Ahhh Winter Solstice!
Rebirth of the Sun King and the renewal of light and warmth after the darkness of Winter
It's officially Winter! Yule, Winter Solstice, Midwinter, the rebirth of the Sun King! We have the shortest day and longest night, as the dark part of the year relinquishes to the light half and we welcome back ol' Sol! Hoorah!!!
It's the time of year when the Holly King (often depicted as a white haired & bearded jolly gent clothed in red and green, driving a team of 8 stags) dominates and we celebrate the rebirth of the Oak King (Green Man), the Giver of Life who warms the Earth, sheds his leaves and is born again to grow in strength and return at midsummer.
The Goddess as Great Mother gives birth once again to the Sun King, with sparks of hope from the Sacred Fire bringing back light and warmth to the world after the darkness.
Evergreen holly leaves which offered magical protection against evil spirits were worn in the hair during the Midwinter festival and brought into the house to provide shelter for the fairies and invite the Nature spirits to the celebrations, whose presence would bring good fortune.
Bonfires were lit, crops and trees were "wassailed" ('waes hael' meaning be whole/of good health) with toasts of spiced cider. Children went from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges (representing the sun) in baskets of evergreen boughs (symbolic of mortality) and wheat stalks (portraying the harvest) dusted with flour (the accomplishment of triumph, light & life).
The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder's land or given as a gift, but never bought. Placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before being set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days before being ceremonially put out. Beautiful!!!!
It's also a time of self-renewal. Of withdrawing into and embracing the darkness of Winter to restore and regenerate. A time for quiet stillness, inner reflection and honouring the need to flow with the natural cycles that govern the Earth. It's also a great time to work some magick from this deep connected space to release with the Season and welcome the energy of rebirth, breathing light, warmth and vitality in your ideas and visions.
Head over to my profile and check out "Embracing Winter" for some wordy nurturing, what she has to teach us and a lovely ritual to welcome and utilise the energy of the Season.
Fancy a cup of natural, warming Yule Brew? Try this:
Slice an apple, orange and pear, grab a large handful of cranberries and add them all to a saucepan with water, cinnamon sticks and a few cloves. Bring to the boil, let simmer for a few minutes until the smell wafts through the house and you can wait no longer. Serve and enjoy!
And lastly, a lovely Yule Blessing that floats around the internet this time of year I find particularly beautiful. From me to you.
"May the longest night and the shortest day.
Bring rest to your mind and soul, I pray.
May you find guidance and may you find peace.
As the cycle of light will slowly increase.
Embrace the magic the darkness bears.
Breath deep in the chill and shift in the air.
May you always be blessed with the light from within.
And may well being be yours has the new cycle begins."
Wishing you a Cool Yule and many blessings