Free gift with EVERY order!* FREE US Shipping over $60! COVID19 may cause shipping delays

Yule: Rebirth & Reflection

December 18, 2018 0 Comments

Yule: Rebirth & Reflection

 by Rebecca Farrar of Wild Witch of the West 

Yule, Saturnalia, & Winter Solstice

Yule or Yuletide, aka Winter Solstice, in the Northern Hemisphere marks the longest night and shortest day of the year and is one of the oldest celebrations in the world. With modern technology, we can more closely track the exact moment when the Earth's pole is at its maximum tilt away from the Sun, which is when the Sun simultaneously moves into the tropical zodiac sign of Capricorn and welcomes the Winter Solstice. Like all the Neopagan holidays the date varies between December 20 to December 23 depending on the year with the Gregorian calendar. As a turning point of light and reflection and of all the cyclical, seasonal holidays, the winter solstice is perhaps the most Christianized from its Earthly Pagan roots and Roman traditions.

Many popular Christmas traditions evolved from Pagan and European Yule symbols such as the decorating with holly, candles, or mistletoe. Though the Yule log was the center of the celebration and was burned as a symbol of the rebirth of the Sun (or Son as Christianity would say :P ).Traditionally the log was harvested on the homeowner’s land, or brought as a gift. Once inside, it was decorated and then lit with a piece of last year’s log that was kept for this specific purpose. The log would burn through the longest night of the year and then smolder throughout the Yuletide (meaning “Yule time”).

The word "Yule" comes from the Norse word “hjol” and referred to the moment when the wheel of the year is at the lowest point, ready to rise up again (like the Sun). In pre-Christian Scandinavia, Yule it lasted for 12 days and each night honored a different aspect of the Triple Goddess and the Sun God. This 12-day festival and feast is the origin of the modern “12 Days of Christmas.” The festivities began on “Mother’s Night,” on December 20, and ended on “Yule Night” on January 1.

While the Norse celebrated Yule, the Romans honored the mid-winter season with Saturnalia beginning on December 17. It was a pagan celebration of Saturn, the Roman god of time (and of course now a planet). It was known for being the most joyous holiday and included sacrifices, feasting, dancing, and gambling. People exchanged gifts, made sacrifices to the Gods, and offered goodwill during the week-long ancient festival. It was common for social role reversals as well where the wealthy would pay for rents of the poor and children would get to be the head of the household.

As the Romans began invading the rest of Europe, the traditions of Saturnalia became more of mainstay and evolved into Christmas. Though by the fourth century A.C.E. (after common era), Western Christian Churches decided on December 25 and combined the Pagan midwinter and Saturnalia traditions. Now, we seem to celebrate a bit of all of them. However, if you aren’t up for the full 12-day commitment of Yule or the chaos of Saturnalia, welcome winter with some of these more simplified rituals:

  • While “spring cleaning” may be more popular, a good ol’ fashioned closet cleaning makes room for the new and the new year ahead.
  • Stay up all night eating and sitting by the fire or Yule log, basking in its lights.
  • Turn off all the lights and light a yellow or gold candle to symbolize the returning and rebirth of the sun.
  • Say a blessing of gratitude to your Christmas tree, or be sure to give it extra love. 
  • Create a Yule altar facing North (the direction of Winter) with holly or mistletoe and red candles. The Winter Solstice & Yule Ritual  Kit is great for this! Witchy bonus points for crafting a Yule log.;)

 

 

 

 

Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!





Also in Esoteric Insights

Engaging the Elements: Earth
Engaging the Elements: Earth

May 10, 2021 0 Comments

Do you ever stop to think about what the Earth is actually made of? We walk on it every day, eat food that’s grown on it, vacuum the crumbles on the rug that lies on it, and unless you’re a gardener or a child, we probably don’t touch it very often. But the Earth and ground we live, eat, sleep, and walk on is very important- from microscopic rocks like dirt and sand, and tiny living organisms like worms and bacteria, to giant redwood trees and mountains, the Earth and her gravity is what keeps us from flailing into the chaos of outer space, literally grounding and protecting us from the unknown. Let's look deeper…

Continue Reading

Celestial Insights: May 2021
Celestial Insights: May 2021

May 08, 2021 0 Comments

Happy May, friends, and happy birthday month to Taurus and early Gemini folks! Below are your May 2021 Celestial Insights to navigate this month with ease and grace…To those who celebrate: Happy Floralia & Beltane! We’re in the midst of the Floralia celebration, which is like Roman May Day, honoring Flora, the goddess of plants and flowers. This can symbolize bright, fresh blooms and regeneration in our lives as the astrological new year awakens in Aries season. Set up a Floralia altar with flowers, plants, honey, green, yellow, pink, and purple stones and candles. Similar in celebration, on May 2 we have the Pagan sabbat, Beltane (or May Day) in the northern hemisphere...

Continue Reading

May Tarotscopes 2021
May Tarotscopes 2021

April 27, 2021 0 Comments

Greetings! Here are your May Tarotscopes, offering you both celestial and energetic archetypal insights to navigate the month of May! Please read your Rising (Ascendent), Sun, and Moon, and if you are experiencing major life shifts, I recommend checking out your North Node, as well. If you don’t know your personal signs, you can generate your natal chart for free at Astrodienst! Stay tuned for May’s Celestial Insights blog for a deep dive on this month’s lunations, symbols, and ritual and altar inspiration, too!

Continue Reading