(around December 21)
Yule coincides closely with the Christian Christmas celebration. That's because the early Church sought to win the allegiance of the populace by placing its festivals at or around the time of existing Pagan festivals. The Roman celebration of the birth of the sun god Mithras, for example, was also observed on December 25. This Sabbat 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. Yule is a time of awakening to new goals and leaving old regrets behind. The Christian tradition of a Christmas tree has its origins in the Pagan Yule celebration. Pagan 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 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. 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.
Other Names: Midwinter, Sun Return, Alban Arthan, Pagan New Year, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, Finn's Day, Yuletide, Festival of Sol, Great Day of the Cauldron, Festival of Growth
Meaning: Rebirth of God, Honor of the Triple Goddess, Return of Sun and Waxing Year, New Year (Non-Celtic)
Lore: One traditional Yuletide practice is the creation of a Yule tree. This can be a living, potted tree which can later be planted in the ground, or a cut one. The choice is yours. Appropriate Wiccan decorations are fun to make, from strings of dried rosebuds and cinnamon sticks (or popcorn and cranberries) for garlands, to bags of fragrant spices which are hung from boughs. Quartz crystals can be wrapped with shiny wire and suspended from sturdy branches to resemble icicles. Apples, oranges, and lemons hanging from boughs are strikingly beautiful, natural decorations, and were customary in ancient times. Many enjoy the custom of lighting the Yule log. This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess. If you choose to burn one, select a proper log (traditionally of Oak or Pine). Carve or chalk a figure of the Sun (such as a rayed disk) or the God (a horned circle or a figure of a man) upon it, with a white-handled knife, and set it alight in the fireplace at dusk on Yule. As the log burns, visiualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days.
Deities: Newborn God, Triple Goddess
Activities: Decorating Yule Tree, Gifts in Memory of Deceased, Storytelling
Taboos: Extinguishing Fire, Travel
Colors: Red, Green, White, Gold
Symbols: Evergreen Trees, Yule Log, Holly, Eight-Spoked Wheel, Wreaths, Spinning Wheels
Animals: Stags, Squirrels, Wren/Robin
Stones: Bloodstone, Ruby, Garnet
Plants: Holly, Mistletoe, Evergreens, Poinsettia, Bougainvillaea, Tropical Flowers, Bay, Pine, Ginger, Valerian, Myyrh
Food: As for food, Nuts, Fruit such as Apples and Pears, Cakes of Carraways soaked in Cider, and (for non-vegetarians) pork are traditional fare. Wassail, Lambswool, Hibiscus, or Ginger Tea are fine drinks for the Simple Feast or Yule meals.
Ritual Oils: Rosemary, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Saffron, Cedar/Pine, Wintergreen, Ginger
Attunement Teas: (Individually or Blended) Cinnamon, Mullein, Willow Bark, Yarrow
Goddesses: All Spinning Goddesses, such as Changing Woman (Apache), Eve (Hebraic), Fortuna (Roman), Frey (Norse), Gaia (Greek), Heket (Egyptian), Lilith (Hebraic), Ma'at (Egyptian), Nox (Roman), Pax (Roman), Spinning Woman (Native American), Thea (Greek), Virgin Mary (Christian-Gnostic)
Gods: All Reborn Sun Gods, such as Apollo (Greco-Roman), Balder (Norse), Braggi (Norse), Cronos (Greek), Father Sun (Native American), Helios (Greek), Hyperion (Greek), Janus (Roman), Jesus (Christian-Gnostic), Lugh (Irish), Mithras (Persian), Oak/Holly King (Anglo-Celtic), Odin (Norse), Ra (Egyptian), Saturn (Roman)
SOURCES: Some info was taken from an unknown source; however, most info was found at The Wiccan Garden, as taken from The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways by Edain McCoy and Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham.