I just learned about a new holiday that is becoming popular with some Heathens worldwide. It’s called Vantljusstaken or Sunwait. It’s a variation on advent in Christian traditions where they light a candle every week until Christmas Eve, in this particular case it’s a candle lit every Thursday, or Friday in some cases, until Yule or the winter solstice which is the time when the Northern Hemisphere of Earth starts to tilt back towards the sun and the days once again grow longer. From what I understand the people who have midwifed this tradition, want to mark the weeks leading up to Yule with light and reflection on the futhark runes. Heathen’s often celebrate Yule to mark the longest night and at dawn we celebrate the return of the Sun Goddess Sunna and the eventual warming of the earth again. To participate in this tradition, you will need 6 candles and they can range from long tapers to votive candles or even LED candles (especially if you can’t have an open flame safely burning in your home) and then decorate the candles or the holder with the runes of the futhark. There is a poem to recite at the lighting of each candle and it shows the order of the runes. I’m going to include the link to Gifts of the Wyrd podcast so you can hear his involvement with the holiday.
Some of you may ask, don’t we have enough holidays? Well, yes we do and that’s ok, but what we’re talking here is reclaiming a tradition and making that tradition your own. When it comes down to it, Christmas, Yule, Channukah and a lot of other holidays are filled with tradition. From food, to decorating, to lighting candles and reciting words filled with meaning. And some of us humans crave tradition because it can bring us a deeper connection to our spiritual paths as well as comfort and in many cases draws family that participate together closer. I know that I love tradition and I love celebrating the cycles of the year and so this tradition makes sense to me and as such, I’m going to participate in it. I am an Urglaawer, which is a sect of Heathenism with German and North American roots, particularly in the traditions and stories of the Pennsylvania Dutch. We are different from more mainstream Heathen traditions in that we’re agrarian and therefore celebrate the cycles of life and what better way to mark the path through the dark time of the year with candles and reflection and feasting. So each Friday until Yule I will light my candle and recite the portion of the poem and reflect on the corresponding rune and how I want to have that reflect in my life. So, lets reflect just a bit on the first rune: Fehu
Fehu: Cattle; wealth.
This is a great rune to reflect on in regards to prosperity and the work you have put into it to gain that wealth. I don’t have much wealth, well, monetary wealth but I am putting in effort to rejoin the workforce and therefore increase my monetary wealth. But what I do have is an abundance of wealth in other areas. I have family that was willing to take me in. I have a partner that joins me on my adventures and supports my many experiments and crafts and wild hairs. I have family and framily that love and support me and have given me so much of themselves that I have a strong shield against the idea of “no one loves me.”
I see the lighting of the candle for Fehu as a way of shining light on my coming prosperity and it also shows me the work I have ahead of me to achieve it. I’m not afraid of hard work, but I do have to remember I am worth that hard work. And that is part of deepening your spiritual connection, that’s work too. You can just show up and thump your chest and drink your mead or you can work at your path and grow it and in turn grow yourself but no matter our spiritual connection you’ll only get what you put into it.
Next week we’ll discuss Uruz and strengthening our traditions and adding some wild energy in.