Division: Minor Sabbat
Other Names: Winter Solstice, Midwinter, Sun Return, Alban Arthan, Pagan New Year, Saturnalia, Finn’s Day, Yuletide, Festival of Sol, Great Day of the Cauldron, Festival of Growth.
Southern Hemisphere Date: June 20-23
Northern Hemisphere Date: December 21
Associated Holiday: Christmas
Associated Deities: Mother Berta, Father Winter, Santa Clause, Kriss Kringle, St Nick, Kings of Holly and Oak, Aphrodite, Fortuna, Gaia, Hel, Holle, Ishtar, Isis, Apollo, Attis, Balder, Dionysus, the Green Man, Lugh, Odin, Ra
Associated Herbs: Chamomile, rosemary, ginger, sage and cinnamon
Associated Stones: Bloodstones, Garnets, Quartz crystal, blue sunstone, emerald, ruby, sapphire and diamonds
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.
Foods of Yule: Biscuits, Caraway cakes ,roasted apples, fruits, nutmeg, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, or lamb’s wool.
Drinks of Yule: Eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb’s wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).
Incense of Yule: Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.
Ritual Oils: Rosemary, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Saffron, Cedar/Pine, Wintergreen, Ginger
Colors of Yule: Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.
Taboos: Extinguishing Fire, Travelling
Plants: Holly, Mistletoe, Evergreens, Poinsettia, Bougainvillaea, Tropical Flowers, Bay, Pine, Ginger, Valerian, Myyrh.
Activities: Decorating the Yule tree, Gift giving, storytelling
Animals: Stag, Squirrels, Wren/Robin, Bear, Boar, Squirrel, Sow, Tiger, Bear,
Mythical Creatures: Phoenix, Troll, Mermecolion
Celebration of: The Goddess giving birth to the God.
Yule is one of the Lesser Sabbats, it marks the Winter Solstice and is the time of the year when the God is reborn of the virgin goddess. The God is represented by the Sun which returns after the darkest night of the year, to again bring warmth and fertility to the land.
During Yule the daylight hours are the shortest in the year, and the nights are the longest. The Moon after Yule is said to be the most powerful of the whole year. Divine babies were born on this day – famously baby Jesus, Mithra, Oedipus, Hercules, Dionysus and many other holy beings.
The origins of Yule date back to the Egyptians, they held the festival to celebrate the rebirth of Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, Horus took the form of the Sun. Because greenery was seen as magical growth, and they wanted the Sun to stay longer, everything in sight was decorated in all the greenery. Others followed, and when the Romans came along they named their festival Saturnalia, they brought in things such as candles, singing, lavish feasts and extravagant gift giving. As this spread through Europe it became Yule.
Many things that Christians use to celebrate Christmas have Pagan origins, such as the Christmas tree. Pagan families would bring a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months. Bells were hung on the tree so you could tell when a spirit was present. The five-pointed star, the pentagram, symbol of the five elements, was placed at the top of the tree. The colours of the season, red and green, are also of Pagan origin, as is the custom of exchanging gifts. The Druids honored trees and collected and hung mistletoe. Group singing (caroling) was also a way of guiding the spirits towards the warmth of the homes. Yule is always considered a celebration of peace, love, spirituality and positive energy.
The origin of the word Yule, has several suggested origins from the Old English word, geõla, the Old Norse word jõl, a pagan festival celebrated at the winter solstice, or the Anglo-Saxon word for the festival of the Winter Solstice, ‘Iul’ meaning ‘wheel’.
* Decorate a Christmas or Yule tree.
* Exchange gifts with family and friends
* Decorate with the colors Red, gold and green in honour of the God
* Add mistletoe, this is both protective and representative of fertility
* Sing carols
* Donate food and clothing to others.
* Private Meditation
* Light Candles
* Drink cider
* Ring bells to greet the Solstice Morning
* String popcorn and hang them on an outdoor tree for the birds.
* Hang little bells on the Yule Tree to call the spirits and fairies.
* For prosperity, burn ash wood.
* Make and burn a Yule Log.
* Bake a Yule Log Cake.