In Pagan tradition, the Winter Solstice, or Yule, marks the longest night of the year. Since the Summer Solstice, the days have been shrinking, and on Yule, it will be the shortest length of daylight yet. However, the following sunrise, the sun will stay in the sky just a little bit longer each day until we hit the Summer Solstice again. Read on to learn how to celebrate Yule (like a witch) this year.
This means quite a bit for the witch. Occurring on December 21st, we can use this time to really sit with what the year has brought us. Hibernation and turning inwards are big themes for the winter. When the cold sets in, we focus on setting intentions for the next season and work on how to gear up for their success. If we think of nature objectively, as the leaves have died and are waiting to be reborn, as the animals hibernate, and as the snow sticks to the ground, it is a period of rest and rejuvenation. This is an important theme to keep in mind during Yule.
As we reflect and rest, we also have more time for self-care. This is the optimal time to take naps, do some extra beauty routines, journal your heart out, and eat some soul food. Bringing in family and friends to your home also increases the energy flow of your space, so bring in some Yuletide cheer!
Capricorn Season kicks off the same day, so you will feel the energy shift transitioning into this nimble Earth sign. Capricorns are known for being ambitious — climbing mountains gracefully, with care, and conquering as they go. This is why you need all the rest you can get to gear up for such a determined season.
You can make a lot of parallels from ancient Yule to modern-day Christmas. The first, as mentioned before, is the Yule log. A Yule log is ceremonially gifted into the household, decorated and dressed with seasonal greens (think Decking the Halls with Boughs of Holly) cider or ale, and flour. It is then burned and left to smolder for 12 days, signifying the growing sun. You will also see similarities in the evergreen wreaths, the significant use of holly, pine, and cedar, and even the baking of cookies. All were ceremonially used to decorate the home during this sacred tradition.
How to Celebrate Yule
Some very simple ways to connect the pagan holiday to today won’t take much of a stretch. When hanging your wreath, say a blessing to anoint the home. Feasting for the holidays is also a tried and true tradition that has stuck through the ages. But one of the most special and sacred ways to celebrate Yule with your loved ones is to have each one dedicate a candle lit with gratitude for the previous year on a Yuletide altar.
Happy Yule and Happy Holidays!