Yule (the Winter Solstice) occurs on December 21st and I am eager to have a slow paced holiday at home with family. We will be celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve this year so Yule will be a special holiday that is the low-key cousin to Christmas. I’ve got the Yule log ready to burn in the fire-pit (I hope it is cool weather as it has been a bit warm lately and even poured rain yesterday which is a rarity in Florida in the winter) and a delightful tapas type menu for the feast. Of course there will be spiced cider and delicious Christmas cookies (made by my sister-in-law who has been baking around the clock!).
This time of year isn’t the best for me personally since my husband passed away two years ago on December 22nd. Yule therefore has a dual meaning to me. At midnight I will commune with the Goddess and send a message to my love.
I’ve thrown myself into decorating and housekeeping this season which has been a peaceful distraction from what is an emotional time. I love to keep busy and the holidays are wonderful for that. I’m excited too of the upcoming Yule Prosperity Spell and the Chinese New Year’s Day Good Fortune Spell. Every Yule I create the candles I will use in the next year’s casting, so I will be doing that this Yule as well as completing the spells for this year. It is a powerful day for prosperity.
I will post pictures on Facebook and on mysticspells.com if you’d like to see my Amy Brown Faerie tree for this year and my other holiday decorations too. Hope your holidays are merry!
Yule TraditionsYule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were “wassailed” with toasts of spiced cider.
Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, the boughs were symbolic of immortality, the wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly, mistletoe, and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes. It was to extend invitation to Nature Sprites to come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to pay visit to the residents.
The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder’s land, or given as a gift, it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze be a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.
A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side so it sits upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.
Symbolism of Yule – Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.
Symbols of Yule – Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.
Herbs of Yule – Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.
Foods of Yule – Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb’s wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).
Incense of Yule – Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.
Colors of Yule – Red, green, gold, white, silver.
Stones of Yule – Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.
Activities of Yule – Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule.