Date: 21st June - 23rd June - When the Sun is at 0 degrees Cancer.
Date: 21st - 23rd Dcember - When the Sun is at 0 degrees Capricorn
The festival to celebrate the birth of the sun. It is the Winter Solstice, marking the longest night of the year and shortest day of the year.
The word Solstice means, "sun stands still" One of the Lesser Sabbats. Yule means "wheel"
The winter solstice is a magical time of energetic reawakening, both symbolically in our lives, and literally, as from this day forward. The days start to lengthen and things begin to grow again. It is a time when the dark half of the year will start to recede, and the light half of the year is reborn.
Yule is a time of reflection, To give thanks for the returning Sun.
Legend is when the sun God Lugh [pronounced Loo] is reborn, we too experience rebirth. These stories remind us of our connection to the earth's natural cycles, and how they are played out within our bodies, minds and souls. For our ancestors, these sacred tales kept them connected to the earth's cycles.
Our ancestors lived their lives according to the constant shifting rhythm of the great seasonal wheel. In spring, they planted and harvested though summer and autumn.
As autumn progressed they wintered in, storing food, gathering fuel for winter fires and putting their fields to bed.
When winter came, people went to their houses and passed in the cold dark months living off their stored food, telling stories around the fire, making risky hunting trips for scarce winter meat and hoping that they had enough food and firewood.
Going to bed early to conserve candles, oils and other light sources and getting up late snuggled in their beds to help save heating fuel.
Most of us have forgotten how to hibernate. We maintain the same routine all year round and often grumble about the winter months instead of embracing winters place in the great seasonal wheel. In the winter we maintain a consistent temperature in our house all year long. We turn on the lights when it gets dark. Our diet doesn't change much either.
From winter solstice night on, the sun rises just a bit higher and stays in the sky just a little longer with each new day. What a relief this must have been to our ancestors, who sometimes must have felt that winter was eternal.
For us living in the world today, winter still has a profound impact on us. We too can feel unfit, chilly and less motivated. But imagine how our ancestors must have felt.
The hunger, the darkness, a lack of outdoor time and wondering whether the sun God would come back to the tribe.
With solstice night, the longest night of the year, came an outpouring of people's darkest fears, and simultaneously an outpouring of gratitude for the sun's return and the understanding that we are indeed divinely cared for.
Winter solstice was a time of celebration as it became clear that the sun God, known as Lugh to the Celts, had returned to help warm the frozen ground, and love the Goddess and the earth back to life once more.
Wiccan celebrate by exchanging gifts, decorating a tree, hanging holly and mistletoe, singing, feasting and by burning a Yule log. The exchange of gifts symbolises hope for the future and gifts that the Lady has bestowed on the earth by giving birth to the Lord, who is also the Sun.
Perfprm rituals for Rebirth and Renewal. Burn a Yule log. Make your own Yule log. Empower mistletoe for healing and prosperity. Make puppets or have statues to represent the Oak King and Holly King on your Altar. Empower Yule tree ornaments for prosperity. Wreath on your door. Mistletoe in doors, Sunflower seeds outside for the birds. Do a year spread in a tarot reading.
Write your wishes on a bay leaf and burn it in the cauldron or fire.
Symbols for representing this Sabbat may include Yule tree. Yule logs.