Yule in an Easy To Follow Format
What is Yule?
The word itself is its most modern form derived from the old english words, ġťol or ġťohol and ġťola or ġťoli, with the former indicating "(the 12-day festival of) Yule". Some other popularly known names are: Winter Solstice, MidWinter, Yuletide, The Longest Night of Winter. It is the astrological marking of the beginning of shorter winter nights. Yule was popularly celebrated ages ago by Nordic and Germanic people who recognize the holiday for feasting and merriment. Yule is the pagan holiday for the Winter Solstice, which is now-a-days characterized by Christmas, a celebratory holiday in Christianity, and its many branches. It was once celebrated from late December until early January. Christians have adopted the pagan holiday and filtered some of its many traditions and it has become known to them as Christmas, which is December 25th; every year. Yule is charted differently every year by the lunar calendar, Yule typically lands in-between December 20 – 22.
There are many traditions that celebrate this turning of the season, each unique. Most contemporary Wiccans celebrate this holiday as the rebirth of the Horned One as the newborn solstice sun. I celebrate it with a little line of humor in my circles by saying, 'If it hasn't gotten cold yet, it's going to be now!' Yule is also known as the battle between two Kings reignited in the war of the change of the season. On Yule the Oak King is beaten by the Holly King who reigns over the cold winter months. Holly is a plant that thrives in the sea of white snow. Leaves are striking deep green and bunches of brilliant red berries can be seen during the season.
What Plants/Herbs? [[Not a Complete List]]
Mistletoe – Greenery with bright white berries. It is a 'parasite' plant that has no actual roots of it's own but tendrils it uses to absorb nutrients from a host tree. The berries ARE poisonous so please do not eat. A small history lesson from the Norse - Mistletoe didn't begin quite so well in Norse mythology: the arrow that killed Baldur, beloved of the gods, was carved from mistletoe. The Norse gods then judged that henceforth mistletoe would be under the command of the goddess of love, in order to negate its use for hate--that's one explanation of why those who stand under the mistletoe are expected to kiss. Used to ward off evil and use for protection.
Holly – A shrub plant with point green leaves and red berries. Do not eat these berries either. A little history; when planted around the home it protects the inhabitants and guards against lightening, poisoning and mischievous spirits. When confronted by wild animals throwing a stick of Holly at them would make them lie down and leave you alone. [[Please do not attempt!]] A piece of Holly carried on your person is said to promote good luck, particularly in men for the Holly is a male plant (the Ivy its opposite female). As a charm to enhance dreams, nine Holly leaves gathered on a Friday after midnight, wrapped in a clean cloth to protect against its needles, and tied up using nine knots was placed under a pillow to make dreams come true.
Oak- A long lived tree of protection, sealing or opening doors, endurance, and invocation of wisdom, fertility, and abundance.
Evergreens- Pines, Firs, ect. Good for making Yule trees!
Cinnamon- To bring prosperity, represents fire, sex magick,
Bay Leaves- Green leafy plant, used for protection.
Yule Tree- Made out of one of the many species of Evergreen Pines. Decorate with apples, oranges/peels, acorns, and pine cones.
Yule Log- Lit at dusk to welcome the rebirth of the Horned One. Save a small bit for next year and if you have a piece from last year, make sure to burn it as well to signify the end of one physical year and the beginning of another.
Wassailing- To wish well; the practice of singing to apple trees to promote good harvest for the coming year. Many people know it as singing door to door now-a -days to encourage the feeling of well being.
Pine Cone Treats- taking pine cones and slathering them in peanut butter and rolling them in bird seed to hang up in the tree for the birds sticking around for winter.
Popcorn Garland- Making popcorn strands using cranberries as well if you want and wrapping them around trees for the animals to feed off of.
Herb Gathering – Gathering sprigs and spruces of winter herbs to burn in the following year to usher in the spring!
Ice Candles – Good for decorating your Yule altar and for winter festivities! There are TWO types of ice candles I'm making this year. One of them is finding a open center mold, fill with water and Yule herbs and allow to freeze. Then set up with a small tea light! The second one is here, here are two pictures I found on the web and the Ice Taper Candle as a page with directions you can follow! –
Frozen Candles - http://www.bruningpottery.com/images/08Dec19_IceCandles.jpg
Ice Candles- http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/ice-candle-673590/
For your Yule altar, a lot of the above mentioned items are good to use for decoration! Colors for the season, to me at least, are red, green, gold, and white. Don't forget too, for snowier regions that a bowl of snow on your altar would make a good touch!
On a final note, I don't write Wheel of the Year rituals for public use. For me, rituals are something I invest a lot of personal energy and time into creating unique circles every year. I take all the above information and try and decide whom best to call or who I would like to invite to the circle. What tradition story rendition do I want to be read to the Spirit? What gifts do I want to give to nature? Take these things a devise a circle for yourself to celebrate Yule and I assure you, it will be a lot more fulfilling than anything I could every tell you to do. With many blessings, I hope this helps you all plan out your Yule Celebrations!
INFORMATION COLLABORATION FROM –