As we await the return of the Sun, many Pagans are beginning the Twelve Days of Yule tonight, while others are celebrating it beginning on Yule Night itself, December 21, 2013 CE.. This series will give you an outline for each night, and an idea of how to celebrate each. Each of the next twelve days will have an article regarding Yule. At the end of the series, you should have a complete set of activities to share and enjoy. Let us begin.
Tonight is the first candle, the one that represents the Self and what we should be grateful for from deity. We ask for blessings as we touch the flame to the wick of the candle, or oil burner, and for guidance for the actions we take in our daily lives.
As a family, the adults may note the blessings that are theirs as they are able to fulfill their roles as Human, Soul, Wife, Husband, Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Aunt, Uncle, GrandParent, GodParent, Caregiver, or many of the other numerous roles that the fabric of the household relies on to hold it together. They thank deity and meditate on all the ways that they have Served this year, both themselves and others.
The children may do so in their own ways, and in addition to this, they should acknowledge how they feel that they are blessed within the family itself. If there is sadness or regret at this time that is held by the family about dashed dreams, this is the time to weave new ones together. Always shine the happiness of hope into their young lives.
Liven it up with seasonal activities that are appropriate for their ages. One great example comes from Christie Haskell's article "How to Celebrate Yule With a Pagan Family"
"We focus a lot on the changes of the earth. I've taken a ball and a flashlight to explain to my son about the seasons and tilt. We take walks and look at the changes in the earth, the bare trees, any snow. We cut snowflakes out of coffee filters, and decorate our big tree with ornaments and a big star on top"
Also, all meditate and declare the things they wish to accomplish this upcoming Turn of the Wheel. They discuss how they plan to heal, to learn, to grow, to Sing, to Dance, to Live in the Light for themselves. For without a piece of this needful illumination, there is no joy. Let them know the Star represents their own inner selves.
This is a good time to have everyone state who they are in a circle round the flame. This can be a simple name, or as involved as lineage and titles. It is a personal thing. One fun activity is to have everyone draw out their own personal shield and write their motto on it. These should be placed on the altar until the final night.
If there are loved ones who are away from you at this time, it is good to call them and let them declare their Truths as well. It is all about surviving the Dark, and sharing in the hope that the Light shall return. This is also a good time to recite devotionals.
"12 Days of Yule Devotionals - Prayers for the Winter Solstice" by Patti Wigington has a great take on this. However, this author recommends family and friends make their own that are unique to themselves. This is all about the shining of the light within tonight. Shine on.
A recommended video is "Yule Celebration Ideas" by AutumnStarMoon on Youtube. Check it out.