Winter Solstice/Yule Correspondences
December 21 (approximately)
Colors: Red, Green, White, Gold, Silver
Sacred Stones: Quartz Crystal, Turquoise, Lemon Quartz, Peridot, Serpentine, Garnet, Bloodstone, Ruby, Black Onyx,
Herbs: All evergreens, Bay, Blessed Thistle, Chamomile, Ash, Holly, Mistletoe, Ivy, Pine/Fir cones, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Myrrh
Symbols: Yule Log or Tree, evergreen wreaths, holly/mistletoe, Cinnamon sticks, Bells, Spinning Wheels
Deities: The Holly King, Apollo, Dagda, Brigid, Odin. Osiris, Hathor, Ixchel, Hecate, the Norn’s, all Winter Fae
Food & Drink: Roast fowl, dried fruit, ham, apples, oranges, nuts, mulled cider/wine
The Winter Solstice or Yule (ewe-elle/yool) is the shortest day and the longest night of the year and the time when pagans celebrate the rebirth of the Sun. The date of this tends to vary and falls sometime between Dec 21st or Dec 22nd. It is a fire festival and a quarter Sabbat. On this longest night of the year the now elderly Holly King makes way for the new born sun who will soon take his place as the Oak King. This holiday is celebrated worldwide and is know as Alban Arthan (druids), Mid Winter and Yuletide.
Before Christianity rose to power, the Winter Solstice was associated with the birth of a Divine King. The reason for celebrating the Winter Solstice has also remained the same: rebirth and renewal, the return of hope and that life will continue. Jesus is not the only deity said to be born at this time, he’s in the company of Pagan gods like Apollo. Mithras, and Horus. The church decided that it was easier to incorporate the pagan celebration into theirs than to change it altogether. As a result the pagan Sun God is born on the same day as the Christian Son of God, who is by the way also called “the light of the world”. Here is an interesting tidbit….Did you know that mistletoe was banned from churches due it’s pagan association?
Yule is also a festival of light and candles are a traditional item.. Candles were lit at midnight as a symbol of birth of the Sun God. In Ireland oil lamps were left lit all night long. Special Yule candles were also popular and would be lit every night throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas. As with any candle, blowing it out causes the accumulated luck that resides in the candle to blow away”. The purpose of the candle is to bless the house and family in the coming year.
Activities for Yule include, Making treats and feeding our feathered friends. If you have access to the forest you can find a yule log for your home and decorate it. Help those less fortunate by donating food or gifts to a good charity. Stay up all night and celebrate the rebirth of the sun at dawn. Create a special red Yule candle to burn, buying one is okay too! Decorate your candle with evergreens and holly. other activities include: Wasssailing, bell ringing, singing, kindling the new fire.
THE HOLLY AND THE IVY
The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.
The rising of the sun, and the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ, sweet singing in the choir.
The holly bears a blossom, as white as lily flow’r,
And in our hearts we bear pure hope, and sing every hour.
The holly bears a berry, as red as any rose,
And in our hearts we bear a flame of life, and with hope it grows.
The holly bears a prickle, as sharp as any thorn,
And our skin bears the sun’s sharp rays, bringing life this Solstice morn.
(I don’t remember where I found this version of this song. But it is similar to Doreen Valiente ‘s The Pagan Carol )
Yule Blessings! Cat
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