Mother Night 2014

Yule supper of sausage, cheese, bread, apples, walnuts, and hazel nuts (filberts).

The winter solstice brings the start of Yule and, of course, Mother Night. This is a night to celebrate our mother Earth and the all the blessings we have received over the past year. So how does one go about doing that?

The easiest thing to do is to actually write a list of all the good stuff that has happened to you and those you care about. If you try, you can probably find quite a few pleasant events and occurrences. If you are really stumped, write down that you are still breathing and will have the chance for things to get better in the coming year.

After that comes the ceremony that everyone worries about. How do I actually honor the Gods and give my thanks? That varies because relationships with the Gods tend to be personal. If you don't already have a relationship with the Gods, or at least the Gods associated with Yule, there are few formulaic things you can do.

The Gods for Mother Night are Hertha and Ullr. (NOTE: The names used by the Gods and Goddesses vary from one social group to another. This is not an inconsistency with the Gods, but is an inconsistency with people.) Hertha handles the Earth Mother part. Ullr is the God of winter. In the days of our ancient ancestors, winter was a time of possible impending doom. All of the abundance of the year had returned to the womb of the Earth to be reborn in the spring and they were stuck with whatever they had stored. Those stores needed to include firewood for warmth and food for themselves and their livestock. That should sound worrisome. Imagine how much they would have appreciated central heating! Hey, that's something else you can put on your list of blessings if you have it.

After you have made your list of blessings, it is time for some contemplation. Really take the time to think about how grateful you really are and how hurt you would be if those blessings weren't there. If you have others around who are Heathen, or at least Heathen-friendly, take the time to share your blessings with each other and discuss what they mean. The point of all of this is to really clarify your feelings of gratitude.

If it is safe to do so, go outside, or just go to your altar or wherever you do your communing with the Gods. This is where you express thanks to the Gods and generally invite them in. Once there, address the Gods by name, tell them that they are welcome and that you are thankful for all they have done. Address them the same way you would a boss that you get along with really well.

Have a simple supper. Remember that you are showing that you are grateful to have any supper at all. It's OK to have good food and share with others, but keep it simple. The real feast will happen later in Yule. Remember to set aside a little of the food to act as an offering. You will take this food out later and place it in a natural area. Please be mindful of local laws regarding this; some places really frown on food that may attract vermin.

After this, relax. It is still a night for tightening the belt and holing up for winter. You can spend the rest of the night with your friends or just reading. It is the Winter Solstice and it is going to be a long night.

Comments

In the comments, tell how you celebrated Mother Night, or tell some of the things for which you were grateful this year.