Yule Herbs / Oils / Stones / Altar / Activities / Wassailing / Yule Fire Spell / Prosperity Potpourri / Food
At the Winter Solstice, the two god themes of the year's cycle coincide -- even more dramatically than they do at the Summer Solstice. Yule (from the Norse iul, meaning wheel) marks the death and the rebirth of the Sun God; it also marks the vanquishing of the Holly King, the god of the Waning Year, by the Oak King, the God of the Waxing Year. The Goddess, who was Death-in-Life at Midsummer, now shows her Life-in-Death aspect; for although at this season she is the leprous white lady, Queen of the cold darkness, yet this is her moment for giving birth to the Child of Promise, the Son-Lover who will re-fertilize her and bring back light and warmth to her Kingdom. (_Eight Sabbats for Witches_ by the Farrars)
Modern Christmas celebrations are full of pagan symbology. Santa Claus is the Holly King, the sleigh is the solar chariot, the eight reindeer are the eight Sabbats, their horns represent the Horned God, the North Pole symbolizes the Land of Shadows and the dying solar year, and the gifts are meant both to welcome the Oak King as the sun reborn and as a reminder of the gift of the Holly King, who must depart for the Oak King to rule.
The Legend of Santa Claus and Other Lore
Sun plants like mistletoe, balsam, and fir, and also any dried herbs from Summer, are predominant this time of year because they contain light and warmth. On Yule, when witches decorate their houses, they do so from the doorway inward, this inviting the light inside. We adorn doorways and mantles with evergreen boughs, bunches of dried summer herbs and Witches cords in reds, blacks, greens, and golds. Our ancient ancestors brought an evergreen tree inside to mystically ensure there would be light all year round. The evergreen retains sunlight, staying green all year, and reminds us that life is forever present and renewable. Other Yule herbs, plants, flowers and seeds:
holly, mistletoe, pine cones, pine needles, oak leaves, Yule log ashes, fir, birch, hazel bark, sandalwood, ivy, comfrey, elder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, chamomile, sunflower, frankincense, myrrh, wintergreen, apple leaf, dried apple
Some Winter Solstice Plants and Their Correspondences
Carnation, cedar, spruce, pine, rose, cinnamon, bayberry
clear quartz, jet, ruby, diamond, garnet, alexandrite, kunzite, citrine, green tourmaline, blue topaz, pearls
PREPARING YOUR ALTAR
Candles: red, green, white, gold, silver
Incense: bayberry, pine, spruce, pine, spice, cedar, cinnamon
Decorate circle with holly, mistletoe, ivy, pine, pine cones, a Yule Log, and place ash twigs in the cauldron (to burn for prosperity).
* Sing pagan solstice carols.
* Decorate the Yule tree.
* For personalized wrapping papers, cut a pattern on a halved potato, then dip it into tempera paint and on to plain wrapping tissue paper.
* For prosperity, burn ash wood.
* Yule blessings: wreath on the door, mistletoe indoors, food and clothing donations, sunflower seeds outside for birds, ring the bell to greet the Solstice Morn, and perform magick for a peaceful planet.
* Gather up Yule greens after 12th night and save. At Imbolg, burn the greens to banish winter and usher in spring.
* Make and burn a Yule Log.
* Bake a Yule Log Cake.
* Read Bran the Blessed, A Faery King Myth.
(References: _Green Witchcraft_ by Moura, The 1998 Witches Calendar, _Sabbats_ by McCoy)
Wassailing means "to wish health to" one's apple trees, in the hope that they will bear well. In addition, drums, bells, whistles etc. were used either to scare off evil spirits, or to wake the tree up; a libation of cider or ale was poured over the roots, and bread that had soaked in the 'wassailing' bowl was placed in the branches - an offering back to the tree.
* Wassail: 2 cups cranberry juice, 1/4 cup grenadine, 1 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup rum (optional).
YULE FIRE SPELL
On the darkest night of the year, gather together three dried leaves of holly and pulverize them into powder. On a clean, four-inch by four-inch piece of paper, write a single word in red ink that represents what quality you would like to be born within yourself along with the newborn Yule Sun.
Sprinkle the holly powder into the center of the papertwist the whole thing closed with the holly powder inside. Light the wick of a red candle, and from this flame, light the holly- filled paper on fire. As it burns, see your wish fulfilled. The spell is done.
YULE PROSPERITY POTPOURRI
3 cups water
4 tablespoons cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
3 nutmeg berries
1 teaspoon ginger
Simmer ingredients together on a stovetop or in a potpourri pot.