Yule is loosely translated to mean "Christmas". Though according to an online dictionary, the word yule is derived from the Scandinavian words "yol" and "geol" both of which mean a midwinter celebration of "pagan origin" (I love that phrase!) and also another word, "hjul" means "wheel". Now on to the phrase "pagan origin"... that is just the lazy way of saying "Our traditions come from so many different cultures and time periods, we just thought it would be easier to lump them all together in one term."


Yule is also known as the Winter Solstice. It is the time of the shortest daylight hours in the year, and of course, the longest night. The Goddess gives birth to the God at this time, representing a rebirth of light. It is the time of year when the Earth (wood) spirits are encouraged to rest, in preparation for all the hard work ahead of them to replenish the Earth with the fresh blooms of new life, the forthcoming of spring. Celebrations were held in honor of the wood spirits. Trees were brought into the homes, and decorated with bells, candles and brightly colored threads to attract the spirits. Bread, fruit and nuts were hung from the branches to provide food for the spirits. Group singing (caroling) was also a way of guiding the spirits towards the shelter of the homes and Yule logs were lit to provide warmth. This festival has been adapted since its earlier Pagan origin to be known as the more popular festival Christmas.

Yule coincides closely with the Christian Christmas celebration. This Sabbath represents the rebirth of light. Here, on the longest night of the year, the Goddess gives birth to the Sun Child and hope for new light is reborn. Some covens hold a Festival of Light to commemorate the Goddess as Mother giving birth to the Sun God. Others celebrate the victory of the Lord of Light over the Lord of Darkness as the turning point from which the days will lengthen.

The Christian tradition of a Christmas tree has its origins in the Pagan Yule celebration. Many 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. The colors of the season, red and green, also are of Pagan origin, as is the custom of exchanging gifts. As a solar festival, Yule is celebrated by fire and the use of a Yule log. A piece of the log is saved and kept throughout the year to protect the home. That piece is used to light the next year's log.


Focus of Yule

The sun is at its lowest point, making this, the year's longest night. We internalize and synthesize the outward-directed activities of the previous summer months. Yule is a time of awakening to new goals and leaving old regrets behind.

Ravenna's Yule 2006

This year's Yule celebration was interesting and fun. On Solstice eve, my oldest son and I lit a candle to help us keep vigil over the Goddess as She gave birth to the newborn Sun. The next morning, we got up early and sang the Sun awake. It was really cute and fun, and my son really had fun singing to the Sun.

Then a few days later, I got together with some friends and we had a lovely little ritual to celebrate the Solstice. I brought my boys with me, and they also had a really great time. We sang filked Yule carols, toasted the season and each other, as well as feasted on many delicious foods. All in all it was a lovely time and we really enjoyed ourselves.

~ Ravenna Angelline 2006


Ravenna's Samhain 2005

 Yule was really great this year. My coven mates and I had a party, and those of us with children brought them with. It was so much fun!! With the kids running around like a bunch of maniacs, only stopping long enough to open the presents left by the Holly King, then zing! Off again to cause more havoc, lol.

There was a ton of food, good gifts, lots of laughing and general merry-making. I'm glad my boys got to come this year to the party, it's good to include them in my Craft experiences. I can hardly wait for next year!!

~ Ravenna Angelline 2005

Why Ravenna Loves Christmas

Why do I love this holiday season? Why does this time of year hold more magic for me than any other? Why does it seem like the magic fades more and more every year?

I love this time of year, because this is the time when everyone, all over the world is supposed to come together in the spirit of love and peace. Because when I was younger I could literally feel the magic in the air, when strangers went out of their way to help one another out.

The magic fades because as the years go by, people are more obsessed with the price tag on their gift than the thought that went into it. You see it all the time. People practically beating each other senseless in the malls in order to get to that last expensive toy on the shelf. Kids are even more greedy than ever! What with the latest video gaming system and games, or other nifty little electronic gadget that has just come out... more, more, more is all they scream!

Not that I'm blameless myself. I want a new laptop... been asking for one for a few years now. I had one, but it was damaged, I'd like a new one.  Probably not going to happen any time in the near future, but a girl can dream!

But still, I love this season. It still holds its magic. The smells of cinnamon and ginger in the air, or roasting hams and turkeys... it's all there. The sounds of children's laughter ringing through the neighborhood, the sights of the Christmas lights... it's lovely. I look forward to it, I dream of it... even as Christmas ends, I'm already anticipating next year's Christmas.

I love being with my family most of all. My friends, everyone. I love seeing smiles on people's faces. I love to see the joy in a child's face when they see Santa at the mall. It's fun.

I think that is why I love this season. It's still fun for me (well, so long as I avoid the malls as much as possible!), and now that my son is getting older, I see the magic in his eyes, and the joy from him, and it makes it all the more precious and special to me.


Yule Links