Celebrating Yule

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Many covens meet just before dawn on the day of the Solstice to hold their Yule rituals, and then watch the rebirth of the God enacted as the Sun rises. In some traditions, the fires and/or candles are lit in encouragement of the Sun God’s emergence, welcoming his returning light. Themes of ritual may include regeneration, light in the darkness, and setting intentions for the new year. In some Wiccan traditions, this is the time to ritually reenact the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King. These twin brothers represent the opposing poles of the Sun’s annual journey through the seasons. The Holly King, representing the dark half of the year, reigns until the Winter Solstice, when he is cut down by the Oak King, who heralds in the beginning of the waxing daylight. This cyclical story serves as a reminder that light and dark are both essential parts of existence in Nature—neither can exist without the other.

For solitary Wiccans who live “double lives” as far as mainstream society is concerned, Yule can be a challenging Sabbat to make time for, swamped as so many are with the obligations of the Christmas season. However, since plenty of the traditions associated with both holidays overlap, it’s easy enough to infuse more conventional practices with a little Yule magic.

For example, hang a sprig of holly above your door to ensure protection and good fortune for your family and your guests. Magically charge your Christmas tree ornaments before placing them on the branches. Whisper an incantation to the Goddess over any cookies, spiced cider, or any other holiday goods you make for your friends, family or coworkers. You can spread the blessings of your own
personal holiday throughout your community without anyone even knowing it! For those without indoor hearths, a Yule log can be fashioned from a small tree branch—flatten it on one side so it will sit evenly on the altar and drill small holes to place candles into. Go outside and gather boughs of fir, juniper or cedar, as well as pinecones, holly berries, and any other “natural decor” to bring the energies of protection, prosperity, and renewal into your home.

Use mistletoe to bring peace and healing to your life by placing leaves in a sachet or hanging it over your door. Honor the rebirth of the Sun by inscribing discs, pinwheels, or other solar symbols into a large red, orange or yellow pillar candle. Light it at dawn on the day of the Winter Solstice to welcome the Sun and the new beginning of the Wheel of the Year.

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