Mid-December. For us, i’s the holiday season, but for nature, it’s the winter solstice. The winter solstice falls around the 21st – 23rd of December. This is where the night is at its longest, and the day is at its shortest. For pagans, the Winter Solstice was to honor the return of the sun. The worst was behind them, and they knew warmer months were ahead. This was the celebration of Yule.
Today, modern pagans still celebrate Yule in their own traditions. In fact, many Christmas traditions stem from this pagan holiday. If you are looking to partake in this ancient festival, here are five ways you can celebrate for yourself.
Have a Fire
What pagan festival isn’t complete without a fire of sorts? For Yule, having a fire symbolized the sun and its return, as the days would be getting longer. The tradition started in Norway, as the Norsemen believed that the sun was a giant wheel of fire which rolled away from the earth, and then started rolling back again on the winter solstice. Throw a yule log of your own on your fire to rejoice in the returning sun.
Decorate a Tree
Decorating the tree is a holiday tradition that precedes Christmas. Trees for pagans were sacred, especially in Scandinavian societies. They believed spirits resided in the trees, and would bring trees into the home was a way to bless the house of the supernatural powers of the spirits in these trees.
Create an Altar
Switch up your altar to connect to winter energies. Traditional colors of yule are red and green, as red symbolizes the red holly berries and poinsettia, and green represents the holiday nature of pine and other cruciferous trees. Have a large white candle to signify the sun’s return. Add fallings of pinecones, holly leaves, mistletoe, and other winter foliage. Use scents associated with the holiday, such as pine, cedar, cinnamon, frankincense and myrrh. Add crystals like garnet, moonstone, and seraphinite.
Go For a Winter Walk
Reconnect with the earth and her energies by going for a walk in nature. Admire the snow, the stillness in the air, and remembering that this is the time the energies of the earth are asleep. The end of the cycle is here.
Winter is a season of stillness and reflection. Feminine energies are strong at this time, as they are represented by yin and the moon. With this type of energy, it is beneficial to reflect on yourself and look internally. Reflect on your year. What goals did you accomplish this year, and what goals are you making for the next upcoming cycle, for not only is Yule a time of reflection, but death. Remember, death is only the beginning, and shouldn’t be seen as a negative. Without death, there is no chance for rebirth, and with the end of winter and the short days, we can look forward and start a fresh new year.