Greetings! I can’t believe how fast this month is flying by! I have been so busy preparing for Yule and Christmas that I haven’t had time to write her as quickly as I would have liked to after my last post. However, I’m about done shopping, most of my Holiday cards are mailed, and I’m ready to start wrapping soon. It has been softly flurrying here today, quite cold and the Full Moon is peeking thru clouds..looks like it might clear up yet tonight. Blessed Full Moon to you all by the way!! I have lit a fire, my healing candles are going, incense burning..my feet are up and I just drank a very delicious eggnog milkshake my hubby brought home for me from Steak and Shake…so so good! A wonderful way to spend a Full Moon evening. Later, I’ll go out and spend some time with the Goddess, cleanse a few things, and I’m hoping to catch some Full Moon snow water in a jar. The Yule Full Moon is to me, a very powerful Full Moon, and I intend to take in that energy to help me get thru this busy and sometimes stressful time of year!
So, I have several books about Yule, Winter Solstice, pagan customs etc that I just love and I refer to them often. So let’s get started doing a bit of show and tell……
The Winter Solstice….The Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Matthews.
Despite the word Christmas in the title, this book is about the Winter Solstice, how Christmas came about, and the history and lore surrounding the whole Season. Each chapter provides cross-cultural connections to the ideas, customs, and icons of Christmas. The book starts out discussing Solstice celebrations and lore across the world where the celebration of the Return of the Sun takes place from Egypt, to Rome, to Europe and America. Saturnalia, the Mummers, the Morris Dancers are all talked about. At the end of each chapter, there are suggestions for faith-free activities you can do to celebrate the Season..or you can incorporate your faith as you wish.
The Child of Wonder chapter talks about the different gods across the ages..such as Apollo, Mabon, Osiris, Mithras and yes, Jesus. It talks about the Wise Men and the Star and the Nativity. The Green Bough chapter discusses the symbolism of the tree, the evergreens, holly, ivy, mistletoe and of course the Yule Log. In Old Sir Christmas we are introduced the the “Santa’s from around the world. The Solstice Animals …tough chapter for an animal lover…it’s about the slaughter of animals and the rituals about it…for food for the long Winter. I love the activity at the end of this chapter though..how to make soul cakes. Lastly, the 12 Days of Christmas ….I especially love this chapter. This is not about the carol we all know, but about the true 12 days..from Dec 24 night to January 6th. There is Snow day, Boxing day, The Feast of Fools day, Bringing in the Boar day and others. Each day has an activity or ritual you can do to honor the day. I have incorporated some of them into my own celebration.
Thruout this book, there is beautiful artwork, drawings, photos….poetry, quotes, recipes and rituals. I just love this beautiful book. I suggest you will love it too!!
Pagan Christmas…The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide….by Christian Ratsch and Claudia Muller-Ebeling.
This book is a beautiful book..about the Ethnobotany (the study of plants) of the Season. It’s about the traditional uses and symbolism of the Yule Season plants…like the fir tree, mistletoe, holly, ivy, evergreens, laurel, yew…even tobacco and mushrooms! There is info galore on the plants themselves, photos, how and why they are used in ritual, for decorating..ways to use them such as making incense, decorating your home etc. There are stories from Befana to the Wise Men, From St. Nicholas to Woten. I especially love all the incense recipes as I love making my own. Another great book you will learn so much from!
Yule…A Celebration of Light & Warmth…by Dorothy Morrison.
I love this book and Dorothy Morrison 🙂 This book is chock full of everything about the Solstice. It has holiday lore from around the world, history, crafts, and recipes. She explains the traditions behind the symbols of the Season, such as the tree, bells, evergreens, reindeer, gingerbread and lights amongst others.
She talks about the superstitions, and omens that surround the holiday in different countries. She has some rituals and simple charms you can do as you get ready to celebrate. A chapter on decking the halls, with craft projects to do. My favorite..a tree blessing right before you decorate the tree. There is ideas for parties and gift giving…how to’s included.
There is a chapter on her personal celebration and a great chapter on things you can do to celebrate every day of the month of December. The final chapter is about is tips on cleaning up AFTER the holidays…what to do with your popcorn strings, how to store your decorations etc. Also, I love her poetry and there is poetry she has written and poetry others have written thruout the book. This book is a real keeper!!
The Wheel of the Year..Living the Magical Life…by Pauline Campanelli
This book takes you on a month-by-month journey of the Wheel of the Year and how it is celebrated by Pagans and the Campinellis’ themselves. Every chapter starts out with a beautiful description of the month and what is going on in nature etc during that month. December..the Yule month of course…has in it … The Magic of Mistletoe; The Ritual Burning of the Yule Log; Magical Uses of Ashes from the Yule Fire; A Ritual for Cutting Sacred Fir; The Pagan Symbolism of Santa Claus. It talks about wreaths, birds, ornaments and the Oak Moon. There is a Bayberry Candle Charm, a Yule log ritual, and a cutting the tree ritual. It ends with some info on New Years Eve and Father Time!
This book has something for every month and it is one of my all time favorite books..If you don’t have it..it’s a must for your witchy library!!
Sabbats..A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways….Edain McCoy
Edain’s book is awesome as well. Again, each chapter is about a Sabbat..starting with Samhain and going thru Mabon. For Yule, she discusses the history and customs and how some of the customs have been preserved in various cultures. The discusses the fight between the Oak King and the Holly King, the Celts and Druids use of evergreens, the symbolism of the wreath and tree, and again, of course, the burning of the Yule log. There are recipes for sugar and gingerbread cookies, rituals, some craft ideas and how to make an edible Yule log ..yummy! There is a nice pathworking meditation that I really love! There are some correspondences, foods for Yule and a bit about how old christmas carols often have pagan symbology in them.
I love this book …again, a must have!
Ok…those are my main books….some honorable mentions…..
Wicca in the Kitchen by Scott Cunningham. ….for recipes for Yule
Witch in the Kitchen by Cait Johnson…again for recipes, a meditation, and a ritual or two…very nice!
Moon Magick by DJ Conway….Lovely book..a chapter on the Cold Moon, recipes, crafts and a Winter Solstice ritual.
So these are some of my favorites. My wishlist would be for more children’s book about Yule and more for us grown- ups too 🙂 Whether you celebrate the Solstice or Christmas..there is something in these books to help you to celebrate it in a beautiful, meaningful way. The Season is rich in tradition, lore and history..a most beautiful time of year.
If you have a favorite book not listed here..I’d sure like to know about it! Please write me here and let me know!
My next blog post ..soon..will be recipes. I’m gonna start gathering them this weekend! and I’m actually going to be baking this weekend with my daughters and granddaughter. ah….another beautiful memory in the making!
Blessings and Love, Autumn