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Thread: The Celebration of Yule

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    Senior Member Julius's Avatar
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    Post The Celebration of Yule

    After a thousand years under the Judeo-Christian yoke it is now alas necessary to re-inform the Nordic people about the context of our feasts, so that our cultural heritage does not get forgotten or expelled by Judeo-Christian customs. Yule is a time we connect with ribs, Christmas tree, decorations, gifts, Santa Claus to mention some. I shall not go on about what the international Judeo-Christian power tries to get people to connect to this feast, but instead explain what Yule really is about - what it originates from…

    By Varg Vikernes



    Yule is the darkest time of year, when the nights are at their longest and days at their shortest. It is also the time when the sun turns and the days get longer. This our distant predecessors celebrated; the day when the sun turned and when it went towards lighter times. This was called "Yule" (wheel) of the simple reason that the sun-wheel (swastika) is our foremost symbol of the sun; the life-giving and life-preserving power. To symbolize this it was customary to set fire to a wheel and to let it roll down hills in full fire and flame! Besides being a light-feast the Yule is also a feast for the dead, and a sacrifice for peace and fertility for the coming year.

    One sang in the Yule by calling on the dead ones; "come those who want, join those who want" is an example of what the wife in the house could sing out while she walked around in the house singing the coming of Yule. Because everyone was supposed to able to get in it was forbidden to lock the doors and windows - they should actually stand wide open. The dead should not be hindered in coming home. Images and figures of our predecessors were put forth, so that they were remembered, and it was everyone's duty to toast to the dead and to our Gods. It is a religious duty to toast to Odin on the eve of Yule!

    A great lot of food was set forth for decoration. Such food shall not be touched before the Yule is past; because the dead ones shall be the first ones to help themselves, and that which is left over the living shall have. This was cake-houses, nuts and much more. The eve of Yule the living should sleep in their living rooms and make their beds for the dead. Branches of evergreens were brought in. These were decorated with cake-men and cake-animals of different kinds. A spearhead was also fastened to the branches, in the top as a symbol for Odin's Gungnir. This branch - or the whole tree in our days (a German custom from 16th century) - is a symbol of Yggdrasil; the tree of life, and we hang things in it to hold a symbolic sacrifice to the Gods - after the model of the Uppsala blot and other related sacrifices where animals and humans were hung in the trees as a sacrifice to the Gods!

    While everyone is asleep "the white god" - Heimdall - comes back to his children to give them what they deserve. Some get grand gifts, whilst others get their sock filled up with charcoal from the chimney. He rides over the heaven - like Thorburnr - with his wagon, which is pulled by deer or rain-deer, the whole night of Yule and visits all his children. Not only was Heimdall given the mission to improve the human race by giving them blood from the Gods, he was also to guard over the humans; hear all that was said, see everything and reward the children who deserved it.

    The Yule is not only a feast for the dead and living, for the returning sun, for peace and fertility in the coming year. It is in the Yule's last days the Åsgardsrei fulfill the consecration of its new members. Then they fare forth in the night, disguised as animals and mythical beings, and then they go from house to house and empty their cellars for mead, bear and other things. Today we send our children out on this every year as "Julebukker (Yule-goats)". This gang of berserkers and wolf-hides must have frightened more than one old lady up through the years…

    There are more details, such as cakes decorated with swastikas, that we eat ribs because it is of Freys holy animal (the swine), that the wife in the house brushes out all dust and dirt after the Yule whilst she throws out the dead and bid them keep away until she calls on them again, but I hope you know a little bit more now: about what the Yule actually is, where it comes from and why we celebrate it…?!

    Think about it - and have a MERRY YULE!

    Translated to English from Norwegian by Wewarijaz.

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    Senior Member NormanBlood's Avatar
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    Yes, I read this article by Vikernes when I first became interested in the religious beliefs of our ancestors. I must say its one of his more rational articles lol

    The part of the title "A Germanic Feast" brings up the point of how clueless the masses of today are as to the origins of our so called "christian" holidays. It would be amusing to see the reactions of parents when they realise that their children are really asking Heimdall for presents hehe

    This brings up an interesting topic of, how will you be celebrating Yule this year? : D

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    Senior Member Julius's Avatar
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    The part of the title "A Germanic Feast" brings up the point of how clueless the masses of today are as to the origins of our so called "christian" holidays. It would be amusing to see the reactions of parents when they realise that their children are really asking Heimdall for presents hehe
    Hehe, yeah. In Sweden many know about some of the pagan roots. Winter solstice, old myths of trolls ("Santa Claus") in the woods etc. But of course, few are celebrating either "Yule" or Jesus. Christmas is just about the family and relatives gathering and kids receiving gifts.

    As you probably know, Swedes still celebrate many other pagan traditions which have little Christian resemblance. For example Walpurgis Night and Midsummer around summer solstice.


    This brings up an interesting topic of, how will you be celebrating Yule this year? : D
    I'm not practising Odinism so I do as everyone else; spend time with my family and watch Donald Duck. ;D


    The Swedish school system is very fair in that everyone has to learn equally much about Christianity and the pagan gods.

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    Yes, it is true that they teach you quite a lot about Pagan traditons and Nordic (also in relation with the Greek ones) myths in the Swedish school curriculum.

    Yule is called Jul in Sweden.

    I went to Julius link: http://www.nordiskaforlaget.se, and then I went under Produktkatalog, Böcker, Antropologi och biologi and found a book by Richard McCulloch translated to "Rasbegreppets verklighet". One can also read it here:
    http://www.preservationist-books.com/RV.pdf

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    Senior Member NormanBlood's Avatar
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    Well its good that Scandinavia still somewhat upholds its Heathen roots. It would be sad to see them go by the way side. In French Canada there are still some heathen tradition but masked under "christian" names. For example Saint Jean-Baptiste many gather with friends, eat and drink and build massive bonfires and such. Also we have a myth called "La Chasse-galerie" which originally comes from Odin's Wild Hunt (as most inhabitants are of Norman blood they brought to Canada many old folk tales). But still nothing compared to what you say about preservation in Scandinavia.

    Julius, yes not many here celebrate the "birth of christ" and such here either, its mostly just a family get together holiday..which is good.

    volksdeutsche, thanks for the link

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    Senior Member Julius's Avatar
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    Right now the snow's glittering under the street lights and illuminating the gloomy land. : )

    The darkness outside helps strengthen the feeling of warmth and affection inside the peoples houses.

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    Senior Member NormanBlood's Avatar
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    Snow is indeed a beautiful thing. I could not imagine a Yule without it. The feeling of sitting inside a house warmed by a woodstove, with the smell of great food lingering in the air and family joined around the table while the moon turns the snow a light blue colour and the wind sends flakes of snow whipping around the windows is just priceless.

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    Re: The Celebration Of Yule - A Germanic Feast

    Quote Originally Posted by NormanBlood
    Snow is indeed a beautiful thing. I could not imagine a Yule without it. The feeling of sitting inside a house warmed by a woodstove, with the smell of great food lingering in the air and family joined around the table while the moon turns the snow a light blue colour and the wind sends flakes of snow whipping around the windows is just priceless.
    Finally, somebody who cares...

    This has always been a paradise for me! Bring out the sleighs! Let's go snowsurfing! Oh my, I miss the snow!!! I miss snowball fights and snowforts. I miss pelting cars with snowballs from behind bushes! I miss iceskating. I miss winter hunts. I hate this goddamn desert!

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    Senior Member Aemma's Avatar
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    Fast forward to 2008: How will you be celebrating Yule this year?

    I stumbled upon this thread and thought it timely since the season is nearly upon us. It's a bit of a dated thread, so I thought I'd revisit Norman Blood's initial question: How will you be celebrating Yule this year?

    I confess that we as a family have not been Heathen/Odinist for a very long time. This will be our third Yule. But it is forever a special occasion in our household since with this upcoming Yule, we also celebrate our anniversary of having reclaimed our Heathen roots and that essential part of our culture and in the end being.

    Our first Yule shall live in my memory and heart forever. We lit candles and exchanged small gifts during the full 12 days. We read meditations, for lack of a better term, provided to us by an eminent Asatru organisation and reflected upon them each night for the twelve nights. We observed Modraniht. We feasted with traditional foods and set a place for our ancestors and set out a healthy portion of oatmeal and butter for our housewight.

    Last year's Yule was tackled a bit differently. The full twelve days were still respected as was Modraniht, but it felt rushed and to me it seemed as though the feeling of spiritual connectedness to our roots, our ancestors, to our gods and goddesses had eluded us. It wasn't as memorable an experience as our very first Yule let's say, but it was good nonetheless.

    This year we plan on returning to our "original format". It is what we most enjoyed. Of course, there will always be some tweaking as the years go on, introducing a little of this or a little of that (a new food perhaps, or new friends at our table)...such is the spice of life. And of course, all of this does have a distinct cultural flavour to it as well: there are elements of my French Canadian culture, and my husband's English Canadian culture as well. It all makes for a distinctly *Canadian* Yule, tourtières and crackers combined, while at the same time enjoying the majesty of a snow covered landscape while dreading the accumulation of a mountain of snow to be cleared at the end of the driveway due to the passing by of the snowplough.

    All this being said then, I return to the question: How will you be celebrating Yule this year?

    Frith...Aemma

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    Senior Member Hrafnmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aemma View Post
    . . .
    I confess that we as a family have not been Heathen/Odinist for a very long time. This will be our third Yule. But it is forever a special occasion in our household since with this upcoming Yule, we also celebrate our anniversary of having reclaimed our Heathen roots and that essential part of our culture and in the end being.

    Our first Yule shall live in my memory and heart forever. . .
    Well Aemma, it is interesting to note how your first Yule was so memorable. Generally speaking, 'firsts' are always memorable leaving either a good or bad impression. It is up to us to forge on from there. Your experience I think goes the same for many of us who have returned to our ancestral ways. I have been around long enough to hear of folks' Yule celebrations and a good swath of us have reaped the wonder and joy of Yule with the first one usually being quite unforgettable in a good way. I remember my own and how in my solitary fervour to fain the gods, on the eve I struggled upon snowshoes through the deep snows to reach one of my wild spots off in the bush. I remember the low grey clouds felt like a cozy blanket over the scene while it gently snowed on my purpose. The forest assumed a magical atmosphere as the flames of my lively fire light up the surrounding area of birch and mixed conifers like one big hof. I now have to chuckle at some of the ideas and methods I held way back then, but what has stuck with me was the wondrous feeling . . . the rightness of it all, the wynn.

    A quarter of a century later, I shan't be doing something so foolish as to fare about at night upon the Yuletide. I shall keep my fainings indoors where my wéofod is warm though I'm sure I shall give thought back to my first Yule and so fetch forth a glimmer of the magic found then and there.

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