Wednesday, 9 December 2020


Wheel of the Year ornament showing a glowing red candle and variegated holly leaves

Yule comes from the Norwegian word Jul, meaning “wheel”, and our ancestors believed that this mystic wheel actually stopped turning briefly at this point. Indeed, from the point of the Winter Solstice there is a moment of standstill for a few days before the days start to increase in length and light again. The Christian Church adopted this time to celebrate the birth of the Son (Sun) of God, but this time has always been celebrated by ancient people, long before the Christian story.

The solstice occurs twice a year, when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun, and as such, the Winter Solstice heralds the shortest day, and the longest night. As the solstice is an astronomical event, the date changes from year to year, although many pagans and witches celebrate on the 21st December regardless. In many temperate regions of the world, the Winter Solstice is seen as the middle of winter, but today, many see it as the start. In Meteorology, winter is seen as starting about three weeks before the solstice.

Energetically speaking, the balance of power has been tipped at the solstice, and we emerge from the darkness; the days getting longer, brighter, and warmer. This is a huge moment of celebration for many pagans and witches, and many choose to mark the rebirth of the Sun by observing the Winter Solstice sunrise. Whilst it is usually very cold, it is much easier to catch the sunrise at Winter Solstice than at Summer Solstice, because the Sun rises relatively late. For many people, pagan or otherwise, it is a relief to know that the dark days and depths of winter are behind them, and that lighter days will follow. Light and dark are not euphemisms for good and bad here; but there is no doubt that the returning light brings increased energy, and renewed feelings of joy and hope.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

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