The Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. The Yule Sabbat is the celebration of the re-birth of the Sun and the beginning of the life cycle again. At this time of year, Witches will bring evergreen decoration into the home to celebrate the growing season and return of fruitfulness again.
This is the origin of the Christmas Tree. Mistletoe is a plant with strong Pagan connections and is considered magical, the red berries of Holly represents the resting Goddess in her Mother cycle, and the dark green of the leaves symbolises the Holly King, who will rule until this time.
Just before dawn on the morning of the Winter Solstice, Witches will go outside to greet the return of the Sun King, the period of increasing light and the start of the return of new life to the land.
WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN MARK THIS SABBAT
- IF YOU DO GO OUTSIDE TO GREET THE SUN ON THE MORNING OF THE SOLSTICE (WHICH IS REALLY THE SIMPLEST WAY TO CELEBRATE YULE), SPEND A FEW MOMENTS IN QUIET REFLECTION ABOUT ANY NEW STARTS YOU WISH TO MAKE, AND WHAT YOU NEED TO PUT INTO PLACE IN YOUR LIFE IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THIS. YOU MAY WISH TO LOOK AROUND ON THE GROUND FOR A STONE OR TWIG, AND PLACE THIS ON YOUR ALTAR AS A REMINDER OF THE PROMISES YOU HAVE MADE TO YOURSELF.
- BRING SOME FESTIVE FOLIAGE INTO THE HOUSE (PERHAPS HOLLY OR MISTLETOE)
- LIGHT A YULE CANDLE (IDEALLY GOLD OR ORANGE IN COLOUR). THIS SHOULD BE LIT, IF POSSIBLE, BEFORE SUNRISE ON THE SOLSTICE AND ALLOWED TO BURN OUT. HOWEVER, AS THIS IS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE, BLOW IT OUT WHEN YOU NEED TO ON THAT DAY, AND THEN LIGHT IT AGAIN EVERY DAY AFTERWARDS, GIVING SOME CONSIDERATION TO WHY WE CELEBRATE THIS SOLSTICE, REPEATING THIS PROCESS UNTIL ALL THE CANDLE IS GONE.
- PREPARE A YULE LOG. YOU CAN EITHER DO THE EDIBLE KIND OR A PROPER LOG OF WOOD.
LOG OF WOOD
TRY TO FIND A LOG WHICH IS STEADY AND WON'T ROLL WHEN PLACED HORIZONTALLY ON A FLAT SURFACE (IDEALLY A HEARTH OR OUTSIDE ON THE PATIO). A TEA LIGHT, REPRESENTING EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY OR GROUP WHO WANTS TO EXPRESS A WISH FOR THE FORTHCOMING SEASON, WILL BE PLACED ON THE LOG FOR THEM TO LIGHT. IF YOU CAN GET SOMEONE TO DRILL HOLES FOR THE TEA LIGHTS TO BE DROPPED INTO, ALL THE BETTER AND, I'M SURE YOU WILL AGREE, SAFER! TRADITIONALLY, THIS WOULD BE HELD ONTO AND BURNED IN THE HEARTH THE FOLLOWING YEAR, BUT AS MOST PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE AN OPEN FIRE THESE DAYS, THEY ARE USUALLY KEPT AND STORED FOR USE AGAIN THE YEAR AFTER!
AN IDEAL SITUATION HERE WOULD BE TO GET EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE MAKING OF AN EDIBLE YULE LOG, HOWEVER, AS PEOPLE DON'T ALWAYS HAVE THE TIME FOR SUCH THINGS, YOU CAN PURCHASE ONE READY-MADE FROM THE SUPERMARKET. AS BEFORE, LET EVERYONE LIGHT A CANDLE, STATING THEIR WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR, THEN MAKE SOME TEA AND COFFEE, AND ENJOY CONSUMING YOUR YULE LOG BY CANDLE LIGHT!
- SPEND A LITTLE TIME LOOKING INTO THE GODS AND GODDESSES THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS FESTIVAL. HERE IS A GOOD PLACE TO START.
Remember that stories of the legends and Deities of old are all that is remaining to us now of the ancient wisdom!
Enjoy a stress-free and happy Yule/Christmas with your families and friends!