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P R Reddall shares vivid winter memories and the deep connection to Odinist traditions, emphasising the primal feelings evoked by Yuletide celebrations and the importance of kinship and spiritual awakening in the modern world.

As the nights draw in, I am reminded that the deepest, darkest moments of the coming winter conjure up the most wonderful memories for me.

From childhood I recall the following: the smell of evergreen fir in the house, snow crunching under footsteps, the crackle and pop of an open fire, the smell of my father’s cigar (he was not a smoker per se, but would light up just once a year in the house; thus the Yuletide memory is anchored to a gently smouldering King Edward coronet); a visiting uncle would open a bottle of dark ale at my nan’s house and there would be food and conversation and laughter and warmth.

I have this same feeling of comfort when I am standing deep in the woods with Odinist comrades as we stare into the flickering flames and honour the gods and ancestors.

It is said, quite rightly, that men first and foremost utilise logical, rational thinking. However, as radiant beings of energy we must understand the chakras, and the feelings that arise when staring into a fire are primal; the sensations felt come from somewhere other than the head.

The Yule blot is held on the longest night — the winter solstice. It takes a little thinking about, but this darkest night heralds the coming of the light: Baldur’s return. And so the dark night is the most joyous, whereas the long, bright summer solstice is tinged with sadness as we know that Sunna is set to fall.

Weeks before Yule, the preparations begin. Fire torches are made. A sunwheel is crafted, ready to burn. Mead is purchased if one wishes to play it safe. More adventurous folk brew their own, with the final result in the lap of the gods.

Invitations are sent in advance and most will confirm their attendance. Those who cannot be there miss out on a wondrous occasion, yet no grudges are held for we hold to the mantra of, “No more brothers’ wars!” — such an important concept in this modern world as our folk are fighting a spiritual war against a largely unseen foe. Kinships must be built to endure.

As we meet for this most holy of celebrations, understand that we walk a path towards awakening. The great Yugic cycle is unstoppable and is upwardly ascending but this does not mean we can become lazy.

Meet your kinsfolk, light a fire, pour a draft of the poetic mead and hold the horn high. Hail the ancestors and gods and when the hour is late and the frost bites hard into the land, retire to a hearthside chair with a good book.

My book Towards Awakening: An Odinic Perspective can be purchased here.

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P R Reddall

P R Reddall grew up in the industrial midlands, but a love of the countryside saw him move to a small village in the west of England where he presently lives with his wife, three children and dog. Always pagan in his views, he came upon the faith of Odinism in his late teens. It appealed to his sense of natural order and offered a logical folkish lineage to gods and ancestors. He leads a small Odinist hearth, enjoys hikes in the mountains, lifting weights, riding his motorcycle and playing the guitar.

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