This is a time for the rebirth of the Sun King, the days have been getting shorter since Midsummer and now the tide turns once again and the days begin to lengthen in the promise of the coming of spring. Most people will celebrate this day on the 21st December in the Northern Hemisphere (and 21st of June in the Southern), though the acctual day can move depending on the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun. Though this is still a time for darkness and contemplation while the land rests this festival is seen as one of hope and promise as the sun returns. Animals are in hibernation and some people will feel this pull as well, to slow down and rest more. This is a time of inner meditation, plants and animals wait beneath the ground before they can forfill their potential in spring. So we must abide the time of darkness and seek what empowers us from within while waiting for lighter days to be active in. Mythologically this is the time when Oak and Holly King struggle once more, this time Oak King wins to rule over the lightening side of the year.
"A Sun Symbol
One of the ways to welcome the reborn Sun is to create a solar image. The following is a version which can be enjoyed even by the very young, but you can adapt it and make it as complex as you wish.
Take a cardboard circle; a paper plate is fine. Cut it into a Sun symbol and decorate it in yellows, oranges and golds. You can use shiny paper, gliter, paint even used sweet wrappers. If you have a little time and some patience it can be fun to create your image from gluing a combination of pastas, beans and pulses and painting them in the above colours. Once your Sun symbol is completed it can take part in a very simple Yule Rite. Just before dawn (around 8am) on the Winter Solstice take your Sun symbol and a dark cloth. Cover the Sun with the cloth and chant the following, "Return, return, the Earth, the Air, the Fire and the Water," three times.You can accompany this with clapping or drumming if you are sure it will not upset others who may still be asleep! Once the Sun has risen, remove the dark cloth from the symbol and bow 3 times to the Sun, saying, "Welcome to us returining Sun King. May he lighten our days and bring warmth to the land. Blessed Be." Your Sun symbol can now be hung in a prominent place in the house." The Real Witches Year - Kate West
Solitary Celebration: Yule
"Yule is a remarkably easy sabbat as a solitary Wiccan, because, as with the other sabbats, many of the symbolic actions spill over into secular celebration of associated holidays. The most challenging of the traditional events associated with the Yule sabbat might be the feast. You can accomplish the feast by enguaging in the typical seasonal gathering of family and close friends to share food and conviviality. Your spiritual reasons for the celebration do not have to be shared by the others at the table- you are all celebrating joy at a time of friendship and warmth.
The Yule log is a central cymbol in the Wiccan Yule ritual. Depending on the souces you consult the log is most often a peice of oak decorated with evergreen boughs, mistletoe, and holy. The log symbolises the balance of the God (the oak) and the Goddess (the evergreen), and is placed in front of or atop the altar.
In the past, the Yule log was burned as an act of sympathetic magic to encourage the sun to return. If you have a fireplace, you can witness the glorious and moving transformation of the log as it burns and releases the energy with which you have charged it. Older traditions call for retaining a small charred piece of the log, preserving it all year to help start the fire in which the next year's Yule log will burn.The ashes of the Yule log are said to have great power. Keep them and sprinkle them in your garden in the spring to bless the garden.
In these modern times, when not many people have access to a working fireplace, the Yule log has become a candleholder. By drilling one to three holes in the top, you can place candles into the Yule log and burn those instead. The number of candles you use will depend on what you want to symbolize:
- One candle, often red or yellow, represents the God as he is born.
- Two candles, often green and red, represent the Goddess and God.
- Three candles, often white, red and black, can represent the Triple Goddess or the triple aspects of both dieties.
Wreaths of evergreen, ivy, holly and mistletoe are also commonly used in Wiccan Yule rituals. Some Wiccans lean these items against the altar, or place them on the altar's surface. You can place the wreaths around a red taper or pillar candle that represents the God. The circular shape of the wreath recalls the cycle of the seasons and the cycle of life. Once the wreath has been blessed by its inclusing in the ritual, hang it on your door on in your window or wherever it may extend its blessings to the rest of your property or personal space.
A vigil by candlelight on the longest night of the year is anonother modern Yule tradition. Ideally, you can light the candle in the centre of your wreath or the candle(s) in your Yule log at sunset, and they burn all night, their warmth and light coaxing the sun to return. At dawn the flames are extinguished. If you have the opportinity to burn your Yule log, this make a wonderful beginning to the Yule vigil....
...As romantic as this tradition sounds, it is a challenging one to acctually perform. MAny of us are expected to work the next day, and it's impossible to forgo a night of sleep. Sitting up alone is also more challenging that staying awake in a group of people - it's too easy to fall asleep, no matter how spiritual you feel. As a solitary Wiccan, you have the freedom to choose, without inconveniencing anyone else. Perform part of your Yule ritual at sunset the evening before the day of the solstice arrives: Bid farewell to the sun as it vanished into the darkness for the longest night, symbolically extinguishing your candle to symbolise the darkness of the longest night. Then, wake up before dawn (or earlier than that if you usually arise before dawn in late December) to light the candle once again and perform the second half of the ritual to welcome the sun's appearance.
If you choose to leave a candle burning all night while you sit through your waking vigil, take the proper precautions:
- Burn a candle that will last for at least 16 hours.
- Have a fire extinguisher as wel as water and/or sand nearby.
- Burn the candle in an appropriate holder that will catch any spilling wax.
- Don't place the burning candle in a draft.
- Make sure there's nothing too close that might catch fire.
- Spray any greenery nearby with plenty of water to wet it before you light the candle.
- If you choose to decorate your log or God candle with atrificial greenery, place it as a safe distance before you light the candles; artificial greenery burns quickly and more dangerously than real evergreen does.
Try using jar candles - the tall pillar type candles encased in glass that burn for fourty hours - for safety. Jar candles are stable and reliable, and the flame is kept away from flammable substances and protected from drafts."
Solitary Wicca for Life - Arin Murphey-Hiscock
Blessed Yule everyone!!!
May you all feel the light and love of the returning Sun! Blessed Be!