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12 Days of Yule


Introduction: 12 Days of Yule, at least through the eyes of some Asatru, this is a
culmination of traditions and practices from many different parts and communities
within Asatru and Heathenry.

Many modern scholars believe that a Mid-Winter or Winter Solstice celebration has
been an important part of indigenous European traditions and culture since at least 2400
BCE by one name or another. Although we do not know exactly, there is much
discussion among Historians and Archeologists about when the name Yule truly came
to be a mainstay name. We do know that this time of the year has been commonly
recognized as Yule since before 1000 CE at the latest. The Name Yule is thought, by
many scholars, to be an expression of the name Odin representing the eternal wheel and
sometimes the sun.

Yuletide (Jlaglei Yule Joy) is perhaps the greatest, at least to me, of all Heathen
holidays. It is a time of celebration and close family contact that lasts twelve days and
nights; each of which can be viewed as a month of the preceding year in miniature.
Many of the customs associated with Christmas actually began from Heathen Yule rites
and customs. Many Gods and Goddesses are honored during Yuletide and Most
Asatruar believes that they, as well as the spirits of the earth and our ancestors, all join
us for the celebrations. All are our kith and kin, after all.

Odin, in his aspect as the God of Death and Transition, is honored at this time. The
Wild Hunt rages over the whole world seeking out and sweeping up the dead, ushering
out the dead old year itself. Its also common to honor Freyr in his aspect as a God of a
conceived new year of growth and promise. Thor is honored for droning back the Frost
Giants. There are many traditions and practices that are traditional to the month of yule
the most well known is of course the 12 days of Yule. Some others are the Burning of a
Yule log, the eating of Goose, taking Oaths on a Boar, and celebrating Yggdrasil. I will
post this year on all of the 12 days as a part of my personal daily Yule rituals.
I love the Yule season.












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First night of Yule (December 20
th
) Mother Night, Sacred to Frigg,
Freyja and the Desir

To our mother Nerthus, to whom we live upon and on, to our mother Frigg, keep our
household whole and safe, to our mother Freyja, great Dis and Valiant Van. To our
Ancestors, grandmothers and great all. The line of woman goes back from Elmbla and
forward until Leifthansa. Strength and courage were theirs and may it always be so.
For our Desir, we hail you one and all. Proud possessors of the family luck. Bless us in
the coming year! Hail the Goddesses! Hail the Ancestors! Hail the Desir!

- Dave and Sandi Carron with Ravencast (The Asatru Podcast)


As the night before the Winter Solstice, this is the time when the New Year is born. We
honor the beginning of the Suns return and the breaking of Winters spell.
Traditionally, this night belongs to Frigg, the mother Goddess and mistress of home and
hearth. Celebrations center around the wife or mother of the family as she symbolically
cleans the house in preparation of Yule festivities, invites both the living and the dead to
join the party, and bestows blessings and gifts on her family and friends. Mother Night
Parties follow a special blot and ceremony where the house is lit with candle light.
Sometimes, this includes a Yule Wreath of four candles, the decorating of an evergreen
tree with sunwheels, and the lighting of the Yule Log. I am especially fond of Mother
Night as it was the the first Heathen holiday I ever celebrated. On this day we also
remind ourselves of the virtue of Industriousness. Modern Asatruar must be industrious
in their actions. We need to work hard if we are going to achieve our goals. There is so
much for us to do. Weve set ourselves the task of restoring Asatru to its former place as
a mainstream faith and by doing so reinvigorating our society and culture. We cant do
this by sitting on our virtues; we need to make them an active part of our behavior.
Industry also refers to simple hard work in our daily vocations, done with care and
pride. Many Asatru also calibrate each day of the 12 days of yule as an expression of
each of the months of the year. In this tradition we will keep in mind the month of
Snowmoon (January) and the Charming of the plow keeping in mind gifts to the soil,
the earth and to the dead, as well as reminding ourselves of our debt to our ancestors
and our decedents.











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Second night of Yule (December 21
st
) The Wild Hunt, Sacred to Odin
and Ullr

Odin, All-father, Sig-Father! Leader of the Wild Hunt! Bring us wisdom and weal in
this darkest of seasons. Fjlnir, Wise One Gangleri, Wanderer Grmnir, Masked One,
Jlfur, Yule father Jlnir, Yule figure ski, God of Wishes, Rnatr, God of Runes
Sgrani, Long Beard Sigir, Victory bringer, Leader of the Gods, Chooser of the Slain,
Bearer of Gungir, We honor you for the breath of life. We thank you for your gifts of the
Runes. We praise Odin! Hail Odin! Hail Odin!

- Dave and Sandi Carron with Ravencast (The Asatru Podcast)


On this day we remind ourself of the importance of Hearth and Home as our ancestors
remind us to avoid the Wild Hunt. Known as Odins Hunt, the Wild Ride, the Raging
Host or Asgardreia. Odin, or Ullr depending on the time of the year, followed by the
ghosts of the dead, would roam the skies, accompanied by furious winds, lightning and
thunder, Gathering lost souls (and everyone else) that was on the path of the Hunt. On
this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue of Perserverence. Our religion teaches us
that the world is an imperfect place, and nothing comes easy. We need to continue to
seek after that which we desire. In this imperfect world there are no free lunches or easy
accomplishments - especially in the subjects we have set before ourselves. If we truly
wish to build an Asatru community that people will hold up as an example of what
committed people can do, then we must persevere through the hardships that building
our religion is going to entail. We must be willing to continue on when we are pushed
back. If one loses a job for ones religion, the answer is not to go back and hide, but to
continue until one finds a vocation where one can more forward and live as an Asatruar
should. We will keep in mind the month of Horning (February) and many Asatruar
celebrate the wooing by Freyr of the Maiden Gerdr; a symbolic marriage of the God of
Fertility with the Mother Earth. In much of Northern Europe, grain cakes were offered
for the soils fertility and Father Sky and Mother Earth were invoked to that end.














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Third night of Yule (December 22
nd
) High Feast of Yule - Beginning
of Runic Year, sacred to Thor and Freyr

Friend Thor, grant me strength and courage, be with me on path today. Brother Freyr,
grant me good speech, help me make good choices. Hail


The Winter Solstice, this is the time when the New Year is born. We honor the
beginning of Sunnas return and the breaking of Winters spell. This is a time to honor
Thor and Freyr, celebrate by Blot, Sumbel, Games and High Feast. Burn a Yule Log
and jump the flames for luck and purification. It is a time for rekindling friendships,
taking oaths and setting yearly goals. On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue
of Courage. In virtually every statement of values applied to Asatru, Courage is of
utmost importance. Few of us face such turmoil as a literal battle for ones life. In fact, I
believe it might be easier to manifest courage in such a situation than to do so in the
many smaller day to day occurrences in which courage is called for in most of our lives.
Today we will keep in mind the month of Lenting (March) and the Spring Equinox.
This festival marks the end of Winter and the beginning of the season of rebirth.
Libations of mead are poured onto the Earth. Personally, I like to think of Idis-thing as
the birth of a new green earth and Ostara as her coming of age.

























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Fourth night of Yule (December 23
rd
) - Sacred to Aegir, Niord and
Freya

Sigurd, earl of Hlader, was one of the greatest men for sacrifices, and so had Hakon
his father been; and Sigurd always presided on account of the king at all the festivals of
sacrifice in the Throndhjem country. It was an old custom, that when there was to be
sacrifice all the bondes should come to the spot where the temple stood and bring with
them all that they required while the festival of the sacrifice lasted. To this festival all
the men brought ale with them; and all kinds of cattle, as well as horses, were
slaughtered, and all the blood that came from them was called hlaut, and the vessels
in which it was collected were called hlaut-vessels. Hlaut-staves were made, like
sprinkling brushes, with which the whole of the altars and the temple walls, both outside
and inside, were sprinkled over, and also the people were sprinkled with the blood; but
the flesh was boiled into savoury meat for those present. The fire was in the middle of
the floor of the temple, and over it hung the kettles, and the full goblets were handed
across the fire; and he who made the feast, and was a chief, blessed the full goblets, and
all the meat of the sacrifice. And first Odins goblet was emptied for victory and power
to his king; thereafter, Niords and Freyjas goblets for peace and a good season. Then
it was the custom of many to empty the brage-goblet (1); and then the guests emptied a
goblet to the memory of departed friends, called the remembrance goblet. Sigurd the
earl was an open-handed man, who did what was very much celebrated; namely, he
made a great sacrifice festival at Hlader of which he paid all the expenses. Kormak
Ogmundson sings of it in his ballad of Sigurd: Of cup or platter need has none The
guest who seeks the generous one, Sigurd the Generous, who can trace His lineage
from the giant race; For Sigurds hand is bounteous, free, The guardian of the
temples he. He loves the gods; his liberal hand scatters his swords gains oer the land

Hakon the Goods Saga, Heimskringla.


Today remind yourself of the importance of feast, toasting, kinship and hospitality.
Keep the traditions of Aegir and his hall, remember all of the Gods and Goddesses
eating, drinking, boasting and sharing with each other. Build your personal community
today, strengthen the bonds of kinship. Relish your friendships. On this day we remind
ourselves of the virtue of Community. Cooperate with kin and friends, do your fair
share, and remember your responsibilities to others. Today we will keep in mind the
month of Ostara (April) and Sumarsdag. Many celebrate the first day of Summer in the
Old Icelandic calendar. In Iceland it had strong agricultural overtones, but elsewhere
throughout the Nordic world, mid-April was a time to sacrifice to Odin for victory,
called the Sigrblot. The ships were leaving port to seek trade, new lands, and plunder
(whether this is honorable or not is a matter of opinion). It is a time to consider new
projects and life choices. Remember that your life is an adventure it is what you make
of it. Where do you wish to sail and how will you win victory?



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Fifth night of Yule (December 24
th
), Sacred to Community

Within the gates ere a man shall go,
Full long let him look about him;
For little he knows where a foe may lurk,
And sit in the seats within.

Hail to the giver! a guest has come;
Where shall the stranger sit.
Swift shall he be who with swords shall try
The proof of his might to make.

Fire he needs who with frozen knees
Has come from the cold without;
Food and clothes must the farer have,
The man from the mountains come.

Water and towels and welcoming speech
Should he find who comes to the feast;
If renown he would get, and again be greeted,
Wisely and well must he act.

Wits must he have who wanders wide,
But all is easy at home;
At the witless man the wise shall wink
When among such men he sits.

Hvaml, Transcribed and Edited by Ari Odhinnsen


Today remember to be a good guest as well as a good host, no mater where you happen
to be. On this day we remind ourselves of the virtue of Hospitality. Hospitality is simply
one of the strongest core values at the heart of virtually every ancient human
civilization. In a community/folk religion such as our own, it is the virtue that upholds
our social fabric. In ancient times it was essential that when a traveler went into the
world he could find some sort of shelter and welcome for the night. In modern times it
is just as essential that a traveler find friendship and safety. Today we will keep in mind
the month of Merrymoon (May) and the summer festival of May Day. The celebration
of the mystical union with the land, honouring of Freyr and Freya. Dances around the
May tree; bonfires on hills. The May Pole/Tree brought from the woods to the town
symbolizes that the fertility of nature shall be brought to the town community.





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Sixth night of Yule (December 25
th
) - Sacred to Eir and Healing

Hail Eir! Hail the Handmaiden of Frigg! Good Goddess of Speedy Healing! Hail to
the gods! Ye goddesses, hail, and all the generous earth! Give to us wisdom and goodly
speech, and healing hands, life-long. Sigrdrifumol. Hail Eir!

- Dave and Sandi Carron with Ravencast (The Asatru Podcast)


On this day take the time to keep in mind your health and the health of your loved ones.
Taking care of ourselves and those close to us through out the year is important not only
to life but also to our ancestry. Keep in mind the ideas of eating well, moderation and
self preservation. On this day we remind ourselves of the virtue of Discipline. In any
discussion of the values of Asatru, discipline is best described as self-discipline. It is the
exercise of personal will that upholds honor and the other virtues and translates impulse
into action. If one is to be able to reject moral legalism for a system of internal honor,
one must be willing to exercise the self-discipline necessary to make it work. Going
back to my earlier criticism of society, if one rejects legalism, one must be willing to
control ones own actions. Without self-discipline, we have the mess we all too often see
in our culture. Today we will keep in mind the month of Midyear (June) and
Midsummer. The summer solstice was second only to Yule in importance to the ancient
Northmen. It is also a time for general merriment and, in the Scandinavian countries,
many of what we know as the traditional May Day rituals, such as May Poles and
Morris Dances, were celebrated at Midsummer rather than in May. This was the
traditional time for holding the Allthing in ancient times, so the day is dedicated to Tyr,
the God of Justice and Order. As we pass through the longest day and the shortest night
of the year, it is also appropriate to meditate on the good things of life. Asatruar
remember Balder the Beautiful at this time and also honor the Sun (Suna) itself.


















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Seventh night of Yule (December 26
th
) - Sacred to Thor

Friend Thor, grant me strength and courage. Be with me on path today. Grant me
courage and foresight. Help me make hard choices. Hail Thor!


On this day we remember the importance of our community and how we affect it.
Remember Thor as you travel for one gathering to the next and all of the traveling that
we and our loved ones do this time of the year. Also remember Sif this time of Year as
we sit and eat at all of the feasting. Sif was of great importance to our ancestors as a
goddess of the fields and grains that where so much a part of peoples diets through the
winter. Thor and Sif are also important this time of the year because they (especially
Thor) were looked at as the protectors of Children. Thor is also the traditional figure
that was become (over the years) who we recognize as Santa. On this day we remind
ourselves of the virtue of Fidelity. A word that is far too often defined by its narrow use
in terms of marital fidelity. By the dictionary it simply means being faithful to someone
or something. In marriage this means being true to ones vows and partner, and this has
been narrowly defined as limiting ones sexual experience to ones spouse. While I have
found this to be great practical advice, many treat fidelity as if there were no other ways
in which one could be faithful or unfaithful.

Today we will keep in mind the month of Haymoon (July). There is no traditional Blot
or festival at this time of the year. I believe that this is because our ancestors where in
the middle of great work in the fields, with the animals, hunting, fishing, gathering and
preparing for the things. So on this day I remind myself that this a time to store and
prepare for the times of the year when things may be leaner then now when things are in
plenty.



















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Eighth night of Yule (December 27
th
) - Sacred to Skathi and Ullr

Hunters Goddess, Snowshoe Goddess, Goddess of Cold Counsel, Goddess of
Revenge, Lokis Agony, Scathing Goddess, Wise god-bride, Ski Goddess, dweller of the
rocks. You who have helped us provide for our families in this coldest of times. We
honor you during this darkest and holiest time of the year, ski-god, bow-god, hunting-
god and shield-god. God of Oaths, Listener at the Flames, Dweller of Yalir. You who
have helped us provide for our families in this coldest of times. We honor you during
this darkest and holiest time of the year! Hail Skathi! Hail Ullr! Hail the Gods!

- Dave and Sandi Carron with Ravencast (The Asatru Podcast)


Keep in mind the importance of the hunters in our lives. On this day try to remember
Skathi and Ullr as gods of the hunt. Our ancestors still hunted this time of year to keep
meats and nourishment on the table even though hunting in the north this time of year
was difficult and dangerous. Raise a horn to those that provided the meat on the table as
we feast and share. On this day we remind ourselves of the virtue of Truth. Truth is the
one that most led our kindred to embrace this statement of values as our own. Early in
our discussions, we decided that no matter what values we chose to hold out as our own,
truth must be among them. It is a word that holds so much in its definition, and includes
such a wide variety of moral and philosophical beliefs that we were all drawn to it as a
simple statement of what we stood for. Today we will keep in mind the month of
Harvest (August) and Freyfaxi (Loaf Fest). Freyfaxi marked the beginning of the
harvest in Iceland. Dedicated to the God of the harvest, it was a time for celebration
with horse races, martial sports, and of course a Blot to Freyr and a feast. Thor, as
hallower and defender of the fields, is also honored as is his fair wife Sif whose golden
hair reminds us of the corn. Traditionally, three stalks of the first grain are bound
together into a sheaf and kept as an amulet of fortune. Oftentimes, this sheaf, bound by
a wise woman, was left in the field as magical protection for the crop. The penultimate
sheaf is kept for the Yule feast. The last sheaf is left on the field for Odins horse
Sleipnir.














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Ninth night of Yule (December 28
th
) - Sacred to Odin

All-father, leader of the Wild Hunt, Hr, you who gained the wisdom of the runes,
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and bringing the power of the runes to
Midgard. During this time of the Year we seek knowledge of our future, we seek to know
our Wyrd and find our fate. Hail Odin! Hail the Aesir! Hail the Vanir!

- Dave and Sandi Carron with Ravencast (The Asatru Podcast)


On this day we remind ourselves of the virtue of Honor. Honor is the basis for the
entire Asatru moral rationale. If anything comes out in the Eddas and Sagas it is that
without honor we are nothing. We remember two types of peoples from ancient times:
those whose honor was so clean that they shine as examples to us and those who were
so without honor that their names are cursed a thousand years after they lived. Good
Asatruar should always strive to be among the former. Today we will keep in mind the
month of Shedding (September) and the Autumn Equinox. The harvest festival of the
year (or the second one if the kindred likes to celebrate Freyfaxi in August). Fertility
Gods (Vanir) are usually invoked for their blessing upon the fields and the on-going
harvest. Many honor Frey & Freya as well as Nerthus & Njord. As it is a harvest
festival, a large feast of local fall crops is appropriate. It is a good time to reflect upon
the labors of the past year and brace oneself for the coming of Winter. Count your
blessings and harness your strength and confidence for the lean times ahead.























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Tenth night of Yule (December 29
th
) - Sacred to Sunna and our
ancestors

Hail to the day,
Hail to the sons of day.
Hail to the night,
Hail to the daughters of night.
Look upon us with kind eyes,
And grant us courage.

Hail to the gods.
Hail to the goddesses.
Hail to the green earth
That gives to us all.
Show us good speech and wisdom,
Grant us healing hands and joy in this life.

- Lay of Sigdrifa (the Poetic Edda)


Today remember that Sunna becomes stronger each day from now until Midsummer.
Today begins the next yearly circle. Let us be glad that Sunna returns and with her
warmth, growth and light. Many people will, with friends and family, stay up throw the
whole night so that they can say goodbye to the old Sunna and Luna and hello to the
new day and the New Year and insure that the gods are still with us for one more year.
On this day we remind ourselves of the idea of Justice. Let equity and fairness be your
hallmark. Treat others in accordance with what they deserve, and give each person a
chance to show his or her best. Today we will keep in mind the month of Hunting
(October) and Winternights (Vetrarblot, Alfarblot). Winter Nights also celebrates the
bounty of the now completed harvest, but more importantly, honors the Alfs, Disir and
Huldfolk. The mood of Winternights is one of conserving resources against the
scarcities of the coming cold season. This is the time of year when the animals which
could not be fed through the coming winter were killed and the meat preserved. Usually
at least one such animal was the subject of sacrifice with the kin eating the holy meat
during feast. Libations of ale, milk, or mead are traditionally poured onto the earth as an
offering. Apples may be offered to the Alfar. Hay may be given to Sleipnir, Odins
mighty steed thus marking the kindreds home as one that welcomes and respects the
Furious Host.








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Eleventh night of Yule (December 30
th
) - Sacred to Goddesses and the
Valkrie

Hail to the day,
Hail to the sons of day.
Hail to the night,
Hail to the daughters of night.
Look upon us with kind eyes,
And grant us courage.

Hail to the gods.
Hail to the goddesses.
Hail to the green earth
That gives to us all.
Show us good speech and wisdom,
Grant us healing hands and joy in this life.

- Lay of Sigdrifa (the Poetic Edda)


On this day we remind ourselves of the virtue of Self Reliance. Industry brings us
directly to the virtue of Self-Reliance, which is important both in practical and
traditional terms. Going back to the general notion of this article, we are dealing with a
form of morality that is largely self-imposed and thus requires self-reliance. We rely on
ourselves to administer our own morality. Today we will keep in mind the month of
Fogmoon (November) and the Feast of Ullr. We honor our Gods and Goddesses of the
hunt (it is deer hunting season in many parts of the country). We thank them for a
successful hunting season with a blot and also bless/honor those who hunt to support the
family. At my home, we set an extra place at the table and leave it empty so that any
ancestor who wishes may join us for the feast. This is a great time for telling tales
handed down through the family. Still other Asatruar refer to this holiday as Weyland
Smiths Day and uses it to honor that great Germanic craftsman as well as those artists
and artisans around us.












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Twelfth night of Yule (January 1
st
) - Sacred to all of the Gods and
Goddesses as well as the Asir and Dsir

Frey took the kingdom after Njord, and was called drot by the Swedes, and they paid
taxes to him. He was, like his father, fortunate in friends and in good seasons. Frey built
a great temple at Upsal, made it his chief seat, and gave it all his taxes, his land, and
goods. Then began the Upsal domains, which have remained ever since. Then began in
his days the Frode- peace; and then there were good seasons in all the land, which the
Swedes ascribed to Frey, so that he was more worshipped than the other gods, as the
people became much richer in his days by reason of the peace and good seasons. His
wife was called Gerd, daughter of Gymis, and their son was called Fjolne. Frey was
called by another name, Yngve; and this name Yngve was considered long after in his
race as a name of honor, so that his descendants have since been called Ynglinger. Frey
fell into a sickness; and as his illness took the upper hand, his men took the plan of
letting few approach him. In the meantime they raised a great mound, in which they
placed a door with three holes in it. Now when Frey died they bore him secretly into the
mound, but told the Swedes he was alive; and they kept watch over him for three years.
They brought all the taxes into the mound, and through the one hole they put in the
gold, through the other the silver, and through the third the copper money that was
paid. Peace and good seasons continued.

Yingling Saga, Heimskringla.


This culminates the traditional twelve days of Yule. Traditionally, it is the night of the
greatest feasting. This will usually include some form of pork; pigs were a common
winter meat source and were sacrificed at this time, also the boar is a sacred animal of
Frey. Golden apples are another treat and symbolize the youth and vitality of the New
Year. A vigil is held from dusk until dawn so that all kin may acknowledge the passing
of the Wild Hunt and honor the rising sun of the New Year. The vigil is a festive one
and includes a long sumbel, story-telling, song, etc. Oaths sworn on this night, usually
on Freys boar or the hammer of Thor, are particularly holy. Words during sumbel are
said to bear great weight and power. It is a time to count blessings, take stock and lay a
course for the future. On this day we remind ourselves of the idea of Wisdom. Learn
from your experiences. Grow in the understanding of the world, and of the human heart.
Comprehend as much of the universe as you can in the years available to you.