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"The Goddess gives birth to a son, the God, at Yule. This is in no way an adaptation of Christianity. The Winter Solstice has long been viewed as a time of divine births. Mithras was said to have been born at this time. The Christians simply adopted it for their use in 273 CE (current era)."
(from "Wicca - A guide for the Solitary Practicioner" by Scott Cunningham)

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"This is the time of death and rebirth of the Sun God. The days are shortest, the Sun is at its lowest point. The Full Moon after Yule is considered to be the most powerful of the whole year. This ritual is a light festival, with as many candles as possible on or near the altar in welcome of the Sun Child."
(From "Celtic Magic" by DJ Conway)


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Also known as: Winter Solstice, Alban Arthan, Feill Fionnain, Yuletide, Midwinter, Sun Return, and Fionn's Day
space Date: Winter Solstice, usually December 21st
space Symbols: Evergreens, Wreath, Yule Log, Holly, Spinning Wheel
space Colors: Red, Green, and White
space Deities: Newborn Gods; Triple Goddess; Virgin Goddesses
space Herbs: Holly, mistletoe, ivy, cedar, bay, juniper, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and pine. Offerings can be apples, oranges, nutmegs, lemons, pinecones, oak leaves, and/or whole cinnamon sticks.

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Ancient Meaning: Yule is a time of the greatest darkness and is the shortest day of the year. Earlier peoples noticed such phenomena and supplicated the forces of nature to lengthen the days and shorten the nights. Wiccans sometimes celebrate Yule just before dawn, then watch the Sun rise as a fitting finale to their efforts.
space How Ancient Pagans Celebrated: After the Norse brought Yule into prominence it nearly replaced Samhain as the date of the New Year, and many modern Celtic covens still honor Yule this way. The Nordic-influenced Celts celebrated Yule with many of the trappings we associate with modern Christmas observances; decorated evergreen trees, wreaths, holly, mistletoe, feasting, and dancing.
They also believed that on this night the Holly King, as the God of the waning year, would battle the Oak King, the God of the waxing year, and lose. Often Yule coven rituals have members reenact this fight."

from "Celtic Myth and Magick" by Edain McCoy

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Modern Meaning: Yule is the remnant of early rituals celebrated to hurry the end of winter and the bounty of spring, when food was once again readily available. To cotemporary Wiccans it is a reminder that the ultimate product of death is rebirth.
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How Modern Pagans Celebrate: Since the God is also the Sun, this marks the point of the year when the Sun is reborn as well, Thus, the Wicca light fires or candles to welcome the Sun's returning light. The Goddess, slumbering through the winter of Her labor, rests after Her delivery.

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Click here for an example of a Yule Ritual

For more information on the origins and customs of Yule see
Mike Nichols' page on Midwinter's Eve


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Back to Samhain Holidays Main Page To Imbolc

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