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The Winter Solstice celebration, also known as Yule, has its origins in Norse Paganism. The name it was given by modern Druid traditions is Alban Arthan. It is a celebration for new beginnings. This is so because the Sun is returning to us, so it’s a great time to dream big for the coming year and make plans that bring in some brand new energy into our lives.

The word Yule comes from Old English. It’s an ancient word, it even predates the term witch! In Old Norse, jól meant a large celebratory feast. Another way to refer to Yule is Yuletide. The first documented use of this word dates back to the 15th century. The suffix tide, found in the names of other festivals, refers to a period of time that includes a celebration. Ancient Romans called this festival Saturnalia, as it was held in honor of the God Saturn.

Yule also celebrates darkness, given that the period of time it takes place in encompasses the shortest day of the year. This makes it a great time for reflection and Shadow Work. When both introspection and new plans take place during Yule, you will have an excellent year! Yule lasts for a total of twelve days. Ever wondered why the Christmas season is celebrated in twelve days? It comes from Yule!

Some of the traditions associated with Yule include handing out mistletoe and burning logs. The Druids handed out mistletoe to their loved ones to symbolize the connection between the sky and the earth. Mistletoe is also revered because of its protective and healing qualities. They also handed out Holly to repel harmful spirits. Other significant plants associated with Yule are Ivy, a symbol of immortality, Yew, a symbol of rebirth, and Pine for healing and joy. These species of greenery are known as the evergreens.

Pagan people also used to light logs in antiquity because they believed that the smoke would keep evil away and attract good fortune into the household. Not only are the Yule logs themselves significant, Fire in Yule is of utmost importance, as it symbolizes the Sun.

When Christianity started to become prominent in Europe, they appropriated certain Yule rituals as part of the Christmas celebrations. Even the custom of decorating the Christmas tree comes from Yule. In the past, people would bring about greenery from outside and decorate a tree in their house to celebrate the coming fertile seasons. They were hung in the form of wreaths in points of entry in a house, such as doorways and windows.

The best way to take advantage of Yule is to allow ourselves space to expand our inner worlds. Remember that change starts from within! Yule is a great reminder that darkness can’t last forever, and light is always meant to come back. It’s also a great time for loved ones to gather together, an aspect that has been retained by Christianity.

Wiccan Festivals

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Wicca has a cyclical view of time. They divide the whole year into a Wheel of the Year, an annual cycle of seasonal festivals. It’s a way for them to honor the cyclical nature of time by celebrating and honoring the cyclical nature of time. By celebrating these rituals, they open themselves up to the changing nature of the seasons. They honor their belief that time is a never-ending circle of growth and retreat, heavily influenced by the Sun’s phoenix-like quality of death and rebirth. The Sun is seen as a symbol of divine inspiration.

The Sabbats, as these festivals are known, are the year’s main solar events (solstices and equinoxes), as well as some significant midpoints between them. They mark the beginnings and midpoints of the four seasons. These are times of community celebrations.

Yule or the Winter Solstice celebrates the fact that the Sun is slowly becoming more present in the sky. This is seen as a time of rebirth for the Solar God. It may be the most important time of celebration in Wicca. People celebrate by bringing twigs, leaves, and other plants (known as evergreens) into their homes. The tradition of decorating trees during Christmas is based on Yule celebrations.

Yule is followed by Imbolc or Candlemas. It’s understood as the middle point in Winter. The first signs of spring are often observed at this time. The tradition to do spring cleaning is based on Imbolc celebrations.

Ostara is the Spring Equinox. Light and darkness are now balanced again, and light is becoming more and more prevalent. It’s seen as a time of creativity and a great time to manifest new beginnings.

Beltane or May Eve recognizes the power of life and the fertility of the soil. It’s a time of flourishing. The custom of crowning a Spring Queen, common in many cultures, is based on Beltane celebrations.

Litha or the Summer Solstice is considered a turning point for the Sun. During this time, the Sun reaches its highest point and it shines for the longest time. It’s at its strongest point. This is seen as a point of decline for the Sun, as it can only get weaker from this time on.

Lammas, also known for its Irish name Lughnasadh, is the first of three Harvest festivals (the other two are Mabon and Samhain). The typical celebration is to bake the figure of the Sun God and eat it. This stands for the sanctity of harvest. It’s an agrarian-based festival of thanksgiving for the fruits of the Earth.

Mabon is the Autumn Equinox. It’s also about thanksgiving and recognizing that sharing is part of an abundance mentality. Those who share what they receive are seen with kind eyes by the God and the Goddess during the winter months.

Finally, Samhain or Hallowe’en, aligned with Halloween and the Day of the Dead, is a time to celebrate our loved ones that have passed on. It’s believed that, on this day, the veil between our world and the spirit world is thinner than usual, and we can communicate with them. It’s a festival of the darkness, which contrasts directly with Beltane and other festivals of light and fertility.

Did you know about the Wiccan festivals? Have you ever celebrated one?