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Yule Rituals, Activities and Lore

by Raven and Crone

About the Name:
Yule is also known as the Winter Solstice, Alban Arthan, Finn's Day, Festival of Sol, Yuletide, Great Day of the Cauldron, and Festival of Growth. It is celebrated between December 20th and 22nd. The reason it varies from year to year is that it depends on when the Sun reaches the southern most point in its yearly cycle

Theme:
This Sabbat celebrates rebirth and renewal, and the return of longer days as the Lord of the Sun is reborn from the womb of the Goddess.

Yule Lore:
One traditional Yuletide practice is the creation of a Yule tree. This can be a living, potted tree which can later be planter in the ground, or a cut one. The choice is yours.

Appropriate Pagan decorations are fun to make, from strings of dried rosebuds, cinnamon sticks,  popcorn and cranberries for garlands, to bags of fragrant spices which are hung from boughs.
Quartz crystals can be wrapped with shiny wire and suspended from sturdy branches to resemble icicles. Apples, oranges and lemons hanging from boughs are strikingly beautiful, natural decorations, and were customary in ancient times.

Many enjoy the custom of lighting the Yule log. This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess. If you choose to burn one, select a proper log, traditionally of oak or pine. Carve or chalk a figure of the Sun such as a rayed disc or the God a horned circle or a figure of a man upon it, with the Boline, and set it alight in the fireplace at dusk
on Yule. As the log burns, visualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days.

As to food, nuts, fruits such as apples and pears, cakes of caraways soaked in cider, and for non-vegetarians, pork are traditional fare. Wassail, lambswool, hibiscus or ginger tea and fine drinks for the Simple Feast or Yule Meals.

Foods of Yule:
roasted turkey, mulled wine, dried fruit, eggnog, pork, beans, gingerbread people, Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits such as apples and pears, nuts, pork dishes, hibiscus or ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples) Look at our Yule recipes section for recipes for this sabbat

Herbs for Yule:
Ash, Bay, Bayberry, Blessed Thistle, Chamomile, Evergreen, Frankincense , Holly, Ivy, Juniper , Mistletoe, Moss, Oak, Pine, Pine Cones, Rosemary, Sage, Sandalwood, Yew, Laurel, Yellow Cedar.
Look at our Yule Incense and Oil section for this sabbat

Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstone, garnet , emeralds, cat's eye, diamonds.

Spell Workings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness
 
Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.
 
Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.
 
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.

Symbolism of Yule:
Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

Activities for 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 storytelling, making wreaths, throwing holiday parties, sending greetings, Convey love to family, friends, and associates, Light a fire, Make your own Yule log, Consider those who are and or have been important in your life and share appreciation, donate food and clothing to poor in your area, volunteer time at a social service agency. Put up bird feeders and keep them filled throughout the winter to supplement the diets of wild birds, meditate for world peace, work magic for a healthier
planet, make a pledge to do some form of good works in the new solar year.

Altar Decorations: mistletoe, holly, small Yule long, strings of colored lights, Yule-Christmas cards, a candle in the shape of Kris Kringle, homemade wreath, presents wrapped in colorful paper.

Decorations for Yule:
Apples, and clove studded oranges and lemons hanging from boughs are strikingly beautiful, natural decorations, and were customary in ancient times. Adorn the home with sacred herbs and colors. Place holly, ivy, evergreen boughs, and pine cones around your home, especially in areas where socializing takes place. Hang a sprig of mistletoe above a major threshold and leave it there until next Yule as a charm for good luck throughout the year. Have family/household members join together to make or purchase an evergreen wreath. Include holiday herbs in it and then place it on your front door to symbolize the continuity of life and the wheel of the year. If you choose to have a living or a harvested evergreen tree as part of your holiday decorations decorate it with Pagan symbols.

Yule Goddesses:
All Spinning Goddesses. Some Yule Goddesses are: the Dagda, Brighid,
Angeronam, Eve, Pandora, Zvezda, Metzli, Yachimato-Hime, Tiamat ,
NuKua, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother.

Yule Gods:
All Re-Born Sun Gods. Some Yule Gods are: Apollo, Balder, Oak/Holly
King, Ra , Saturn , Helios , Ukko Odin, Lugh, The Horned One, The
Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon,Frey

  
Animals and Beasts associated with Yule are:
Stags, wolf, hawk, squirrels, wren, robin, phoenix, trolls, memecolion.

Yule Time Christmas Scent Potpourri

3 sticks cinnamon
3 bay leaves
¼ cup whole cloves
½ lemon
½ orange
1 quart water

Combine ingredients and simmer in a teakettle or saucepan throughout the
holidays!

Yule Potpourri: (Gerena Dunwich)
1 cup oakmoss
2 cups dried mistletoe
1 cup dried pointsetta flowers
1 cup dried bayberries
1/2 cup rosemary
1/2 cup holly leaves and berries
3 crushed pinecones
20 drops musk oil
25 drops pine oil

Combine Dry ingredients first then add oils and toss gently until well blended

Winter Solstice Potpourri
1 qt. fir needles
1 C dried, mixed fruit, thinly shredded
1 C rosemary
1/2 C basil
2 to 4 bay leaves, coarsely crumbled
2 C coarse salt ,not iodized
Mix and pour into little calico bags.  Makes 5 cups.

Twelve Herb Yule Sachet

7 parts Juniper
4 parts Cinnamon
4 parts Allspice
4 parts Ginger
4 parts Caraway
2 parts Nutmeg
2 parts Rosemary
2 parts Lemon
2 parts Orange
1 part Clove
1 part Bay
2 pinches Orris

Tie up in a green cloth and give as gifts at Yule or Samhain.

Sweet Smells of Yule
 
2 T. whole cloves
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
a handful of pine needles
1 -2 pieces of orange or lemon rind
2 cups water
Put all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then simmer all day if you wish.  Add water as needed.  Refrigerate to reuse. You can also added cranberries to the mix!

Spellworking for Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, divination, a healthier planet, and increased happiness.

 

Authors unknown for information above unless noted

Yule Ritual from Dorothy Morrison's book "The Craft, A Witches Book of Shadows"


Yule Circle Notes
Use a white altar cloth, and decorate with evergreens, poinsettias, rosemary, holly, mistletoe, and ivy. Use red, white, and green candles to symbolize the bloodshed of birth, the innocence of new life, and the growth process, respectively. Burn Yule Incense - a mixture of chamomile, ginger, pine, and sage. Mark the Circle perimeter with evergreen boughs, and use tiny, living, decorated trees at the Quarters. Decorations should relate to the appropriate Element. Cast the Circle using the athame. Release it using the wand .

Yule Celebration Ideas
Start your celebration well before dawn, so you can be a part of the Sun's birthing process. Kick off the ritual with an apple juice toast to the Holly King, saying something like:

Winter Day of longest night
Step aside now for the light
Thank you for the things you've brought
That only darkness could have wrought

Then name all the gifts of darkness you can think of-regeneration, peace, dreams, organization, quietude, and so on-before drinking the juice.


To ensure good luck and prosperity in the coming year, anoint a bayberry candle with vegetable oil and roll it in dried chamomile. Light the candle and allow it to burn down completely.

Make a Yule log from a piece of oak and decorate it with evergreens. Light it, saying something like:

Old King, we thank You for all You've done
For lessons learned, and victories won
We must, however, bid You adieu
For Your reign is finished-'tis over and through
Come forth, Young King of newest light
Be born with ease; grow strong and bright
Gain strength and stature in the sky
Shed Your warmth on us now from on high

Be sure to save an unburned piece to start next year's log. Save some of the ashes, too. They make terrific boosters for every type of magic. End the ritual with an orange juice toast to the Sun, saying something like:

O Newborn Sun of love and light
Rise quickly now, rise high and bright
Gain power in the sky above
We grant you our support and love

After ritual, collect all the evergreen decorations you used there and put them away. You'll need them at Imbolc.

Yule Mistletoe Spell
 
This spell will help you gather strength for the rest of the winter and is best used during Yule.
 
You Will Need: 
 
One Bunch hung and dried Mistletoe
Mortar and Pestle
three 3" square pieces of white paper
One Pen with Green Ink
One fireproof dish (cauldron)
6 white candles 6-8" in length
 
Cast a Circle
 
1.  Place the Candles in a circle and light every other one saying:
    Here in the season of sun return, May Life return and strength return
2.  Using the mortar and pestle, grind the dried mistletoe to dust.
3.  Choose up to three areas, in your life where you need strength and write them as a single
    word on each square of paper. For example:  Health, Energy, emotions, Love, and so on.
4.  Sprinkle mistletoe dust on each one of them, then fold them & set them alight using lit candles.
5.  Place them in the fireproof dish (cauldron) to burn, and light the remaining candles.
6.  Bury the ash under an evergreen. 
close your circle and thank the God/Goddess

Winter Solstice Spell - Perform on the night of Winter Solstice

Gather your supplies:
Small Amount of Hollyberry Oil
Small Amount of Mistletoe Herb
Clean, small piece of white paper (parchment if you have it)
Red Candle

Ritual:
Write a single word in red ink that represents what quality in yourself you would like to enhance with the dawning of the Yule Sun. Sprinkle the Mistletoe Herb into the center of the paper. Add three drops of the Hollyberry Oil on top of the Mistletoe. Twist the paper closed with the Mistletoe and Hollyberry Oil inside. Light the red candle. From the flame of the candle, light the paper package on fire. As it burns envision your wish fulfilled. The spell is done.

Yule Log Charge

It is best that every owner charge his or her own Yule Log. It is through your own energies that the results you desire will be achieved. Do you truly believe in the power of your log? If the answer is yes, then the answers and gifts you request from it will be honored. Here is a simple Charging Ritual to help you get the most from your log.

Gather your supplies:
Chalice (or glass) of water
A white candle in a holder
A small amount of salt
A table
A white cloth
Incense of any kind in a holder
A quiet place to perform the ritual

Ritual :
Lay white cloth over the table. Place candle, water and incense in the center of the cloth. Light the candle and the incense.
Darken the room. Close your eyes and meditate on the log and what you want it to achieve until you have fully cleared your mind of all other influences and are focused on the desired result. Take a pinch of salt between your thumb and forefinger and sprinkle it into the water while saying:
"Earth and Water bond this log to me,
May it protect me/us throughout the year
And channel my desires,
Blessed Be"

Sprinkle this "empowered" water onto your log. Pass the incense and candle over the log to purify it while again saying:
"Fire bond this log to me,
May it protect me/us throughout the year
And channel my desires,
Blessed Be"

Place your hand on the log. Close your eyes. Meditate to feel the powerful, protective internal energy of your body flowing down your arm and into your hand. Envision yourself burning the log and its strength protecting you as you go about your life. Invoke the god or goddess you feel most personally attuned with by saying:
"(God/Goddess Name) bond this log to me,
May it protect me/us from harm
And channel my desires,
Blessed Be"

Feel the log begin to surge with your power and envision a white or yellow light glowing about you. Sit like this until you feel the energy winding down, you will know when the charging it complete. Place the log in your fireplace or pit. If it was charged with certain people in mind, make sure they are there as you burn the log and meditate and enjoy their company!

Winter Ritual Bath

During the Winter Solstice/Christmas Season we often place too much emphasis on celebrating and sharing this joyous holiday. It is often helpful amongst all the stress to attune to a quiet, internal spirituality. To begin to do so, prepare a ritual bath with oils of rosemary, pine and orange. Add a touch of patchouli for grounding. Light gold and green candles and immerse yourself in the watery solitude to refresh your weary holiday spirit. Meditate on the Winter Goddess and her lesson of stillness. Find the cool and clean space she offers, free of clutter and activity. It is the season for centering and grounding and for defining who we really are. After the bath, take your journal and write down your goals by candlelight. Contemplate the coming re-birth and identify which direction you wish to channel your energies and focus your intentions. -This bath was adapted by one written by Karri Allrich

Holiday Relaxation Spell
Take some time today to de-stress:
Fill a bowl with water and a floating candle. Light the candle and gaze into the flame. Gaze for awhile into the candle flame and let your mind go blank. Feel your stress pouring into the water and feel your body relax as the stress leaves it. Imagine the bowl is a deep well and is drinking in whatever it is in your life that is causing unease, discomfort or stress. Breathe deeply. Sprinkle dried basil over the water, and then chant softly before the candle flame:

I am calm.
I am at peace with my surroundings.
I am whole and well.
By the powers of earth, air, fire, and water, I am free.

Sit before the bowl for several more moments. Let the candle burn till it burns out. Pour the water onto the ground and feel your stress and anxiety going with it. Tell yourself that the earth has taken your stress away. Give thanks.

We try to credit all articles but sometimes don't know where they came from. Some information is our own research and some is sent into us by friends and customers. If you see something here that is yours and your not getting credit for it please contact us and we will add you as the author or remove it if requested. We want to thank everyone for sharing this wonderful information!

 

 

 

 

This article was published on Thursday 06 November, 2008.
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