It’s always fun to sort through all of the things that are relevant and have been used for celebrations of the Sabbats. There are so many for the Winter Solstice/Yule because of the cluster of other holidays that occur during this time of the year. Many of the Christmas decorations and traditions were appropriated and adapted from the pagan practices.
Over the next several days I’ll be highlighting some of these correspondences and offering some additional perspectives that you may wish to incorporate into your celebrations. So, let’s get started with some of the more common….
Symbols Commonly Used:
- Solar Imagery– represents the return of the Sun’s light and strength;
- Holly-the red and green of rebirth;
- Candles– representing the light of the Sun and used to call that light back, bringing warmth;
- Evergreens-representing the defeat of death and winter because they remained green throughout the desolate months of the year;
- Yule Log– Celtic in origins and sacred to the Oak King and decorated with the greens of the Holly King;
- Bells– used to drive away negative and trickster spirits that moved through the dark cold winter;
- Wreaths– represent the circular shape pf the Sun, the continuum of the cycles of the Great Wheel and the permanence of mastering death (usually constructed from Evergreens).
The Plants and Herbs: of Yule Blessed thistle, evergreen, moss, oak, sage, bay, bayberry, cedar, pine, frankincense, ginger, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, myrrh, pine cones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon, valerian, yarrow
Gold, silver, red, green, white
Stones and Crystals:
Cat’s eye, ruby, diamond, garnet, bloodstone
Sagittarius into Capricorn
Celtic Tree Moon:
Incense and oils:
Blended together or alone Bayberry, cedar, ginger, cinnamon, pine, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, saffron. Always use a carrier oil if you are using essential oils. Some wonderful carrier oils are Coconut, Jojoba, Olive and Almond, to name a few.
Animals and Mythical Beasts:
Yule goat (Nordic), reindeer stag, squirrels, Yule cat, Sacred White Buffalo, Kallikantzaroi-ugly chaos monsters (Greek), trolls, phoenix, Yule elf, Jule gnome, squirrels, wren/robin
Gods and Goddess:
Goddesses-Brigid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child
Nuts, apple, pear, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pork, orange, hibiscus or ginger tea, roasted turkey, nuts, fruitcake, dried fruit, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine
Gift-exchanging, singing, feasting, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, hanging mistletoe, bell ringing/sleigh-bells; father yule.
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness, Personal renewal, world peace, honoring family, friends, Festivals of light, meditation.
Scott Cunningham (asstd. books)