11th Day of Yule: Valkyries/Warriors and The Virtue of Self Reliance

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Today the Valkyrie and Warriors are celebrated. Valkyrie are sometimes compared to angels, but really they are Goddesses who are considered foster daughters of Odin. They fly over battlefields, choosing the best warriors; they’re referred to as the “Choosers of the Slain” guiding the fallen to their next place. Perhaps this is a good day for remembrance.
We also recognize the virtue of Self Reliance. We must rely on ourselves to discover our paths, our place in the world, and how we see things. Discovering our own ethics and building our characters accordingly. We celebrate independence and the ability to be independent.

May you all have a very safe and blessed New Year’s Eve. Please be responsible. Stay the night, take a cab, have a Designated Driver, etc. and may 2017 be better.

Many blessings!

Lark

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10th Day of Yule: Sunna/Light and The Virtue of Justice

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The next cycle of the year is beginning and with each day the light is slowly returning and, for those who worship deities, this means Sunna is returning and gaining power as well. Sunna is the Norse Goddess of the Sun; she represents light and warmth. Today was a perfect day in my area of the Pacific NW as the afternoon was sunny with lots of blue sky. The light and sun was great to see after a lot of overcast, fog, and just plain grey days.
We also celebrate the virtue of Justice. I think truth plays a strong role in this, so again seeking truth, but keeping in mind fairness and equity with your treatment of others. I think recognizing the difference between justice and vengeance is important as well as I think many, in the heat of the moment, can confuse the two. You are not karma. Listen to both sides of a story, don’t just accept one side and base your decision on that. Also, don’t be afraid to question others ideas of justice; if the judgement is wrong or the system is flawed you should not be afraid to point it out and fight to fix it for justice is not just an important personal virtue, but an important virtue to society.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday!

Blessings!

Lark

9th Day of Yule: Odin/Father’s Night and The Virtue of Honor

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This is the day to honor Odin, the chief God in norse mythology (or the chief God of your pantheon). Odin is the God of many things: war, victory, magic, wisdom, etc. and there are several ways to honor/celebrate him. Being that he is the head honcho, honoring the fatherly figures and positive male influences in your life is one way to celebrate him (this is also a good option for those who are non-deistic, but still wish to participate in Yule traditions). A night for fathers and to recognize the male aspect in life (as Wicca or Wiccan influenced Paganism tends to celebrate the feminine overall, but it’s nice to recognize the male counterparts).
We also remember the Virtue of Honor. Honor is very important in Norse tradition, but it should be important in general to everyone. I look at honor as something you should fight to keep clean and, if possible, you should stand up for the honor of others you care for. However, I really don’t believe in violence, so beating the Hell out of someone to defend your’s or someone else’s honor, just tarnishes it further so a certain amount of tact and professionalism should be used.

That is all I can come up with for today’s Yule study topic. Thank you for reading!

Blessings!

Lark

Catching Up on Yule Studies

Sorry! I meant to be off just one or two days due to the holidays, but I’ve been struggling a lot with depression this year and got some bad news in the family which sent me into a slump. I’m finally coming to a place of acceptance (or at least preparing for acceptance) and so I need to get back to my normal routines. Not only is today my first day returning to blogging, but also to exercise, so hopefully this will help (I felt a lot better after sweating some of the stress out).
Anyway, so I missed the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th days of Yule. Today being Day 8. So I am going to attempt to do a very quick summary of each day in this post. Again, sorry for the wait and if things seem rushed. I may at some point make a more personal post, but we’ll see. This blog is supposed to be about my Pagan path, not my personal life/issues, but I’m aware it helps to “let it out” and I really feel nervous being so open with people in my real life, because it seems so much heavier to do that to someone’s face whereas typing it out for random people to read and not have to watch their reaction is almost easier. I digress.

4th Day of Yule – Honoring Freya, Njord, and Aegir and the Virtue of Love: This is the night we recognize the importance of the feast, toasting, and hospitality. We celebrate friendships, sharing with one another, and strengthening our bonds. We also honor the virtue of Love. We recognize the love we share with others and the love we have for ourselves. We also honor compassion and its importance is sustaining and creating love and remember to be more loving and compassionate with ourselves and with others.

5th Day of Yule – Community: This night is sacred to community; a time that we remember that everyone is connected to the Divine/Earth and vise versa. We may not be blood related, from the same country, raised with the same beliefs, but we ARE children of this Earth. It is our responsibility to be gracious hosts and respectful guests, to be friendly neighbors and to help and support our fellow man. We must strive to do better in our community and for our community. Maybe make this day a day to be charitable; either with time, money, or goods. It’s winter in the Northern hemisphere at this time, so planting trees/flowers may not be an option, but you could possibly sign up to do a clean-up or planting in the future.

6th Day of Yule – Honoring Eir and the Virtue of Healing: Eir is the Goddess of Health/Wellness. She represents health workers and healers and was often called upon to help the sick and injured. This is a great night to focus energy on healing and health. Take time for yourself to meditate, to exercise, to make future appointments (or at least a reminder) for seeing your dentist or doctor to keep up with preventative care, etc. Healing can be either physical or mental/emotional. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good (and that is good for you); take a walk outside, paint, read, quit smoking or drinking soda for a day, etc.

7th Day of Yule – Honoring Thor and the Virtue of Fidelity: Thor is viewed as a great protector, not only from Death and Darkness, but a protector of children as well. Yule goats may be used to symbolize/honor him (and the two goats the pulled his chariot and he would sacrifice and revive the next day). As far as fidelity goes, it should be noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean only marital fidelity, but being faithful in all of your relationships. Being a true friend, being faithful to family (when the family is deserving…I totally get if the connection with family is toxic or strained). You could also see it as being faithful to yourself and your beliefs.

8th Day of Yule – Honoring Skadi and Ullr and The Virtue of Truth: Skadi is a Goddess associated with bow hunting, mountains, and Winter activities. Ullr is a God known for his hunting, skiing, and skating skills and would sometimes be invoked before battle. These Gods represent the hunt and Winter activities. So going on a hike, skiing, snowshoeing, etc. is a great way to celebrate them. Today, we also honor the virtue of Truth. We remember to be honest with others and with ourselves. We also seek out the truth, not just personal truth, but also factual truth. I view this as a way to further educate ourselves as well. False news and woo-peddlers abound on the net these days, so this day in particular is a good one to remind us to not just take the things we read as face value and use our time to properly inform ourselves and not be party to the spreading of lies and misinformation.

And with that, I should be caught up. Hopefully tomorrow I will be better and have things is a bit more order. Thank you for your patience and I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.

Many blessings!

Lark

3rd Day of Yule: Mani or Virtue of Courage

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The third night of Yule can be different things depending on if you are following the Norse Yule tradition or if you are going for a more non-deistic approach. This is basically the trend for the remainder of the 12 days where the celebration can center around a Norse God/Goddess OR a virtue (or both, actually).
For the third night, the Norse tradition honors Mani and/or the virtue of “Courage.” Mani is the God of the Moon; he lights the way for hunters in the forest at night. He is the light in the darkness and as this time of year begins the turn from darkness to light, his guidance in the dark is honored. Some traditions claim lighting the Yule log and leaping over the flames to gain luck and purification. Tonight is a good night to log your dreams or setting goals for the new year.
The virtue of Courage is important as courage is something many of us need almost daily; for big and small issues. Remember that courage is not necessarily the absence of fear, but doing the right thing even though one is fearful. But, of course, one should be sure to recognize the difference between courageousness and stupidity. If there is a situation that you know you could be harmed in some way, you can still be brave and face it, but be sure to do so in an intelligent way that creates as little risk to yourself and to others as possible (if possible). Also, courage is more than saving someone or battling a disease or some other adversary; sometimes it’s asking for that raise, learning a new skill, going out into social situations when you’re introverted, joining a talent show, etc. It involves personal strength and personal growth. So tonight we honor, the moon, the dark, and courage.

I hope everyone has a very wonderful holiday weekend (or regular weekend); I may not have time to do an entry tomorrow, but I will attempt to do one on Sunday 🙂

Blessed be!

Lark

2nd Day of Yule: The Night of the Wild Hunt

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Today was Day 2 of the 12 nights of Yule, also called “The Wild Hunt”. The legend goes that on this night, a group of huntsmen (either elven, faerie, or dead) travel the land and it is very unlucky to witness the Hunt or be seen by the hunters; so it is advised to stay indoors and use energy to cast protection and positivity over your household. If one were to see or be seen by this hunting party it could mean a war or some other catastrophic event may occur; or worse it could mean death to the witness. Some legends claim that, if spotted by the huntsmen, the person would be taken to the Underworld or Faerie Kingdom. There has also been belief that those who were unprotected could have their souls taken in their sleep and become a huntsmen themselves.
The Wild Hunt is led by a figure that could be male or female. There are different legends about the leader, some say it is Odin or a figure associated or derived from Odin in some way. Some legends claim the leader is a historical figure (usually a monarch or great warrior) or a biblical figure often associated with “evil” (e.g. Cain, Satan, etc).
For my second day of Yule, I kept mostly indoors; save for the mid-morning when I refilled the bird and critter feeders in our yard. I did an exercise to focus my energy on strength and protection and I spent the rest of the day baking sweets, cleaning, and listening to comedy podcasts to keep warmth and positive energy surrounding our home.

Hoping you all have a safe and wonderful evening.

Blessed be!

Lark

Blessed Yule! Joyous Winter Solstice!

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Today marks the shortest day of the year; the Winter Solstice (also called Yule). We celebrate the end of the dark, and the return of light. The Sun God is born, the Oak King is returning to life as the Holly King begins his descent to the Underworld (or so I understand from the lore).
Tonight is also known as the first night of Yule which is commonly referred to “Mother’s Night.” With it being the middle of the week and me living so far from my mother, I didn’t get a chance to honor her the way I wanted, so instead I saved wrapping her gift until tonight and thought about her often (as well as other Motherly figures in my life). I also made sure to appreciate Mother Earth as I walked outside and enjoyed her beauty.
For Yule, I made bird seed ornaments and hung them around different areas (some in my yard and some in public places) as offerings to the birds and squirrels (and any other animals that care to partake) as another way to honor Mother Nature. It’s very possible that I’m doing it wrong, but I’m still learning haha. I will try to be good about posting once a day for each of the 12 Days of Yule.
I hope everyone has been having a great week and has a very blessed first night of Yule. Be safe, be positive, be kind.

Blessed be!

Lark