Also Called:Yuletide - in American and Celtic
traditions; Alban Arthan - in Caledonii traditions; Feill Fionnain - in
Celebrations vary from tradition to tradition, but there are
some similarities that most people will probably recognize.
The real "12 Days of Christmas", Yule begins on "Mothers Night" and ends
12 days later on "Yule Night". Typically starting on the 20th or 21st of
December to December 31st. Yule is a time when the waxing sun overcomes
the waning sun (the shortest day and the longest night of the year).
The Holly King which represents the death aspect of God, is overcome by
the Oak King who represents the rebirth of the God. It is the time when
an individual concludes the chapter of their life for the year and
prepares for the rebirth of the New Year's lessons and opportunities.
Yule is the first of the solar festivals and the first Sabbat of
the new year. But here's something you may not know; Yule has a lot more
in common with Christmas than most people think. Many of the symbols and
underlying meaning of both holidays are very similar, if not actually
- Dark red or Bayberry candles are used to decorate the home and
ensure wealth and happiness for the coming year. Many Witches will
place the candles as a centerpiece on their dining table and allow
it to burn until it extinguishes by itself. A set of candles can
also be placed on the mantle and lit at the beginning of the Yule
- The festival is associated with fire, and the Yule log. The fire
is the tool that returns all to it's beginnings, "ashes to
ashes". And prepares the soul for rebirth, the "rise of the
Phenoix from the ashes".
- The season is also represented by the colors red (for the fire)
and green (for the rebirth) process.
- The season includes the cutting of the Yule tree, decorating the
home with a holy wreath (natures red and green bush) and decorating
special cookies for celebrating the sweet joys of the year past and
the sweetness for the year to come.
- Finally, the season includes the reindeer stag to represent the
horned God, the Wiccan God of death and the final chapter of the
- The tale of Yule begins when the Holly King battles the Oak King
in a fight to the death. The Oak King can be associated with many
aspects of God. The year that has passed, or Father Time, death, or
if you look at the king through nature, he can be associated with
the old stallion who must fight for his position as the head of the
heard. In the battle, the Oak King loses to the Holly King. Who
represents the new year, the young stallion claiming his position
over the heard. He is also called the Divine Child. The newborn
aspect of God.
- On a personal level, it is a time for each
witch to put to rest the old lessons, battles and issues that need
to be released. To let go of those things that hold you back and
move on into the new year with a fresh view and perspective. It is a
continuation of the introspection which you began during Samhain. It
is a time of renewal, and movement; so miss it.
- It is also a time to honor the Triple Goddess. Celebrating the
birth and purity of the Maiden, the life and nurturing of the Mother
and the wise knowledge of the old Crone. In many sects this is also
a time of celebrating the gifts brought to you by family and
friends. Those being the gifts of spiritual growth and
understanding. As the Holly King is born, the essence of that spirit
is also born within ourselves, and honoring that birth is also part
of the festival on Yule Night. Many believe this is where the
exchange of gifts at Christmas originated from. After all, in the
Christian faith it is the Son of God who is being honored on his
birthday, so why would you buy a new toaster for Aunt May? So
decorating the Yule tree and placing presents under it to be opened
on Yule, is actually a very pagan event.
What many people associate as Christmas colors, were actually Pagan long
before the birth of Christ. Red, White and Green bows, candles, and
various other decorations can be placed around your home and alter.
Honor the Oak King with holly wreaths, and the Holly King with
decorations of a young Stag.
The Yule Tree should be cut at the beginning of the Sabbat and decorated
with all the traditional colors and symbols. Find that special piece of
firewood for you're Yule log too. Some witches like to decorate the log
with a pine garland, pine cones, oak nuts, white flowers like mistletoe,
and red holly berries to add a dash of color. We like to sit our Yule
log on the top of our firewood holder near the fireplace.
If you want to include the Triple Goddess in your decorations, select
three special candles with small candle wreaths (you might find wreaths
of silk to use each year, and to help represent the Goddess aspect).
Chose a white candle with a wreath of Lily of the Valley to represent
the spring when all things emerge and grow for the Maiden. Chose a red
candle with a wreath of roses or carnations, to represent the mid-life
of summer and the Mother. Chose a dark green candle with a wreath of
holy and pine, to represent the old Crone and winter season.
Traditionally Sabbat festivals begin at sun set on the eve of the
Holiday. You can use the daytime hours of this holiday eve to prepare
baskets for harvesting the next day. Prepare your alter with red and
green candles. A dark green table cloth covered with red or white lace
is also an attractive addition.
Some witches include gemstones to bring or add to the energy of the
festival. Malachite or tiger eye are good stones for the Holly King.
Blood stone or garnet are wonderful stones to represent the Oak King.
Serving trays and goblets for ritual offerings are also placed on or
around the alter for easy access. Arrangements of winter flowers and
foliage should also be included to recognize the festival.
If your alter is outside or you have space on your interior alter, you
might add wreaths and garlands around your circle. Red and white
poinsettia are a nice touch inside or out.
There are several ways of conducting a ritual. Each witch should learn
many different methods and then construct your own within the boundaries
of the festival.
Due to the vast celebrations and rituals that are held around this
season, this is the one that we do not have a prepared ritual for.
The Ancient Pathway family celebrates in the ways that best benefit the
children and the spirit of this time of year.