A Solitary Yule | ADF

A Solitary Yule

[If you're using this rite yourself, make sure you've read through it and have necessary sacrifices. Note that I didn't include any sacrifices or offerings, because I think it's best if you choose how much or how little to offer. This entire rite can be done without a single offering, but, as Ceisiwr Serith says, "When we come before the gods, it is wise not to come empty-handed." You will need a few things for the rite: a representation of a tree, three votive candles (in holders), a vessel of water of some kind, something to drink from, and some way to take an omen. Anything else is window-dressing. The Patron of this rite is Sulis, a Gualish sun goddess, so don't be surprised if you find feminine pronouns for the sun. Many prayers (Gatekeeper invocation, song for the return of the sun, and the opening of the Gates, for example) are straight from Ceisiwr Serith's A Book of Pagan Prayer.]

The Yule Rite:

Enter Sacred Space, stand before the altar.

State purpose: "Hail the Sun! Today I welcome you back from the darkness!"

Fill the well, Light one of the three candles.

Mother Earth invocation: (place hands on the floor/ground)

I call out to the Earth Mother
You who support me.
You who hold me
You who has birthed me and will once again take me.
Earth Mother, in her daily travels, the sun passes through you.
Her path has grown longer with each passing day
Since the last Solstice, this summer gone.
It is in your power to shorten this trail
The lonely one through your tunnels and caves
I ask that you hear your children
And show her the way.

Inspiration: (face the fire)

Snow and ice have cooled our minds
Cold winds have blown away our fertile thoughts
Silent nights have stilled our tongues
Like the bear, the fox, and the toad
Our creativity hibernates without the warmth of the sun.
Come to us now, Inspiration, as the sun returns!
As the sun grows in strength
So may the fire in our hearts!

Purpose restatement: (face altar)
"Today, the sun is renewed. The long descent into darkness is ended, the long night is halfway over. I look forward at this time, remembering what I have done, knowing what I will do. I make promises to myself and to the Gods. Most of all, though, I welcome in Sulis, the sun herself, and pray that the increase of her light also show an increase in my blessings. Hail the Sun!"

Outdwellers: (face north and hold up your hands)

From far to the North do these things come:
Cold North Wind, biting and raw.
Ice Storms, piercing and painful
Sleet, Snow, and Slush, dangerous and underestimated
Alberta Clipper, snowy and feared.
Lake Effect Snow, plentiful and inconvenient
In-Laws, We're not home!
I name these things at this time, the things I wish to see less of in this season, and I set them aside.

Attunement: 2 Powers meditation. You can do the standard one, or you can be a bit creative. As an example, I'm thinking of the Two Powers we all thought about around this time of year: the Naughty and Nice powers.

Sacred Center: dip your finger in the well, pass your hand over the flame, and touch the tree. Feel the connection to each of the gates.

Gatekeeper invocation: (face the well)

Cernunnos, lord, sitter in the doorway
God of equilibrium, terrible, merciful:
You who hold the opposites apart,
You in whom all opposites unite,
My prayer goes to you to open the passage
To clear the threshold,
To make the way clear.

Opening the Gates:

Open the way
Open the way
Lord Cernunnos
Open the way
(make an opening triskel over the Well; envision it as a gate to the Underworld)

Open the way
Open the way
Lord Cernunnos
Open the way
(make an opening triskel over the Fire; envision it as a gate to the Upperworld)

Open the way
Open the way
Lord Cernunnos
Open the way
(make an opening triskel over the tree; envision it as the crossroads of the Worlds)

Let the Gates be Opened!

Ancestors invocation: (face the well)

I call out to those who came before me
Hear me, O ancestors!
The sun has traveled through your lands
In an ever-lengthening journey.
I ask that you remember the cold winters of your lives
Remember the piercing winds
Remember the ice and the darkness.
Remember that your descendants feel this now.
I call out to you, and ask that you join me.
Together, let us encourage the sun to return,
For she has traveled in your world long,
And now it is time for her to travel in mine.
Welcome, and thanks to the Ancestors!

Nature Spirits invocation: (face the tree or open window)

A child of the earth calls out to the spirits of this place
Hear me, spirits of nature!
Though it is cold outside
And many of you sleep beneath the ground
Or in nests high above my head,
I ask that you hear my voice,
And join your call to mine
As I call the sun back to the skies
To bring her warmth and shining love
For all of us to feel.
Welcome, and thanks to the Nature Spirits!

Deities invocation: (face the fire)

Your child calls out to you, Elder Gods.
Hear me, O deities!
The sun has fulfilled her old bargain,
She has taken the long roads through the Underworld.
She has distanced herself from the lands of the living.
She has allowed the cold, the snow, and the ice
To gather about us, as you have declared she should.
Now is the time that we may ask for her return.
Tonight, we call out to your sense of justice,
Your sense of love for us,
And ask that you join with us in calling her back.
Welcome, and thanks to the Deities!

Welcoming of the Kindred: (place hands palms up before your body, smile, and shout)

Welcome to my Ancestors, the Nature Spirits, and the Gods!
Now, I ask that you join me in my call to the Patroness of this rite!

Calling in the Sun: (facing the fire, and especially the two unlit candles)

Sulis, Sun Maiden,
Bright wheel in the sky!
Hear me as I call out to you
And pray for your safe return
And increase this solstice day!

Six months ago, I reveled in your height
I sang in the fields as you rose,
Strong and proud and full of splendor.
Since then, I have watched you lessen
Until the equinox, when you gave summer to the Underworld.

Your path has been long and dark
But you have lit the way for souls
Who have long departed this world.
You spent time under the earth
Moving through tunnels and caverns
Each day longer ones than before
And my ancestors appreciate the light.

But now it is time for you to return.
You have not forgotten those still living
Who now need your light more than ever
For our nights have become too long,
Too cold, too quiet.
It is right that you should return to us.

So, O Sulis, Lady of the Sun,
I ask you that you return to us,
Bringing with you the warmth
We so desperately need.
Find shorter passages through the Underworld;
Take the fastest route back to us.
Do not leave us to freeze in this cold winter.

Sulis, with this candle lit, [light first candle]
Find your way through the dark of the Underworld.
Sulis, with this candle lit, [light second candle]
Find your strength, and remember the old bargains.

Sulis, the light of the world has returned!

Final sacrifices: (if not making offerings, cut text appropriately)

I have made offerings to Sulis
The Deities, the Nature Spirits, and my Ancestors.
Now, Sulis, I pray you accept my offerings
And that you bring the sun back for another bright year.

Omen: (Take omen as you usually would. If all omens point to a positive outcome, use the following prayer of praise:)

On the rim of the world, She is dancing.
In Her bright robe, She is dancing.
Young and lovely, She is dancing.
Bringer of vision, She is dancing.
Dance, Sun Maiden, into the sky,
Bringing the day to those who wait for you.

Return Flow: (elevate drink of water/wine/mead/etc., and speak)

I draw blessing from the cauldron of blessing
I pour the mead of inspiration
Behold, the holy cup of magic!
Into it flows the outpouring of all blessings
The deities would grant me,
And when I partake of the drink of the gods,
I am accepting the power to do as I will in the worlds.

(drink)

Thanks and closing:

Now, I close this rite.
But first, let me thank those who have offered help:
Sulis, for your power, protection, and returning light,
I thank you.
Deities, for your upholding the bargains,
I thank you.
Nature Spirits, for adding your voice to mine,
I thank you.
Ancestors, for giving up the sun and allowing the descent into winter,
I thank you.
Earth Mother, for showing the sun the proper ways,
I thank you.
To all the powers who have here aided me,
I say again, I thank you.
Finally, O Gatekeeper, I thank you, but I ask one final boon.

Closing the Gates:

Close the way
Close the way
Lord Cernunnos
Close the way

(make a Closing triskel over the Well; envision it as a gate to the Underworld)

Close the way
Close the way
Lord Cernunnos
Close the way
(make a Closing triskel over the Fire; envision it as a gate to the Upperworld)

Close the way
Close the way
Lord Cernunnos
Close the way
(make a Closing triskel over the tree; envision it as the crossroads of the Worlds)

Let the Gates be Closed!

Ending the rite: (empty all unused offerings to the earth, or into a bowl for later disposal)

I return all I leave unused to the Earth.
This rite is ended!
The Sun has returned!

Author Information

Rev. Michael Dangler

Author's Bio:

Rev. Michael J Dangler is a Grove Priest of Three Cranes Grove, ADF, an ADF Senior Priest, and also the Clergy Council Preceptor. He's fond of hiking, hammocks, cheeseburgers, and Buffett songs. He's 34, 6'4" tall, and has a good sense of humor. Walk up and talk to him if you ever see him at a festival, because he likely thinks you've got something interesting to say and wants to hear it.

Articles by Rev. Michael Dangler