Now that we’ve gone over the Yule Sabbat, let’s take a look at nine different ways that you can celebrate the festival. Choose one, a few, or even all if you’d like – and always remember that it is YOUR practice so there is no set number you have to do. Let’s get started!
- SET A YULE ALTAR
Altars are my go-to first step when a Sabbat is approaching. I find that it helps me get into the mindset of the wheel turning when I remove the previous Sabbat’s decorations and cloth. I cleanse the surface both physically and spiritually, do some visualizing, and then get right to setting up the new altar.
For Yule I use either a gold or white altar cloth. I always save one small pinecone from the previous year as a a centerpiece for the altar. From there I typically arrange things like red and green candles, evergreen boughs and wreaths, pictures of the Sun, incense scented with pine, etc.
As it is your altar, don’t feel the need to arrange yours like mine. Make it personal to your taste and how you want it to look. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, you can do an altar in a jar where you place small representatives of the Sabbat in one container and place it in your home. Get creative and follow your gut!
- DO A YULE MEDITATION
Yule meditation benefits in a couple of different ways: first, we all could use a break from the constant go-go-go of the holiday season. Second, it’s important to take the time to reflect on personal growth, where we want to go in the coming season, and different ways that we can cultivate more peace in our lives.
Just like a Yule altar, this doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair that takes up hours out of your day. Even a five minute session can do wonders! Personally, I like to meditate first thing in the morning to really set the tone of my day. This meditation can be applied to the first day of Yule, done every day of the festival, or even intermittently when you feel you need it the most.
Take a moment to yourself, light a few candles and incense, relax in a comfortable position, and breathe slowly. You could focus on the themes above or nothing at all. Again, go with your gut and let things flow. Allow yourself the space to let things happen.
- GO WASSAILING
As discussed in my Yule Sabbat post, wassailing – pronounced to rhyme with ‘fossil-ing’ – is the act of going around to the houses of your neighbors, singing and wishing them a bright season. This is where Christmas caroling comes from.
An alternative to this is to go to nursing homes – with the current state of Covid be sure to check with staff ahead of time – and walk around the residents’ rooms to wish them well. You may even offer baked goods or small gifts, too.
- MAKE CIDER
Making cider goes hand in hand with wassailing. Originally, wassail translates to mean:
1: an early English toast to someone’s health
2: a hot drink that is made with wine, beer, or cider, spices, sugar, and usually baked apples and is traditionally served in a large bowl especially at Christmastime
3: riotous drinking
To celebrate Yule in 2021, you can make your own wassail for your friends and family to enjoy. This recipe is courtesy of Farm Flavor
Makes: 8 servings of ⅔ cup each
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Recipe Created By: Charlyn Fargo
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 cup lemon juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 orange, sliced
- ½ cup brandy, optional
- Mix juices, sugar and seasonings together. Add the brandy at this point to make the alcoholic wassail.
- Slowly bring to a boil in a large saucepan or pot. Boil for 1 minute.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve hot with sliced oranges floating in the punch bowl.
- HANG SOME MISTLETOE
Mistletoe is a magickal plant revered in many cultures and traditions. From the Celtic Druids to pre-Christian Scandinavia, each have their own rich history centered around the plant. But the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is credited to the Saturnalia festival from ancient Rome.
By hanging mistletoe in your home, you’re carving out a place where people can come together and let bygones be bygones. And while there doesn’t have to be any kissing, it can still be symbolic of reconciliation and peace.
- MAKE A YULE POMANDER CHARM
Pomander charms are easy to make yet contain powerful energies. And as citrus is typically in season during the winter months, it naturally corresponds to the Yule festival. This Sabbat, make a pomander using oranges and cloves to hang in your home.
Orange for purification, happiness, joy, luck, and money
Cloves for banishing evil spirits and negativity
Stud your orange with cloves in any shape you wish. You may want to use a toothpick to fashion premade holes for the cloves. Pierce the orange with a long piece of wire and tie a knot at the bottom. Bend the wire on the topside into a hook or loop for hanging. You can also attach colored string or ribbon to hang your pomander. Leave the studded orange for the duration of the season.
- CONSTRUCT A YULE WREATH
Wreaths are another Yule tradition brought to us by the Celts. Traditionally, boughs of holly were utilized as a way to decorate doors in celebration of the Sun’s return. They were also displayed as a way to boast success in battles.
A great way to celebrate Yule in 2021 is to make your own wreath using evergreens:
- Pine branches for health and joy
- Holly for protection and goodwill
- Ivy for luck, anti-negativity, and the return of the Sun
- Fir for abundance, prosperity, and purification
Display your wreath(s) as you see fit, not only the front door, but throughout your home as well!
- BURN A YULE LOG
The traditional method of burning a Yule Log may not be feasible in modern times. It used to be an entire tree was cut and taken into the home to be burned for the duration of the Sabbat. It began with lighting the trunk and gradually feeding the fire with the entirety of the tree.
You can honor this tradition in a safe way by either lighting an appropriately sized log or – if you do not have access to a fireplace – search YouTube or other streaming platforms for a virtual fireplace. Take a few moments to watch the flames and reflect on what you want to release and what you want to bring in.
- PERFORM A CANDLE RITUAL
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention candle magick as a way to celebrate Yule. As this Sabbat is a fire festival, it only makes sense to practice this form of magick. Here are a few different ways to do so:
- Perform a ritual surrounding themes of release
- Cast for the safety of your loved ones throughout the Sabbat and into the New Year
- Honor the return of the Sun
- Carve your intentions into colored candles that correspond with your desires
- Remember your ancestors and dearly departed by lighting a candle for each one
As always I hope this post helps you along your path. Are there any different ways in which you celebrate Yule? Let me know in the comments and Happy Solstice!