Gather ye fellow witches and pagans, it’s the Winter Solstice, or better known Yule. From the German word Jul. Pronouced as Ewe-Elle. This year Yule is 22nd December until 2nd January.
The solstice is the signal that life and light is beginning to return, halfway through the darkest times, and come Imbolc 2nd Feb the first stirrings of life can be seen. It’s a time to celebrate!!
The Festival of Rebirth and The Return of the Sun
We celebrate the eventual end of the longest night, we realise now the dark is defeated with the Return of the Sun, there comes the return of light, hope and promises. Now is the time The Goddess gives birth to the Sun/Sun God. The Sun begins to wax, get stronger and stronger, which in turn means the days grow longer. All that is hidden will begin to emerge
The Oak King and The Holly King
The old ones have stories and tales of the two warring kings. They rule a season each. There is the Holly King who rules over the darkest parts of the year which ranges from Midsummer solstice to Yule, he is God of the Waning Year.
At Yule he is defeated, and gives his life to the young light Oak King, God of the Waxing Year and his twin, who rules over the lightest parts of the year, which ranges from Yule to Midsummer. Both rule for half of the year, both fight for the love of the Goddess and both give up their life force for the well-being of the land. In truth, they are one.
Is truly a time of celebrating, feasting and being together. Knowing you’ve survived the bleakest times and the light is returning, means more feasting is allowed, hence the big Christmas dinner. And our Yule tree is no different to a Christmas tree either, it’s how the tradition starred, deep in pagan roots.
Evergreens represent everlasting life which is why us pagans use them. Traditionally they would be hung around doorways and windows. And of course each one has a symbolism of its own. Do you know what they are? You may be surprised that all your Christmas traditions are actually Pagan Magick.
A plant deeply steeped in pagan history and revered by the Druids, this is the healer and protector. It is carefully cut to ensure it never touches the earth. The magical properties it has from it lives between the worlds, between sky/heaven and earth. The white berries of mistletoe represent the fertile white semen of the life-giving male. Bet you didnt know thats why we kiss under it?!
Another evergreen of protection, I mean it’s spikes say protection all over!! The holly’s spiky bristles are believed to repel unwanted spirits, and unwanted attacks from everything else too. Back in the old days newborn babies used to be sprinkled with ‘holly water’, water in which holly had been soaked, especially potent if left under a full moon overnight. Holly is sacred to Holle, the Germanic underworld goddess, and symbolizes everlasting life, goodwill and potent life energy, as most red things do! Its red berries of this holly represent feminine blood.
Together, mistletoe and holly represent the Sacred Marriage at this time of year with the re-birth of the Sun/Son. Again this is why you often see these adorning your Yule wreaths and Decorations.
Evergreen symbol of immortality and resurrection, and once again used for Christmas and yet no one knows why. Well as it growes into a spiral, this symbol reminds us of reincarnation and rebirth. Sacred one to God Osiris, where His death and resurrection was a central theme in Egyptian religion. Sacred also to Dionysys, god of vegetation, blossoming and the Return of Spring.
Its branches bring healing and joy to the home, and this is the Traditional tree we all choose to adorn our homes. We decorate it with representatives of lives, hopes, dreams, and honour our ancestors. It’s why our decorations are traditionally Green, for life, Red for feminine, White for masculine, Gold for the God and Silver for the Goddess.
Well it never used to be chocolate, rather it would be a lot from the previous year, that would be lit, and kept alight until Yule is over. Modern Yule logs can be logs made to hold tea lights or of course eat a chocolate one.
However you celebrate, I hope it’s a truly magickal blessed time for you all.