2019 Pagan Winter Solstice & Yule Events in Wisconsin

If you’re looking to celebrate the yule season with pagans in Wisconsin, you’re in luck. Wisconsin is home to to several pagan groups who will be hosting events to mark the winter solstice and/or celebrate yule.

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What is Yule?

Yule is the name of a pagan Germanic festival that marks the midwinter season of what today falls between November and January in the Northern Hemisphere. Several related pagan festivals are sometimes also commonly (but imprecisely) referred to with the term “Yule,” including the Winter Solstice and the Norse Mother’s Night.

For modern pagans (or NeoPagans), the Yule season includes a variety of festivities that celebrate winter and mark the nadir of the sun’s seasonal light. Other pagan variations on the Yule season include the Welsh festival of Alban Gaeaf, the Gaulish Devoriuros, and Roman Saturnalia.

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Druid Yule & Winter Feast (12/14)

Protogrove of the Singing Oak Springs will hold their midwinter celebration on Saturday, December 14, from 12 – 6 PM, near Pewaukee.

Although druids are known for their love of the forest, the event will be held indoors in a rustic (but well-heated!) lodge. There will be a workshop beginning at 12, followed by a Norse ritual at 2 PM. Potluck follows, so attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share.

For those unfamiliar with ADF Druidry, events are open to visitors and those new to paganism. More details are available on the grove’s Facebook page.

 

Longest Night Interfaith Solstice Celebration with Circle Sanctuary (12/19)

An Evening of Music, Stories, Reflections & Ceremony with Candlelight Meditation for World Peace. 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM (doors open at 7) at the Gates of Heaven Building in Madison. Registration and more details on the Circle Sanctuary event page.

 

Yule Sabbat Celebration (12/20 – 12/22)

The Deeply Rooted (DR) community is hosting a Yule celebration Dec 20 – 22. DR is an intentional pagan community located near Athens, WI. Cost for the entire weekend is $25 for adults. To learn more about Deeply Rooted, visit the Deeply Rooted website or connect through their Facebook page.

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Yule/Mother’s Night (12/21)

Wolves of the North are a group of Norse pagans and Asatru followers based in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. They’ll be hosting a Yule/Mother’s Night celebration on Saturday, December 21st near Burlington, WI. Those interested in attending will need to contact contact their Chieftain, Sal.

Email: saveriod@theasatrucommunity.org

 

Winter Solstice Sunrise Observance at Kinstone (12/21)

Early morning event to mark the shortest day of the year. Begins at 7:30 AM (arrive early enough to park) and takes place outdoors. Kinstone monolith garden is located about half an hour north of La Crosse, WI, on the Mississippi River.

 

Yule at Circle Sanctuary (12/21)

If you’re looking for an event the whole family will enjoy, Circle Sanctuary is the place to be. Celebration takes place Saturday, December 21, one hour west of Madison.

Activities include cookie and ornament decorating, a nature walk, birdseed crafting, gift exchange, as well as music and storytelling. The day concludes with a Yule ritual at 5 PM. Register online or at the door. $25 for adults registering online, $30 at the door. Children 5+ are $5/$10.

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Yule Celebration at Sweetwood Temenos (12/21)

Sweetwood is hosting a Yule ritual at 3 PM, followed by a potluck dinner and bonfire into the evening. Sweetwood is located near LaFarge, WI. Visitors must RSVP ahead of time. Contact information can be found on the Sweetwood Temenos website.

 

Yule/Solstice Celebration (12/22)

Ritual and potluck at Altered State of Mind in Milwaukee. Event begins at 6 PM.

 

Other Events?

If you know of another pagan-themed winter event happening in Wisconsin and would like it listed here, please leave a comment or contact me.

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Midsummer with Wild Onion Grove

Midsummer altar with Wild Onion grove.

I drove down to Chicago to spend Midsummer with the folks of Wild Onion Grove. This was my first time celebrating with the group and, with one exception, my first time meeting everyone from WOG.

The hearth culture of the day was Hellenic, with a focus on Athena and the festival of Panathenaea. We met in a city park in what is probably the most public ritual space I’ve ever been in–there were several other celebration going on within a few steps of us, including a family reunion and a birthday party.

The group that gathered seemed to be eclectic and not entirely ADF, but the ritual did not reflect this. It was ADF style through-and-through. We began by consecrating our time and space, first with a musical signal and then by processing into our space and marking the sigil on each other. We then offered honor to Hestia and the Earth Mother, and the goddess Iris as the gatekeeper. (I usually honor Hecate as gatekeeper in my personal rituals, so this was new to me.) Apollo was petitioned as our bardic inspiration, and I made the offering to the outdwellers.

For the central part of the ritual, libations, praise, and storytelling were offered to Athena. For my part, I brought some homemade crackers that I baked for the occasion (didn’t have spelt flour, alas!), some olive oil from my kitchen,  and told the legend of how women lost the right to vote in Athens.

According to Walter Burkert in Greek Religion, the people of Athens decided to hold a vote to see which deity–Poseidon or Athena–would be the principal patron of the city. The women supported Athena, while the men wanted to honor Poseidon. When the votes were cast, the women outnumbered the men by a single vote. So the city went to Athena. However, in retaliation, the men took away the women’s right to vote from that day forward. Not the most encouraging story from a humanist or feminist perspective, but it is part of the lore and a story which few know.

After our offerings were made, the omen was taken. The consensus among the group seemed to be that the omen was positive and the offerings were accepted, but some believed it also called attention to Apollo. Since Apollo is one of my principle deities, I was not sure what to make of this. After all, I think it’s always a good idea to call attention to Apollo!

And so we shared a blessing cup and some fabulous herbal cookies, closed our ritual by thanking all of the deities, spirits of the land, and ancestors, and having a simple meditation and grounding. Because of our location and people’s schedules, we did not have much time for fellowship afterwards.

So I am grateful to be able to join fellow Druids in celebrating the solstice. I hope we meet again soon.