moon phases
moon phases
Winter Solstice
December 21st to 23rd

Traditions at Yule
The winter solstice is the longest night of the year, the night that Witches honour the darkness and the Great horned God who rules the dark half ofthe year. Yule is often celebrated just before dawn and the rising sun is watched and celebrated to end the rite. The Witches Sabbat of Yule originally celebrated the rebirth of the Sun God, Yule literally translated means wheel.

The burning of the Yule log stems from the ancient custom of the Yule bonfire which was burned to give life and power to the sun which was thought to be reborn at the Winter Solstice, later this was adapted to burning a log indoors. The Yule log is traditionally made from oak as it is considered the cosmic tree, a pine log is sometimes used to symbolise the dying God either should be carved or decorated with appropriate symbols or sigils, red and green candles are etched with carvings of the sun and other magical symbols and placed on the log, most agree that 13 candles are the right amount but this is at discretion.

The hanging of mistletoe is considered very magical, also known as "Golden Bough," It is thought to have great healing power and "gave men access to the underworld." The Greeks and other cultures thought of the living plant as the genitalia of the God Zeus or similar deity.

The Mistletoe and Holly have phallic significance in that the Mistletoe has white berries which represent the divine semen of the Gods, while the Holly has red berries which represent the sacred menstrual blood of the Goddesses. The custom of kissing under the Mistletoe is just a shadow of a memory that harks back to the times of  sexual orgies that accompanied the rites of the Oak God

An old Pagan custom of Wassailing was also a tradition of the Winter Solstice, placing cakes in the boughs of the oldest apple trees and pouring cider on the trees as a libation. It is thought the cider represented the blood of a human or animal which would have been offered in earlier times. The wassailing rite also includes drinking the cider or suitable wine as a toast to the tree or orchard in the hope that it would continue to flourish.

Christianity and Yule
Modern Christians use pagan traditions at this time of year such as Decorating a tree, hanging Mistletoe and Holly and burning a Yule log. The Christmas tree is a representation of the sacred pine groves of the Great mother Goddess. Santa Claus is a representation of a pagan God of Yule, known as "Christ on a wheel" and ancient Norse sun God who's rebirth was celebrated at Yule.

Rites for Winter Solstice
The alter on Yule should face north, the area is decorated with Holly and Mistletoe and dried leaves and fruit such as Hips and Haw. A chalice of appropriate wine or cider (a bottle is better). The Oak or Pine log with up to 13 green and red candles decorated with carvings or symbols is placed centrally on the alter. The appropriate fragranced incense burning and scenting the air e.g. Bay, Juniper, Cedar, Pine or Rosemary are quite good for this.

Some people in modern traditions plant a tree seed in a pot at Yule, it is then placed on a window sill. They then watch it germinate and flourish through until May day or Beltane when it is planted outside somewhere.

If you have a traditional tree in your home then ornaments hung from the tree as decorations usually Sun, Moon and stars, also sacred offerings or presents for the deities.

Feast at Yule
Foods for the celebration can include things such as fruit tree wines, ciders, nuts, tree fruits (apple, pear, banana etc), cakes, pork, lamb and hibiscus or ginger tea.

Correspondence for Yule

African Violet, Allspice, Anise, Any nut, Bay, Cabbage, Carrot, Cedar, Cinnamon, Clove, Coconut, Coriander, Elderflower, Frankincense, Ginger, Grape, Holly, Jasmine, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Liquorice, Mistletoe, Myrrh, Oakmoss, Onion, Papyrus, Pepper, Potato, Rice, Rosemary, Rue, Shallot, Sloe, Star Anise, Sugar cane, Thistle,

Anise, Cedar, Cinnamon, Clove, Coriander, Cypress, Frankincense, Ginger, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Verbena, Myrrh, Orange, Pepper, Pine.

Almond, Apple, Beech, Cedar, Chestnut, Cypress, Elder, Fig, Holly, Horse Chestnut, Maple, Oak, Orange, Palm-date, Pine, Walnut, Yew, Yucca.

Amber, Amethyst, Aventurine, Azurite, Coal, Coral, Cross Stone, Diamond, Emerald, Marble, Moonstone, Mother of Pearl, Petrified Wood, Pumice, Quartz, Ruby, Salt, Sapphire, Stalagmite, Tiger's Eye, Tourmaline-Black, Turquoise.

Brass, Gold, Lodestone, Mercury, Meteorite, Silver, Steel.

Associated Colours
Green, Red, White.

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