Celebrating Yule

Published by Llewellyn. Available August 2013.

“Yule also has strong associations with ancestor veneration that goes back as far as the Stone Age. In modern Western cultures, ancestor veneration is strongly associated with death and is misconstrued with horror and devilry, and such misconceptions are epitomized in the gaudy crop of horror movies that appear each summer and around Halloween. But if one examines ancestor veneration among Eastern contemporary cultures, such as in Japan where it is an integral part of Shinto, and among surviving primitive indigenous cultures, such as the aboriginals of Australia and North America, which maintain contact with the spirits of the dead through shamanism, we quickly perceive that there is no evil in these practices. After all, why would the dead who have been friends and loved ones in life seek to harm us in death? No, ancestor veneration is a healing, respectful practice in which those who have perished are remembered and honored among the living. We make them feel welcome and ask they remember us in the Otherworld, and we ask them to bless our living days with goodness. There are many ancestral spirits of both Gaels and aboriginals in this ancient land, and in the Hollow we do our best to do right by them.”

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