Holy Victoria — alternatives to Christmas (Part 2 of 3)
Come one, come all and dance the Wiccan night away, naked under the cool moonlight.
“Actually my circles don’t tend to do that,” says Wiccan elder Alison Skelton. “Although some traditions or circles might in the summer when it’s warm. And only if you want to!”
Priestess, psychic and shaman, Skelton has practiced in Victoria since she was 17. The 60 or so Yule observers will follow her lead this year at a brand new (and secret) location.
Wherever it may be, practitioners will gather on the weekend before the Dec. 21st winter solstice. “That’s when most people can come. You’ve got to be flexible.” Skelton collects contributions for finger food and drinks available throughout the night. “We also ask everyone to bring donations for a local charity.”
Circles are very important in Wiccan practice. To begin, those gathered will form a circle to create a sacred space.
“I like to think of the circle as more of an amoeba. Sometimes, someone walks around the room and sings us into the circle. That’s really lovely.”
Next comes the ritual battle between the Holly King and the Oak King acted out by two male witches. In mythology, the two twins are locked in eternal battle. The winter solstice is the moment the Oak King takes his first steps toward his mid-summer supremacy. Then guests will eat, sing pagan carols (which consist of reworded Christmas carols), have a raffle draw and attach wishes to the hula-wreath.
Then it’s hula-hoop time. “It’s the same one we used during the Samhain (coinciding with Halloween). That one’s covered with bones and skulls and cobwebs representing death and release.”
The Yule hula-hoop is adorned with oak and holly leaves depicting the transition between the dark period of the year to the time of most light. “You can think of it as moving from Ying energy towards increasing Yang energy. The dark also represents the feminine. The dark, warm and reflective womb from which the sun is reborn.”
When practitioners jump through the hoop they do so shouting their intention for the coming year. “This is the masculine, energized moment of the ritual.”
“We have families there, so of course there are children shouting ‘I want a pony’ but there are many, many wishes for peace and love for the world.”
In February, wishes on the hula-wreath are burned to give them added energy. “These rituals have all been made by those involved so they change a little every year. I always tell my students, if you want a powerful ritual, make it yourself.”
Through 13th House, Skelton, who considers herself a Shamanistic Wicca, teaches the highly personal and individual Wiccan craft. Informational classes are available along with options for more involved tutelage. Learn more at Alisonskelton.com. Hula-hoop not included. M
See Part 1 of the series: Holy Victoria: Hanukkah, a story of faith