Today we welcome back the return of longer days as we celebrate the Winter Solstice and the start of Yule.
The winter solstice is the darkest and longest night of the year. This is a time to dance in celebration and rejoice with the Earth. Life begins its next cycle and we can connect with the feelings of rebirth and renewal, carefully planting the seeds for the future.
What is Yule?
Yule is a transcendent time to give thanks, say goodbye to the past and look forward to the year ahead of us. For 12 days, from the winter solstice to the New Year on January 1st, we celebrate the return of the light (the re-birth of the sun God by the Goddess), and reflect of the cycles of our life.
The traditions of Yule are deep seeded in pagan history and folklore. Celebrating the Earth, decorating trees, gift giving and singing in merriment are a few that are commonly recognized. Some of these traditions date back to ancient Germanic and Norse people.
Today we share in these traditions in many ways as we remember our ancestors and the rituals that they have blessed us with.
How Can I Celebrate Yule Traditions?
No ritual or tradition is one size fits all. Rejoice in a way that makes you feel whole and at peace. Remember, there’s no wrong way to celebrate.
Decorate a Tree – Bring the outdoors in by decorating a tree to honor the animals, gods, and the nature spirits. Hang quartz crystals with wire to look like icicles, string some rose hips and cranberries, or dry out some citrus or apple slices for an extra nod to nature.
Brew Wassail – Brew and share the traditional Yule drink Wassail to bestow protection and joy. Made with Apple slices, Orange Slices, Spices of Cinnamon, clove, ginger, honey and alcohol of choice. Toast and drink to one’s health!
Make a Wreath – The wreath signifies the wheel of the year — the cycles of the seasons and how everything is temporary. It is a symbol of friendship, happiness, and the circle of life. Wreaths of fresh greenery, paper flowers, pictures, or ribbon all make beautiful decorations, centerpieces, and gifts.
Hang Mistletoe – Thought to represent fertility and protection. Mistletoe grows in the frigid cold of winter, and in ancient times was used as an herbal remedy. It symbolizes good luck in many cultures. Hang it in the home to ward off negative forces.
Build a Fire – Welcome back the light with a traditional yule fire to represent the return of the sun. Burn a traditional Yule log of oak or pine, and welcome in the warmth of longer days. Use the fire to release anything you might be holding on to that prevents your growth, and adorn your space with evergreens, holly and Mistletoe.
Ring the Bells – Chase away the dark and bring forth the returning of the light after the Solstice by ringing the bells. Clean out your space energetically with gentle jingles to cleanse and balance. Ring bells to banish demons and negative spirits, and hang on doorknobs for protection.
Live in the spirit of renewal.
Cleanse your space and person. Take some time and review how the past year has been for you. Celebrate your wins, and set some goals for the upcoming season.
Add to your altar and bring forth new ideas and inspiration for the year ahead. Feel the season and let your soul shine through the darkness. The bountiful energy that the Solstice brings forth invites you to be present.
Written by Cindy Cleveland