Blessed winter solstice

TWH — This week, many Pagans, Heathens and polytheists in the Northern Hemisphere are marking the winter solstice with celebrations, feasts, and rituals. The solstice will occur on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 16:28 UTC. It is a day traditionally celebrated for being the longest night and shortest day of the year. This time of year is held sacred within many different modern religious and spiritual traditions, and has a rich history in ancient pagan religions. The solstice time was important to prehistoric peoples in both Ireland and England.

Yule, Pennsylvania Dutch style

PHILADELPHIA — Pagan and Polytheist traditions have a tendency to be influenced by local culture, and that’s particularly evident in Urglaawe, a form of Heathenry practiced in Pennsylvania. The term “Pennsylvania Dutch” comes originally from  Deutsch or Deitsch, and provides an Americanized lens through which to explore Heathenry. Robert Schreiwer, a leader of Urglaawe, explained how the dark times leading up to and through the winter solstice are honored in this unique tradition. It’s a practice that includes concepts common to Heathenry such as the Wild Hunt, as well as the visual spectacle of a flaming, spinning Yuletide sun wheel and a visit from Krampus. Yuul, as the winter solstice is called, is a time of introspection, the buildup to which began at the end of October.