Celebrating Yule

November 30, 2023

Celebrating Yule

Yule is the festival of the Winter Solstice, on or about December 21, the shortest day, and the longest night of the year. Celtic pagan traditions celebrated with the symbolic  battle between the Oak King who represents light (summer) and the Holly King who represents dark (winter) , the lighting of large bonfires to keep evil spirits from their crops through the dark months, and feasting.

Traditions and Symbols

Decorating the Yule tree, representing the Tree of Life, with pinecones, berries, fruit, coins, and corn to represent the hope for abundance and prosperity in the new year.

Burning of a Yule log, anointed with wassail, to symbolize the continual hearth fire and prevent bad spirits from entering the home.

Lighting candles to lure back the sun.

Harvesting and hanging mistletoe, representing the fertility of the goddess and the seed of the Oak King, above doorways for protection.

Hanging bells to banish the negative and call in the positive.

A ritual at sunrise to welcome the light and warmth of the sun back to the land.

Colors of the Season

Red for the waning Holly King

Green for the waxing Oak King.

White for purity and the hope of new light.

Silver for the Moon.

Gold for the Sun.

Plants of the Season

Bay Leaves represent prosperity, luck, and success.

Evergreens are brought indoors to symbolize life, rebirth, renewal.

Holly Leaves, symbolic of the Holly King, symbolize hope and the red berries represent potency. Mistletoe’s green leaves symbolize fertility and its white berries the seed of the Oak King.

The Yule tree represents the Tree of Life and traditionally was decorated with the gift’s pagans wanted to receive from the Gods. Seasonal fruits and nuts like acorns, pecans, walnuts, oranges, and apples.   

Yule Ritual

Yule is a time of reflection during the long nights of the winter. As the trees and flowers go through their cycles of death and rebirth it is an opportunity to examine are own personal cycles of letting go of the old and bringing in the new.

A suggested ritual to help you celebrate your rebirth this Yule.

Clearing is a way of taking out the old and making the space for the new to enter our lives. Begin by lighting the Yule incense (included in your box) in a heat proof container. Walk around your home, while burning the incense, requesting energies that do not belong to you to leave and stay away.

Once you feel your space is cleared of unwanted energies, begin at the entrance of the room, and with the bell (included in your box) in your right hand, slowly move around the room in a clockwise motion, ringing the bell in a light but quick rhythm. Allow the bell to sound as it will. Voice your intentions for what you want to bring into your life  loudly and joyously. Let the bell lead you around the house. Ringing a bell will quickly change the way your home feels and help to manifest your intentions.

Decorate your altar and home with symbols of the season. Make yourself a cup of mulled wine or cider and light your candle. Think of all your accomplishments and ways you plan to adapt to strengthen yourself in the upcoming months. Express your gratitude for your achievements and what is to come. Many pagans stay up on the Winter Solstice to greet the rising Sun with the ringing of bells.