Yule, Yuletide, or the Winter Solstice is a religious festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples, later undergoing Christianised reformulation resulting in the now better known Christmastide. The earliest references to Yule are by way of indigenous Germanic month names Ærra Jéola (Before Yule) or Jiuli and Æftera Jéola (After Yule). Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Modranicht.
As forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name. Some celebrate in a way as close as possible to how they believe Ancient Germanic pagans observed the tradition, while others observe the holiday with rituals “assembled from different sources”.
In Germanic Neopagan sects, Yule is celebrated with gatherings that often involve a meal and gift giving. Groups such as the Asatru Folk Assembly in the US recognise the celebration as lasting 12 days, beginning on the date of the winter solstice.
In most forms of Wicca, this holiday is celebrated at the winter solstice as the rebirth of the Great horned hunter god, who is viewed as the newborn solstice sun. The method of gathering for this sabbat varies by practitioner. Some have private ceremonies at home, while others do so with their covens.
Animal: Bear, Boar, Deer (stag), Eagle, Goose (snow), Kingfisher, Lapwing, Owl, Pig (sow), Robin, Squirrel, Tiger, Wren
Colors: Gold, Green, Red, Silver, White, Yellow
Goddesses: Aphrodite, Fortuna, Gaia, Hel, Holle, Idunn, Ishtar, Isis, Maat, Tiamat
Gods: Apollo, Attis, Balder, Bragi, Dionysus, The Green Man, Helios, Janus, Lugh, Mabon, Marduk, Mithras, Odin, Ra, Saturn, Surya
Minerals: Gold, Silver, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby
Ogham: Ailm, Beithe, Ioho
Plants: Blessed Thistle, Chamomile, Frankincense, Holly, Ivy, Mistletoe, Myrrh, Rosemary, Sage
Time of Day: Midnight
Trees: Apple, Birch, Cedar, Chestnut, Fir, Holly, Juniper, Oak, Pine, Yew
Zodiac: Capricorn, Sagittarius
Issues, Intentions, & Powers: Darkness, Divination, Light, Messages/Omens, Purification, Rebirth/Renewal, Transformation
Activities to celebrate Yule:
– Put up a Yule tree to remind everyone of the lush summer months
– Watch the sun rise and set
– Make a bonfire
– Stay up all night to keep a vigil of the Goddess’s labor
– Create Solstice or New Year charm bags
– Sing carols
– Put candles in the windows to welcome back the Light
– Put out seeds and nuts for the animals and birds
– Make Solstice cakes and bring to your neighbors
– Make your own Yule log
– Make puppets or figures of the Holly and Oak Kings
– Build a Yule altar