfortune with a sweep of her broom.
They then left a gift by each sleeping child’s head,
Took a drink of our wassail, & away they sped.
While we watched them fly off through the night sky we laughed,
At the wondrous magick we had found in the Craft.
As they departed, the spirits decreed…

Merry Yule To You All & May All Blessed Be!

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Twas the Night Before Yule

Twas the Night Before Yule

Twas the night before Yule, and all through the Coven,
The cookies were baked and removed from the oven.
The bayberry candles were lit on the table,
The altar was wrapped in a new cloth of sable.

The children were nestled, all snug in their beds,
While visions of Yuletime danced in their heads.
Their stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that some presents soon would be there!

With Rocker in his new robe, and I in mine,
We were asking our Goddess her blessing divine.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from our Circle to see what was the matter.

Away to the window, tripping over my sash,
My eyes were a-glamoured with a bright silver flash.
The moon on the breasts of the Goddess and God
Drew my eyes to behold the blessed Circle they trod.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the manifestations of all those we hold Dear.
The physical forms of those whom we pray to,
Even Saint Nick, and his miniature sleigh, too!

Jehovah, Mohammet, Shiva, Hera and Thor.
Zeus, Freya, Brahma, and many, many more.
All the Spiritual Entities who’d ever been mentioned.
Even some, like dear Loki, who sowed seeds of dissension.

They greeted eah other with smile, warm and sweet.
Then, forming a Circle, they all took a seat.
With multiple Voices all joined as One,
The Corners were Called. And, when that was done.

The Chalice was passed from Hand to Hand.
Then, a blanket of silence enfolded the land.
A crystal clear Voice began to hold sway.
Which Deity spoke? I could not say.

But, clearly, I heard all the love in that Voice.
It caused my tired heart to take flight and rejoice.
“Our Children, it seems, have missed the whole point.
“We now join together, their hearts to anoint.

“Pour all of Our love O’er their hearts of stone.
“Let them see that together they’re never alone!
“Show them it matters not which of Us that they choose.
“Their sad hate and mistrust cause each of Us to lose!”

As I stood there transfixed, I could suddenly see
If we all stand as one, what a world this could be!
Put ALL of our differences well behind us.
Let the love of the Gods enfold and remind us.

We ARE all the same,though varied our skins.
We all dream the same dreams, we all sin the same sins.
With a look of enlightenment etched on my face,
I beheld all the Gods in Their glory and grace!

They all bowed Their heads then said”So mote it be!”
They all smiled at each Other bestowing winks on me.
One by One they disappeared from my sight.
Just the Goddess and God were left in the light.

As slowly They twinkled, fading by degree,
“Happy Yuletide to all!!
Blessed be times three!”

~Written by Mary, a.k.a. Wandering Poet, a.k.a.littlebit~

Twas the Night Before Solstice

Twas the Night Before Solstice
By Kristie Burns

‘Twas the night before Solstice and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even our pet mouse

Knitted wool stockings were hung with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

The children were tucked in organic cotton sheets,
The air filter blocking pollution from the streets.

While mama stayed up to make handmade gifts
I co-slept with the kids and watched auras shift.

When out in the herb garden arose such a clatter
I sprung out of our futon to see what was the matter!

Away to the solar panels I flew like a flash.
They took me hours to install, I hoped they hadn’t crashed.

The crystals we’d laid out to absorb the moonlight
Sparkled like fairydust and blocked my sight.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh without any reindeer.

At that moment I knew that the little old man
Had received my last letter so bold and so grand

Could you stop using reindeer? Last year I wrote him,
And enclosed with the note a PETA pin.

As he neared the house in his all-wooden sleigh
I noticed it was powered by wheatgrass and hay.

Ostheimer! Kinderkram! Stockmar! Fair Trade!
Don’t bother landing if the toys aren’t handmade!

“Hey Arriana,” I called to my wife with chagrin,
“With that body mass do you think he’s vegetarian?”

She paused only a moment from her crafting and said,
“One moment dear! I’m shaping this gol-darn Waldorf doll’s head!”

On our roof I strained to hear the ole boy
But I’d recently insulated it with soy.

So I drew in my hand and was turning around,
When in through the front door came St. Nick with a bound.

The Advent wreath had caught in his hair
As I said, “Why in the world did you enter from THERE?”

The soot in your chimney contains poisons galore.
You should consider the environment more.

But he was dressed in fur from his head to his foot
So I said, “Look whose talking about my soot!”

A bundle of felt he had flung on his back.
“I hope you like handiwork,” he said with a laugh.

His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples were treats!
His cheeks reminded me of when I dye silk with beets.

He must be of the choleric type I mused.
It’s a good thing with lavender the stockings I infused.

With his fur boots he slipped on the bamboo wood floor.
I offered him Arnica and then closed the front door.

After all that I’d paid to the energy company this year
I didn’t want one bit of that cold air in here.

He had a broad face and a little round belly
I asked him, “Have you seen your naturopath lately?”

He was so chubby and plump I worried for his health
But I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to task,
Needle-felting dragons and weaving a mask.

He knitted a pure cotton sweater and two pairs of mittens,
Then picked up a knife and carved 2 wood kittens.

He finger-knitted an entire nativity scene.
With the most amazing skill I’d ever seen!

When he sprang from his seat on the floor and arose
I yelled, “Arianna – watch – there he goes!”

With the unfinished doll she was struggling to sew,
Arriana went to watch him out the window.

And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight!
“Arriana, my dear, the stiches are too tight!”

A Night Before Yule Day

A Night Before Yule Day

By Matrin Calderwood, Utah

Twas the night before Yule Day and all through the cave,

Every Troll child was doing their very best to behave.

The old socks were hung by the fire with great care,

In hopes Old Troll Father would soon enter their lair.

There was pudding and mutton and a hunk of old cheese,

Set out on the table for the Old Troll to please.

And each child was smiling and snoring with glee,

Pa winked at Ma Troll both as proud as could be.

The Winter outside seemed to swirl and to rush,

When suddenly my ears became aware of a hush.

And the soft crunch of snow was all I could hear,

As if some big boots were drawing quite near.

To my lair’s door I shuffled to peer into the night,

Excited and hoping I’d find everything right.

The full moon shown brightly through a broken cloud sky,

And I wondered if the Old Father was now drawing nigh.

I could feel my heart pounding in time with each step,

And I wondered how Old Father could move with such pep.

Then out of the shadows appeared a bearded old man,

He was carrying a large sack that looked battered and tan.

When he saw me he started and his eyes showed some fear,

But I motioned him forward and so he drew near.

A long woolen coat trimmed with sooty white fur,

Made him look like a peddler, not a Troll that’s for sure!

“My friend!” he said brightly, “The Old Father Troll,

has asked me to help him. Things were out of control!”

“So who are your Stranger?” I asked with a sneer.

“Why I’m the Yulenissen. Are there good children here?”

Behind me came giggles and snorts of great joy,

I knew in an instant t’was my girl and my boy.

They both gasped together, “We have heard of this one!”

“How he helps human children is really quite fun!”

“And if Old Father Troll trusts him here with this task,

Then we’ve both been good, for our toys we’ll now ask.”

With an ‘Ho!’ and a ‘Ha’ he reached into his sack,

and pulled out a horse that could rock front and back.

It was wood and troll-rough and much bigger than he

Yet the bag looked the same, it was easy to see!

For the girl he reached in and pulled out a wood doll

It was as big as she was and the bag seemed too small.

“And now for a treat!” said the Jolly Old One.

And he ate all the goodies, not leaving a crumb.

And then with a nod he picked up his old bag

and gave a deep bow to this Troll and my hag!

“I must now be going. I have far to go.”

He said as he hurried out into the snow.

But I heard him exclaim as he trudged out of sight:

“Blessed Yule time to All and to ALL a Good Night!”

A Nordic Yule

A Nordic Yule

‘Twas the night before Yuletide in the Horde’s hall
Not a person was stirring, not even a thrall.
The wineskins were hung on the mantle with care
In hope that great Odin soon would be there.

The clansmen were snoring, passed out on the floor.
And I made to join them. I couldn’t drink more.
I found a place quickly, my furs for a bed.
The mead I had drunk had gone to my head.

Then came a noise from way out in back.
So loud that I swore, we were under attack!
I leapt from my furs, my sword clutched in hand,
And went to the window to survey the land.

I looked into the night and muttered a curse,
Could it be Grendel or something much worse?
Then what to my eyes should the full moon reveal,
But an old fashioned sleigh drawn by a creature unreal.

And a huge burly driver so fierce and forbodin’,
I knew in a moment it was Allfather Odin.
He yelled at the creature with a snarl on his lips,
And after each word, gave a crack of his whip.

“Obey me now, Sleipner, for I am your master,
An eight-legged horse ought to run faster!?”
I ran from the window, so quick and so able
And sought a safe haven under the table.

I heard the sleigh stop and Odin get out
And as he drew nearer, gave a great shout.
He kicked the door open, which then hung askew
And I shook when I saw him, what else could I do?

He was dressed in his armor, so regal and fine
But I caught a strong odor of cheap women and wine.
His bundle of weapons he dropped where he stood,
All bright gleaming steel and dark polished wood.

His face was like granite with a long flowing beard
His one eye glowing like an ember, or so it appeared.
I watched him quite closely alone with my fear
As he surveyed the hall with a glare and a sneer.

He cursed and he muttered and seemed to grow madder
And I fought to keep some control of my bladder.
He lifted his foot and pulled a nail from beneath
Then seemed to grow calmer. I sighed with relief.

He then went to work, his task to assail
And filled all the wineskins with mead and stout ale.
Then using his finger to scratch at his crotch
He strode from the hall as I silently watched.
He mounted his sleigh and his whip gave a crack
As Sleipner jumped forward, he laughed and leaned back.
He said as he rode, “Fight hard and die well.
And when that day comes, in Valhalla you’ll dwell!”

© 2002 Michael G. Tucker

A Viking Christmas Carol

A Viking Christmas Carol
To “´Twas the Night Before Christmas”
original lyrics Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863)

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Hall
Not a creature was stirring, not warrior nor thrall.
And I in my armor, my shield and my helm
Was drunker than anyone else in the Realm.

I staggered upstairs and fell into bed
While four quarts of mead were ablaze in my head.
Then up from below came the sounds of a brawl
So I grabbed up my axe and ran down to the Hall.

I missed the last step and crashed down in a heap
Thinking, “Why can’t those low-lifes downstairs go to sleep!”
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But two brawny strangers, wielding mallet and spear.

I said to myself, “We’ll soon have them beat!”
Then I noticed ten warriors laid out at their feet.
I gave out a yell and leapt into the fray…
I’ll always regret my poor choice of that day.

For the one laid his hammer to the side of my nose
And up, up, up to the rafters I rose.
Then came a lone frightened voice from the floor,
“Those are no mortal warriors — that’s Odin and Thor!”

Then they looked at each other and they said, “Battle’s done.
Now they know who we are, it no longer is fun.”
Then Thor raised his hammer, and his elbow he bent,
And with a loud crash, through the ceiling they went.

I crawled through the Hall and flung open the door,
Not really sure that I’d seen them before.
The snow bathed in starlight, the moon like a glede,
I saw them ride off on an eight-legged steed.

And I heard them exclaim, ‘ere they flew out of sight,
“TO HELA WITH CHRISTMAS, WE JUST LOVE A GOOD FIGHT!”

© Guy L Bradley aka Sir Cipriano d’Alvarez, SCA

Yule History: Legend of the Wild Hunt to the Christmas of Today The Connection of Yule to the Wild Hunt and Saturnalia

Yule History: Legend of the Wild Hunt to the Christmas of Today
The Connection of Yule to the Wild Hunt and Saturnalia
by Linda StCyr, Yahoo! Contributor Network

Yule or Yule-tide is a pagan festival that has been held through out the centuries. It is a winter festival that honors the divine mothers or female deities of the Germanic peoples where the festival originated. The night that this festival took place was originally on New Year’s night and was called Mōdraniht, old English for Mothers-Night. A sacrifice was made and then a feast was shared among the celebrants.

When the Germanic lunar calendar was changed and the Julian calendar adopted the date of the Yule festival changed to December 25. It has since been absorbed into the Christian holiday of Christmas. It is now celebrating among Wiccans, Pagans and Neopagans during the winter solstice on December 21st. It is believed that the pagan Yule festival was influenced by both the Wild Hunt and the Roman winter festival of Saturnalia.

Wild Hunt, Odin’s Hunt, Woden’s Hunt and the connection to Yule-
The Wild Hunt goes by many names including the ones mentioned above and others including Cain’s Hunt, Herod’s Hunt, Ghost Riders and Devil’s Dandy Dog’s. The latter names mentioned have origins in the original folk-myth/legend of Odin’s Hunt but are the Christianized versions. The legend is that a group of huntsmen with hounds and horses make a mad dash across the ground or through the sky in pursuit of something unknown. The huntsmen, depending on the folklore, are often undead, demon possessed clergy or fairies of the underworld. The legend goes on to warn mortals from viewing the hunt because if one sees it a catastrophic event such as plague, famine, or war could follow. Another warning in the legend against the viewing of the Wild Hunt is that the spirit or soul could be grabbed by the riders and taken to the underworld.

The vision of the Wild Hunt takes place during the year when the wind blows the strongest and storms begin to brew. The start of Odin’s Hunt begins on October 31 and ends on May Eve or April 30th. However, the height of the hunt takes place on Yule, the shortest day of the year. Yule fires are lit to keep the hunters at bay.

Saturnalia and its connection to Yule-
The Roman winter festival of Saturnalia was a festival honoring the dedication of the temple to the god, Saturn (Greek: Cronus). Originally the festival was celebrated on December 17th but grew in popularity and was extended to a week long event. During this week there would be feasts, trickery and tomfoolery. A common practice was for slaves to dress as masters and masters to dress as slaves.

Great feasts would take place during the week of Saturnalia after the religious rites were performed in the temples. Visits to family and friends would take place and the giving of gifts was a common practice. Common gifts included wax candles and lamps. It is believed that this was to light up the area and chase the spirits of the dark away.

Pagan Yule to Christian Christmas-
During Yule it is common practice to light Yule logs for Yule fires and to eat goat or boar and to fill the air with singing and merriment. During Christmas is it common to light a Yule log, celebrate the birth of Jesus through the Virgin Mary, feast with family and friends, give gifts and witness religious rites in church. The combining of these pagan festivals made it easier to convert the heathen pagans throughout history to Christianity.