10 Ways to Celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice

With summer far behind us and the shortest day of the year fast upon us, it’s time to explore 10 ways to celebrate yule and the winter solstice with these rituals, spells, crafts, and practices!

These are my “go-to” activies for the winter solstice, and they never fail to lift my spirits and inspire my gratitude for the abundant power of the sun. Feel free to do any or all–whichever resonates with your glorious Genius, Beauty!

Watch the Sun Rise

Begin your solstice celebration with a sunrise walk in your favorite natural place. Since this is the shortest day of the year, it should be easier than usual to get up, get out, and greet the day! I like to bring my headphones and listen to a moving piece of music while hiking through the arboretum near my home. The early morning light hits the trees in such a breath-taking way that it lets me truly appreciate the abundance that the sun makes possible.

Read Myths About the Sun’s Return

The winter solstice has long been celebrated cross-culturally, and many primitive or ancient myths reflect this. Some of my favorites are “Raven Steals the Light,” “Loki and the Death of the Light,” and “La Befana and the Royal Child of Light.” All three of these are included in Return of the Light, a Solstice Anthology by Carolyn McVicar Edwards.

12 Day Yule Candle

In Nordic and British tradition, it’s customary to choose a large, dense log to burn on the longest night of the year both for protection and good luck. If you have a fire place or pit and are willing to keep watch all solstice, by all means–light a yule log! If you’re looking for something a little more manageable, consider dedicating and consecrating a pillar candle as your “Yule Candle,” and light it each day from Christmas through the epiphany (December 25th–January 6th). Each time you light it, offer an intention of luck, prosperity, and illumination.

Craft a Solar Appreciation Spell

As part of our Mind Witch Coven ritual, we’re crafting a spell of appreciation that honors what we’re grateful for as well as the brilliance and grace of the sun. Ours incorporates a metal ring, copious metallic ribbons, and a journalling exercise, but you may simply draw a sun on a large piece of paper and list what you appreciate in its center (each month, the Mind Witch Coven receives a ritual guide and video tutorial that reflects a carefully chosen theme. Learn more about the Mind Witch Coven).

Make a Yule Wreath

Wreaths symbolize the cyclical nature of life and, in the yule tradition, a green promise of the spring that follows the lean months of winter. You may cut long vine branches and weave them into a circular shape, then insert pine boughs between the vines to craft your wreath. Feel free to decorate with holly and ribbon and hang on your door as a symbol of togetherness and a promise of abundant times ahead.

Create Intentions for the New Year

Although many wait until January 1st to formally declare resolutions, late December is the perfect time to begin considering what you want to shift, grow, or create in the coming year. If your practice honors the five elements, you may want to consider how your intentions correspond to them so you may create and sustain balance in your endeavors during the coming year. Each December, I work with the Elemental Sigil Craft lesson in the Mind Witch Academy to transform these intentions into sigils I can use and refer to in my workings throughout the year, and I’ve found it to be far more effective than following through with a new year’s resolution!

Craft a Yule Altar

The winter solstice is a perfect time to refresh your sacred space! You may clean your magickal tools with consecrated water, remove any items that correspond with autumn or Samhain and add garland, pine cones, holly, or even fairy lights! My winter altar tends to be much more spartan than my summer and autumn altar, and the color scheme is a lot cooler too!

Be Generous to Others

Amidst the mad, consumerist dash of the season, it’s easy to forget the true purpose of gift-giving: the strengthening of relationships through generosity. Rather than go broke trying to get the flashiest gift, consider more authentic acts of generosity: watching children for busy parents, taking out the garbage for a sick neighbor, donating to clothing drives, and charities, and even volunteering at a soup kitchen. Believe me: it feels much better than shopping.

Be Generous to Yourself

In the midst of all the holiday prep and hullabaloo, it’s easy to become stressed and fatigued. Remember to pepper the month with conscious acts of self-care so you can actually enjoy the holiday with your loved ones. If you’re looking for a way to give yourself a little love, download the FREE Serve Yourself Ritual Guide.

Watch the Sun Set

To finish your yule festivities, pick a fine spot to watch the sun set on the shortest day of the year. Let your thoughts wander towards renewal, hope, compassion, and light–though the days may grow colder, the light will grow longer, and before long, the world will be abundant and fertile once more.

What are your favorite ways to celebrate yule? Let me know in the comments below!

Much Love,

Mind Witch Mama

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