I have been struggling recently, as I know many of you are. The holidays are difficult for many, especially those of us who are effectively on our own. We struggle to survive and keep everything afloat and the increased financial and social demands, as well as our desire to provide a good holiday for our children and loved ones sometimes feels like too much. This year is no different, and is one in a long line of disaster, extraction, and exploitation. The rollercoaster of constant catastrophic news and mounting anxiety has made it hard to feel festive.
Holidays we might have inherited culturally have been appropriated by capitalist Christians and warped into such a disgraceful mess, where extravagant gifts and decorations are more important than truly connecting with one another. Any coherent reason for the season has been torn away and replaced with frantic consumerism.
If you’re lucky to have a family that is supportive and wonderful, that is such a blessing to have, but there are many of us who have been cast aside or lost those in our lives that are worth celebrating with. Our families have been torn apart by religion, politics, or toxic generational abuse.
It is for those who are struggling like me that I wrote this ritual.
Yule should be more than just a reclamation of old traditions that have been stolen. We can burn a yule log, make wreaths, hold a feast and drink to our heart’s content, but the meaning should be deeper than that. The solstice is important because we must face the dark night together. We tell stories and release the things that we’ve been holding back.
We face the silence of this cold winter night and know that we will make it through till the morning together, to find that the light shines once more,a little longer every day. We travel this path of dark so we may know the light, and the winter solstice is the perfect time to embrace our inner darkness.
On this sacred night, after sunset, we shall be writing and releasing. I know this may seem silly to some of you, but I ask that you write whatever comes to mind, like journaling. Release everything onto these papers until you can write no longer. Let every emotion that you’ve been holding on to be free; let the good follow the bad, the beautiful follow the ugly. Just write it down without self-editing or judgment.
Reflect upon the year you’ve had. What has been holding you back? What deep-seated regrets do you have? What painful truths have you been avoiding? This is a night of reflection. Let the inner storms that have been brewing release your thoughts onto the papers. Once you’ve written everything you can, fold the papers and place them on your altar. Light a candle, and slow your breaths, focusing on your body and how it feels.
Recite the following affirmation three times:
O Lucifer the Lightbringer, protect us through the darkest of nights, free us from our burdens, return thy light on the morrow, that we may rejoice together.
The dark surrounds us and we will travel into the silent night that allows our souls to speak their truths. Our bodies are the key, and they store the emotions we have pushed down for so long, causing even more harm to us. We release tonight that which holds us back. You have written your thoughts, but now you must feel your emotions. Let them rise, let them out. Play music and sing at the top of your lungs, or scream, or talk or cry.
Let your physical body do the work and do what feels right for you in the moment. When you have calmed, envision a brilliant white light surrounding you, protecting you from horrors, and rest. Feel this light’s warm embrace, know that your soul is cleansed and you will rise in the morning anew.
The sun begins its rebirth, as do we, and the days to come will grow longer as our hemisphere returns to springtime. On this day we celebrate the light and dream big. We take the time to sit at our altar and envision the future we want for ourselves.
Write down these dreams, the world you want to see, what you know it can be. This is a time for hope. Despite all the darkness in the world, and everything we must bear, we can still see the light that guides us. We cannot give up hope, no matter how hard things become. Seal these dreams in an envelope or place in an altar box so that in the coming year, when we face hard times, we may return to these dreams and hopes and we can be reminded of what’s at stake.
On this day we honor Lucifer. This can be simply reciting a prayer and talking to him, or engaging in an activity that allows us to connect with him in our own way. Singing songs, making a simmer pot, placing an offering of holly or mistletoe for him on our altars are all wonderful ways of including him in our celebrations.
Since our festivities may be on different days, this prayer can be recited when the time is best for you. If you are burning a yule log, you may burn our solstice night papers with the yule log to release those thoughts and emotions that you’ve held on to.
O great Lucifer the Lightbringer,
Join us and be welcome on these, our days of celebration,
Grant us thy presence on this sacred occasion,
Join our bountiful feasts in thy honor,
As we gather in our merrymaking,
May thy children rejoice in thy name,
As we embrace the darkness that enfolds us,
Grant us thy light on our path forward,
And warm those who stand by our hearths,
Grant our community thy strength, that we may grow ever stronger,
Grant us thy will, that we may never submit,
Celebrate with us, Lucifer, and bless us in the new year with thy protection,
So I will it,
Blessed Winter Solstice, may all our feasts be bountiful and hearths full of warmth.
Ave Lucifer, Lilith and Leviathan!