A Yule Gift for My Community

Beading I did a few years back, and hung up this Yule

I am not much for re-writing Christmas songs to make em pagan or Unitarian or other things, because most Christmas carols are totally earthy and what not to begin with. I don’t think they need to be rewritten. Many are interfaith already, focus on earth-centered spirituality, and share some of the best parts of Christianity, parts that I love.

One reason I feel this way is because, when I hear the lyrics, I usually have no knee-jerk reaction. For example, I hear “God” and don’t assign gender or a specific religion to it. I might even hear it as “Tree of Life” or “The Song of the Cosmos” or even ‘The Great God Giant Mosquito!” It is not that I try to do this, I make no effort to re-interpret, it is the way my brain automatically works. (Not always, but often enough.) And when I hear “son of God” I might automatically think of the son of the Goddess, or I focus on all of us as His son, and our individually unique male aspects. I hear “birth of god” and think of the sun god born on winter solstice.

Almost every time I’ve heard a Wiccan or other rewrite, it feels didactic, and strips away the original joy and mysticism the original lyrics provided, often a depth of passionate, sexy spirit that touches the hidden core of the ecstatic Mysteries. The revisions usually feel feeble to me, less pagan and wild. Such a great deal of Christmas myth is ancient Solstice season lore that most of the songs are deeply nature-based and resonate with ecstatic mysticism, without any rewrite or effort to re-interpret them. I don’t even have to try to hear them that way. They just are that way for me without me trying to make it so. And it’s not that I have a particularly Christian approach to paganism; it’s not as if i’m just, as they say, putting on a skirt on Jesus and calling it the Goddess.

Looking out my window last winter

But tonight I was singing to God, and was loving the melody to Come All Ye Faithful, but its lyrics weren’t working for me. So I made new ones. I wasn’t trying to rewrite the old lyrics into something I could relate to better because, in that moment, I hungered for an entirely different experience than the lyrics provided. But the melody felt perfect, so I decided to delineate the experience I wanted in new lyrics. They are below. Here’s hoping I have not embarrassed myself as a bard by doing the gorgeous melody an injustice! All I know is, singing the words slowly and softly brought me to the place I wanted – – deep in the Goddess. It may not do the same for me tomorrow, but I am hoping it will do something for you, so it is below, a Yule offering to my community.

Francesca De Grandis, 2010, Santa's Elf

I also want to share a little about my day. I struggled at work, cld get little done, kept wasting time. Finally, I gave up the busyness, and surrendered to the winter-dark’s lazy embrace. Started roasting dandelion root, and doing other happily relaxed domestic chores as a meditation, a way to connect with self and Deity. It felt lush. Then, the song brought me even further into that connectivity and peace. I’ve been working really hard this year (once again!) at not getting caught up in holiday frenzy, expectations, or depression. My efforts have panned out, i’ve had a great season so far (whew!), despite some awful problems coming up. Part of the effort i’ve made has been to do a lot of yummy meditations on winter darkness as the goddess’s womb and related rituals. (Been doing them alone and also leading groups through them.) The song was a breakthrough point, things hit critical mass, I fell into the dark utterly. Mind you, I’ve been utterly in it during rituals. But this was such that I feel in it for the whole season, whether in or out of ritual, like I can spend a lot of the next few weeks in even a greater amount of deep meditations and other activities that the wild soul calls for in the sleepiness and dark of winter.

Oh, though I was singing this to God, the lyrics are actually Her singing them to me. And I don’t know if these words work on the page, but they feel great to me when I actually sing them, and am singing to God.

“Oh come to my darkness,
come to my deep quiet,”
Goddess of winter sings and
be-e-ckons us.

“Come let me hold you,
forsake all your labors.
This is not the
time for them,
this is not the
time them,
this is not the
time for them,
come rest in me.

“Sing round the fire.
Gather in the kitchen.
Feel peace toge-e-ther
and know you’re in me.

“Come let me hold you,
leave behind your trials.
Oh come please let me love you,
oh come please let me love you,
oh come please let me love you,
come home to me.

Make gifts and bake breads.
See, I am in your hearth!
Gently be bu-u-sy
and rest as you will.

Come let me hold you,
we will sing toge-e-ther.
Come celebrate the season,
come celebrate the season,
come celebrate the season,
my joy is yours.

Happy Yule!

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18 Responses to A Yule Gift for My Community

  1. Maggie P. says:

    Oh Francesca! Chills! Tears! That was just so amazing. So spot on. I want to tuck it away for the next year to sing to my children. Beautiful!

    -Maggie

  2. Linda Corsten says:

    Thank you, oh dear outlaw bunny. I have been feeling so very alone.

    • francesca says:

      Oh, Linda, I am so sorry to hear that. I am glad the post helped u feel better. You know my # if there is anything I can do. I wld love to be of service, and always luv hearing from you. Also, have to tell u, am not surprised to see hear from u today, bc was thinking of you a few hours ago! Take care!

  3. thomas byrnes / Chicot le Fou says:

    Dear FDG , what an amazing and lovely way to celebrate the Solstice today was ! Eternal moments ; quicksilver and outside of Time . Many thanks to you and everyone who joined you ; WELCOME YULE !

    • francesca says:

      Hiya, I am so glad u enjoyed the ceremony. Yr description “eternal moments, quicksilver and outside of Time” is beautiful and assures me you totally were flying next to me, LOL. Thanks for all yr kind words.

      (If you do not know what Thomas and I are referring to: I held a Solstice ceremony today, which was free, open to the public, and met via a group ph call.)

  4. Sandra says:

    ~* Love this!

    Love you!

    ~*S

    • francesca says:

      I am SO glad you like it, Sandra!! Thank u! And grateful u always hit like on my FB page, yup!! We are fellow starddusted travelers, sharing our journeys.

  5. thomas byrnes / Chicot le Fou says:

    Thanks , Francesca ; you’re a hoot ! You also stay up too late . I know that cause I stay up too late .

  6. thomas byrnes / Chicot le Fou says:

    FDG, forgot something ; is the 814 337 # the one for the Solstice thingy ? Did I mention your lyrics are lovely , brilliant and so obviously heart-felt ?

    • francesca says:

      Hey, chicot, thanks for yr kind words, dude! I always appreciate yr support so much. Truly, truly. A s well as yr remembering yr Latin, LOL. No, 814 is not the #. All the stats for the ritual are here: https://www.outlawbunny.com/2011/11/28/temporary-post/

      I look forwards seeing u there!!!

      And if anyone is reading this a month later, that above URL either will be nonexistent or have something entirely different on it by then.

  7. thomas byrnes / Chicot le Fou says:

    Amen! to your opening comments , sister ! The rest is brilliant and healing as always ! Try this on : Adeste Fideles , late triumphantes ! Venite , venite en Bethlehem . Lautum videte , regem angelorum. Venite adoramus , venite adoramus , venite adoramus ! Dominum ! I can’t believe I still know that song in Latin ; how twisted is that ? Heigh-ho ; that’s just the kind of hair-pin I am . I wish you a Happy Channukah , Joyous Winter Solstice , Welcome Yule , Merry Christmas , Sexy Saturnalia and Happy Birthday to Mithras ! Thanks for Everything , FDG ! Your pal , Chicot

  8. Julia Swancy says:

    Oh my God! ripples and ripples of all my hairs standing up in waves all over as I read through this. beautiful! I have a new Solstice song! I’ve been really feeling the need to sing, too. also love the post and agree, really like how you said it. happy solstice to you!

    • francesca says:

      Thanks for all yr kind words, Julia. And, really, hairs standing up? Wow, years ago, I had written something so personal that I told my writing teacher I  was concerned no one else wld relate to it. He said, “the deepest part of you is the deepest part of everyone else.” Though that cld be interpreted as a fundamentalist position (eg “deep down we are all alike and therefore, though we may take many roads, we all need to arrive at the same place finally”), I heard another message.  But I still thought the song might be lame. They say hair raised is a sign the goddess has been invoked, so I guess the song is not lame. Especially if yr hairs are also waving at me, LOL.  Thanks agin! 

  9. What a beautiful Yule experience!

  10. Maureen says:

    I feel the same way about pagan-y rewrites of Christian hymns. “Didactic” is the very word. I absolutely love your song and don’t get that “didactic” feeling from it at all. It captures the soul of winter as the time when things are sleeping, resting, and enjoying the fruits of the summer’s labors and the autumn’s harvest. I felt tears welling as I sang it to myself. Thank you for this gift, Francesca. We love you, too. xoxo

    • francesca says:

      Darling, thank you sooooo much!!! I was uncertain if the lyrics wld work for anyone but me. And I love you too!!! Happy happy solstice season to you my dear!

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