This year Yule, or Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, falls on December 21st.  There are many traditions associated with the Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice and the sun (god) being reborn (from the goddess) that will seem familiar.  Long ago evergreens were brought into homes to remind people that life would reappear and the days would grow longer and warmer again.  The trees would be decorated with lights (or rather, candles!) to symbolize the return of the sun, as well as garlands of nuts and apples and other foods and beautiful offerings as a way of showing thanks to the Goddess for the harvest that allowed survival through the winter.  Bringing greenery into our homes during the heart of winter brings reminders of life and hope.  Holly has long been used as protection.  Ivy is for constancy, and mistletoe for fertility. Yule logs* were decorated and burned all night while symbolic gifts/treats were exchanged and the wassail* cup was passed and shared.

May you have a blessed Yule surrounded by light and love…always love.      

PC & Kristin

*Wassail ritual!

This is a simple ritual that is really more a tradition. Invite your friends and/or family at Yule to celebrate a candlelit wassail party.  Ask the women to wear white, as all colors combine to create white so it is very powerful magick, dress their hair with their favorite color of ribbons, and carry fresh rosemary.  Men should wear a sprig of rosemary attached to their shirts. 

Light white candles all over your home and dim the electric lights.  Having a fireplace burning brightly, especially with a Yule log, is lovely, but not necessary.

Mix spices into your favorite warmed cider, ale, or mulled wine.  Then the hostess or matriarch should carry the bowl around the room.  Each person should add a little rosemary to the bowl before dipping his or her cup.  When everyone’s glass is filled gather in a circle and raise cups together toasting to a year filled with good cheer, good company, and a harvest of plenty!  What is left over in the original bowl should be poured around a tree the matriarch chooses.  Then light a rosemary scented candle in the window and keep one lit (Carefully! Don’t burn it unattended!) for one month.  As you breathe in the rosemary over the month, remember the love and good cheer of that night, which will multiply for you over the coming year!  Blessed be!

*How to make your Yule log.

Yule logs are fun, easy to make and beautiful! First choose your log (should be sized to fit into your fireplace or outside fire pit/chimenea).  The type of wood is important as different trees are associated with different magick.  Examples: oak = strength, stability, protection and grounding.  Birch = fertility, new life.  Aspen = spirituality and understanding.  Pine = prosperity.  Cedar = healing/cleansing. Maple = wisdom and balance.

Once you’ve chosen your wood and your log, then you decorate it!  Gather burnable things, like pinecones, dried berries, mistletoe, holly, pine needles, ivy, feathers, cinnamon sticks.  Tie festive paper or cloth ribbon (don’t use synthetics or metals) around your log.  Then, using hot wax or a glue gun (be careful!) affix your decorations to your lovely log.  On Yule night add slips of paper on which you’ve written blessings for your loved ones, then put the log in the fire!  Many people gather the cooled ashes of the Yule log and spread them around the outside of their homes, or keep some of them to add to their Yule fire the next year.  There are no “rules,” just hold love and joy and well wishes in your heart!  Blessed be! 

SPECIAL NOTE!  THE NEXT FULL MOON IS VERY AUSPICIOUS!  It occurs on the first day of January and that night the full moon will be the closest to the earth.  Remember, a full moon is a time of completion.  Enjoy!