Yule or Winter Solstice, December 21-23 (varies according to the particular date
on the standard calendar according to when the Solstice occurs astrologically). This
is the longest night of the year, the shortest day. The turning point in the wheel
when all the days following the Solstice will grow longer as Winter submits to the
coming Spring. It is the time when the Goddess gives birth to the Sun God – who
is child and consort/lover and father of the next child during the cycle of the year.
Yule is a time of feasting and exchanging gifts. Traditional decorations would
include a Yule log, usually oak, decorated with sprigs of fir leaves, holly sprigs
and ivy or a combination of holly and mistletoe. Traditionally the Yule log would
be burnt in the fire, and this is a tradition that I carry out to this day. I start
my fire with the remains of the last years Yule log and when it is nicely burning
I add the new log (this will be removed from the fire before it has burnt down and
used to start next years Yule fire!). During this Sabbat my alter is decorated with
holly sprigs and mistletoe and winter green leaves collected from my own garden.
I burn red, green and white candles (the colours of the season); I use a cloth
of dark green. My ritual for this time is based on the coming of the sun. It is
a festival of lights and so I light white candles all around my room (safety permitting!)
to represent the returning sun.
This is the perfect time to perform prosperity magic as well as a good time to cleanse
your home of negative energy. I do this with a silver bell, which I leave on my
altar pentacle for a day or so to charge up. Once the bell is charged I open all
the windows and doors in the house and go around deosil (anti-clockwise) ringing
the bell at the open windows and doors. I also carry with me a small dish with a
charcoal disc burning a special mix of cleansing incense which fills every room with
a delicious fragrance of frankincense, dragons blood, rose geranium oil and agrimony.