I see this time of year through different eyes however, and I am not intimidated by a cold and desolate world. I see this as a time to rest, and reflect on the events that I have experienced in the past year. I try not to cringe when I think of the mistakes that I have made, but attempt to put them in perspective, and learn from them. Whatever success I have had, I try to understand what made it happen, and plan ways to expand on it . I like to re - read my articles and e - mails at this time of year, and see if my perspective has changed any. You would be surprised how many times I have read something a year later, and thought to myself, " I could have, or should have, said it a different way. " One of things I have learned from Odin is that a wise person does not remain static in his ideas or opinions, but should slowly evolve with their ever growing knowledge.
I also look for the beauty of the season, which though stark in appearance, is still very evident to those who open up their eyes, and their hearts to it. I love the sight of a leafless tree set against a cold pure blue sky. To me it looks like an Asatru priest raising his arms to the heavens to praise our Gods and Goddesses. And is there anything more beautiful than freshly fallen snow covering Mother Earth, with a blinding blanket of pure white crystals. Whenever I see fresh snow upon the ground it reminds me of the purity of our great God Balder.
I enjoy going up to the mountains to catch a glimpse of deer scratching with their hoofs in the snow looking for roots in the ground, or nibbling at the branches of a small tree. One of the most beautiful things I ever saw in the winter time was a small mountain waterfall that had completely frozen over. I kept waiting for a Frost Giant to poke his head out from somewhere, because it did not look like a sight that could be seen in our realm. Even in today's industrial society there is still so much beauty to see during this season if you want to experience it !
For those who hate the winter, take comfort in the fact that this day is the darkest day of the year, and that the days will soon, minute by minute , gain in length as Sunna slowly regains her strength after her much needed winter rest. Know too that life has not disappeared, but is waiting just below the surface of Great Mother Earth Jord, for that magical spark of warmth that initiates life to re - appear.
During my Winter Solstice ritual I thank wonderful Sunna for all that She does for us throughout the year. For truly without Her there could not be life at all. Is there anything more wonderful, or better appreciated, than her warm embrace on a cold day ? I also look to one of my favorite Goddesses, ( a Jotun ), Skadhi, the Great Warrior / Huntress at this time of the year. No God, or Goddess, understands, or appreciates, the winter season better than She. Not only is she not intimidated by the harsh conditions, but she flourishes in it with her wolves, and becomes a living part of it. I also honor Great Odin, and wish him well on his Wild Hunt. But most of all I thank the Gods and Goddesses for life itself, because this is the time of year when life, through the lack of it , is most appreciated !
This is my ritual schedule for the Yule ( Jul ) ritual season :
Day 1 : December 20 : Reconsecration of altars ( Wreath hanging )
Day 2 : December 21 : ( Winter Solstice )
Day 3 : December 22 : The Gods
Day 4 : December 23 : The Goddesses
Day 5 : December 24 : Ancestors
Day 6 : December 25 : Dark Day ( Martyrs )
Day 7 : December 26 : Heroes
Day 8 : December 27 : Life ( Ask and Embla ) ( Odin, Vili, Ve )
Day 9 : December 28 : Crops and Harvest
Day 10 : December 29 : Mother Jord ( The natural world )
Day 11 : December 30 : Poetry and Skaldic Tales ( Bragi )
Day 12 : December 31 : Twelfth Night ( Sacred Oaths )
Day 13 : January 1 : Friends ( Incl. those that have passed )
Day 14 : January 2 : Wisdom ( Havamal )
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart )