The Way of the Witch
Sabbats ~ Yule
(21 - 22 December)
Also known as-: The Winter Solstice, Christmas
The world is frozen and looking on the surface of nature everything is asleep. But deep in the earth, plants are now quietly putting out their shoots and building themselves up for the arrival of spring. This is the season of rebirth. All the dreams and ideas you had at Samhain can now be born and will grow in strength as the Sun now begins to grow in strength on its journey towards the summer solstice.
The origins of Yule date back to the Egyptians who held the festival to celebrate the rebirth of Horus who was the son of Isis and Osiris and Horus took the form of the Sun. Because greenery was seen as magical growth and they wanted the Sun to stay longer, they decorated every thing in sight in all the greenery. Others followed and when the Romans came along they named their festival Saturnalia and brought in things such as candles, singing, lavish feasting and extravagant gift giving. This spread through Europe and became Yule. The wild partying and chaos of the Roman festival can still be seen today in the seasons parties and normal behaviour being replaced by people acting the fool, thus it is also known as the ‘Feast of Fools’.
Witches bring evergreens into the house to remind them or the return of the Son and the growing season. The red berry of the holly symbolises the resting mother giving birth and life returning to the land. The green reminds them of the Holly King who rules until this time. Mistletoe is another decoration with a strong pagan connection where it is considered magical because it grows between the earth and the sky and is not rooted to the ground. The berries of mistletoe symbolises the semen of the God. Many pagans go out before dawn on the Summer Solstice to welcome the return of the Sun.
At Yule the Oak King is reborn. The Oak King and the Holly King, in legend, rule the year between them. The Oak King rules from midwinter to midsummer, when the light increases and the Holly King rules from midsummer to mid winter when the light decreases. At the solstices covens may enact the battle to see which King wins the battle but the rightful King always wins.
A Yule log would have been brought into the house and decorated with candles and each person would light a candle to express a wish for the season ahead. Nowadays, it is usual to make a Yule log and cover it with chocolate as not many home have an open fireplace.
Ways to celebrate Yule:-
Cast the circle and invite the elements of air (east), fire (south), water (west) and earth (north) to join you and protect you in your rite. Now ask the God and Goddess to join you and start with an apple juice toast to the Holly King.
Name and think about some of the traits of darkness such as peace, quiet, regeneration and dreams. Then imagine the Sun rising high up in the sky out of the darkness and reflect on all the things you hope for in the New Year. Thank the God and Goddess for being with you, then say farewell and thank the elements in the order you invited them in. Close the circle.
NEVER LEAVE BURNING CANDLES UNATTENDED
Sabbats ~ Yule
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