Blessed Yule to all of us in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a cold, wet, blustery day, I have one of the cats curled up beside me, the other is sitting on the heating vent. I am hosting my usual Yule lunch this weekend for a group of friends who love the feast I create for them. I hope everyone else stays warm and cosy. Blessed Be!
Midwinter or Yule (21st & 22nd June)
Yule falls at the Midwinter Solstice, when the nights are longer and the days shorter than at any other time of the year. Yule corresponds in many ways with the Northern Hemisphere Christian Christmas festival, and is associated with the Alban Arthan (Scottish). The history behind this is that the early Christian Church sought to gain converts by placing its festivals on or near the existing Pagan festivals.
At this time, Yule logs are burned. The Yule log must traditionally be the root of a hardwood tree, and in Australia mallee roots are ideal for this purpose, as are Tasmanian oaks and all types of Eucalyptus. The Yule log is burned down until nothing but a small piece remains, which is saved and kept to be used as a lighter for the following year’s Yule fire. A Yule tree is placed within the traditional Wiccan home, with a pentagram (five pointed star) at the top, symbolizing the five elements.
At Midwinter, homes are decorated with evergreen, non-deciduous trees, and gifts are given to all family members and all who pass the threshold. It is traditional to give to charities at this time, and to care, even more than usual, for the sick and poverty-stricken members of the community. Midwinter is also a special time to care for animals. As an antithesis to the traditional (but necessary) slaughter that used to occur at this time of year, modern Australian Witches may choose to donate time and / or money to animal charities such as the RSPCA. By doing so, we honour and acknowledge the importance of all Her creatures in this world.
Midwinter is a traditional time of feasting, and the seasonal colours are green and red. Yule was the traditional time of birth of Dionysus, Mithras and Baal, and the birth of the Norse Goddess Freya was also celebrated at this time.
Midwinter represents the rebirth of light in the midst of greatest darkness. At midwinter, the Goddess gives birth to the Sun God, springing forth new hope for the year to come.
In the Southern hemisphere, Yule is celebrated on June 21st and June 22nd, and in the Northern hemisphere it falls on the 21st and 22nd of December.
LITHA – NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
Blessed Litha to all in the Northern Hemisphere as the warmer weather heads your way. Stay safe as the days grow hotter, but enjoy the glorious warmth and new growth in the garden. Blessed Be!
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.