Yuletide blessings to all

Yuletide blessings to all

The longest night of the year marks the official beginning of winter, it’s the solstice. Many traditions we take part in today originate from pagan Yule celebrations. The yule log, the decorated tree, carols, gift giving, gatherings are all still common practices and yet they originate from this witchy holiday.

Candles are lit on Yule’s night to symbolize the return of the sun and the lengthening of daylight. Write your wishes on paper, roll them up and place them in the gaps of pinecones. Toss the pinecones in a fire on the new year to bring your wishes to life.


Winter solstice cleanse ritual;

You’ll need candles, sage leaves, dried chamomile and a pot to let simmer in the herbs.

Fill up your pot with water, add the herbs while visualizing their role in the ritual. Sage will purify your space, chamomile symbolize the sun and it’s return, together they bring renewed energies and change. Let the mix simmer for a while, 20-30 minutes is plenty. If it’s possible for you to crack open a window, do it, it will help the negative energies leave your space. Once the simmer stage is done, let the potion cool down. Run a bath or a shower, light a few candles. Focusing on what you want to leave behind, wash yourself with the herb infused water. Go to bed and get ready to be reborn with the sun on the following morning.


How to celebrate:

-Decorate a Yule tree.

-String popcorn and cranberries and hang them outside for the birds.

-Hang little bells to call the spirits and fairies.

-Make Wassail/ Mulled wine

-Decorate the Yule log

-hang mistletoe inside the house

-Craft dried oranges garlands ( oranges are associated with the sun)


The Yule tree;

The custom of the Yule tree is not itself a pagan tradition, but the act of bringing evergreens in the house this time of year is. Some say bringing a tree inside is a metaphor for welcoming forest spirits inside during the cold winter, ornaments (usually fruits and nuts) are offerings for the spirits.


Yule folklore and monster stories;


The most commonly known Yule monster is of course Krampus, a christmas demon visiting houses on December 5th to punish misbehaving kids by either gifting them coal, beating them with a branch whip, eating them or even bringing them straight to hell.


Gryla, the yule lads and the yule cat;

An ogre like cannibal lady, similarly to Krampus, visits houses to punish naughty children. Gryla’s appetite doesn’t stop her from eating any children, she just prefers the misbehaving ones. Gryla can be bargained for, offerings can be given to spare the life of little kids. The yule lads are her 13 children, you don’t want them to swing by on Christmas night as they are nasty tricksters. The yule cat is an enormous beast roaming the villages and feasts upon whom which haven’t received any clothing on Christmas Eve. People were encouraged to work harder in the lasts months of the year to be able to afford new clothes and simultaneously saving their families.


Mari Lwyd;

Ornate with yuletide decorations, this skeletal figure comes from a welsh tradition consisting of a battle of will with the ghost. If the villagers were to run out of carols before the ghost, they had to welcome the beast inside and share the Christmas feast with it.


Comparing Santa Claus to traditional pagan beliefs;

Santa is the Holly King, the sleigh is the Solar Chariot, the eight reindeer are the eight Sabbats, their horns represent the Horned God, the North Pole symbolizes the Land of Shadows and the dying solar year, and the gifts are meant both to welcome the Oak King as the sun reborn and as a reminder of the gift of the Holly King who must depart for the Oak King to rule.


How to decorate your altar;

Candles should be red, green and gold. You can decorate your sacred space with evergreen of any kind such as pine, fir, spruce and cedar. Holly, ivy, pine cones, stag antlers, acorns, pomegranate, oranges and cinnamon sticks are perfect elements to add as well. Garnets, clear quartz, or age calcite, black tourmaline and red jasper can adorn your space this time of year.


Yule log traditions;

The log is a symbol of protection and abundance. The yule logs embers from the previous year were used to light the new one. It was believed that storing the leftovers of the Yule log under a bed would protect the home from lightning strikes. Today the Yule log is rather used as a decorative spell than an actual way to warm up the house. Half a log, a round side and a flat one is the perfect shape. Drill holes in the rounded side to fit it candles. Decorate the log with pine cones, cinnamon sticks and seasonal greenery. Light the candles on Yule’s night and celebrate the return of the sun. The Yule log made its way as a french holiday icon, La Bûche de Noël. A rolled cake decorated to ressemble a festive log.




Alison Davies, Mystical Year, London, Quadrille, 2020.


Ann Mouriel, Green witchcraft, St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1996.


Semra Haksever, Mama moon’s book of magic, London, Hardie Grant Books, 2020





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