I hope you all had a wonderful Yule filled with love and joy and are looking forward to the new year with hope and inspiration!
I am going to start blogging the Wheel of the Year with Yule!
Yule is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. It is the Holly King's last night of power before he is defeated by the Oak King. It is the rebirth of the Sun God, now the days will get longer as the sun waxes until Litha/Midsummer.
We prepared for yule by cleaning the house thoroughly and of course decorating! We got a beautiful yule tree, decked it out in red, green and gold and hid offerings deep in the branches for any nature spirits residing in the tree.
Some great ideas for offerings are sweets (which are in abundance this time of year), seeds, grain, and sweet herbs. Do take care when putting offerings in your yule tree not to attract bugs! You can put your offerings in little loose pouches like, I did or a small bird feeder to avoid attracting pests.
We also decorated our shrine to our household goddess Bast. We lit up the shrine with candles on yule and on December 25th as its a sacred day of Bast's.
Next, I made mojo bags for protection and prosperity to ward my home as well as to give as gifts to my coven members. These bags are put in your home, usually by a doorway or window to protect and to draw prosperity. They should be changed every yule.
Yule Mojo Bags
You will need:
-1 gold pouch (or cloth you can sew into a pouch)
-1 Embroidery Needle
-Embroidery Thread (any colour that appeals to you, I prefer green/brown)
-Herbs for protection, peace and prosperity. eg Sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary, chamomile, black-pepper, bay leaf
-Optional: Stones for protection, peace and prosperity. eg. Jade, agate, black tourmaline, malachite, jet, chrysocolla, citrine.
Take your thread and embroider runes and/or symbols that represent protection, prosperity and peace. As you sew, keep your mind focused on what you want the mojo bag to do. You can simply chant "Protection, Peace, Prosperity!" over and over as you work.
Then, fill the bag with the herbs and stones you decided to use. Seal the bag, purify it with consecrated salt water and incense, charge it with your intention and leave it on your altar for three days.
Put it up out of sight near a doorway or window.
Change every Yule.
I did this instead of the traditional hanging of mistletoe in your house every yule. Turns out fresh Mistletoe is actually illegal in Canada because of its aggressively invasive nature. If Mistletoe is legal where you live. You would charge it to protect your house and attract good fortune and hang it in your house for the year as a charm. You can use fake mistletoe but I decided to go this route.
We also had a yule log. Now your yule log is traditionally supposed to be oak but oak logs are not always easy to find and can be pricey, so use whatever log you can find.
The first thing you should do it clean out your fireplace. Then, dress your yule log with evergreen needles, herbs, flowers etc and consecrate it with sea salt and/or blessed liquor (the liquor also helps the log burn!).
We wrote our wishes for the new year on pieces of paper and put it on and around the log. We then merrily toasted the Holly King and the Oak King,the waxing sun and a host of other things before setting the log ablaze! Keep the log burning for as long as possible. When it finally dies, collect the ashes and keep them for use during the year. Since my coven and family all participated I collected the ashes for everyone to use.
If you aren't lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace you can take a log, drill holes down its length and place white, red or gold candles in the holes and light the candles.
You are also supposed to keep the remainder of the log to start next years yule fires.
This time of year is also a great time to do spells and rituals for new beginnings, new projects and dedications.
Since Yule has already passed, I wont bother with Yule recipes but I will definitely post recipes for the next full moon which is on January 9th, 2012 .
So again Happy New Year! I wish you all great joy in 2012!