Many Yule blessings to those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, may you be warm and toastie on these cold wet days.
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 (Northern Hemisphere), 20th or 21st of June to June 30th (Southern Hemisphere).
Yule is a time when the waxing sun overcomes the waning sun. 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 you conclude the chapter of your life for the year and prepare for the rebirth of the New Year’s lessons and opportunities.
Celebrations vary from tradition to tradition, but there are some similarities that most people will probably recognise.
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 centrepiece 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 ceremony.
The festival is associated with fire, and the Yule log. The fire is the tool that returns all to its beginnings, “ashes to ashes”. And prepares the soul for rebirth, the “rise of the Phoenix from the ashes”.
The season is also represented by the colours 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 (nature’s 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 year.
LITHA – NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
To all in the Northern Hemisphere I wish you a blessed Litha, may the sun shine upon you and brighten your days.
Litha, or Midsummer, is celebrated at the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the Year, and the shortest night.
Litha celebrates the very height of the powers of the Sun and of Life. But it also acknowledges that after this date the Sun will begin to weaken and the days to grow shorter. Litha is a time of purification. An Example of a purification Litha spell is to take a small herbal bag filled with Litha herbs/flowers, put all your problems, worries etc. into the bag, and drop it into the Litha fire to burn all those worries away.
Litha is also a time to pay attention to your dreams, as these could contain messages for the future. This Sabbat is a good time to perform any Magikal workings, and jumping over a Litha balefire will increase the Magikal energy and give purification Herbs and plants for ritual use can be harvested at Litha to make use of the high level of Magik power at this time.
Litha is also a time to make protection amulets, and bless people or animals.
Plants for Litha: Mugwort, Vervain, Chamomile, Rose, lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Fern, Elder, Wild thyme, Daisy, Carnation, St John’s Wort.
Stones: Moonstone, Quartz, Pearl.
Colours: Green, Orange, Yellow, Gold.
Pagan Beliefs: The Goddess is mature. The God prepares for his death. Some traditions have the Holly King and the Oak King fighting again, but this time the Holly King wins, and rules until Yule.
Litha Goddesses: Athena, Bona Dea, Freya, Hathor, Isis, Juno, Nuit, Artemis, Dana, Eos, Kali, Sekhmet, Vesta.
Litha Gods: Apollo, Baal, Dagda, Balder, Helios, lugh, Oak king, Holly King, Prometheus, Ra, Thor, Sol, Zeus.