Yule ~ The Winter Solstice

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Yule, also known as the winter solstice, is on its way Witches ❤️🌲🌲❤️

The day we celebrate this fabulously magical holiday varies from year to year. But it always falls sometime between December 20th and December 23rd.

It is the longest night and shortest day of the year. From this day forward to summer solstice, the Sun will linger a bit longer in the sky each day. Shedding His life-giving light over the land. Ever so slowly warming the frozen earth. And for that reason, one of the main focuses of our Yule festivities is the celebration of His return to power.

As you can imagine, with light being a central theme in this holiday, fire is a significant part of it as well. In Days of Olde fire was brought into Yule festivities in many ways. But none quite as widespread or marked as the Yule log.

To purchase a Yule log was considered a presage of poor fortune to come throughout the year. Landowners most often harvested their Yule log directly from their property. Others gathered theirs from the forest. And still others gave/received them as gifts. What a blessed act the bestowal of a Yule log from one person to another must have been!

Each log was decorated with seasonal greenery, ceremonially doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour. Then it was placed in the hearth where it was lit with a piece of last years Yule log, which had been saved all year through specifically for this task. The Yule log would then be burned through the night in honor of the Sun’s consistently growing illumination in the days to come.

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The log was never permitted to burn out on its own. It was absolutely necessary that it be put out before it was completely extinguished. Thereby leaving a small piece to be used as a tool for the lighting of next years log.

This tradition was taken very seriously by our Ancestors. So much so that even the ashes left from the burning of the Yule log were used to create charms for protection, healing, and fertility.

Making charms for fertility from the Yule log ashes is quite appropriate, as fertility and the continuum of life are also a big theme of this holiday. The Sun’s return to warm the earth, will provide Nature with much needed sustenance so that She can provide for the life which will burst forth from Her in the spring. Although it may seem unlikely, with cold temperatures and blankets of snow outside, Yule does indeed share this quality with it’s counterpart Beltane (the summer solstice).

The almost completely faded Christian tradition of caroling is a descendant of a practice carried out by our Pagan sisters and brothers in Days of Olde. As a matter of fact, music and song was a big part of all eight of the Pagan holidays. One that I believe makes a terrific addition to any holiday festivity. I will admit though, I am particularly fond of this practice during the Yule season! I would love to see carolers parading the streets and blessing their neighbors with song once again.

There are many foods which were traditionally served at Yule celebrations. But none so prominent as meat. It was both labor intensive and expensive to feed and care for live stock throughout the harsh winter months. Quite daunting for the average joe. So, very often, live stock was slaughtered just before the winter solstice in order to alleviate the struggle of caring for them. This meant that there was an abundance of meat available just as the holiday festivities were about to kick off. Allowing for a bit of indulgence in this food source, which was not necessarily plentiful the rest of the year.

Our Ancestors did not fully understand the Earth and Her cyclical faithfulness. They were prone to believing that if they did not perform acts of reverence and make offerings to Her, She would cease to bestow Her blessings upon them causing their demise. So they took the task of calling back the Sun very seriously.

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We’ve discussed how they did this a bit already when we talked about the tradition of the Yule log. But the effort to call back the Sun didn’t stop there. They would light candles, bonfires, and lanterns in His honor as well. They would decorate their homes inside and out with evergreen materials from the forest. Non-perishing greens gathered from the cold, wintry forest seemed a concise symbol to them that life continued to exist even in the most dire conditions. The Gods, including the Sun God, had not perished, as was evidenced by the fact that their handiwork still flourished. They were comforted by its presence around them in their homes as they navigated harsh weather conditions. They used pine boughs, holly, ivy, and mistletoe to bring a bit of the Gods power close.

And just so the Sun would know how much they valued His return to power, they would stay up all night on Yule in order to greet him as He rose the next morning. Giving Him a personal, face to face welcome ❤️😉❤️

They were excited to celebrate new beginnings with Him. And this is how Yule is linked to setting new intentions. The modern day tradition of New Years stems from this element of the Yule celebrations.

So

This Yule as you are sitting by your Yule fire, or maybe just sitting quietly at home with a candle burning in honor of the Sun God, take a minute or two, or more, and set your intentions for the upcoming year. I’ll bet if you ask the Sun God to prosper them, you’ll find that He shows up just a bit more each day, henceforth, to make your dreams come to pass ❤️🌞❤️

But for now …

Let's get together in the comments so you can share what this little post taught you about Yule. And also what you have to teach me about Yule 😉

I do love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

AND I truly feel that when one Ancient Allies Witch shares ALL Ancient Allies Witches benefit ❤️😉❤️

Remember ...

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May good fortune chase you throughout ALL of your days, Witches!

And May Bountiful Blessings Be Yours ~ Diane