Pre-Yule: Celebrating the Light
By Honouring the Sacred Dark

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Ah, the deep of winter! pre-Yule nears, but the long dark days still reign.

After the cleansing, the letting go that Samhain offers, we now bask in the spaciousness we've created. In these wonderfully dark months, we enjoy the peace and stillness of the slowing year.

Well, that's the theory . . . .

In fact, as Winter Solstice draws closer, most of us have the lights and noise on full-blast, and are running around like farmers in a rainy harvest-season.

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Historical Yule

The weeks before Christmas/Yule didn't used to be like this. Originally, it was a calm time. The fields were done for the year, and the flocks required only minimal care. The nights were long, and dark, and sleepy. It was like a much-extended Sabbath rest.

People would gather to share gossip, songs and stories; or work tranquilly on crafts in pleasant company.

At Yule they would celebrate the turning of the Wheel back toward the active cycle, the light and warmth and busyness to come. They could really appreciate that prospect, since they were rested to the point of boredom with all the peace and quiet.

Hard to imagine, isn't it?

The Modern Rule

Let's compare that with the present frenetic chaos that masks itself as "Christmas."

Fortunes in electricity to resist the restful darkness. Instead of peaceful company, we're frantically trying to put together the decorations and presents and all the trappings of celebration. . . Without actually celebrating!

We may gorge on all our favourite foods, drink beyond what we do any other time of year, maybe even visit people we see all too seldom, but how much of that inspires the feelings of joy and gratitude that is true celebration?

What Went Wrong?

I have an idea. I think that, as a culture, we can't celebrate the Light, because we don't celebrate the Dark.

Instead, we resist and refuse the Dark . . . and we call that "celebrating the Light."

So we're left in a spiritual no-person's-land, bereft of joy and trying to cover up the lack with glitz and sparkle and sky-high consumer debt.

The Magickal Darkness

But let's be clear about our definitions. By "Dark," I don't mean what popular culture thinks of: gloomy or angry, immoral, nightmarish, evil, etc.

In Wicca, the Dark refers to the inward spiral, the realm of mysteries and magick. It refers to the secrets we keep from ourselves. Most especially, the secret of Who we really Are.

I refer to this as the Sacred Dark, the Velvet Dark, or the real Black Magick.

Celebrating The Sacred Dark Within The Light

Yule is all about the return of the Light. And here I am advocating a celebration of the Sacred Dark.

Can we celebrate the Light, by embracing the Sacred Dark? Absolutely! In fact, there is no other way we can do it!

Only by embracing the Mystery hidden Within us, may we begin to appreciate the Mystery shining Without.

So, you wonderful Witch, you. . . In preparation for the coming Yule, I invite you to dive deep into the Darkness that precedes the Light's rebirth.

Then you will be ready to celebrate not only the Sun's return, but your own return to the lively world. You can arise from Yule feeling refreshed, centered, invigorated . . . and well-connected with your Divine Essence.

To this end, I would like to share with you one of the pre-Yule/Solstice Carols I've (re-)written (below). It's fun to sing it with other Witchy friends.

Enjoy this season of rest and delight!

What Night Is This

[to the tune of: What Child Is This / Greensleeves]

What night is this That breathes so slow That sighs soft dreams Of stillness What peace it sparks To wrap our hearts With wondrous starry gentleness
Chorus: This, this is the Velvet Dark

The fallow call of renewal

This, this is the pregnant Night

The sacred womb of All

The Sacred Dark is a Gift of rest

Allowing toil to Fall away

We wrap our fates In this still embrace

Releasing the calls of daylight

We find ourselves With our hearts and minds

The glow of Light Within

With others knowing The Flame is growing

We share in warmth again

Happy Yule, and Blessed Be!

With Brightest Blessings,

erin Dragonsong

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