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Yule

Yule is also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and from this day forth the Sun gains in power staying above the horizon longer each day. This is symbolic of the Rebirth of the God, who now grows with every day. One tradition that was practiced in Ancient times was that of the Yule Log, a branch of Ash or Oak that was cut, decorated with evergreens and pine cones, and then burnt in the hearth to symbolize the returning Sun.  A portion of the Log was kept to light the following years Yule Log, allowing for warmth to stay for the whole year within the household.
A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak, ash or pine, and flatten one side so it sets upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Decorate with greenery, (holly and ivy are our personal favorites), red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.Another tradition still used today is that of the Christmas tree, Pagan families would bring a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months. Bells were hung in the limbs so you could tell when a spirit was present. Food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat and a five-pointed star, the pentagram, symbol of the five elements, was placed atop the tree. Yule coincides with the Christian celebration of Christmas (the birth of Christ being very similar to the rebirth of the Sun and the God), which is no coincidence, as the early Christian Church chose to celebrate the birth of Christ (which is actually believed to have happened in March)  at this time to try and woo the Pagan peoples away from their own faith.  Yule Correspondences

Symbolism
Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

Symbols
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, ivy, fir trees, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, Christmas cactus.

Deities
Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.

Herbs
Bayberry, thistle, evergreen, frankincense, holly, ivy, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

Foods
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, rich fruit cake, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider.

Incense
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Colors
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.

Stones
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

Activities
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule


 

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