Paula provides today’s Christmas blog for the Winter Solstice.
Yule, also known as the ‘Winter Solstice’ lands on December 21st every year. It is one of the main Sabbat’s of the Witches calendar, hence one of the reason’s ‘Christmas’ was given December, as early Christians attempted to utilise and integrate the Pagan celebrations of the year.
Yule is the shortest day and the longest night. Yule represents the festival of the rebirth of the sun, as it has been in decline since the Summer Solstice, so even in the depth of a dark winter; we are reminded that life always finds a way to become strong again. Pagans will bring evergreens into their home and decorate them with bells and shiny objects to honour the elementals of nature. This is where the tradition of a ‘Christmas tree’ came from. Pagans bring in Holly to symbolise the Mother and life returning to the land, and the dark green of the holly leaf symbolises the holly king, who rules until Yule. Mistletoe is also brought into the house to represent the magic of the land, as it grows between the sky and the earth. Even the ‘wreath’ that is hung on the door represents the Pagan ‘Wheel of the Year’ an old custom to remind people that ‘the wheel is always turning, life is fleeting, death is certain. Honour the land, the people, yourself, with love and kindness and gratitude.’
Many people will go outside and watch the rising sun on the morning of Yule, and give thanks for the returning Sun god. At Yule, the Oak King, who rules from mid-winter to mid-summer and the Holly king, who rules the other half must fight now, to determine who will reign for the next six months of the year. Of course, we want the Oak king to win! And many Pagan groups will re-enact this ‘battle’ and celebrate when the Oak king saves the day J
Many people prepare a ‘Yule log’. Some make a chocolate variety, but traditionally, a log is carved so that candles can be lit upon it (tea-lights will do if the log is fairly flat) and each person of the family or group, light a candle and give thanks for things that have happened in the previous six months, and in the case of a cake Yule log, a piece would be eaten after the candles are lit, whilst meditating on all you give thanks for and what you will bring into your life in the next six months.
An old tradition that is good to do, but only if you have a log fire, is to burn last year’s Yule log that has been kept safe, and from those flames, light the candles for this year’s Yule log.
‘The cold & dark of winter are as necessary to life as the heat and the light of the summer.’ Kate West, The Real Witches Year.
Many Blessings of Yule to all
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