Yule is one of my favorite holidays, so I couldn't resist dedicating a whole page to it. I hope you enjoy learning about this beautiful Pagan tradition.
Winter Solstice marks a point of dramatic change on Earth, as well as a time of balance. The Sun at Yule is at its most southeastern point over the Tropic of Capricorn in the northern hemisphere and has no apparent northward or southward motion. Winter Solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. From this point on, the sun rises earlier and earlier. On Yule we honor the Goddess, Mother Earth, for giving birth to the Sun once more. Just as She draws the light within her womb during the darkest time of the year, so does she create the light at Winter Solstice. In Yul rituals, it is the job of the Priestess in the magick circle to give birth to the sun.
The connection between Yule and today's Christmas holiday practices is very strong. Father Winter is an ancient Pagan figure more commonly known as Santa Clause. In olden times he gave fruit, plants, and magical herbs. Today, people buy gifts for Father Winter to give to children. In olden times he was said to have worn a cape and delivered his gifts on a white horse, a symbol of the Goddess. Witches burn an oak Yule log, charging another in a magick circle, which will be kept in a sacred space until the next Winter, which serves the purpose of ensuring fuel in case of emergency. The Celts also hung small glass bowls with candles inside on their Yule trees. These we call "faery lights", and they serve as reminders that there are no straight lines in nature, only the "esoteric beauty of the curve". The wreath is a symbol not only of the Wheel of the Year, but also of the circle of life and wisdom of the All.