It is night and the moon is full. From a high hill rolls a burning wheel with eight spokes. Under the hill is a river. On the hill you see Freyr, Njörðr en Óðinn.
Njörðr en Freyr belong to the Vanir, a group of divine beings. Their element is the sea. Njörðr is the Vanir of Understanding and Prosperity. His son Freyr is the Vanir of Peace. Peace is essential to prosper. During a war everyone is in trouble. The burning wheel brings light into darkness, just like firework in modern times.
The Germanic solar year had eight months of one and a half moon. Four months started with full moon, four months started with new moon. The eight legs of Sleipnir, the solar horse of Óðinn, refer to these eight months. Wheels with eight spokes also refer to the solar year, wheels with four spokes are lunar in nature. If one year began with new moon, than the next year would begin with full moon and vice versa. So we have negative years (beginning with new moon) and positive years (beginning with full moon).
After these eight months came the yule-time or 'between the years'. It was a period of a half moon. This time was the time of the wild hunt and of the jolasveinar (yule-young-men). At the beginning of the yule-time the young unmarried men collected the boys that had reached the puberty. They put them in leather bags and hang them in trees for three days. After this initiation they were considered adults and they got a new name. They also became member of the jolasveinar. These jolasveinar rode on horseback through the fields and also through the farms. People had to supply food for the young men and their horses. During these wild hunts they howled like wolves and other animals. In Dutch we would say 'joelen' (to yell, to howl), which is to yell in a merry manner. The word yule could come from the word 'joelen' or in English 'yell'.
These jolasveinar also had 'ruprecht', the right to rebuke. People that had not behaved well in the past year were rebuked in public, which was quite a shame.
At the end of yule the year ended and the new year began with twelfth-night. At this festivity one drank three drinking-horns with mead. The first one was for Freyr, the deity of peace. People wished each other a peaceful new year. The second one was for Njörðr, the deity of prosperity and understanding. People wished each other a prosperous new year. The farmers and free-men drank the third one for Thór, the deity of fertility and strength. Farmers wished strength and a fertile new year. The leaders drank the third one for Týr, the deity of power. Leaders wished the power to be a good leader that would bring prosperity. De warriors drank the third one for Óðinn, the deity of victory. Warriors wished to triumph over themselves.
During yule-time people made a wheel with eight spokes. They also made small bags of leather with herbs and/or small stones. A kind of medicine-bags. In these bags they put all their grievances of the past year. The leather bags were hung on the wheel. At twelfth night the wheel was set to fire and when it was all burning, the people rolled it from a hill in a river or stream. The fire would burn all the grievances of the past year. And the rolling burning wheel symbolized the sun rolling further. In this way people believed to strengthen the sun. And they were very successful. The sun became stronger from twelfth-night to midsummer.
The end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. Let all grievances of the past burn and forgive. Wish yourself and all other people peace, prosperity and victory. Wish a good year or happy new cycle.
With Light and Love, Andreas Firewolf
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Materialism is the attachment to possessions, status or wealth. Spiritual materialism is the attachment to spiritual status, attachment to a particular belief. The idea that you are higher because you have a certain faith, or follow a certain spiritual teaching, is an expression of spiritual materialism.
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