Mother Night 2019

The Winter Solstice brings with it another Yule celebration. Of course, the first night of Yule is Mother Night. People often ask who the "Mother" is in Mother Night. Like most everything else in the Asatru Heathen world, that requires some discussion.

Remember that Asatru tends to be tribal in nature and different tribes will have slightly different interpretations of things. Folks will debate the origins and meanings of everything and occasionally come to an agreement on something. As a result, there are plenty of different beliefs about Yule and Mother Night, and that is okay.

What follows is how I interpret things based on my own experiences and discussions. You are welcome to dispute or ignore it. If you are new to Asatru, please consider this a place to start until you decide you believe something else.

The Solstice is a turning point. It means that we are gradually headed back to warmer weather. In northern countries, that is a big deal. That is reason to have hope, but is it not swimming weather yet. We have to wait a while before the new green pushes through the snow.

The goddess Hertha is the Earth goddess for the evening. Right now, she is keeping everything safely tucked away, hibernating until the spring thaw. The trees snooze. The seeds slumber. There's not much out except for creatures like us, the wolves, and a few others. Mother Night is a night for thinking about the coming spring as well as the wait until then.

There are some things to do. First, we give thanks that we made it through the previous year and are prepared to make it the next. Second, it is a good time to think about what you want to do in the next year and the preparations you could be doing now. Finally, it is a good time to think about your kindred or tribe.

Giving Thanks

The typical way to give thanks is through a blot and/or ritual meal. A blot is a more formal ceremony where you invite the Gods into your home, community, and life. You can do this yourself or with your group. A ritual meal just means that you get together with as many of you as there are (solitary, if that's what you have), and eat. Typically, a bowl is set aside and everyone places a small amount of their food and drink into it. The bowl is then taken outside to share with the land spirits or other entities. I prefer to keep the Mother Night meal simple as a reminder of the lean times of winter before spring arrives.

The Coming Year

In modern American culture, it is common to make New Year's resolutions. What would you like to do in the coming year? Is it a change to your lifestyle? Do you want to learn a new skill or overcome a bad habit? Now is a good time to think about those things. You may even want to discuss it with your folk to get feedback and support.

There is a warning about your resolutions. On occasion, someone may, especially after drinking a little too much, as a God, such as Odin, to witness an oath about the resolution. The Gods, especially Odin, are very busy with Their own work. They may react poorly to a broken promise. Worse, Odin is known to fit your promise into His work in someway that helps what He is up to. That may make your resolution into more of an adventure or struggle than you had planned. Maybe take it easy on both the alcohol and the oaths to the Gods.

The Folk

Not that long ago, surviving the winter was a tough experience. Things were easier if you had a family, tribe, or village that you could rely on. Though physical survival is now easier in the developed nations, you still need some people.

Those with a Kindred

For those who have a kindred, take some time to appreciate who those people are and that they are there. Some may be less likeable than others. Some may be less reliable than others. Some may be total losers, but they are your loser. Be glad that you have a community.

This is also a good time to reflect on what you could do to make your kindred better. Can you be more supportive to one who is making an effort? Can you change one of your less popular habits to a more likeable form? Can you initiate a group activity that will make everyone better? Give it some thought.

Solitary Folks

For those who are solitary practitioners, this can be a difficult time of year. In addition to having no other Asatru people with whom to celebrate Yule, you have to endure all of the Christmas activity going on around you. It can be difficult, but endure.

This is a good time to think about what you can do differently in the coming year to try to find other Asatru people. Can you attend a public event held by a large kindred far away? Can you start a Rune study group in your own town?

The most important thing is to persevere. Perform a blot. Thank the Gods for what you do have and ask what you can do for Them. Feel free to learn and write Runes publically to see who takes an interest. Eventually, you will meet more Asatru people.

The Rest of Yule

After this you have eleven more nights or Yule (or eight more in some traditions). Enjoy the nature of winter. Tighten the belt a little; it is the Wolf Season. Try to avoid overindulging.

Also, pay attention to what the Christians are buying in terms of crafts and decorations. Note that most of those look a lot like our decorations. If you are a little crafty, now may be a good time to plan how you can make such things and then sell them to Christians in next year's spending frenzy. Christian silver is as good as anyone else's.

May the Gods protect and guide you during this Yule and always.