Yule – Winter Solstice

Yule 2The Yule Story
By Lady Galadriel

Also known as Mithras (for the Persian Sun God), Saturnalia (for the Roman God of sowing and husbandry) and The Great Day of the Cauldron (from Druid Legend). It is the celebration of the return, or rebirth, of the Sun God, the Lord of Life. The celebrations were traditionally performed with the utmost solemnity, yet also with the highest rejoicing, for they [resolve] the paradox of Death and Rebirth. It represents the [redemption] of the world from Death and Darkness, as such it is a celebration of hope and joy amidst the gloom of winter.

The  word Yule  can be  traced to  the Celtic  word “Hioul” which means
wheel. This festival is an important  point in the turning of the wheel
of the year. Wreaths were made to symbolize this wheel, combining solar
significance  with  tree-god  significance.   In  ancient  times  Celts
venerated trees as earthly representatives of the Gods, and it was felt
that nothing  short of the sacrifice  of a mighty tree-god  would cause
the receding sun  to take pity on them and  return. The burning of the
Yule  log  was  thought,  thru  sympathetic  magick,  to  increase  the
brightness  and strength  of the  Sun, and  would therefore  bring good
luck. Passerby would tip their hat or nod in salutation to the log. It
is traditional  to cut the  log from oak  or from a  slow-burning fruit
tree. The  fire was lit  from a piece  of the previous  years Yule log,
which had been saved for this  purpose. It was believed that this piece
of the  old log was  a charm against  fire, because it  would refuse to
burn until  it was time  to light its  successor. A wish  was also made
while pouring wine over the burning log. It was believed to be bad luck
if the  log burned out  before the 12  days of Yuletide  were over. The
ashes from  the fire were spread  in the fields to  bring fertility to
the next crop.

The Wassail bowl is another favored  part of Yule celebrations. A large
bowl or pot was filled with wassail, a mixture of cider and spices, and
warmed over  the Yule fire.  The meaning of  the word wassail  is to be
‘hale  or  hearty’,  and  was  the  reason  for  the  many  toasts  and
salutations made from the bowl. It  was also common for a procession to
go to the nearest orchard and wassail the trees, thus blessing them and
encouraging them to  bear a good yield in  the coming season. Libations
of  wassail were  also poured  over the  roots of  the trees, and cider
drenched cakes were left in the forks of the older trees as an offering
to the trees spirit. Mistletoe  is a regeneration symbol, considered to
be  the Essence  of Life  due to  the resemblance  of the  juice of the
berries to  male semen. It was  often gathered at this  time. Evergreen
boughs are also  symbols of renewal. Evergreens were  decorated to show
honor to the tree spirits. The  lights on modern trees were the candles
of old, and  represent the newly born sun god.  Trees were not cut down
and brought indoors.

The  Sacred Seed  of Life,  having been  nurtured by  the foster mother
Tailltiu, sprang forth from her breast,  and was born. As the Wyrrd had
foretold, here  was the Child  of Promise, son  of the Gods  and of the
Earth. This baby was the Sun God,  born in the Rule of Darkness, by the
magick of the Gods. He was  destined to grow in strength and knowledge.
It was his task to bring back life and warmth to the land, and to wrest
the power  from the Lord of  Darkness. To appease Cernunnos, who is at
the peak of  his strength, the people made  sacrifices of roasted boar.
To distract Callieach,  the Wise Ones, or Witches  invoked her to teach
them of her  mysteries. To aid the new-born Sun  God the Celts felled a
giant oak tree,  and burned the log as a  sac4ifice, that the sun would
gain strength from it, and grow.

Despite the  powers of Cernunnos and  Cailleach, the signs of  new life
were still  upon the land. The  sacred seeds which had  fallen onto the
barren branches  of the winter-dead  trees had come  to life, and  thus
became the Mistletoe, which could be  seen hanging from the oaks in the
forests.  Upon the  land these  sacred seeds  had grown  into the sweet
smelling evergreens,  and thus they  were decreed to  be a part  of the

In honor of this magickal birth the people decorated the evergreens with
candles and  other symbols of life.  The Druids told of  Hu-Gadarn, the
first druid, who had fled from  the Atlantean flood with his family on
this day  on the Ark, ”  The Great Cauldron” in  which they brought the
Essence of Life, and the knowledge of magick into the world. They would
also tell tales  of the Killing of the Wren,  and of the Battle between
the Oak King and the Holly King. Thru out the land the people rejoiced,
and their was light in the midst of the darkness.

Blessed Be
Lady Galadriel

Source: CrystaLink – Astralite/Atlanta


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