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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Upper Midwest Retreat 2018 – Athens, Wisconsin

 

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Attendees at the 2018 ADF Upper Midwest Retreat

 

Overview

The 2018 ADF Upper Midwest Retreat was held May 11-13th at Deeply Rooted Church in Athens, WI. 

The retreat was attended by 16 ADF members and friends and organized by Protogrove of the Whispering Spirits in Appleton, WI and Wild Onion Grove in Chicago. Grove members from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan were among those present. In addition, the caretakers/staff of Deeply Rooted Church were with us throughout the weekend.

Deeply Rooted Church

Deeply Rooted Church is an organization that describes itself as an intentional pagan community. They host a number of groups who are seeking the quietude, space, and accommodations required for spiritual gatherings, but individuals may also visit by first checking their calendar and making a reservation ahead of time.

Deeply Rooted consists of acres of secluded woodlands and some simple, rustic facilities. There is dedicated space for tent camping, as well as a central lodge in which guests can reserve a bed in a communal sleeping space. The lodge also consists of a kitchen area with a gas stove, spaces for gathering, and many, many books.

There is no running water at Deeply Rooted, so it’s necessary to bring potable water with you. This also means that there are no flush toilets; instead, the site features a composting outhouse and a designated whizzing tree. An enormous iron stove provides ample warmth inside the main lodge.

 

In addition to the facilities, Deeply also features some designated devotional spaces including a shrine and two areas for rituals.

What Happened at the Retreat…

Since much of the ADF membership in the Midwest is scattered or solitary, one critical aspect of this retreat was simply having time to connect with and engage fellow druids. The retreat organizers provided a schedule and framework for our discussions, but from the beginning people it was clear that people were interested in talking, sharing, and getting to know one another.

The opening ritual on Friday evening allowed everyone an opportunity to introduce themselves and to reveal a little about their hearth cultures and interests. This provided a natural transition into our Friday night retreat topic: hospitality and gifting within our various traditions.

Saturday began with fruit, homemade crepes, and coffee (but not biscuits, alas!) We spent the day exploring consent culture and healthy boundaries in the pagan community, enjoying a demonstration of weaving techniques on an inkle loom, and discussing personal devotional practices.

Main Ritual

Our main ritual on Saturday afternoon took place in the Oak Grove, a dedicated ritual space in the woods behind the lodge. Our presiders were Amy and Drum, and the ritual was designed and organized by Dale. Mary served as our diviner and other members lent their assistance to help make our Indo-European hearth rite a success.

 

What Else?

After our ritual, the community enjoyed a pot-luck feast and the company of their fellow druids. The iron stove kept us warm inside the lodge, while a bonfire outside gave us an additional opportunity for fellowship with each other and the staff of Deeply Rooted Church.