Aki Cederberg is the author of Journeys In The Kali Yuga: A Pilgrimage from Esoteric India to Pagan Europe (Inner Traditions) and the forthcoming Holy Europe, as well as a musician, filmmaker, and traveler from Helsinki, Finland.
In this interview, Cederberg discusses the meaning and practices of Yule, the pre-Christian midwinter celebration which influenced Christmas and that lives on, still today, through the Christmas tree, the “Yule log” cake, and Santa Claus (related to the ancient northern European shaman). In particular, he looks at how we can celebrate Yule today, why it should be more about “mystery” than “history,” why we should be joyful, and why, nevertheless, we should remember the deceased at this time of year.
You can learn more about Aki here. And while you’re eagerly awaiting the English language edition of Holy Europe to be released, you can pick up a copy of Journeys In The Kali Yuga from Amazon dot com, Barnes&Noble, or at other good booksellers.
You can listen to the interview on YouTube below or as a podcast on Spotify here (we’ll be adding more podcasts soon).
Recently, I’ve found myself advising people on different aspects of personal-development. Most of them belong to some kind of group — a mastermind group, a martial arts group, or a study group of some kind. While it is possible to develop skills and interests alone, everyone of us can benefit from group practice. Here, I want to briefly look at eight essential features that are necessary for building an organization, regardless of its raison d’etre, and regardless of whether it’s a small, local group or a larger network.
(1) A Common Interest:
The group must have a core interest. This might be spirituality. It might be motorbikes. It might be physical training. Or it could be something entirely different. What matters is that the members of the group are passionate about its core interest — its purpose for existing. There might be other aspects to the group which help it to run properly or that bring the members closer together — raising finances, social functions, and so on — but the core focus of the group should constitute the core practice around which everything else revolves.
The more secular we become, the more myth we need. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings continues to fascinate. Modern movies like The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones — and, of course, the outpouring of superhero movies — are all largely mythic. And politics — which we like to think of as rational — is highly mythic. Leave aside the mythical narratives of communism and fascism, we are not given a balanced view by the media but, rather, a picture of good versus evil and of love versus hate. It is us against them. Angels versus demons. And if a few facts have to be tweaked or forgotten to make the narrative convincing, who cares? Facts are boring. We want the story.
Myth is ancient, of course. The priest, the brahmin, the elder knew the myths of the tribe or village. And he knew what they meant and what they told man about life and death.