Tuesday, 17 December 2019
I normally post on Sunday or Monday but been a bit behind recently, so I'm posting today instead. :)
It's almost time for Yule aka the Winter Solstice/Midwinter. This year it's on Sunday 22nd December. The date varies each year but it's always around 21st December
Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it will soon be Litha aka Midsummer/the Summer solstice. Here are my Litha celebration ideas posts:
Litha/Midsummer Celebration Ideas (also a post about no-yeast dinner rolls): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/06/baking-no-yeast-dinner-rolls-and.html
Celebrating Litha/Summer: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/06/celebrating-litha-summer.html
Litha Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/06/litha-inspiration_17.html
In the past two years I've done posts with ideas for celebrating Yule. You can see them below:
Yule Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/12/yule-celebration-ideas.html
Celebrating Yule/Christmas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/12/celebrating-yulechristmas.html
During 2019 I've done a series of Inspiration posts for the sabbats, so here is the post for Yule! :)
As I said in last year's post, Yule is either the first sabbat of the new cycle on the Wheel of the Year, or the second, depending on your point of view. (I think of Samhain as the beginning and end, so count it as the second). It's definitely the final sabbat of the calendar year.
Yule/the Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. From then on the days will start to gradually get longer, until Litha/the Summer Solstice when the reverse will happen. At this time of year we celebrate the return of the light and also the birth of the Sun God depending on your tradition. (Similar to the Christian Jesus at Christmas). There's also the legend of the Holly and Oak Kings. I wrote a little about it in last year's post and you can also read more about it here: https://www.learnreligions.com/holly-king-and-the-oak-king-2562991
The Winter Solstice is when the North Pole is furthest away from the sun, and the actual time it will happen this year will be around 4.19am UK time (GMT). To find the time in your country visit this link: https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/winter-solstice.html
It also marks the official start of of winter in astronomical terms, although if you go by meteorological terms, then it started on 1st December. I've written about this in the past in my Getting Ready for Winter post. Either way we're officially in winter now! :)
Here's some Yule info and ideas for celebrating:
A might-do list for Yule: http://www.wortsandcunning.com/blog/a-might-do-list-for-yule
14 things to do on Yule: https://www.siobhanjohnson.com/fourteen-things-to-do-on-yule/
Good post from Vegan Kitchen Magick with lots of ideas for celebrating Yule: https://www.vegankitchenmagick.com/celebrating-yule-2017/
Tess Whitehurst about 5 little ways to work magic during Yuletide: https://tesswhitehurst.com/5-little-ways-to-work-magic-this-yuletide/
Winter Solstice affirmations video from Tess: https://tesswhitehurst.com/winter-solstice-affirmations/
I also like this post from Mystic Family about setting goals at Yuletide: https://www.mysticfamily.com/yuletide-goal-setting/
There's a lot of focus on setting goals in the New Year but you might prefer to set them during the Yule season.
And here are a couple of good posts from The Peculiar Brunette about keeping a Yule/Winter Solstice holiday journal and grimoire, and spreading magic and kindness during this season:
There's a whole Yule series on her site, so check it out for the rest of the posts. :)
More ways to celebrate:
Decorate/make a Yule log- I've written about the traditional Yule log before. Check out the 2017 post for more on it: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/12/yule-celebration-ideas.html
I usually have a chocolate log, most years bought from the shops but this year I'm going to make one again. Visit this post for more on the Yule instructions on how to make your own (wooden) one: http://www.thepeculiarbrunette.com/what-is-a-yule-log-how-to-make-one-part-1/
Bake- Of course I was going to include this! lol. As I said I tend to have a chocolate Yule log from the supermarket most years, since it's so close to Christmas I don't always have time/feel like doing extra baking. But I've made my own some years and this Yule I'm gong to make using a recipe from the Co-op magazine. It's a spiced Christmas Yule log with white frosting. It's vegan (and vegetarian), although I'm not going to use dairy free spread, I'll use butter instead. See the recipe here: https://www.coop.co.uk/recipes/spiced-christmas-yule-log
Last Yule and New Year's Day (2019) I baked gingerbread. The first lot didn't come out so well but I think that was to do with my mixing! I don't have the recipe for the first one because it was in a Witch of Lupine Hollow newsletter, but here's the link for the gingerbread cookies I made for New Year: https://www.handletheheat.com/gingerbread-cookies/
Moody Moons also has a Winter Wonderland Solstice cake: https://moodymoons.com/2019/12/02/yule-wonderland-winter-solstice-cake/
And check out last year's post for more baking ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/12/celebrating-yulechristmas.html
12 days of Yule- This is something I've heard of more recently, where some people celebrate Yule for 12 days, starting on Yule itself and ending in early January. You can read more here: https://springwolf.net/2014/12/21/the-12-days-of-yule/
I'm not currently doing this but it sounds like a good idea. :) In Christianity there is also the 12 days of Christmas. Twelfth Night is when you're supposed to take your Christmas tree and decorations down by.
Jess Carlson also linked to this article about it in her newsletter: http://www.heathenhof.com/12-devotional-days-of-yule/
Enjoy hot drinks- Winter is the perfect time of year to enjoy hot drinks such as cocoa and hot chocolate. I did a post on winter drinks at the beginning of last year: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/01/winter-drinks.html
I also like to have spicy hot milk for Yule, a recipe from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya. A good drink to make is French hot chocolate and last Christmas Eve I made crockpot hot chocolate (just in a pan though because I don't have a crockpot!). I'd like to make it again this year. It is really rich though! Here's the recipe: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/423268064976722038/
And here is a recipe for spiced pear cider on Witch of Lupine Hollow: https://witchoflupinehollow.com/2019/11/27/soul-warming-spiced-pear-cider-for-the-yule-season
More suggestions would be to have a Christmas tree and light candles. I usually light red and green ones for Yule, and another set for Christmas. I've only got ones for Yule this year, but if I don't get more then I'll light other candles. You could also watch the sunrise, which should be easier since it's later now!
Hope you enjoyed the post and it gave you some ideas for celebrating! :) As I said I'll be making a Yule log and also lighting candles. I like to go up to my local nature reserve for most of the sabbats, but not so much during the colder months! I will do a post about my Yule next weekend. Can't believe it's just over a week to go till Christmas! It seems to have gone quickly.
Happy Yule! (Or Litha)!). :)
For more winter inspiration check out these posts:
My post More Winter Inspiration + Winter Tag: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/12/more-winter-inspiration-winter-tag.html
Witchcrafts + Weeds: Healing + Magickal Practices for Winter (Worts and Cunning): http://www.wortsandcunning.com/blog/witchcraft-weeds-healing-magickal-practices-for-winter
Photo: Christmas tree at Holmbush Centre, Shoreham-by-sea. Moonsparkle 2019.