The Hagalaz Wheel of the Year: Our Seasonal Celebrations
Some belief systems see an eight-spoked wheel of the year in their celebrations. With Rheinwood, our seasonal celebrations really fall into the pattern of the Hagalaz Rune (the six-pointed snowflake) with Yule at the Uppermost point and Mid-Summmer at the Lowest point. It's not totally important for us to meet on any specific date for the observance. What is important that we meet sometime to recognize each seasonal passing in succession.
1) Iul/Last 12 days of December It's not just a day on the calendar, it's a whole season. Rheinwood Nordliut celebrates the 12 Days of Iul and can meet any time within this season.
The Twelve Days of Yule December 20th – December 31st as prepared by Vaygar-Ingvald Elmersson
1st day of Iul – Mother’s Night Mother's Night welcomes in the Season of Iul. As we encourage the return of Sunna (the feminine aspect of the Sun) we honor the feminine all around us. Honor the Idises, Asynjor, all Mothers, Great Grandmothers and your feminine ancestors. Raise a horn to the glorious women who give birth to us and to the feminine spirits that support us. Give this time in honor to all Mothering aspects.
2nd Day of Iul – The Winter Solstice The Winter Solstice represents the shortest day and the longest night. From this day onward Sunna gains strength and eventually breaks winter's spell. Celebrate Sunna's return and the fertility she brings!
3rd Day of Iul – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Courage Courage is definitely an attitude of boldness, however, not the absence of fear. Courage is the carrying in spite of your fear. It is courage that allows us to live life in such a manner that we can be proud.
4th Day of Iul – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Truth Truth is as relative as the individual. What one person or group finds to be the Truth, another finds to be ridiculous. There is no universal truth. There is no one-way or right way of seeing things. What we accept as truth is merely that; our truth. No one person or group has the right to dictate their truth on anyone. Search for your own truth.
5th Day of Iul – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Honor Honor is the ability to hold your head high in all situations. We set standards for ourselves and live according to those standards. We are not encouraged to set low standards, rather, set high standards and work toward them continually, even behind closed doors.
6th Day of Iul– Remembering the Noble Virtue of Fidelity We must remain loyal to who and what we are. Those around us need to have the ability to take us at our word, and our word needs to be our bond. Our handshake needs to seal the deal. The devotion to our deeds has to be of the uttermost importance.
7th Day of Iul – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Hospitality Welcome those into your house and your life as you can. In today’s world, we cannot trust everyone with whom we come in contact, but we can exercise caution and be as welcoming as possible. Similarly, be a proper and respectful guest when you are welcomed.
8th Day of Iul – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Discipline Our Way is not an easy way. In many aspects, we fly in the face of the society around us. Stay Tru to the ideals of Heathenry as they unfold in your life. Be diligent in the study of your beliefs. Stay Tru to the gods and goddesses of the Northern Germanic peoples.
9th Day of Iul – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Industriousness Life requires that we work hard. Never sit back and take the easy way out in regards to your ability to create a lifestyle for yourself. No matter the lifestyle you choose, know that your elevation in life, or lack of it, may (but not always) be the direct result of your depth of diligence. Do the best you can, and know that your efforts have been suitably rewarded.
10th Day of Iul – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Self-Reliance Do not create codependent relationships in any way. Do not let your happiness, or your success, be determined by anyone else. Be responsible for yourself. Rely on your own efforts to secure your needs.
11th Day of Iul – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Perseverance If you give up, you die. It really is simple, isn’t it? No matter what you are doing, see it to its conclusion. Even if you try and fail, realize that the only real failure is not trying. Failure is evidence that someone has tried. Success is failure defeated.
12th night Thus ends the season of Yule as we prepare for the upcoming year. It's a time to remember from whence you came as well as a time to make plans for the near future. Take oaths, make promises, hold inventory so you know your present position in relation to where you want to be. Remember, "Luck often enough will save a man (or woman) if his (or her) courage holds” (The 13th Warrior).
2) Fruchtbarkeit/Fertility; end of February Thorrablot The midwinter feast Thorrablot in Iceland is held at any time during the month of Þorri, which begins on the first Friday after January 19th (the 13th week of winter.) Thorrablot (Icelandic: "Þorrablót") takes place in the coldest dark days of the year, and many of the foods served are the smoked/pickled produce of the previous year. It is a Scandinavian tradition with lots of viking history. or Charming the Plow Landsegen ("Land-Blessing") - or "Charming of the Plow" - is a holiday celebrated by GermanicHeathens. The day on which it is celebrated depends on who you ask. For Heathens who use a solar calendar the date would fall on the first of February. For Irminists it would be celebrated on the full moon of Hêrmânôd, the lunar month which most nearly aligns with February, being that Irminists use a lunar calendar. On this day the farming implements are blessed, as is the land, and the hearth fire is put out and re-lit using a need-fire. The household spirits are sacrificed to on this holy tide. The main focus of this day is the home. Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landsegen" or the Spring Equinox/Ostara/Summer Finding As the days lengthen, the earth thaws and starts its greening after the long, dark, cold winter. These are the early days of spring. Our ancestors would be busy now, making final repairs to their plows, preparing their draft animals to pull them, checking the seed corn to be sure that it was ready to plant. The success of the next year depended entirely on the crop that was about to be put in the earth. Our ancestors knew this, and thus turned to our Gods and Goddesses to ensure the fertility of the earth, the viability of the seed, and the growth and abundance of the crops that would keep them alive through the next hard winter. The rituals that marked the spring planting time are still known by name to us today, called "Easter," or to Asatruar, Eostre, or Ostara in the Anglo-Saxon or Old High German tongues of our ancestors. http://www.vinland.org/heathen/mt/ostara.html
3) Walpurgisnacht/Walburg; end of April Celebrating the Frouwa/Freyja in all her mysterious glory, on the first full moon in May/Wonnemond. In Germany the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, is considered the focal point of Walpurgisnacht. Also known as the Blocksberg, the 1142-meter peak is often shrouded in mist and clouds, lending it a mysterious atmosphere that has contributed to its legendary status as the home of witches (Hexen) and devils (Teufel). That tradition predates the mention of the witches gathering on the Brocken in Goethe's Faust: "To the Brocken the witches ride..." ("Die Hexen zu dem Brocken ziehn...") http://german.about.com/od/holidaysfolkcustoms/a/mai_2.htm
4) Sonnewende; end of June Sonnewende may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place around the 24th of June and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between cultures. The 24th of June is a throwback to the old Julian calendar when the summer solstice usually fell on that day. http://www.bing.com/reference/semhtml/Midsummer?fwd=1&src=abop&qpvt=midsummer&q=midsummer
5) Ernte/Harvest; end of August Field Harvest Celebrating Yngvi Frey in all prosperous glory Freyfaxi: Freyfaxi marked the time of the harvest in ancient Iceland. Today the Asatru observe this date as a celebration of their harvest with blot to Freyr and a grand Feast from the gardens and the fields.. or grain harvest ...feast day marking the traditional baking and eating of the first loaf from the new season's corn harvest. This day is seen as a celebration and confirmation of community and social harmony, embodied in the communal breaking and consuming of the traditional staple dietary commodity that is the loaf of bread. http://citizennoname.spaces.live.com/ or
A good harvest season guarenteed the survival of the family through the harsh winter months; whereas a lean harvest put survival into question.
6) Winternächten/Winternights; end of October Winter Nights or Old Norse Veturnætur is a Norse winter festival that was initially celebrated in pre-Christian Scandinavia on the 29th October – 2nd of November and can be seen as the Nordic equivalent to Samhain, a Celtic festival. The festival marked the beginning of the winter half of the year, and the start of the Wild Hunt. At this time the breeding cattle would be taken inside from the fields, and the rest of the herds slaughtered which was a necessity for the Nordic people to live through the winter. It was said by Snorri Sturluson that Winter Nights is one of the three most important festivals. This festival also marks the end of the summer and start of the winter meaning the end of the harvest work and it was a time to celebrate. The festival is celebrated by some Neo-pagans today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Nights