The Winter Solstice or Yule falls on the 22nd December. The word ‘solstice’ means ‘standing still of the sun’. Yule marks the longest night, but slowly, slowly it becomes evident that the sun is returning….bringing back light and warmth to the frozen, barren earth.
This is a moment of intense importance as the Sun is reborn. To ancient people this was crucial because life depended on the return of light and warmth and the new growth which this promised.
Of course, the Sun is still vital to us now, and respecting this and participating in the magic of Yule allows us to be part of this eternal cycle of rebirth which is central to our very existence.
I thought that in this post I would run through a few of the symbols of Yule which are still important today in our Solstice celebrations!
The first of these familiar traditions is the Christmas Tree. The evergreen is sacred to the Goddess and represents her many aspects, which although they may alter and transform, never die. A tree that remains green all year around and never sheds it’s leaves mirrors the many faces and presence of the Goddess.
We are also learning to our cost, the importance of trees in maintaining our atmosphere and the health of the planet. Therefore the Christmas Tree honours the vital functions of trees, although this may take place totally unconsciously on the part of most people. To be even kinder to the earth it can be just as symbolic to decorate an artificial tree, or simply decorate a fallen bough with the colours associated with Yule.
The colours traditionally associated with Yule are red, green and gold. Red and green symbolise the colours of life – red for the blood which continually pumps through our veins, and green to represent the verdant vegetable kingdom with it’s vibrant leaves. Gold is the colour of the Sun embarking on the long journey back to Midsummer. The importance of these colours are reflected in traditional Christmas decorations.
For those of our customers into ‘crystal magic’ we have an immense collection of beautiful crystals on offer, many in the traditional Winter Solstice colours of red, gold and green. Come in and get some inspiration from our ‘Crystal Tree’ adorned with hand made festive baubles, which are also for sale!
Holly and Mistletoe are linked with luck and fertility. This idea still lingers in the custom of kissing under it! Decking our homes with holly and mistletoe at Yule may be much more meaningful than tinsel as these plants are symbolic of new life and continuing growth. In addition the influence of holly is said to be extremely protective and lucky.
There are many traditions attached to the Yule Log. Some say it should be ash while others say oak. However, whichever you choose, make sure that you save a piece of your Yule Log to act as kindling for the following year to ensure the continuation of life and luck!
So what are the inner meanings of Yule? In some respects it’s fitting to mark this time with excess. This is a celebration of joyousness and we all need to let it all hang out sometimes! Too much food and wine! Too many late nights….this is all part of celebrating this time of year.
However Yule is also a time for quiet meditation on our ‘gifts’. Not the gifts we will give and receive in the coming days, but the gifts of good health, family happiness and a fulfilling job. It is certainly a time to count our blessings and give thanks for all the bounty we already have in our lives.
Until next time,
The Crystal Queen💛