Yule and Winter Solstice

The Longest Night & the Sun’s Return

A Solstice Celebration: Barding, Gift Giving, Holiday Wassail, Seasonal Fun and an Extravagant Yuletide Dinner!
Friday, December 20th - Sunday, December 22nd, 2019

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“The Winter Solstice is the time of ending and beginning, a powerful time — a time to contemplate your immortality.
A time to forgive, to be forgiven, and to make a fresh start. A time to awaken.” – Frederick Lenz

 

Stonehenge sunset

The Wheel has turned; Harvest has ended and frost covers the land. The days are short, the nights long and cold. We yearn for the long, warm days of summer, for the green grass and the scent of flowers on the breeze; we yearn for the sun’s return…

Prepare with us for the Long Night; Celebrate with us the rebirth of the Sun; Share with us the works of your Hands, Heart and Spirit. Exchange with us Gifts of Love and Laughter, and Remember with us that the Wheel does turn, and soon the Sun’s light will once again warm our faces. Come and celebrate the return of the Light in the heart of Darkness.

For many, many years we have scheduled Yule here at Four Quarters well in advance of the actual celestial solstice, sometimes as much as two weeks in advance. But once again, this year is different. The actual Winter Solstice will fall at 11:19 PM Saturday Night the 21st of December. For the second time in many years, and the second year in a row, Yule will fall on the Solstice.

Join us as we observe the Solstice sunset and sunrise on this the Longest Night of the Year. Just as pur ancient ancesctors did at Stonehenge, we will mark the sunset and sunrise positions from the highest hilltop, in the Center of our Labryrinth. 

Join us for a time of reflection as we draw tight around a blazing fire, snug and warm as the woods and fields lie sleeping. Meat and drink from the Land, stories told in a whisper, and a midnight hay ride to discover just how many stars float above us.

Join us as we give thanks for all that we have, and enjoy the warmth of each other's company in this the darkest time of the year. For by gathering together we are reminded that the darkness recedes each day; and that each day the Light in our lives grows stronger.

Draft schedule (as of 12/2/19):

Friday, December 20

12 - 6:00 pm: Gathering Time
- Share a Cup of Welcome and catch up with Friends, Old and New.
- Create your very own Yuletide ornament and other tokens of the season, or bring your own projects to work on!

6pm: Fellowship Dinner
- Join us as we gather together to share our blessings and celebrate our fellowship

7:30 pm: Opening Ritual: The Light in the Darkness 
- We will gather together to acknowledge the role Darkness has in the world, and will focus on encouraging the return of Light into our Lives.

After ritual, ~8 pm: Bardic Story and Song Time 
- Join us as we share special Traditions and Memories from our Homes and Hearths.
- A time to share Tales and Songs of the Winter Holiday Season. Bring your favorite stories and songs!

Saturday, December 21

9 am: Breakfast
- Start the day off right together, with a lovely breakfast prepared by friendly hands.

10 am: Holiday Crafts
- Create your very own Yuletide ornament and other tokens of the season, or bring your own projects to work on!

11 am: The Cookie Sharing Exchange 
Bring in your favorite holiday cookies/treats and exchange them for someone else's favorite! Fill a zip-top bag with a dozen cookies; for each dozen you bring, take one bag of a dozen made by someone else. Bring them home to add to your cookie tray...or to eat right then!

1 pm: Wassail Procession Around the Land - Main and New Camps (weather permitting)
Join us as we take a Hay Ride and Bless the Land's Sacred Spaces with a Wassail toast to the Health of the Land and the People.

3 pm: Yuletide Meditations 
As you warm up after Wassailing, spend a few moments reflecting on Meditations of the Season in preparation for the evening’s ritual.

~ 4:30 pm: Solstice Sunset Observance - Labyrinth
Join us to say Farewell to the Sun on one of the Shortest Days. How do we prevent the Dark from taking over? How do we win back the Light?
(Please be prompt; the sun waits for no one!)

5 pm: Yuletide Ritual 
- Dark and Light; Holly and Oak; Winter and Summer. Darkness brings us cold and gloom, but also rest and peace. Light brings us warmth and radiance, but too much can burn.
- Life is about managing the balance between these two opposing and complimentary forces. At this time of the greatest Dark, we must help the Light fight back to return, and maintain the balance.

5:30 pm: Candlelight Procession
Bring back Light to the People by carrying the last rays of sunset and light our Yule Bonfire.

~ 6 pm: The FEAST! 
Enjoy the Fruits of Nature and the Labor of our friends...and be sure to Give Thanks!

7:30 pm: The Gift Giving Exchange 
Give a Gift to another; receive a Gift from someone. And of course, there is a catch...

9:00 pm: Ifa Divination 
Join our Babalawos as they consult the Ifa for guidance for our Church for the year to come.

Sunday, December 22

7:30 am Solstice Sunrise Observance - Labyrinth
Join us to Welcome the Sun's return! The Longest Night is over; each day forward will bring more Light into our Lives. (Please be prompt; the sun waits for no one!)

9 am: Potluck Breakfast 
Join us as we welcome the Return of the Sun after one of the Longest Nights of the Year!
Share hot beverages and warm goodies with each other to celebrate the return of light and warmth. Please bring store-bought wrapped food and snacks to share.

11 am: Thanks and Farewells!
Wish each other a Happy Holiday Season, and Safe Travels!

Attendees are encouraged (but not required) to bring a small wrapped gift (~$10) to share in the Gift-Giving exchange—Regifting is welcome!

We are seeking volunteers to help in a variety of roles, big and small; if you have ever been interested in helping out, this would be a good way to try it out! Call the office or contact Carrie Krystek at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Members $45, Guests $55  Register On-Line
or call the office at 814-784-3080
The Friday evening Fellowship Dinner, Saturday morning breakfast, and Saturday evening Feast  is included in your registration.  

A call or email is required for Bunk or Private Room acomodations, as they are limited. $10 per night for bunks, $70 for a private room for the weekend. Feel free to call ahead with questions,  814-784-3080.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Children under 16 are loved, cherished and free.

The Weather? Sometimes cold, sometimes not. Dress warmly, our Yule Ceremonies are often outside if the weather cooperates. Check back here a few days before for the final schedule and location!

The Gift Exchange is easy. Just bring a small wrapped gift for your fellow Tribemates. It can be something you made, something you buy, or something you would like to pass along. (suggested price range: ~$10 or less...the intent is more important than the item!)

We will have ample heated sleepover space for all, allocated on first come-first serve. Please, do RSVP or register online if you will be staying over. Just bring your bedding, your warm clothing, something for the little donation box if you can spare it, but mostly let your heart come to Four Quarters for Yule.

We are closer than you think, 100 miles and less than 2 hours from the Baltimore-Washington Beltways. About 2 hours from State College, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Harrisonburg VA, 3 hours from Philadelphia and Wilmington, about 6 hours from NYC, Columbus and Cinncinatti, OH.