Yule In Australia

Yule is probably the one festival on the wheel of life that is most difficult for Southern Hemisphere Pagans to adjust to. It is difficult, when in December, we are bombarded with symbols that remind us of Yule, but it is the hottest part of summer! How then, do we reconcile the commercialism and display of some of our most dear symbols when in reality we won't be celebrating the winter solstice until June? How also, do we create the "magic" feeling for the kids (and adults too!) in the depth of winter, with no reminder of the season, it seems, every five seconds? For me, the way of "fitting" into the commercial/family/friends gift giving cycle, is to have two Yules. One Pagan Yule in June, which is reserved for the earth, for ritual, for symbolism. The other Yule I celebrate in December.

The holidays in December are an important time for my family, as it is the only time of the year where we can all be together relaxing for a few days and to celebrate being together again. We have many "traditions" (including gift giving) that make these holidays that I would be loathed to give up. My tree in December is usually a pile of old sticks (arranged decorately of course!) with pods and seeds for decoration. This is symbolic to me of the heat and bushfires that are required for a lot of our native vegetation to reproduce.

So then, how does one celebrate Yule in June? It's easy! It's still possible to have a tree, to decorate it with seasonally appropriate images and to make and hang wreathes, to feast, to sing and to do ritual. This time is more introspective and earth centred. My family at this time are the Goddess and God, and it is with them that I celebrate this season. Usually getting up before dawn to watch the Great Mother give birth to the New Sun God (it's cold, but a wondrous experience). Well, these are just some of my ramblings and thoughts about Yule. What about you?

Guest editorial by NSW Pagan Alliance co-ordinator, Adrianne Harris.


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