Mother Night 2023

It is Mother Night, the first night of Yule (Jul)! This is a time to celebrate the cycle of the year, the fact that you've made it this far, and that the days will soon be getting longer! In addition to the traditional feast, what other things can you do on this glorious holiday?

One thing you may consider is performing a blot in honor of your ancestors. Some among the Asatruar focus predominantly on their female ancestors, particularly the Disir. These entities are the females of the family that were so attached to taking care of the family that they continued to do so even after death. You may not have noticed them, but they tend to be there. It's a good time to acknowledge them and get to know them better.

Since it is a sort of end of the year, it is also a good time to reflect back on your year. Many people have complained about all the terrible things that happened in 2023 (and the previous years) but you've survived. Survival is the first step to doing everything else. Like it says in the Havamal verse 71, the lame can ride a horse, the handless can herd cattle, the deaf can fight, and it's better to be blind than burned on the pyre.

It's good to think about your struggles of the past year. Don't dwell so deeply as to be mired in despair, but be glad in your accomplishments. It is also important to determine what lessons could be learned when things didn't turn out well. Once you have learned, though, it is time to leave it in the past, unless you got a really good story from it!

Once you've reviewed the past year, you can turn your mind to the next one. What do you want to accomplish in the next thirteen moons? What would you need to do to lead to those goals? It was said that the ancients used to make promises to Bragi about the deeds they would do that would lead to songs to be sung. You don't need to go that far, but having at least a vague plan is better than drifting rudderless.

This is also a good time to contemplate your faith in the religion. No one forces people to worship the Gods; it must be voluntary. You must feel that it is the right thing to do deep inside yourself. It can be helpful, though, to bring that devotion out into the open. Maybe take a moment to reaffirm your allegiance to the Gods in Their fight to maintain existence against the force of extreme order (ice) and extreme chaos (fire). For some, this also involves promising to hold to the Nine Noble Virtues, though not everyone accepts this.

Above all, this is a good time to get together with your Kin and Community. Not everyone has Asatru/Heathen folks available, but that's ok. If you are on your own at this time, you can get some sense of community by recognizing that the rest of us are celebrating at the same time all over the place. There will be others also celebrating on their own, with just their ancestral spirits and other non-corporeal types, at the same time you are. We are all connected by the Wyrd, so all of us are together all the time and the vibrations sent through those woven strands can be felt by all. By the way, this will continue through the entire Yule season!

Like with most things in Asatru, every group has a different interpretation or set of practices. That's ok. Feel free to celebrate in your own fashion. I'm sure the Gods will appreciate your efforts and intent. Not everyone has the same resources, so you do the best you can and there is no fault in that. Winter was the Wolf Season, when food was harder to come by and dangers lurked in the long nights. Just because we have a modern world it doesn't mean everyone gets to benefit from it.

Have a blessed Mother Night, a Happy Yule/Jul, and a prosperous new year!