10 Ways to Celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter season and is one of the oldest known winter celebration. The Winter Solstice and all the magic it brings has been celebrated for decades and centuries. Many people celebrate for many days at a time, while others celebrate only on the day of the Winter Solstice, Dec 21st in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. The days have been getting shorter and now we can celebrate the sun as it returns from the period of darkness. As it returns it brings new warmth and we are able to reach out and harvest that energy. It also marks the beginning of the solar season, solar meaning sun which represents illumination. The beginning of the solar year marks the rebirth of sun. It is a celebration of the sun and everything it does for us. In Old Europe this day and season is called Yule, in Norse traditions it is called Jule.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Son, while Yule is the celebration of the birth of the Sun, as in star in sky. This is one of many crossovers between the celebration of the Christian holiday and the Pagan celebration.
Tips and Ideas for Celebrating
1. Decorate your Home
- Adorn your home with holly, evergreen branches, pinecones, cinnamon and things that bring the sun in like citrus peels.
- Use color like gold and ivory, green and red.
- Hang mistletoe over the main threshold of your home to welcome love and joyous energy in and to provide protection.
- Gather family to purchase tree or wreath and decorate it together.
- Start calling your Christmas Tree a Yule Tree instead.
- Hang images of the sun and solar deities and welcome them into your home so they can bring their warmth into your home.
2. Decorate and Burn a Yule Log
- Gather family and friends to decorate a yule log
- If you decorate it in advance you can use it as a centerpiece before you burn it in ceremony.
- Make sure to fully dry the log and clean it before bringing it inside. Some people remove the bark.
- Gather pine needles, pinecones, cinnamon to decorate with.
- Make a garland of cranberries.
- Leave places for candles that can be lit safely to illuminate your yule log.
- As you decorate, allow everyone to set their intention for the new year
- When you do the ceremonial yule log burning, every one who decorated should be present
- The Log can be burned inside in a fireplace or outside in a bonfire.
- By burning the log you set your intentions free.
- Stay present until the log is fully burned.
- While it is burning feel free to sing or dance around it.
- This is all about community and coming together in the darkness
3. Make Natural Ornaments
- Use a mixture of flour and water to make discs
- Bake the discs to harden
- Paint and decorate the discs
- Add herbs and resins to the dough or paint based on your intentions
- Carve symbols, sigils or runes into the ornament to strengthen intention.
- Use them to decorate tree, garlands or home.
- Pinecones, orange and apple slice can be used for decoration as well.
4. Share and Give Back to Community
- Recognize all the blessings in your life.
- Pass this magic forward and donate belongings to someone else who might need it.
- Volunteer your time to share your light.
5. Create your Yule Altar
- Make your altar symbolize your purity and spiritual growth.
- Use white and silver to represent a blank slate and new beginning.
- Use sun colors to bring the energy of the sun into your home.
- Go to the altar throughout the season to enhance the energy.
6. Participate in a Purification Ritual
- Perform a spell of ritual on your own or with others.
- Allow everyone to bring their own energy into the community.
- Cleanse everyone in your circle with pine smoke and say a blessing to each person.
- Allow everyone to speak one word of gratitude around the circle.
- Let everyone sit in a simple circle meditation with seasonal music.
- Close the circle with each person saying thanks or thank you.
7. Meditate on Your Own
- Meditate in your personal meditation space
- Write down the things you are grateful for, all the blessings in your life, and your intentions for next year.
- Create a vision board to provide a tangible representation of your intentions.
- Visualize your intentions in order to manifest them into your world.
- Be who you are and achieve what you want to achieve.
8. Hold a Feast
- Invite people you love and admire to feast.
- Celebrate your food and your accessibility to it.
- Take time to remember the times when people did not always have food for the winter.
- Give blessings for the food you have.
- Share food with less fortunate through donating to food banks or volunteering at soup kitchens.
9. Do Community Events
- Look up community calendars and write down holiday activities.
- Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
- Embrace the creation and life energy of the sun and celebrate your life with it.
- Enjoy the holiday cheer, it is beautiful but it isn't around all year.
10. Acts of Service
- Give clothes and food to those less fortunate
- Feed birds and wildlife (while following sustainable practices and respecting ecology)
- Send packages to military personnel overseas
- Volunteers in food banks and soup kitchens
My top ten choices of stones that can be helpful dealing with the many emotions and themes of this season would be Blue Lace Agate, Moss Agate, Amethyst, Bloodstone, Citrine, Garnet, Howlite, Jade, Rose Quartz and Unakite
- SPIRITUAL FOCUS: beginnings, birth, challenge, compassion, cycles, endings, eternity, gratitude, insight, rebirth, restoration, sacrifice, search for meaning, silence, wisdom
- MAGICAL FOCUS: communal celebration, contemplation and looking inward, deep ritual, evaluation, feasting, healing work, journaling, meditation, reflection, study, tool crafting, vigil, personal retreat
- SUGGESTED WORKINGS: divination and scrying, healing, ritual
- Green: abundance, life, the living evergreen that thrives through the winter, new beginnings, wealth
- Gold: gifts, prosperity, richness, solar energy wealth, gods, kings, royalty
- Red: vitality, fire, life force, holly berries, poinsettias and other plants that thrive during the winter
- White: calm, the "clean slate" of snow peace, protecting, silence, sleep
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How do you celebrate? Tell me about it in the comments below.