To celebrate the Sun, the Land, the Ancient Ones, the great Circle of Nature.
To welcome in the Winter and the New Year.
To bring forth renewal, peace, and joy.
-Selena Fox “Saturnalia”
Merry Meet my friends! It’s a Monday evening, quiet in the house at the moment after a busy day. It rained today and we have been un-seasonably warm here in Ohio. Too warm for my tastes actually lol, but we will start cooling down in the next few days!
The Solstice is coming fast…just a week away! Yule, or the Winter Solstice is all about the return of the Sun. It will be the longest night, and then we celebrate the rotation and the days lengthening as we eventually get to Spring again. Having said that, here in Ohio and many other places on this wonderful, good Earth, we have a long Winter ahead of us yet! I have been preparing for it for some time now. From putting away the garden tools, and getting the garden beds cleaned up and mulched, to pulling out warm blanket throws, making elderberry syrup and of course, shopping for Yule and Christmas gifts and all the things associated with the holidays!
I also have planned for projects to do over the dark time of Winter. And my list gets longer lol. Books I want to read, house projects to do, projects associated with my Craft such as getting my herbalist class going, working on my BOS, and some witchy crafts too. I often feel that Autumn is too, too short of a season, it goes by so fast I think because it’s my favorite. Winter, to me, often is a very long season…which I think is a good thing! I have already found myself staying indoors more, except on these really warm days we’re experiencing right now! As I said before, it’s nesting…..loving my home and being in it!
For my Solstice celebrations, I most definitely clean the house well, make sure I have lots of candles and firewood, stock up the pantry for cooking and baking, and do as much ahead of time as I can. For me, and for many I know, the Solstice is not so much about families and friends gathering, not about gift giving, not about a huge feast and loud, noisy parties. It’s more about a simple meal, quiet introspection, offerings to our Gods and Mother Earth, and dwelling in the darknesss, in a content and joyful way. It’s about quiet meditation, reflecting on the year ahead and what we wish to leave behind. I often will get up early to toast the Sun as he/she rises. I say he to cover those who think of the Sun as the Male God rising again, and I say she for those who think of her as Sister Sun. You can fill it in as you wish 🙂 Whether you toast with a mimosa, a cup of coffee or a glass of water, the ritual holds meaning. It’s representative of the days starting to lengthen and we know there is hope that after Winter we will have Spring. My coven has decided to meet on January 3. To allow everyone time with their families at this busy time of year. We all look forward to it very much. It’s a feast of desserts, coffee, hot chocolate and our fun gift exchange..all around a fire. Perfect!My Solstice/Yule altar is always one of my favorites I do each year. I set it up early in December and have enjoyed using it each day. I have a new Goddess statue..Elen of the Ways which I’m in love with. I’ll be talking more about her in another blog soon. Not the statue, but Elen herself. 🙂 I love my real deer antler, my YULE log my hubby drilled holes in for me, and of course all the red and green crystals, candles, and my elemental representatives. I’ve had the beautiful deer for years now and it brings me joy every time I see it. The vase is filled with Rosemary…a gift from the garden of one of my coven sisters. Her Rosemary was still going strong with all the warm weather we’ve been having and she made sure I had some. It smells so good! I’ll be adding more greens on top of my Yule log and some cakes and ale the night of the Solstice.
For crafty things I like to do this time of year. Feed the birds with peanut butter covered bagles dipped in bird seed. String cereal like a garland. Gather bits of yarn, fur, dryer fuzz and put everything out for the birds..they will love it! Make orange pomanders. Make beautiful oil blends and use them to anoint candles, your altar, yourself. Gather some dried herbs and make herbed salts, oils and vinegars for gifts. Bake bread and take a loaf to a neighbor. Gather the grandkids or kids and make lots of cookies. Even better, make dog biscuits and share them with all the dogs in your life.
Don’t forget to donate! Clean out your closets and cupboards and take them to Goodwill or a homeless shelter or a battered woman’s shelter. Donate dog and cat food to your local shelter..better yet, take home a pet that needs a home! Give to Toys for Tots, Books for kids, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, adopt a family, send a military shoe box, and/or volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry. You’ll be all the better for it! Give, give, give to be truly grateful with what you have!
I love to burn candles all over the house, and to keep off of all electronics! I’ll often journal, read, scry in the fire…Oh..there MUST be a fire in the hearth of course! That goes without saying 🙂 Soup and bread are often my preferred meal (my family loves that too) and we just have a quiet peaceful night. Stepping outside to make my offerings, absorb the energy from Earth and Grandmother Moon as well. And to listen…listen to the quiet of Winter…it’s so peaceful. Keep in mind that our Mother Earth is also resting, rejuvenating, and readying for when Spring blooms again. Then, a good night’s sleep and I’ll be ready to hop back into the much more chaotic holiday of Christmas that comes a few days later!
Ritual for any Sabbat doesn’t have to be organized or methodical. When I first started blogging, I often shared actual rituals that I had found online or in books. Now, I just tell you what I do. What I do at my altar..well, that’s between me and my Goddess as they say. The words I use, the tools I use, the feelings I emote and the goals I’m trying to manifest are my own. I have many friends who are new to the Craft, or maybe aren’t so new, but get bogged down in worrying about rhyming words, what color the stones should be, or where the candles should go on the altar. I say…..it’s YOUR Path….do what feels right to you. Period. Your intentions and your inner Magick and your relationship with your God/Goddess is all that matters. You’ll be heard!
I’ll be back in a day or two with a few recipes I thought I’d share. I’d like to remind you that you can search for Yule or Winter Solstice in the search box on the right ———> for more posts like the correspondences, recipes, poems and quotes etc. I see many of you are finding them already. 🙂 In the meantime, have a wonderful week!
Love and Blessings, Autumn