All Re-Born Sun Gods, Aker (Egyptian), Apollo (Greco-Roman), Attis (Egyptian-Phoenician), Balder (Norse), Braggi (Norse), Cronos (Greek), Father Sun (Native American), Helios (Greek), Hyperion (Greek), Janus (Roman), Jesus (Christian-Gnostic), Lugh (Irish), Maui (Polynesian), Mitra (Aryan), Mithras (Persian), Ngau (Maori), Nurelli (Aboriginal), Oak/Holly King (Anglo-Celtic), Odin (Norse), Ra (Egyptian), Saturn (Roman), Sol (Roman), Ukko (Finnish-Yugoritic), Yachimata-Hiko (Japanese).
One traditional Yuletide practice is the creation of a Yule tree. This can be a living, potted tree which can later be planted in the ground, or a cut one. The Choice is yours.
Appropriate Wiccan decorations are fun to make, from strings of dried rosebuds and cinnamon sticks (or popcorn and cranberries) for garlands, to bags of fragrant spices which are hung from boughs. Quartz crystals can be wrapped with shiny wire and suspended from sturdy branches to resemble icicles. Apples, oranges, and lemons hanging from boughs are strikingly beautiful, natural decorations, and were customary in ancient times.
Many enjoy the custom of lighting the Yule log. This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess. If you choose to burn one, select a proper log (traditionally of Oak or Pine). Carved or chalk a figure of the Sun (such as a rayed disk) or the God (a horned circle or a figure of a man) upon it, with a white-handled knife, and set it alight in the fireplace at dusk on Yule. As the log burns, visiualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days.
As for food, Nuts, Fruit such as Apples and Pears, Cakes of Carraways soaked in Cider, and (for non-vegetarians) pork are traditional fare. Wassail, Lambswool, Hibiscus or Ginger Tea are fine drinks for the Simple Feast or Yule meals.
All-Purpose Holiday Cookies (makes 21/2 dozen cookies)
11/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Egg, beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the dry ingredients and the oil together in the large mixing bowl. Beat remaining ingredients until light and fluffy. Add to the mixing bowl with the mixture and stir together. Allow the mixture to chill for at least two hours- overnight is better. Divide the mixture into four sections for easier handling. Roll the dough out on a generously flowered cutting board until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and place the cut-outs onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until cookies are stiff and a light golden color. Do not bake until brown or the cookies will become hard and brittle.
Gingerbread Men and Women (makes 3 dozen medium sized cookies)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup dark molasses
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups flour
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
4 teaspoons ginger
11/2 teaspoons baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients except the flour. Add the flour slowly, mixing each addition thoroughly. The dough should be slightly stiff. If the mixture seems too dry, add a teaspoon or two of water; if too wet, add more flour. Roll out the dough on a floured cutting board to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters shaped like little dough people to make the shapes. Place these on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for ten minutes (time is only approx.). Transfer the cookies to wax paper to cool. Give your Gingerbread people features by using colored frosting from a pastry tube.
Yule Log Cake (serves 8)
1 package commercial cake mix, preferable chocolate
2 cans (24 oz.) pre-made frosting in a dark brown color
Several tubes of cake decoration frosting in green, red, and white
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and line a jelly roll pan with waxed paper. Mix the cake according to the package instructions and pour a thin layer- no more than 1/4- inch thick- into the prepared jelly roll pan. Bake the cake until just underdone. If you can't tell by looking, then use the knife test. When the knife emerges not quite clean from the center of the cake, and when a light touch does not bounce back easily, it needs to come out. Check the cake at seven minutes, and then every two minutes after that. DO NOT over-bake or the dough will be dry and hard to work with. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool slightly. The remove the cake from the pan by lifting out the wax paper. With the dark frosting, coat the top of the cake. Carefully lift one end of the cake and begin gently rolling it up as if you were rolling up a map. When you are done, anchor the cake with tooth-picks and let it cook for about 5 more minutes. Cool the cake for 30 minutes, then frost it with the dark brown icing. Next, take the tubes of colored cake decorating frosting and make holly and mistletoe over the top. You can also use artificial greenery until it is time to eat the cake. To finish, take a toothpick and etch lines into the frosting to resemble tree bark.
Information was taken from Edain McCoy's book "The Sabbats- A New Approach to Living the Old Ways" and Scott Cunningham's book "Wicca- A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner".
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