Lyric Sheet
A Celebration of the Winter Solstice
(Traditional Ukrainian; arr. Leontovitch)
Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells
All seem to say "throw cares away".
Yuletide is here, bringing good cheer
To one and all, meek and the bold.
Ding dong, ding dong, that is their song
With joyful ring, all caroling.
One seems to hear words of good cheer
From everywhere, filling the air.
Oh, how they pound, raising their sound
O'er hill and dale, telling their tale.
Gaily they ring, while people sing
Songs of good cheer, Yuletide is here.
Merry, merry, merry, merry Yuletide.
Ding dong, ding dong, bom!
(Words: traditional English; Music: Anabel Graetz)
© Anabel Graetz
Now sing we of the fairest maid,
With gold upon her toe,
And open up the western door
To let the old year go.
For we have brought fresh holly
All from the grove so near,
To wish you and your company
A joyful, healthy year.
Now sing we of the fairest maid,
With gold upon her chin,
And open up the eastern door
To let the new year in.
For we have brought fresh ivy
All from the grove so near,
To wish you and your company
A joyful, healthy year.
(Charlie Murphy)
© Charlie Murphy
Light is returning,
Even though this is the darkest hour:
No one can hold back the dawn.
Let's keep it burning,
Let's keep the light of hope alive:
Make safe our journey through the storm.
One planet is turning,
Circles on her path around the sun:
Earth Mother is calling her children home.
(Darragh Nagle & Cerridwen Firedrake)
© 1982 Star Rider Music
I chant this carol still,
Starlit upon the hill
There with the harp told
A story of ancient old.
Child deep within my womb,
Child, Northland is your home;
Born to bring light in spring
Once more, on wintry hill I sing.
Some silv'ry melody
Sings winter's harmony
Earth is sleeping still and cold
'Neath snowfall's frozen wing.
One standing very nigh,
One far across the sky
Both born of dark and light
Which ends and starts this winter's night.
(Not recorded: Turn, seasons, turn me true
As I awaited you.
Your years may turn long
On Yule as the evening song.)

Juan Ponce, c. 1590
Ave, color vini clari.
Ave, sapor sine pari.
Tu a nos inebriari,
Digneris potencia.
O, quam felix creatura,
Quam perduxit vitis pura,
Omnis mensa sit secura
In tua presencia.
O, quam placens in colore,
O, quam fragrans in odore,
O, quam sapidum in ore,
Dulce linguis vinculum!
Felix, venter quem intrabis;
Felix, gutur quod rigabis;
O felix os, quod lababis.
O, beata labia!
Ergo, vinum colaudemus,
Potatores exaltemus,
Non potantes confundemus.
In aeterna saecula, amen!
(Hail, hue of clear wine,
Hail, savor without equal,
Your power intoxicates us!
O how happy a creation
Produced by the pure vine;
Every table is secure
In your presence,
O how pleasing in color,
How fragrant in odor,
How tasty in the mouth,
The tongue's sweet prison!
Happy the belly you enter,
happy the throat you moisten,
happy the mouth you lave,
O blessed lips!
Therefore, let us praise wine;
let us exalt drinkers
and confound abstainers
for ever and ever. Amen.)
(Gwydion Pendderwen)
© 1972 Nemeton
Blood red skies in the morning,
Pitch-black heavens every night
Take them both as a warning
That the winter fire need be bright.
Fierce the blaze on the mountain
Sheds its light for miles around
While the stream and the fountain
Lie frozen and locked in the ground.
Now the Leprous White Lady
Leads her train of the lost
Leads the spirits through glade and wood
And goodly fields of frost.
Summer's consort waxed brightly
The tall and golden-haired prince
And she came to him nightly
With pomegranate and quince.
Dead and gone is her lover
The most fair and radiant of all
Now she'll never recover
The king cut down in the fall.
While the climbing sun tarried
As if his marches were stayed
At midsummer they married
Mortal man and immortal maid
Has a king ever reckoned
What he gives for the boreal crown?
To be god but a second
Ere the sun starts his course ever down.
Through the summer and after
In the sere and brown of the fall
Days were filled with their laughter
And nights with their echoing call
But as autumn leaves smoulder
And the smoke slowly drifts through the air
So the young king grew older
And withered and died in despair
Nine white maidens attend her
Where she treads without leaving spoor
As she seeks her defender
Who shall wear the crown once more.
By the light of the beacon
You can see her pass through the ring
She'll not weary nor weaken
Till she finds her winter time king.
(Traditional Gaelic)
Soraidh leibh is oidhche mhaith leibh
Oidhche mhaith leibh, beannachd leibh
Guidheam slainte ghnath bhi mar ribh.
Oidhche mhath leibh, beannachd leibh.
(Farewell and good-night to you;
Good-night to you, blessings be with you.
We wish good health to all of you
Good-night to you, blessings be with you.)
Cha'n 'eil inneal ciuil a ghleusar
DhuiSgeas smuain mo chieibh gu aoibh,
Mar ni duan o bhebil nan caileag.
Oidhche mhaith leibh, beannachd leibh.
(There is no music that is played
That brings such delight to my breast
As does the song from the mouths of the young girls;
Good-night to you, blessings be with you).
Thuit ar crann air saoghal carach
'S coma sud, tha mhaitheas leinn;
Bidh sinn beo an dochas ra-mhath:
Oldhche mhaith leibh, beannachd leibh,
(Fortune may change in the fickle world
It matters not, for we retain what is truly of value:
We will live with good hope.
Good-might to you, blessings be with you).

(Words: traditional English;
Music: Circle in the Greenwood)
© Circle in the Greenwood
Oaken logs will warm you well,
That are old and dry;
Logs of pine will sweetly smell,
But the sparks will fly.
Birch logs will bum too fast;
Chestnut, scarce at all.
Hawthorn logs are good to last,
Burn them in the fall.
Holly logs will burn like wax,
You may burn them green;
Elm logs, like to smouldering flax,
No flame to be seen.
Beech logs for the winter-time,
Yew logs as well.
Green elder logs it is a crime
For any man to sell.
Pear logs and apple logs,
They will scent your room.
Cherry logs across the dogs
Smell like flowers of broom.
Ashen logs, smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old;
Buy up all that come your way,
Worth their weight in gold.
Oaken logs will warm you well,
That are old and dry.
(Abbi Spinner & J. Magnus McBride)
© 1992 Aft / McBride
Gaia, carry us home.
Mother, we are one.
Remember the god,
Remember yourself,
Remember the goddess,
© 1993 Deirdre Pulgram Arthen
On Solstice night, the winter comes
Stalking through the antlered trees,
Riding on the frozen wind.
With hoof and horn, this longest night
Brings round once more
The ancient, endless joust:
Light and Dark contest for power,
And Light, this night, shall triumph.
(Words: Anne Cameron; Music: Mary Troupe)
© 1981 Anne Cameron
Old Woman is watching,
watching over you.
In the darkness of the storm
she is watching.
She is weaving, mending,
gathering the fragments.
She is watching over you.
So weave and mend, weave and mend.
Gather the fragments safe within the sacred circle.
Sister, weave and mend, weave and mend.
old woman, weave and mend.
Old Woman is weaving,
gathering the threads.
Her bones become the loom
she is weaving.
She is watching, weaving,
gathering the colors.
She is watching over you.
For years I've been watching,
waiting for Old Woman,
feeling lost and so alone,
I've been watching.
Now I find her, weaving,
gathering the colors.
Now I find her in myself.

(Ariana Lightningstorm)
© 1990 KIVA
We are the Earth,
We are the womb:
Come rising sun,
Lead us from the tomb.
© Deirdre Pulgram Arthen
The frozen Earth,
The pale, cold Moon:
Come, Solstice Sun.
(We are reborn)
This longest night,
This darkest hour.
Come bring the dawn.
(We wait for you)

A tale of how Yule got its name
© 1994, Andras Corban Arthen

This is the story of the very first song; it is a true story, as all stories are, if you believe in them. This story begins a long, long time ago, when the Earth and Sun gave birth to the first beings-the very first plants, and animals, and people. It was springtime, and the Sun shone warm and bright from his high perch above, and Earth, proud mother that she was, held and fed her newborns and relished them with tenderness and love. It was a time of joy, it was a time of great delight.

The Moon waxed and waned time and again in the night sky, and the children of the Earth grew well and strong through summertime. They played and danced, and Earth and Sun watched over them.

Then autumn came, and the Earth began to sleep much longer every day. She grew tired and pale, she could no longer feed her children, and had no strength to grow new life. High above, the Sun grew distant, and took longer to return each morn. The nights grew longer, and cold winds blew where none had blown before.

And then, one day, Earth went to sleep and never did wake up. She wrapped herself in a blanket of snow, and rested her tired head on pillows of dried leaves, and she did not wake up, Her children could do nothing to rouse her from her slumber. They prodded her, they called to her, but she would not awaken. In the sky, the Sun was nowhere to be seen, and the children of the Earth felt fear, and also felt despair. This was the longest night that they had ever known.

"What shall become of us?", they pondered. "Earth Mother sleeps, and Father Sun is oh so far away that we can barely see him in the sky. He is much too far to hear our call. What shall we do?"

So they brought their questions and their fears to the Moon, the sister of the Sun, for they knew not where else to turn. She closed her eyes, and took a slow, deep breath, and looked within herself, and awoke thoughts that had never been awakened until then.

She opened her soft eyes, then said, "When hope is lost, the best way to get it back is with a song. Climb you the tallest trees, the biggest hills, the highest mountains, and yule a song to reach the Sun". (Now, yule is a word from one of the most ancient tongues. It is related to words like yell or yodel, and it means to call out in a song).

But the first beings had never heard a song, so once again they sought the Moon's advice. "How shall we yule?", they asked. "How shall we sing a song?"

"Take the best of what you have", she said, "the best of what you are. Take what you love, take what you cherish most. Take your joys, your dreams, your fondest hopes, and weave them all together in a sound."

And so they did. The climbed atop the tallest trees, the mountains and the hills. They stood on all the places that would bring them closest to the Sun. They shut their eyes, and thought and felt the best of thoughts and feelings, and dreamt the finest dreams. And, as they did, their voices rang and made a bridge of song across the sky, to reach the distant Sun.

He heard, and turned, and smiled, and wrapped himself in all his light and warmth, and sped to where the yuling voices called. As he drew near, the sleeping Earth did stir, and dreamed a dream of spring. The wheel of life made its first round, and hope and joy prevailed. And ever since, that time of year has been called Yule, in honor of the song.

But the first song did not end. It had such power, such eldritch allure, that the first beings kept singing it throughout. And then the second beings bom of the Earth took up the song, as did the third. And so it ever since has gone, through seasons and through years, until this very day.

At times the song is very soft, and scarcely can be heard above the din and clatter of our lives. But when Yule comes, it rises and it swells in memory of that night when the Sun heard, and light and life were spared.

And so do we, upon this longest night, gather with those we love and who love us, and stand upon the body of slumbering Earth, and light the log with last year's coal, and lift our voices soaring to the Sun, and join the song that first was sung so very long ago.

We sing our thanks to those who went before, and sing our fondest wish to those who come behind. We bask in the returning light of reawakened hope, and welcome Yule.

© 1994, The EarthSpirit Community

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