The passing of Yule - and a new promise

Although we pagans celebrate the new year on Samhain, for me it never really feels like a new year until Yule. One obvious main reason for this is because of cultural upbringing - in the west, we celebrate New Year's Eve on December 31st. But there is another reason too. Samhain is a festival regarding death and the otherworld. All life is born in death, as all death is born in life. This is a time for deep introspection and focus upon the inner worlds. Yule, on the other hand, is concerned with rebirth, that potent moment on the brink of both death and life which is embodied by the return of the Sun in the dark of winter. The promise of new life, a new year.


At Yule, we look at the past year, it's good and bad times, be thankful for what we have, and think about the things we would like to achieve in the coming year. Like the rebirth of the God-child, small inklings of hope and aspiration are planted in us, so they can grow with the light of the Sun. 2008 has been a very eventful year for me personally. The beginning of the year had all it's stresses about graduating, worries about finding work after university and how to make a living. The middle of the year had all it's (not too) industriousness of looking for work and thinking about the future. The end of the year concluded with having had a wonderful job in a special needs college, where I learnt a lot about myself and the work I wanted to do. This new year opens with me starting a new job, in a secondary school as a teaching assistant, and I am very happy. Looking over 2008, it seems as if I have been blessed. Things had been hard for a very long time, and all of a sudden I was right where I wanted to be, with seemingly little effort on my behalf.

To coin a term used by a friend, I feel that there have been many 'Godincidences' in the past year. This is defined as coincidences that seem to have been laid out for me, where a higher (or inner) power is at work. In terms of finding work, it seems as if the door had been opened for me already - I simply had to walk through it. In this way, I know the Lord and Lady are watching over me, giving me the tools I need to forge the life I want, nudging me in the right direction.

Now, the situation demands, what do I make of it? I could sit here and gloat over my new-found life and achievements, feel smug in the fact I've got where I am. Or, just maybe, I can pass the gift on. Because it is a gift. I found a job that opened up new possibilities for me, taught me more about myself in the three months I did it than the whole three years at university, and gave me the confidence and expertise to start a new job (which so far has been great, and I have many high hopes). The spirit of the gift should be passed on.

What will be my gift back to the Lord and Lady?

I have decided to raise money for the charity War Child by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Dec '09. I *hope* to raise £5000. A mighty task, but I feel appropriate for the gifts I have received. As said, I have new found confidence and skills, and this is the ultimate challenge for them. Putting the tools the Lord and Lady have given me to work. (If you want to support me, check out the links on the side menu - I have a website for this challenge.) I hope to look back on this challenge next Yule, and be able to say thanks and be proud of my achievements, knowing the circle of giving has continued on again. Now I'm not saying that you have to some amazing grand gesture. The Lord and Lady accept all gifts given in love and trust.

Gift giving is an important part of Yule. It's a time when you recognise the gifts you have been given (literally and metaphorically), and have the opportunity to return the favour in the spirit of celebration. It's the turning of the wheel, a reciprocation, and a chance to begin again.

What have you got to be thankful for? What will your gift be?

2 comments:

Brian Charles 13 January 2009 at 12:45  

welcome to blogging, Haley. I have so much to be grateful for that it is impossible to say. My gift can only be myself - not in some maudlin, sentimental, self-sacrificing way but in the sense of becoming fully myself and taking my place in the world. Whatever that might mean.

You are just starting on your journey through the world and I am closer to the end. May She strengthen you when you feel weak and make you laugh when you get too serious.

Haley @ Iridescent Dark 14 January 2009 at 09:22  

I can understand what you mean by yourself as a gift. By 'Knowing Thyself', opening up yourself, and becoming all that you can and are meant to be, you become a channel for healing and compassionate energy, and give others the permission to be fully themselves too. And a gift of self is a dedication that cannot be surpassed.

Thankyou so much for such a considerate comment Brian (as well as welcoming!).

About Me

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I am a pagan, special needs teaching assistant, BA Hons Drawing graduate, artist, amateur tarot reader, half-welsh, big sister, eldest daughter, lover, volunteer, bookworm, intense dreamer, nature and animal lover, over-protective friend, ex-barmaid, fledgling activist and general eccentric. Nice to meet you =D.

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