What is Yule?
Yule (Midwinter) takes place on the Winter Solstice which typically lands around December 21st in the Northern Hemisphere (June 21st for the Southern Hemisphere). During Yule, Wiccans and Pagans celebrate the rebirth of the Sun God or Oak king as the Goddess becomes Great Mother once again. Yule has been revered by many different people and cultures for thousands of years. The Egyptians celebrated the reappearance of Ra (the sun god), the Romans celebrated Saturnalia honoring Saturn (the agricultural god), and the Old Norse celebration of Jól which consisted of a twelve-day feast (hence the twelve days of Christmas).
Yule is the darkest day of the year (the dark night of our souls); being the longest night and shortest day. Although it is the first day of winter, it is far from the coldest. We now head into the depths of the cold with the hope of light and warmer days to come. Winter is a time for rest and reflection on the past year and the new year ahead. Time to think about what we wish to plant in the coming year, both externally and internally. Yule is a time to honor our elders, celebrate the slow return of the sun, and banish negative energy.
At Winter Solstice, the Goddess is in her dark aspect, as 'She Who Cuts The Thread' or 'Our Lady in Darkness', calling back the Sun God. However, at the same time, she is giving birth to her Son-Lover who will re-fertilize her and the earth, bringing back light and warmth to the world.
Remember, during this time, to take a moment to notice the beauty that is all around right now. Nature has slowed down and so should we as it is a time to listen to the peaceful silence and renewal taking place. Engage all your senses, take deep breathes, and really be present in the moment. Turn off electronics, pick up our favorite book or journal and just be still for just a bit.
We can not go without mention of the Mistletoe! Mistletoe, from the Old English misteltãn, is a parasitic plant that grows on various trees; but, when found on an Oak tree it is held in great veneration by all Druids. The winter solstice, called 'Alban Arthan' by the Druids, was according to Bardic Tradition, the time when the Chief Druid would cut the sacred mistletoe from the Oak. The mistletoe is cut using a golden sickle on the sixth day of the moon. It is often associated with thunder and regarded as a protection against fire and lighting.
The symbolism of Yule:
Hope after darkness, wheel of the year, honor, rebirth, transformation, light out of darkness, creative inspiration, the mysteries, new life, regeneration, inner renewal, reflection/introspection
Symbols of Yule:
Twinkling Lights, Bells, Snowflakes, Sun wheels, Candles, Wreath, Sun and stars (orbs, circles, star shapes) – symbolizes the coming of the light and the beginning of the solar year, Yule log, Snowflakes, Pinecone, Yule tree, Spinning Wheels
Animals of Yule:
Stag / Deer, Bear, Goat, Reindeer, Robins, Pig, Cow, Snow Goose, Owl, Fox, Squirrel, yule goat (nordic), reindeer stag, squirrels, yule cat, Sacred White Buffalo, Kallikantzaroi-ugly chaos monsters(greek), trolls, phoenix, yule elf, yule gnome, squirrels, wren/robin
Herbs and Flowers of Yule:
Rosemary, Holly – believed to ward off evil spirits, Ivy, Lillies, Mint, Rosehips, Bay leaves, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cardamom, Chamomile, Cloves, Nutmeg, Frankincense, Myrrh, Sage
Foods of Yule:
Citrus Fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc), Root Vegetables, Baked goods, Roasted meat, Nuts, Dried Fruit, Stews, Soups, Pomegranates, Gingerbread, Cinnamon or berry breads, cookies, cakes, etc., Yule log (Bûche de Noël), Cranberries, Apples, Eggnog, Hot chocolate, Mulled wine, Wassail, Mead, Hot buttered rum, Spiced apple cider, Tea, Coffee (warm)
Incenses and oils of Yule:
Cinnamon, Peppermint, Cloves, Frankincense, Myrrh, Pine, Smoke or Fire, Gingerbread, Pomegranate, Sage, Sweet or spicy orange, Cedar, Ginger, Baked apple
Colors of Yule:
Dark Green (evergreen), Orange (solar), Red (fire and vitality), Gold and silver (or other metallic colors) (sun or prosperity), White (moon, protection, or ice), Black (darkness or the moon), Blue (ice)
Stones of yule:
Ruby, Orange Calcite, Garnet, Amethyst, Clear Quartz, Gold, Emerald, Diamond, Bloodstone, Green Calcite
Activities of Yule:
Decorating the home, burning the Yule log, making natural ornaments, giving back to the community, creating a yule alter, meditation, feast, working on your book of shadows, mirror books, games with friends and family
Spell workings of Yule:
Rest, Goal setting, Gratitude, Peace, Beginning, Renewal, Kindness, Intense ritual/shadow work,Reflection, Self-care, Personal development, Divination work, Rejuvenation, Healing, Embracing the darkness, Solitude, Slumber, Celebrating with family and loved ones
Deities of Yule:
Goddesses- Great Mother, Befana (Strega), Holda (Teutonic), Isis(Egyptian), Triple Goddess, Mary(Christian), Tonazin(Mexican), Lucina(roman), Bona Dea (Roman), Mother Earth, Eve(Hebrew), the Snow Queen, Hertha (German), Frey (Norse)
Gods- Sun Child, Saturn(Roman), Cronos (Greek), Horus/Ra(Egyptian), Jesus(Christian-gnostic), Mithras(Persian), Balder(Norse), Santa Claus/Odin(Teutonic), Holly King, Sol Invicta, Janus(God of Beginnings), Marduk (Babylonian), Old Man Winter