Friday night before the Sweetwood Temenos Yule celebration we had a light snow fall of 1-2 inches.
This is the last weekend of a mild and wet autumn since November. At the beginning of November we had a snow fall of 5 inches. But within 3 days it melted and since then only rain and some ice. Over Thanksgiving I was able to build Yule bond fire. I used logs created by cutting up two dead pine trees and splitting old dry oak and maple. The pile of wood stood in the center of the circle and was about 4.5 ft X 4.5 ft and about 4 ft high.
Saturday afternoon a couple of Sweetwood members show up at 1:00 pm and hung out with us for couple of hours. Then at 3:00 pm we walked and carried the ritual tools and items; the goblet, plate, a single white candle, bread, well water, torch, and lighter.
The altar was set with the candle on the south side of the altar, water in the west side of the altar, Bread on the north side of the altar and torch in the east side of the altar. The ritual began with a centering OM that echoed through the woods. The priestess and priest casted the circle by walking the circle round and stopping at each Quarter and giving thanks. The elements, the Goddess, the God and the Divine community were invoked.
We passed the torch around, each holding it and speaking what the return of the light and the meaning of this Holy Day had for them. Then when all were finished the Priest went to the altar to light the torch from the white candle. With the torch light he returned and set the Solstice bond fire ablaze!
While the fire burned we talked about the coming year, particularly given it was 2012 and the ending and renewing of the Mayan calendar, shared reflections and enjoyed the company of each other. With the fire moving from bellowing plumes of smoke to bright flames the priest went and brought the goblet of water to the fire and started the water sharing. Around went the goblet and sharing water from person to person, looking into each other’s eyes and touching each other’s hearts with these words “Water Shared is Love Shared, is Life Shared, May you Never Thirst! Thou Art God, Thou Art Goddess Drink Deep!
The priest brought forth from the altar some Oat bread and blessed it. Around the bread went until all had their fill. To help wash down the bread, Wassail was served and some toasts were made! All in the late afternoon into twilight with a very hot fire to sit around with the beauty of the land in silent repose only to be sung to by our laughter, conversation and squirrels moving from tree to tree, the moment was subtle and great to behold.
As evening descended, the priestess and priest took down the circle and the priestess invoked the closing that opened the circle. So Merry Meet and Merry part and Merry meet again and we walked back up through the woods into the field and made our way back to the warmth of our house to continue the celebration and some more good food and drink!
Never Thirst, Iacchus