Yule (22nd December)
Yule is the celebration of the Winter Solstice, a time to celebrate the return of the waxing Sun, and a time that marks the death and the rebirth of the Sun God. It is a turning point, a point of change, where the tides of the year turn and flow in the opposite direction. We encourage the sun to rise and to grow in power, and we remember the seasons of plenty. Magically we bring back the season of plenty and feast on rish foods and drinks.
The fir tree represents life amongst death, it is an evergreen, representing ever lasting life, and lasting friendship. Evergreen trees also represent youth and freshness and are symbols of the promise of spring. A Yule custom, still practised at Christmas is to decorate and evergreen tree and make offerings. We honour the spirit of the tree and what it represents. Before you go out and get this years tree, think about the environmental side of things and either decorate an artificial tree, used a potted tree or decorate your own tree thats already established in your own yard.
At Yule we say goodbye to the dying sun and wait through the cold long night (longest night of the year) for the Sun's rebirth. The night belongs to the Goddess and is a night of waiting, through her pregnancy for the Child of Promise.
Modern Christmas celebrations are rich with pagan symbology. Santa Claus is the Holly King, the sleigh is the solar chariot, the eight reaindeer represent the eight sabbats, their horns represent the Horned God, the North Pole symbolises the Land Of Shadows and the dying solar year and the gifts are meant to both welcome the Oak King and the Sun reborn and as a reminder of the gift of the Holly King, who must leave for the Oak King to rule.
Candles: red, green, white, gold, silver
Incense: bayberry, pine, spruce, pine, spice, cedar, cinnamon
Decorate circle with holly, mistletoe, ivy, pine, pine cones, a Yule Log, and place ash twigs in the cauldron (to burn for prosperity).
Sun plants like mistletoe, balsam, and fir, and also any dried herbs from Summer, are predominant this time of year because they contain light and warmth. On Yule, when witches decorate their houses, they do so from the doorway inward, this inviting the light inside. We adorn doorways and mantles with evergreen boughs, bunches of dried summer herbs and Witches cords in reds, blacks, greens, and golds. Our ancient ancestors brought an evergreen tree inside to mystically ensure there would be light all year round. The evergreen retains sunlight, staying green all year, and reminds us that life is forever present and renewable.
Other Yule herbs, plants, flowers and seeds: holly, mistletoe, pine cones, pine needles, oak leaves, Yule log ashes, fir, birch, hazel bark, sandalwood, ivy, comfrey, elder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, chamomile, sunflower, frankincense, myrrh, wintergreen, apple leaf, dried apple. Carnation, cedar, spruce, pine, rose, cinnamon, bayberry
Clear quartz, jet, ruby, diamond, garnet, alexandrite, kunzite, citrine, green tourmaline, blue topaz, pearls
Savoury foods such as mutton or leg of lamb, goose, pork, and beef, special Yule breads, porridge, apples, sweets and nuts are traditional. But most important is the Yule ale, brewed stronger than other ales, and considered holy. Drinking Wassail (hot mulled apple cider) at Yule is an English custom from Heathen times. 'Wassail' comes from the Anglo-Saxon Wes Hal, meaning "to your health". The beverage is made from ale, wine, and/or cider with fruits and spices added. Traditionally it was used in part as an offering to apple trees in thanks and for their continued fruitfulness. Bits of toast were floated in the wassail bowl, then placed in the branches of the tree, and libations poured over the roots. This is the origin of our term "to toast" someone.
One variety of wassail, or hot mulled apple cider.
- 4 litres apple juice or cider
- 1 lemon, chopped
- 1 orange, chopped
- 1 lime, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground anise
PREPARATION: Mix ingredients in a large enamel pot, and simmer for about an hour. Serve hot. Adding brandy or rum is a nice touch when served for adults.
Things To Do On Yule
Decorate the Yule Tree
For prosperity, burn ash wood.
Yule blessings: wreath on the door, mistletoe indoors, food and clothing donations, sunflower seeds outside for birds, ring the bell to greet the Solstice Morn, and perform magick for a peaceful planet.
Gather up Yule greens after 12th night and save. At Imbolc, burn the greens to banish winter and usher in spring.
Make and burn a Yule Log
Bake a Yule Log Cake