Mother Earth goes quiet, and to listen to her; we need to find silence inside ourselves. Yule time is a magical time in which Mother Earth invites us to engage in the solitary act of contemplation. So what are the rituals for yule to listen in silence?
Come and join me because Mother Earth and the spirits of nature have many things to tell us.
What exactly is Yule?
Yule is the winter solstice, according to the Wheel of the year. It is also called Midwinter.
Yule is the winter solstice celebration, and it occurs when nighttime has reached its maximum length.
Though the cold darkness is upon us, there is a promise of brighter days to come.
In Wiccan lore, this is the time when the young solar god is born.
In some Neopagan traditions, the Holly King loses the battle to his lighter aspect, the Oak King.
Candles, feasts, and evergreen decorations are all symbols to remind us that light and life have endured despite the harshness of winter.
What religion is Yule?
According to Susan Pesznecker;
“Wiccans and witches and many eclectic Pagans of various stripes popularly followed this Wiccan ritual year.
Some Pagans only observe half of the sabbats, either the quarters or the cross-quarters.
Other Pagans reject the Wheel of the Year altogether and follow a festival calendar based on the culture of whatever specific path rather than a nature-based agrarian cycle.
We all have such unique paths in Paganism that it is essential not to make assumptions about another’s based on your own; maintaining an open and positive attitude makes the Pagan community thrive.”Susan Pesznecker, Yule: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for the Winter Solstice
What are the pagan holidays?
There are eight sabbats, or holidays, celebrated by Wiccans and many other Neopagans (modern Pagans) today.
Together, these eight sacred days make up what’s known as the Wheel of the Year, or the sabbat cycle.
Each sabbat or holiday informs us of an essential point in nature’s cycle.
Looking carefully at the Wheel of the year, you will see two groups: quarters (solar festivals) and cross quarters (fire festivals).
Quarters are Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice, the Fall Equinox, and the Winter Solstice.
They are four solar festivals.
They depend on the Sun’s position in the sky.
So their dates vary.
Fire festivals or cross quarters are Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain.
Yule is called in many cultures the “Mother’s Night.” So there are many cultures with Yule goddesses.
In Norwegian tradition, Frigg (or Frigga) is the goddess of winter. The night of the winter solstice, Frigg gave birth to the Sun.
Again according to German tradition, the forest goddess shapeshifts into a white doe and gives birth to Sun in a sacred cave on Mother’s night.
There are much more Yule goddesses related to winter solstice time, which you can read here.
In Yule celebrations, animals have important places. Many animals are sacred to Pagan people.
Deers are magical beings that mark entry into the faerie realm.
Moreover, people believe that the stag carries the Sun in his antlers.
Cows, oxen, and pigs are important winter symbols of food, wealth, and celebrations.
The ancient Celts believed pigs to be a gift from the otherworld and the Norse god of sunshine.
Horses are also the very respected animal of Yule time.
According to Ellen Evert Hopman;
“Legend suggests that “Robin Hood bled to death on Yule Eve and reappeared as a hobbyhorse,” leading to a tradition of “bleeding” horses on Yule Eve as a means of ensuring their good health.
A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, Ellen Evert Hopman
Because of this connection with the animal kingdom during Yule, one can see shapeshifting traditions in these communities.”Ellen Evert Hopman, A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year
What are the traditions of Yule?
#1. Cleaning home: Cleaning the house, purifying it, and making it ready for the celebration of Yule was an important Yule tradition.
#2. Yule tree
The family found the Yule tree from the woods to burn during the celebrations altogether.
They cleaned it and decorated it with greenery, ale, mead, or whiskey.
The log was ready.
People first lit the previous year’s log to lit the actual Yule log on solstice eve.
During the solstice eve night, the family gathers around the log, telling stories, making wishes, and celebrating.
If the Yule log burned on until morning, it was considered good luck.
#3. Yule decorations: Yule decorations were a vital part of the Yule traditions. People decorated their homes with evergreens and candles.
Creating a unique Yule altar for this day was a widespread thing.
#4. Gift giving: Gift-giving was a standard part of Yule traditions. People gave gifts to each other in a similar way as the Kings’ tradition, as you can see here. Moreover, they were offering their deities and spirit guides to show their gratitude.
How is Yule celebrated?
Yule celebration is a big feast as it symbolizes the Sun’s return, gratitude for well-being and peace, and working with light.
Yule rituals, decoration, music, and feast cakes and ale are essential parts of the celebration.
Rituals for Yule
In this article, I will talk about two essential rituals for yule as part of the Yule traditions. In another article, you can see Rituals For Yule In Solitary or As A Group.
Yule bath ritual
For this magical time of the year, we need both mental and physical preparations.
Yule bath rituals serve for this reason. It is an excellent ritual for grounding and letting go.
You can wash with frankincense or evergreen-scented soap during the bath.
Cedar, fir, cinnamon, cardamom, and peppermint are some of the welcomed smells of the season. So you can drip these essential oils into your bathwater.
Using bath salts with essential oil is also a great idea. Lavender, mint, rosemary, juniper, and chamomile are good options.
You can use as many candles as you want to bring the magic to your ritual space.
Prepare your bathroom with a real presence. Remember that this preparation is also part of the ritual.
Once prepared, enter the bathwater. Relax and ground. Be here and now.
You can reflect on the year you passed and think what you want to let go, and gently let them to the water.
Moreover, you can feel your wishes for the new season, so that the ner burning Sun can bring them to you.
After the bath, you can write down your wishes and things you want to let go in separate papers. This way, you can use it during the yule log ritual.
Yule log ritual
Yule Log ritual brings luck, protection and creates a sacred space for reflection.
A Yule log can be from an oak tree or no worries at all. It can be a piece of wood for this purpose.
Think about how long you want the log to burn, so choose and prepare your record accordingly.
The Yule log is traditionally burned on solstice eve, but you can do this ritual at any time during the Midwinter season. However, it will be most effective at night.
It is an excellent idea to have a Yule bath ritual before the ritual. Then dress and wear some relaxed clothes and your magical pieces of jewelry.
Get those papers you have prepared after the Yule bath ritual, with your wishes and things you want to let go of.
Prepare the fireplace with the log altogether. While doing this, you can say;
“The Wheel turns and turns and then,
we turn the Wheel once again.”
Decorate the log and ask for protection from the trees’ spirits. Then, you can make some offerings to the spirit of the log with ale or whisky.
Be aware that this preparation part is also part of the ritual, so enjoy it. You can tell stories of your previous winters altogether.
Once the yule log is ready, put it inside the fireplace.
Close all the lights and sit quietly in the darkness. Invite those present to contemplate the last year: challenges, celebrations, your wishes, your lessons.
When ready, lit the fire altogether.
If you have the log of the previous year, lit it. If not, make a small fire with other little woods. This little fire will burn the actual yule log.
While you are around the yule log, share your gratitude for the old year. The lessons you have learned that you want to let go.
Throw to the fire those papers with the things you want to let go of as well.
You can share your wishes with others, imagining that the fire is helping you for both lettings go and making real those new wishes.
You can make silence by watching the fire to see the messages of the fire for you.
Enjoy your drinks, food, and accompany others.
Breath in and feel inside this moment of togetherness and deep connection.
Play games, tell stories and sing songs to celebrate this magical night around the yule log, with the spirit of nature.
Keep some of the yule log unburned for the upcoming year to start the fire with.
Yule celebrations help us remember that life is not working in a linear logic but with circles.
The Wheel is turning and turning and turning.
Take profit of this magical time of the year to contemplate and celebrate.
You can also be interested in these articles below,
How To Celebrate The Winter Solstice?
Christmas and Its Traditions’ History
Christmas Alone: Maybe It is Time to Discover What is Christmas for You
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