What is commonly called “Saint Lucia’s Day” is really a Pagan holiday known as Madrenacht, a Heathen festival enjoyed by Germanic Pagans throughout Europe, and this does indeed include both Anglo-Saxon and Norse Odinists. Other related European tribes, as far afield as Rome, and even farther, have had different traditions concerning it, but also recognized, and continue to celebrate, this holy night of Yule Eve.
Our Nordic ancestors reckoned ritual dates in terms of nights rather than days, and celebrated in advance of the day in question, and Yuletide in particular is thought of as a series of sacred nights, as we can see, for example, in the case of the still surviving Heathen German greeting, “Fröhliche Weihnachten”. Weinachten means “sacred nights”.
At first glance, the night of the onset of the Winter Solstice certainly makes good sense as a time to begin our festivities in that it is the start of the solar event, and indeed I believe there were religious rituals starting at the Solstice Eve, but certainly not Madrenacht. This leads to an aspect of Yule reckoning which has become something of a controversy between the modern tendency towards automatically adhering to conventional government approved sound bytes as opposed to having a proper appreciation for reason, science, and history. Perhaps in some sort of attempt to differentiate our Heathen traditions from Christianity or possibly because most people are not familiar with what a solstice is, virtually all Pagan organizations have begun to celebrate Madrenacht on the Eve of the first day of the solstice rather than on Yule Eve, when it was originally celebrated by our ancient European ancestors.
There is no celestial, historical, or symbolic basis for celebrating a holiday which rejoices in the Sun’s quickening to life again on a day when it is, in an astronomical sense, at a dead standstill. This is a time when the Pagan world has, from time immemorial, watched the unmoving Sun, waiting for it to come alive again. What we, as a people, have always celebrated is the time when the Sun begins to move again, and to turn in the other direction, towards light, warmth, and fertility.
After the Judeo-Christians took over, they enacted arbitrary movement of certain key Pagan religious festivals from their original astronomical dates. When these important religious holidays were forcibly taken over by the Christian Church, they then proceeded to superimpose their Jewish god or Christian saints, who in some cases were completely fabricated, upon them.
This Semitic takeover and reassignment of our holidays occurred in relation to our midwinter festival far before the newer Gregorian Calendar ever came into play. For example, according to the Saga of Hákon the Good, King Hákon I of Norway arbitrarily rescheduled the date of Yule from its original date of 3 nights after the beginning of the Solstice in order to Christianize it  . Such methods were used to repress our religion and its rituals elsewhere as well. We can safely assume that originally there was a midwinter solstice festival which actually coincided with the celestial event it is innately connected to throughout virtually the entire ancient Odinist Heathen world, originating from whatever time our ancestors first observed it, many thousands of years earlier .
There is no rational doubt that Madrenacht, or Yule Eve, this most glorious of sacred solar nights, was celebrated in accordance with the climax of the Winter Solstice, because that is the very event this holiday is based upon, although of course, our ritual has far deeper meaning than the astronomical event alone. Our beliefs have at their very heart an awe and reverence for Nature, and so, this season is one which has particular spiritual significance for us, which is one of the primary reasons Christians coveted this magical date for their own replacement holiday. Just as they they moved their Christian Jewish Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday to eclipse our native European tradition of Sunday rituals, the Christians culturally appropriated Yule Eve and Yule.
However, quite ironically, with Christians in charge of the calendar, these replacement holidays inevitably became quite out of date since no intelligent efforts to keep them in line with astronomy were taken, meaning that Ostara, or what they called Easter, was steadily drifting towards the summer. Christians had already taken steps to date time from the supposed birthdate of a Semite, rather than from the founding of Rome, and wishing to keep the Vernal Equinox date of the holiday they had taken from the Germanic Goddess Ostara and diverted to worship of a Jew, they realized they needed to realign their calendar to do so.
Currently, the Scandinavian St. Lucia’s Day falls upon the 13th of December, which just happens to be approximately the date of the ancient astronomical Yule in the previous Julian calendar. The interesting thing about this is that at this time, St. Lucia’s Day, which I think was once our midwinter Madrenacht, despite having been forcibly reassigned to a different time, was just beginning to come towards alignment with its actual astronomical date (which now occurs on the 24th of December), again, when the Christians changed the calendar, taking Madrenacht out of astronomical alignment for a second time. Thus, to recap, the Scandinavian St. Lucia’s Day, Madrenacht, or Yule Eve at the climax of the Solstice, was put off date, drifted towards its real astronomical date, but then, with the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar and removal of ten days, Madrenacht became out of step with the Winter Solstice again.
This means that not only was our holiday forcibly converted to Christian use, but it yet again no longer fell in accordance with the Solstice at all, which, of course, was by no means accidental. A primary weapon of the Christian Church in maintaining control and lessening the importance of our real holidays was to arrogantly rename them and dedicate them to Judeo- Christian saints instead of our Gods, and also to change their days to times when they no longer made sense in a religious and ritual sense, or to dates when they were no longer connected with pivotal agricultural or celestial events, hence my interest in taking our rituals back to their proper places. Christians may celebrate whatever false Christian versions of our holidays they like of course, but they should not on any account be allowed to make us actually celebrate our own rituals on a different date.
A couple days ago, I happened upon a reference which stated that both the Asatru Folk Assembly and the Odinic Rite celebrate the 12 Nights of the Yule starting just after the beginning of the Winter Solstice. This is not a practice that I concur with for a number of reasons which I am going to explain here, although I can see how this reckoning came about, and it was a natural assumption to make.
Christian cultural Marxist philosophy and attitudes can interfere with our gaining knowledge or even stating any fact that deviates from the Jewish and Judeo-Christian version of history in any small detail. When our more traditional, ancestral, Yule reckoning was referenced on Zionpedia by a librarian (See screenshot below) this was deleted repeatedly and apparently now the account holder has been blocked as well, and right after being blocked, banned indefinitely, merely for alluding to the scientific and historical views in this very article and citing it. I have outlined the folkish librarian’s contribution or “edit” in red, and that of an editor who presumably is part of the AFA in brown. The librarian’s small paragraph was deleted immediately. This would not matter so much if it were an isolated incident, but other genuinely folkish European groups face similar difficulties with Wikipedia.
The habit of celebrating the 12 Nights of the Yule from the beginning of the Solstice is out of phase with Nature, and I am quite certain that our Ancestors, who were more in touch with important celestial events, would not have practiced our holiday in this manner. Since much of the surviving Odinist Yuletide ritual we have mimics the apparent movement of the Sun, it seems unlikely that the 12 nights would have been numbered beginning from the solar standstill when the Sun appears to be at rest. What historical records we do have, such as Snorri Sturleson and the Venenerable Bede, speak strongly for certain basic dates, such as there having been a sacrifice at the beginning of winter for a mild winter, and a Yule Eve Madrenacht sacrifice for a good crop, after which there was a 12 Night celebration beginning, not the first day of the solstice, but around the 25th of December.
The “Venerable” Bede had the habit of not citing information from Pagan authors and of using their work without crediting the source, either because he was afraid to be associated with them or because he wanted to take credit for their work. I disapprove of plagiarism, and of the “Jewish and Marxist first” brand of pseudo-scholarship I hope we soon can free ourselves from. I find ancient Pagan sources to be by far the most accurate, intelligent and logical, and for this reason I am uncertain of how highly we should rate Bede’s testimony in some areas, but certainly in this instance he had no obvious reason to be untruthful. He did do a great deal of work on the Anglo Saxon Calendar as well, so what he had to say about it should be noted:
“…they used to commence their year eight days from the Kalends of January, when we now celebrate the birth of the Lord. They even used to call the same Eve, now holy to us, by the heathen term “Modranicht”, that is, “Mothers Eve”, because, we suspect, of ceremonies which they performed through the night” .
So here we have the idea that in Anglo-Saxon Heathen world, Madrenacht or Modranicht, was celebrated on the night of the 24th of December, not on the first day of the Solstice, and that the 12 nights of the Yule followed. I would guess that to someone just taking note of the date of the Solstice itself, and not understanding that it lasted 3 days, or not knowing when the Kalends of January occurred, this might cause some confusion. Possibly that is where the erroneous idea of celebrating Madrenacht and the 12 nights together, beginning from the first day of the solstice came from, but I have no idea of the source of this modern corruption of our ritual dates, only that these ritual dates did not occur in ancient times. Celebrating the 12 Nights of the Yule makes sense if the 12 nights are celebrated starting from Yule and Yule Eve, or thereabouts, but astronomically and religiously, it is not appropriate if celebrated from the beginning of the Solstice. Why is this important?
Our Heathen Yuletide is a time of the Wild Hunt and of the cosmic struggle between the powers of light and darkness, a battle of unseen forces if you will. The Winter Solstice is the beginning of what was, for our ancestors, an adventure of the spirit and a trial of nature, followed by rejoicing. Madrenacht is a mystical time when the female spirits of our hearth and home and the forces of light and fertility are honored after the battle of the warrior Gods. It is a festival with strong astronomical symbolism which is deeply tied to its religious meaning. Although the Solstice varies somewhat in its time of occurrence, the modern scenario of just celebrating the 12 days immediately after the first day of the Solstice, when the Sun was at a standstill, or symbolically “dead”, is wildly out of step with nature and would not have been the time our ancestors celebrated the 12 Nights of the Yule. They were extremely precise astronomers and navigators and would have been well aware of the implications.
One prime example of the exactitude of ancient European reckoning is the 5,000 year old Newgrange tomb of Ireland. The Gaelic name for Newgrange is “Grian Uaigh” or “Cave of the Sun.” Significantly, both Zeus and Mithras were reputed to have been born in a cave and the virgin Goddess Anahita was said to have given birth to Sol Invictus. This tradition later was taken over and used by Judeo-Christians to make up the myth of Jesus having been born in a cave, or sometimes a stable in a cave, a tale which was obviously fabricated to copy the original European tradition and replace it. As we alluded to before, they also moved their Sabbath, which falls on a Saturday, to Sunday to compete with the day Sol, or Sunna, the solar deity, was honored.
In legend, Grian Uaigh is reputed to be the home of a race of supernatural beings called the “Tuatha de Danainn”, the people of the Goddess Dana, and a burial place of kings. Since there are more than 30 megalithic monuments in the immediate area (within 4 km.), the latter claim seems to be justified while the first is still shrouded in mystery. It may be that this was an Irish “Valley of the Kings.”. Not only is it the oldest structure in the British Isles, but it is also important for its wealth of megalithic carvings which are thought to be astronomical, and its impressive orientation to the Sun. The enormous stone placed outside of the entrance to the passageway is covered with cosmological spirals, indicating the motions of celestial bodies. If, taken together, the spirals do represent the Universe, the stone is the ancient equivalent of van Gogh’s painting, “Starry Night.”
The Newgrange Tomb is positioned with great care, so that on the morning of the Winter Solstice the rays of the rising Sun shine down through a lightbox creating a stream of light that travels through a 62 foot long passageway down a specially slanted floor to illuminate a stone basin in the inner chamber.
The stone basin is thought to be a sarcophagus, since similar objects are found in related tombs with cremated remains in them. The moment when the Sun’s waning appearance in the sky began to lengthen, was significant. The positioning of the tomb so that the light of the rising Winter Solstice Sun would shine directly upon the entrance to the tomb symbolized the Sun awakening the Earth with its light and imparting its fertility to it, and also rebirth, because at this time, the Sun came back to life.
As we mentioned earlier, a major difficulty in modern reckoning is a general lack of understanding of what a solstice actually is so I am going to go into this in a little more detail. The “Solstice”, quite literally refers to a point in time in which the Sun, from an observational, not an actual, standpoint, stands still. What this means in real terms is that if one were to gauge the apparent path of the rising Sun, it would move slightly each day in the same direction, North or South, depending on season.
At the time of the Solstice, to an ancient or modern observer, the Sun would appear to stop moving for three days. “Sol-stice” is from the Latin “Sol”, meaning the “Sun”, and the verb “Sistere”, which means “to stand still”. The rejoicing, the celebration, is meant to begin after 3 days, when the Sun God is “born” and comes back to life, beginning to move in the other direction towards warmth, light and summer. Mithras, and other Pagan solar deities, were considered to be dead for 3 days, then born again after being in a tomb after that length of time. I suggest that the astronomical and the religious concepts of a triumphant rebirth of the Sun God after three days are linked. This is the source of yet another Judeo-Christian lie, in which a dramatic jewish “resurrection” tale plagiarized from our ancestral faith, was designed to eclipse the original.
The time of the Solstice varies, usually between the 21th-22nd of December, although once in a great while the Solstice occurs upon the 20th or 23rd of December as well. One can either celebrate our festivals astronomically or calendrically, although I recommend celebrating the festival at the time it must once have been held if one is able to. I think that we can at least all agree that it is better to know when our rituals were actually carried our by our ancestors and be aware of some of the reasons why, than it is to be ignorant of the meaning of our holiday.
Due to the astronomical nature of the Yuletide, we need to bear in mind that the dates for our Yule festival cannot be listed exactly astronomically, except in the case of given specific year, because, if celebrating from the time of the actual astronomical beginning of the Solstice, they would not occur the same time every year. We also should remember that these holidays are usually based on the night before and on nights, not days, which is why the 12 Nights are so named. However, in a general sense, I suggest that the true celebration of our Yule festival, when applied to our modern calendar, would go something like this:
Night Before the Beginning of Solstice, or Solstice Eve. (As with the Solstice itself, the time varies astronomically. Some may celebrate Madrenacht here, but we don’t). Usually the 21 or 22nd of December. We honor Thor on this Night.
- First Night of the Solstice approx. the 22nd of December. I have suggested that these three solsticial nights were devoted to our great warrior Gods; Thor, Freyr, and Odin, respectively. For the reasons why I think this to be the case, see my podcast just below. On this Night, we honor Freyr.
3. Second Night of the Solstice. approx. 23rd December. On this night, We honor Odin.
4. Madrenacht, the 3rd night of the Solstice, when the Sun begins to quicken and move, Yule Eve! On this Night we honor our female Ancestors and Goddesses, such as Freyja, goddess of fertility, Frau Holle or Frigga, the great mother Goddess herself, and the elemental Sun Goddess, the source of light and warmth, Sunna.
5. The Jól, or Yule, in our Northern European Heathen tradition, also known as Sol Invictus, the Festival of the deity whom the Romans call Sol, and the Nordic, Germanic peoples know as Sunna, approx. 25 December (which also varies slightly depending upon the time of the Solstice of course).
6. The Twelve Nights of the Jól (or Yule), beginning after the Jól day itself, approx. the 25th December, and lasting until on or about the 6th of January. These 12 Nights would have originally have referred to the 12 constellations of the Zodiac, the 12 seasons, and the twelve Olympian Gods, and no doubt a similar pantheon of Nordic deities, since at one time these tribes were related and were honored in the course of the 12 Nights.
7. Finally, the culmination of the festivities falls upon 12th Night, or what I think of as our Three Gods’ Night.
“Three Kings Day” occurs on or about the 6th of January and still survives in Spain where it is known as “Dia de los Tres Reyes” In Armenia, this date originally referred to the festival when a virgin Goddess is said to have given birth to the Sun God, a festival which also was purloined by Christianity. The name itself, “Three King’s Day” is a pretty clear indication of what this celebration was really about. These “three kings”are our three Gods, Thor, Odin and Frey, and I think this final Twelfth Night was a ritual and feast that honored them, and our earthly and heavenly warriors, and should be so again.
I once posted the picture above on Facebook in 2011 under the Nom de Plume, “Noel James” and it was ripped off, but here it is again, reborn in honor of our approaching 12th Night and our three Great Gods. The mosaic shows “Deus Sol Invictus”, the Undefeated Sun God, a Greco- Roman God, with many names, such as Apollo in Greece. His birth was celebrated by the Romans, on “Dies Natalis Solis Invicti’, which falls on December 25th.
This depiction of Sol and his sun chariot has been uncovered in the catacombi, far beneath Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The dating of the Sun God is uncertain, and it has been interpreted by the Church as being “Jesus”, but this is far from likely. I was surprised to come across this picture in the public domain, because when I was in the catacombi, the few people allowed to see the mosaic were not allowed to photograph it. The reason, of course, is that the true identity of this God is so apparent to anyone with a knowledge of art history and archaeology that it makes the forcible theft and conversion of the buildings above and their Pagan origin too obvious for comfort.
Many temples in Rome, and elsewhere in Italy, were forcibly converted from Greco-Roman temples to Christian churches, often using the same materials. One Sicilian church even has its original Greek columns with material blocked in around them to form walls. It is still a temple underneath. For more about this topic, see my Odinist rede on the subject, “Cosmic Ostara I”  .
The 11th-12th century CE Scandinavian tapestry below is usually called either “The Three Kings”, or “The Three Gods” tapestry. It conjures up a rare view of earlier times and of the true religion of Europe… This ancient textile hangs in a church in Skog, Sweden, but it is not Christian.
It was probably made by the Sami people- a partially Scandinavian community of reindeer herders- because the clothing depicted is Sami. The tapestry may have survived only because it was in a remote area, and it appeared insignificant for this reason.
As with the mosaic above of Sol Invictus, Apollo, or Helios, not Jesus, the three warrior figures, woven into this tapestry, are not the “three kings” or “magi”of the Christian church, but instead, the three Norse Gods, who were worshiped at Scandinavian temples and other sacred sites – Odin, Thor, and Freyr. The tradition of the biblical three kings was derived from them as part of an attempt to replace and diminish our European Gods and hide their identity. Nevertheless, here Odin, Thor and Freyr are revealed to us, despite the intervening darkness of time.
Magi were said to have visited Jesus, however, the number “three” is never mentioned. That number was added later in an attempt to artificially and forcibly marry the two traditions and thereby eclipse the Three Great Gods of our people with a false foreign deity. Rather like the Borg on Star Trek, the Judeo-Christian cultists have always sought to burn books, codices, and to hide and destroy knowledge and wisdom of various peoples because their lies could not prevail in the light of truth. Everywhere it has been, the Church has attempted to obliterate uniqueness and cultural heritage, the natural order, nobility and merit, and to turn us into a dumbed down, multicultural Walmart culture.
Adam of Bremen, who, like the Roman Christians, prepared propaganda against the Celtic- Nordic Gods and their worshippers in an attempt to destroy them, paints a deceitful, negative and lopsided view of the European faith, but he left some unintentionally useful details in his accounts as well..details which support the true origin of these three warrior Gods.
In Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum, Bremen refers to the Norse Temple at Uppsala as being adorned with gold and having a central image of Thor as a sky god with a mace, and on either side of him, Odin, who lends his courage and wisdom to his people in battle, and Freyr, whose fertility aspect was emphasized with a large, erect phallus. These traditions are directly related to Greek, Trojan, Thracian, and Macedonian traditions, tribal groups which at some time long ago, Scandinavian peoples may have had a closer relation to, for example, Thor, and his Slavic counterpart Perun, are manifestations of the Olympian Zeus.
The natural speculation that arises from all of this is to ask what the “Holy Trinity” referred to originally. For me, the mystery of three divinities being one, seems highly likely to be an earlier native concept “borrowed” by Christianity in an attempt to solidify the hold of the invading Christian religion on the minds of the people this foreign cult was trying to assimilate. The otherwise rather inexplicable tradition of the Holy Trinity was derived from these three Great Ones, an ancient holy trinity of Odin, Thor and Freyr, whose cult statues are known to have once stood in unison in the shrines of Norse temples. I have since found that other historians have come to this same conclusion independently far before I did, and it does seems to be well founded in reason, unlike virtually anything to do with the cult that has borrowed our tradition.
The efforts to eradicate, demonize, replace or secularize European native religion, and even to use it to promote agendas having nothing to do with it, are not just in the distant past, but have been ongoing and are alive and well in the present day. For example, there are “Odinist” groups run by Jews that say that they value converts of non-European races more than Europeans because the “gods” chose them. When asked why they are not telling Black Africans to allow White European into their native ancestral religions and to value them more than their own race, or what makes them think they have the right to dictate this sort of thing to us, they are curiously silent.
I have recently seen pictures saying, “The Solstice is the Reason for the Season”, and this is probably meant to counteract the ridiculous idea that Jesus is the reason for it, which is a good thing, but it also is a form of secularization. Although the Solstice is a glorious event that is rich with meaning, the celebration is not just about the Solstice itself. There is much more to it than that. So Dear Reader, remember to keep Sunna in the Jól, Odin in the Wild Hunt, and the Three Gods in Twelfth Night. They are the real reason for the season.
- Hollander, M. Lee (Trans.) (2007). Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway. University of Texas Press, 107. ^
- Beda Venerabilis “De Temporum Ratione” Chapter 15 ^
- Fenner, Seana Cosmic Ostara I ^
A Note for Odinists of the Southern Hemisphere
Photo by Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images.Belarusians
While we are discussing the Solstice…for Odinists in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, there are some ancient Odinist rituals that you may wish to include in your Summer Solstice celebrations. You may wish to reclaim some of the traditions from our festivals of light.
On October.2 .2012, on the Odinia International page, I pointed out that European peoples, whose presence in Northern China predated that of the ethnic Chinese by at least a thousand years, are the true authors of the various “Festival of Light” celebrations now practiced in Asia.
In keeping with the general politically correct, and anti-Nordic theme so prevalent in our society, there have actually been suggestions that this was an Asian festival adopted by European peoples. When one considers the chronology alone, it is abundantly clear which people are the originators, and which the copiers, of these festivals, and yet, since everything non-European must be presented as superior, no one dares say this.
I have mentioned it in my Odinist redes but, as far as I am aware, no other person has ever mentioned in any academic book, or anywhere else for that matter, the fact that the architecture of Asia, with its peaked roofs, its carved doors which, even in the jungles of Borneo, carry the tree of life symbol on them, and its dragons, is not Asian. It plainly is derived from Nordic peoples. Even now, the same Aryan architectural traditions, and even some of the “Festival of Lights”, are yet practiced by some of the tribes of folk who created them.
One example of such surviving customs is Kupala Night festival, still celebrated in some Central and Eastern European countries at the Summer Solstice. Some of the activities associated with these festivals are bathing in oceans and rivers, and singing and dancing over bonfires. Those who leap highest over the bonfire are thought to gain good fortune. Unmarried women traditionally wear elaborate floral wreaths, and make small floral boats with candles that are lit and placed in the water so that the rivers become a sea of light. This last is the very same tradition that our people, in distant times, must have practiced in Asia. I have seen it myself in Northern Thailand.
This festival is also a traditional time for engagements. At midnight, in Slavic lands, the unmarried maidens wearing flower wreaths will go into the forest singing, and are followed by the single men. They are to search for a fern flower which is said to impart great good fortune, and although this has never been found, a man who returns with a lady, wearing her wreath on his head, is lucky, because it means his marriage proposal has been accepted. May our folk find good fortune in our future.
Merry Solstice to All!
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