Many Blessings to all in the Southern Hemisphere for Litha and the Summer Solstice. To all those of us in the fire prone areas I wish a safe summer. Blessed Be!
This is the longest day of the year, and a time of joy and strength for the light. It is a time when the powers of nature are at their fullest. In the past this was often marked with bonfires and celebrants staying awake through the short night. To leap over the bonfire was to assure a good crop; some said the grain would grow as tall as the leapers could jump. Due to fire restrictions in Australia throughout summer, celebrations for this Sabbat tend to be quite different from those throughout the rest of the year. No candles can be lit, no cauldrons burned, and no open flames are allowed outside throughout much of the country. Litha falls in the dry stifling heat of summer in the southern part of our land, but in the north, Litha falls in the hot, wet season, and represents fruitfulness. In Australia the Sturt Desert Pea is a sacred flower of this time. This is a time of ascendancy of the God, at his most powerful now, while the burgeoning Goddess brings forth the bounty of the Earth.
Yule – Northern Hemisphere
To all in the Northern Hemisphere I wish to you warmth and cosiness during the cold wintry months. Blessed Be!
Yule is celebrated at the winter solstice (Or the midpoint of winter). It is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night.
Yule comes from the Germanic “Iul” meaning “Wheel.” Yule celebrates Winter, and the rebirth of the Sun God. As Yule is the shortest day of the Year it marks the Suns low point, as after this the Sun will begin to grow stronger again. It is customary to have a Yule log – this is a log (Traditionally Oak or Pine) that you burn during this time, and keep it through the year for protection, and add it to the fire of the following year’s Yule log.
If you do not wish to have a fire, you can use a log with holes drilled into it as a candle holder which will represent the Yule fire. It is also customary to light many lights and candles as sympathetic magik to bring the Sun back, persuading him to emerge from the womb of the Earth mother..
Holly is traditionally worn by men, and Ivy by women at this time. The Yule tree (Also known as the Christmas tree) was a wishing tree, the wishes for the new year hang in the arms of the universe.
You can make a Pagan Yule tree by making decorations from Rose Buds, Cinnamon Sticks, Pop Corn, Bags of Herbs, Crystals suspended from wire, Apples, Oranges, Lemons etc. After you have made the tree, dance around it Deosil (clockwise), singing and making wishes. A time for Rebirth, reflection, new ideas, dreams, hopes and giving.
Plants for Yule: Holly, Mistletoe, Ivy, Evergreens, Pine, Cedar, Bay, Juniper, Rosemary, Pine, Apples, Oranges, Nutmeg, Lemon, Cinnamon, Frankincense.
Foods of Yule: All “Christmas” foods (eg. Turkey, Roasts, Potatoes etc.), hearty Winter foods (Stew etc.), Nuts, Apples, Pears, Caraway, Pork, Hibiscus or Ginger tea.
Stones: Onyx, Obsidian, Jet.
Colours: Red, Green, Orange, White.
Pagan belief: The Goddess gives birth to the God. Some traditions have a Holly King and an Oak King as the God, and they fight at Yule with the Oak King winning, and ruling until Litha.
Yule Goddesses: Fortuna, Gaia, Heket, Lilith, Frey, Ma’at, Pandora, Shekinah, Tiamat.
Yule Gods: Apollo, Balder, Cronos, Helios, Janus, Lugh, Oak King, Holly King, Ra, Sol, Attis, mithras, Odin, Saturn.