During Samhain, we honored our descent into the darkness, marking the start of the Pagan new year and celebrating the new beginnings that emerge from the darkness. During the Winter Solstice, we reach into those very depths with the longest night of the year. Darkness has reached its peak and so shall soon wane as we look forward towards the spring.
Some connect Jul to the creation of the Norse New Year. In Old Norse culture, there was a sense that divination actively affects the future, so abundant food and alcohol meant you were actively creating abundance for the coming year. Drinking and eating to excess was considered a sacred duty during this time, as is evident in the widespread custom that a visitor must partake of food and drink. To refuse would be to tamper with the ritual and, by extension, the host's prosperous future.
These associations with divination, feasting, drinking, and the aristocracy align the festival with the Norse god, Odin. One of Odin's epithets, "jólfaðr" even translates to "Yule Father," or "the Yule One." However, there are some who argue that the Norse festival was actually a celebration honoring the dead, similar to the Gaelic Samhain, due to Odin's secondary role as god of the dead. This is reinforced by the connection between the Yule period to the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession in the winter sky where the god Odin rides throughout the Nine Worlds on his eight-legged steed, Sleipnir, on a shamanic quest.
Mōdraniht or "Mothers Night," is another event associated with Yule time and is said to celebrate female ancestors and deities. This celebration of the feminine can be related to the rebirth of new life as the Winter Solstice celebrates the rebirth of the Sun and the lengthening of days. Some trace its celebration to Christmas Eve, while others claim it took place on December 20th.
considering how similarly these two entities are portrayed.
In spell and ritual work, we use ingredients or objects that correspond with our intent to enhance our magickal energy and ensure our request is heard by the universe. That said, what's most important is your belief and intention, and you can always make substitutions when in a pinch. For example, clear quartz and rosemary can be substituted for almost any other crystal and herb.
Since Yule takes place during the darkest part of the year and focuses on the rebirth and light that emerges from the darkness, we're looking for correspondences that will enhance our intentions for protection, love, positivity, and light.
Blue Calcite is a soothing and relaxing stone known to calm emotions and offers mental and etheric protection. Blue Calcite is very protective when it comes to one's aura, and offers very strong transmutational energies, meaning that it acts as a sponge and absorbs all energy coming to you. It filters out the negative vibrations and transmutes them back out into high positive energy.
- Garnet is a stone of love and vitality and can help increase stamina and energy. This is essential during Yule when there's so much going on. Family traditions, wrapping presents, baking, decorating, all take a lot of energy. Working with Garnet can connect us with our inner fire so we may radiate warmth, love, and light.
Moss and Tree agate
- All types of agate are naturally soothing and grounding stones, connecting us with the earth from whence we came and reminding us of what's important. Moss and Tree Agate are especially effective in this regard. During the winter when all the trees have shed their leaves and the plants die only to reborn in the spring, we gravitate towards greenery, anticipating the blossoming of spring.
- A stone of courage, purification, and noble sacrifice, the bloodstone has a long history of use for its healing properties. It can transmute negative energy into positive energy, while repelling negative energy at the same time, making it an incredibly powerful protection stone.
- This stone will help you to find a balance between light and dark, especially for those who have difficulties with the long nights of winter. This is also a stone that helps with inner reflection and helps by bringing things to the surface that must be addressed so you can move forward in your life.
- Representing the purity of winter, Snow Quartz brings good fortune, fosters soothing energy, and bring about calm, tranquil feelings this holiday season.
- A stone of mystery and magic, the stunning blues of Azurite will help you to deepen vision and have more clarity when communicating with your guides, team, and higher self.
- Lapis is a stone that encourages self-awareness, allows self-expression, and reveals inner truth, providing qualities of honesty, compassion, and morality to the personality. Stimulates objectivity, clarity, and encourages creativity. Winter is a time for self-reflection and contemplation as we await the regrowth of the world and Lapis can help us reach a point of higher awareness and growth during this time of peace and stillness.
Pine: protection, health, vitality,
Birch: new beginnings, renewal, stability
Holly: fertility, eternal life, sacrifice
Mistletoe: love, eternal life
Cinnamon: love, protection
Poinsettia: purity, sacrifice, wisdom, guidance
Oranges: joy, energy, vitality, prosperity
Bay Laurel: victory, triumph
Ivy: strength resilience, eternal life
Ceder: protection, healing, dreams, wisdom
Blessed Thistle: protection
Myrrh: protection, purification
Frankincense: spiritual enlightenment
Sage: protection, cleansing, spiritual enlightenment
Rosemerry: protection, remembrance, love, luck
Wintergreen: protection, health
Juniper: protection, fertility
Saffron: love, protection, abundance
Valerian: peace, tranquility, divination
- The Green Man (Wiccan/ British/Celtic)
- The Holly King & Oak King (Wiccan/British/Celtic)
- Odin (Norse)
- Frigga (Norse)
- Dionysus (Greek)
- Demeter (Greek)
- Horus (Egyptian)
- Alcyone (Greek)
- Ameratasu (Japan)
- Baldur (Norse)
- Bona Dea (Roman)
- Cailleach Bheur (Celtic)
- Hodr (Norse)
- La Befana (Italian)
- Lord of Misrule (British)
- Mithras (Roman)
- The Fool
- The Empress
- The Hierophant
- The Hermit
- The Wheel of Fortune
- The Moon
- The Star
- V of Coins
- VI of Coins
- X of Cups
- Ace of Cups
- IV of Wands
Setting Up Your Yule Altar
As with every sabbat, it's best to set up a special altar to honor the season and hone its energies. Decorate your sacred space with corresponding plants,
gemstones, candles, representations of relevant deities, and incense. You can also put up pictures of your ancestors or loved ones, especially female ancestors if you practice the Nordic tradition of "Mother's Night," as we discussed in the first letter.
Welcome Back the Sun
The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and marks the beginning of the sun's long journey back towards earth. Ancient pagans the world over recognized this phenomenon and
lead all kinds of rituals to welcome back the sun and beckon the start of spring. This could include things like bonfires, feasts, lighting candles, or watching the sunrise.
Burn a Yule Log
Perhaps one of the most famous traditions, the Yule Log ritual originated in Norway, where ancient Norseman believed that 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. In honor of this time, families would burn a giant log on the fire, to coax the sun back towards Earth. The 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.
You can also use the Yule Log to manifest particular energy for the coming year, depending on the wood you burn. You can burn an aspen log to manifest spiritual understanding or oak for strength and wisdom. A family hoping for a year of prosperity might burn a log of pine, while a couple hoping to be blessed with fertility would drag a bough of birch to their hearth. Once you put your log in the fire, gather your loved ones, and write a wish on a piece of paper or bay leaf and throw it on to the fire.
Sabbats are always a good time for manifestation, but this Winter Solstice is particularly special, as Saturn and Jupiter are aligning in signs of the same element, air, and are the closest they've been to Earth in 800 years. In fact, if you happened to have gone outside today around twilight, you may have noticed a bright light in the sky low to the horizon. That was the conjoined image of Saturn and Jupiter, once believed to be the Star of Bethlehem!
Yule is a great time for introspection and contemplation. As we endure the longest night of the year and await the coming spring, it is time we give thanks for all that has helped carry us through this dark and bitter winter and begin to think of what seeds we will plant in the fertile soils of spring. Such is the theme of this Yule Time spread, which asks us to recognize how far we have come as well as reflect on where we shall go next in this new phase of our journey.
1. What has grounded me throughout this year?
2. What do I truly desire to manifest next year?
3. What am I truly grateful for this year?
4. What steps can I make to manifest my desires next year?
5. What are the things I must let go of in my next chapter?
6. What is my guiding light going into next year?