How to Celebrate Yuletide as a Witch

The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. In the northern hemisphere, Yule is celebrated around December 21, and in the southern hemisphere, around June 21. Yule is celebrated for 12 Days.

The pagan festival of Yule has its origins in pre-Christian Scandinavia. It was mainly a family feast dedicated to fertility and reunion of the family. During this festival, dead family members are remembered. This party is organized in splendour and magnificence around the graves of the deceased relatives. It is also a period to show love and hospitality to strangers too.

“We put lights on our entrances and porches and on the roofs of our garages to scare away the darkness. We celebrate THE RENAISSANCE OF LIGHT on the longest night of the year. The winter solstice is a time to gather, for love, peace, goodwill and, more importantly, for FORGIVENESS. In this austere and cold season, we use branches and foliage to symbolize life; bright colors, images of rich harvests and mountains of gifts to ward off hardship or fear of it “

——–   Cerridwen Iris Shea  

Celebration of Yuletide

Symbolically speaking and in accordance with Neopagan traditions, Yule represents the rebirth of God after his death in Samhain and it is the first seasonal ritual of the Wheel of the year.

FYI –  the 8 Sabbats, which correspond to solar feasts: Yule, Imbolc, Ostara , Beltane , Litha , Lugnasah, Mabon and Samhain .

Yule is expected to last for twelve days which represents the twelve months of the year. Many Asatru also calibrates each day of the 12 days of Yule as an expression of each of the months of the year. Such as Yulmonath which coincides with December. It is the month of Yule, St Lucy Day, St Nick Day and the Winter Solstice.

During the corresponding TWELVE nights, the dead ones appear in different forms to visit their relatives.  This is a time for religious-level initiations, whose necessary elements are constituted by the extinction and renewal of fire.    

The main ritual performed in the Yule period is the ritual burning of the Yule log for 12 hours. This log is a large trunk commonly made of pine or willow, cut in the previous Yule and carefully guarded.

In coven rituals – The entire ritual is directed by the druid or dryad priest in charge of the celebration. The trunk is specially selected by the druid, who communicates with the trees to ask for their permission and know which log would be perfect for use. Later on, sacred symbols of rebirth, male figures and the sun are carved on it.

In Druidism, the Yule also means the time of the greatest amount of energetic power so magical rituals performed at this time are usually very powerful.

How did Christianity get pulled into Yule?

Back before Christ, when most of us were pagan, and celebrated the turning of the wheel, a.k.a. the seasons, we celebrated each season in a very specific way. EG. In Norway, on the night of the winter solstice, it was common to hoist a giant log onto the hearth to celebrate the return of the sun each year. The Norsemen believed that the sun was a giant wheel of fire that rolled away from the earth and then began rolling back again on the winter solstice.

As Christianity spread through Europe, the tradition became part of Christmas Eve festivities. The father or master of the house would sprinkle the log with libations of mead, oil, or salt. Once the log was burned in the hearth, the ashes were scattered about the house to protect the family within from hostile spirits. This could be another idea for you to try when celebrating with your family.

Christmas roots come from the ancient Roman holiday of Saturnalia, which was a pagan festival that was celebrated from December 17-25 each year. There are many stories from around the world as to where the roots come from, but like with all historical records, the real truth is in the eyes of the storyteller.

THINGS TO DO

During this time, nature is asleep so that is why it is a perfect time to meditate, recollect and make plans for the new year. Here are some other ideas that I enjoy with my Coven, and my family during this time. You may be surprised how simple these suggestions are, and that is because we are all very busy this time of year. Still with simple daily rituals you can feel super magical.

Set up a tree & decorate your home

The “Yule tree,”, or Christmas tree, is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer species, such as pine, fir, cedar, juniper, or spruce. The tradition has origins with ancient civilizations in the middle east, Asia, and Europe.

Decorate the Yule tree & and make your home look festive, as you will celebrate Yule for 12 days!

Make a Yule Log

There are two types of Yule logs, and I think I need to write a separate article for each of them. One of them is the Yule Log which you burn every year, and you don’t eat it 😉 Sometimes we like to set a candle on top of the log, and this is the candle we burn for that specific day of Yule.

The log can be a special type of wood, or, depending on where we are in the world during this time, we will find a piece of wood that we find pleasing to our eye, and bring that inside for decoration. This can provide a beautiful table decoration during the 12 days of Yule.

The other is a cake, and we make this cake in the shape of a Yule Log.

12 candles for 12 Days

A simple way to do this is to prepare 12 candles, one for each day of Yule. Personally, I like to set up 12 candles in a row, each in their own little candleholder, and on each day I will light one candle and say a prayer of thanks. The prayer that you say will depend upon your tradition, your family, and the deity you follow. 

You could use candles in the correspondence of the season, see below for correspondences, or if you’re working with a specific God or goddess, you could use a colour relating to that God or goddess. There are no hard and fast rules.

Perform Spells of prosperity 

Lastly, this is the perfect time of year to perform spells of abundance for the coming year. If you are in the southern hemisphere this may not be as relevant, as it is not New Year’s Eve during your Yule celebration. I would work with the correspondences of this time, and perform magic which will boost my luck and prosperity.

You could also hold a very special ritual that the whole family can join in on. Have each family member write down wishes, place them in the log (the one you don’t eat). Some people like to tie little bows around their wish, so it is kept safe from prying eyes. You can tie these ribbons around the log.

There is no hard and fast rules on what to do with this log.

  • Some people will burn it, if you have a fireplace or if you have outdoor space to do so. 

    •  As you watch the flames consume it, discuss how thankful you are for the good things that have come your way this year. It’s a perfect time to talk about your hopes for abundance, good health, and happiness in the next twelve months.

  • I like to keep the log especially if it is a special looking piece of wood, and bring it out year after year. It kind of becomes a family heirloom, and can symbolise the tradition of the year.

CORRESPONDENCES

The colours of Yule in pagan observances include redgreen, gold, white, silver, yellow and orange. These colours have been adopted into Christian Christmas celebrations. So even if you are new to celebrating this season with your extended family, they won’t even know you are practising paganism or witchcraft because all of the colours will look very similar this time of year.

Colors: Red / Green / Gold / Silver / White Symbols

  • Rebirth of the God
  • The longest night of the year

Work:

  • Plan for the future
  • Reborn
  • Peace, Harmony, Love, Happiness, Light.

Incenses and oils:

  • Cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Incense
  • Juniper
  • Myrrh
  • Orange
  • Pine
  • Ginger

Herbs :

  • Laurel
  • thistle
  • juniper
  • oranges
  • lemons
  • chamomile
  • cinnamon
  • evergreen trees
  • holly
  • ivy
  • juniper
  • mistletoe
  • oak leaves
  • pine pine
  • cones
  • poinsettia
  • rosemary
  • sage

Stones:

  • Emerald
  • Ruby
  • Diamond
  • garnets
  • tiger eye
  • zirconia

Food:   Nuts and fruits such as; apples, pears, caraway cakes soaked in cider, the famous Yule trunk. Traditions:

Gods: 

  • Apollo
  • Attis
  • Balder
  • Bacchus
  • Dionysus
  • The Green Man
  • Helios
  • Lugh
  • The King of Oak
  • Wotan
  • Ra
  • Sun

Goddesses:

  • Brighid
  • Isis
  • Demeter
  • Gaia
  • Diana
  • The Great Mother
  • Athena
  • Freya
  • Frigga

  Ritual Bath:

  • Pine branches
  • Laurel
  • Leaves Rosemary leaves

  Simple Decoration for Yule:

  • – Decorate the houses with ivy inside and holly and mistletoe outside to protect themselves from unwanted visits
  • – Decorate with red and green colors. The red color symbolizes birth while green is a symbol of the earth.

Sources

  • https://www .taste of home. com/ collection/ how -to-make-a-yule-log/view-all/
  • https://www.thoughtco.com/make-a-yule-log-2563006
  • http://www.circulodebrujas.com/sabats/yule/
  • https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule
  • https://blog.  hellofresh  .co.uk/christmas-baking/
  • http://www.souland  spiritmagazine. com/the-magic-of -yule-with-white-witch-patricia-weston/
  • https://www.elbloga lternativo. com/2010/12/18/yule- solsticio-de -invierno-la-noche-mas-larga-del-ano/

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