Yule (pronounced you-elle), also known as the Winter Solstice, marks the Earth’s biggest exhale of the year and holds a tremendous amount of seasonal wisdom.
Yule is one of the quarter festivals – along with Ostara (Spring Equinox), Litha (Summer Solstice), and Mabon (Fall Equinox) – of the Celtic calendar with the cross-quarter festivals of Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain celebrated in between.
Winter Solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere when this portion of the Earth is farthest away from the sun, which is why this day marks the longest night of the year.
The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because the seasonal movement of the Sun’s path (as seen from Earth) momentarily comes to a stop before reversing direction.
In the northern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice takes place December 21st.
Psst…interested in learning more about how the 12 Days of Christmas originated with the ancient Norse festival called Mothers’ Night (aka. Modranecht)?
It was celebrated on the eve of Winter Solstice until sunrise on New Year’s Day. Join me here in the Free SHE Revival Facebook Group page as we celebrate the 12 Nights of Mothers’ Night by engaging in various ways (including Goddess Chronicles, meditation, journaling, articles) to witness the depth of Winter, the end of the solar calendar, and this essential time of inward preparation.
This seasonal shift (aka. the Turning of the Wheel of the Year) has a time-honoured history.
Solstices (and equinoxes) have been celebrated across many cultures since recorded time. They provided a reliable way to mark time, especially when you consider that the early people didn’t have the types of time-keeping devices that we have now.
So instead, they built enormous structures (a few that I’ve had the honour to visit like Mnajdra in Malta, the Great Pyramids at Giza, and Chichen Itza in Mexico) to mark the solstices and equinoxes with festivals and rituals that acknowledge the turning of time.
But what about now? In modern times?
No matter how much more “sophisticated” our time-keeping devices are, they simply can’t replace the interdependent relationship between us and Nature. Pausing at the solstice (when the sun pauses) allows us the opportunity to rekindle our relationship to the cyclical rhythm of Nature.
Everything has a season. What we experience within, we also experience without and vice versa. Times of rest and reflection are just as important to living as periods of growth and activity.
It is when we ignore these cycles that we can feel lost, disconnected, and overwhelmed.
Winter Solstice, the longest and darkest night, calls for introspection, reflection, and release.
I invite you to resist the urge to turn away from reflecting and releasing by automatically making Solstice only about celebrating your Light. This happens when we jump into the mainstream pull to move forward, to eradicate the dark, to allow the rush around you to drown out the need to pull inward and to BE there. To sit. To stay with your inner world.
The lure to step only into the light – at all costs – is seductive. BUT…this isn’t where the magic happens.
Yule is steeped in a mystical tradition with several ancient cultures celebrating it as a time of honouring the darkness as darkness.
So contemplate, yes. Reflect, yes. Even release, yes. Create space for the year to come, but don’t fill this space yet!
We need to create space before something new can be reborn.
Psst…just so you know, if you want to dive deeper into this convo, my co-host and I speak about this along with Winter origin stories (like did you know that reindeer are actually female? It’s true!) in our upcoming Rebelle Mystics Radio podcast which drops on Saturday. Subscribe on iTunes here.
Allowing ourselves to remain in the dissolution phase of the Season, we slowly, almost without noticing it, shift into the phase of gestation which is essential in planting what we want to bloom come Spring.
During the remainder of this week, take a cue from this pause, of the “sun standing still” to purposefully celebrate and dissolve the year you’ve had and surrender to the gift of the Season: Peace.
As Sufi poet Rumi said: “And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.”
How can we Acknowledge the Sacredness of this time?
Before you continue to the suggestions on how to celebrate, first connect to the essence of this being a time to turn within.
Take out your journal and ask yourself:
- What do I need to celebrate from this past year? Is there anything in my life that I’ve looked over? Have I prevented myself from celebrating something because I either feel I don’t deserve it or because I’m waiting until “everything else” is done?
- What do I think and feel about this season?
- Am I able to sit with myself and witness the dark and quiet?
- Ask yourself and your body, what would nourish me most at this time?
- What will it take for me to give this the attention it requires?
- Where can I get the support I need to do this?
Ways to Celebrate Yule
- Watch the Sun Rise Get up before the sun and watch it rise OR sit up all night to welcome back the sun.
- Nature Walk Go for a walk and notice the season with all your senses. Feel the wind whip past you or gently brush your face. Hear the ground crunch under your feet. Smell the crispness in the air. Look for birds and berries.
- Celebrate with Others Have a bonfire to celebrate the change of the seasons, or light a yule log or candle. Sip on hot beverages like tea, hot apple cider, or mulled wine and feel the warmth from inside you.
- Make a Wreath The word Yule derives from the word Jul (meaning “wheel”) which refers to the Wheel of the Year. The wreath represents this wheel.
- Receive the Gift of Peace Take a moment to soak in the Peace of the season with the Yule Peace Bath I’ve gifted for you here.
- Celebrate the 12 Nights of Mothers’ Night by learning more about this ancient Norse festival celebrated on the eve of Winter Solstice until sunrise on New Year’s Day. Join me here in the Free SHE Revival Facebook Group page.
- Learn about Winter Origin Stories in this week’s Rebelle Mystics Radio podcast which drops on Saturday. Subscribe on iTunes here.
Yule Peace Bath Meditation Practice
We’re going to do a guided peace bath meditation practice. As you do this, consider some of the insights from your soulcentred journaling.
Click here to listen to the guided meditation practice (duration_8:40).
How did you celebrate Yule? Did you do the journaling, meditation practice, or some of the celebration suggestions?
How were they for you? What insights took shape?
I’d love to know!
Leave your comment in the box below and share your experience with me.
Want to learn more about celebrating the 12 Nights of Mothers’ Night? Check out my Free Facebook Group page SHE Revival where we are engaging in various ways (including Goddess Chronicles, meditation, journaling, articles) to witness the depth of Winter, the end of the solar calendar, and this essential time of inward preparation.
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Your Soul Sista,
Women’s Hormone Love, Body Wisdom, + Soul Connection Guide