The Pagan Wicca Yule Sabbat is a time alive with the mystical and brimming with its own special magick. There is a stillness, a quiet that comes with the cold, that takes us inward, and causes us to reflect and remember. The clear crispness of the air nips at our hearts. Its mark is a bittersweet twang of pain, joy, happiness, peace, surrender, grief and hope.
This is the time of year that some witches celebrate the rebirth of the Great Horned Hunter God, as he returns with the sun. Yule is a witch’s Christmas and is actually where most Christmas traditions come from. A wonderful Wiccan Yule adventure awaits you below, full of folklore, magick, art and crafts, foods and so much more! So let us dive in and celebrate the return of the sun!
Yule is a celebration that occurs on the Winter Solstice, which occurs around December 19-22, depending on the year and your location. Witches generally celebrate the festival of Yule on whichever day the Winter Solstice falls on each year.
Yule marks the return of the light and the power of the sun. It is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. After the Winter Solstice, the days start to grow longer again, in preparation for spring when the sun will bring new life to the Earth once more! Some witches celebrate this day as the return of the Oak King, who is triumphant over the Holly King, and brings the promise of spring.
Most of the traditions that we know as Christmas traditions today were first celebrated as Yule traditions. Yule was originally a Germanic holiday that seems to have originated with the Norse people and their myth about Odin flying through the sky for his yearly Wild Hunt on his great eight-legged horse named Sleipnir.
He was said to do this on the night of the Winter Solstice. Odin is described as an old man with a long white beard (sound familiar?).
Old Yule traditions included children filling their boots with carrots and hay for Sleipnir and leaving them by the chimney, where Odin was said to drop gifts in exchange for their offerings to Sleipnir. To help the Nordic people make their way through the dark and cold months, they would bring clippings of evergreen trees like pine and fir indoors, to remind them of the life, renewal, and hope of spring’s return.
This is where the tradition of Christmas or Yule trees begins. The tradition of hanging mistletoe goes back to the Nordic people as well. Mistletoe was believed to bring in prosperity as well as to ward off evil or malevolent spirits. A Yule log was created and burned, though a piece of it was left to burn in the new year. This special piece brought good fortune for the year to come and staved off illness and injury.
In the years following, Christianity started to gain more prominence. And it is from there that we have the legend of Saint Nick. Saint Nicholas was a Greek Bishop that was said to have had a long white beard and worn red robes. He was a very generous man and gave gifts to children and the poor. He has become the “patron saint” of children, prostitutes and the poor. His day is December 6th, and this day was celebrated long before Christmas even became a Christian holiday. On this day, children would be given gifts in celebration of Saint Nick.
Over thousands of years the images and traditions of Odin and Saint Nick have combined to become the iconic image that we now know as Santa Claus.
Many modern witches celebrate The Wicca Yule Sabbat by lighting a candle or a Yule log when the sun goes down on the Winter Solstice. The candle or log is kept burning through the night until the next morning when the sun rises again.
Archetypally, Yule time mimics the Heroine’s (Heroes) Journey. The Heroine’s Journey is all about going deep into the underworld, into the dark, submerging into shadow and contemplation. It is a time to be still, to hibernate, and let everything rest.
To align our energy with this natural cycle, we need to honor winter for what it is. This is a time to be less productive and more reflective. It is a time to go inward and find pieces of ourselves that we are ready to shed, to sit with them and grieve them for a while, before the light returns and we are reborn. It is a time to honor the life-death-rebirth cycle.
A wonderful way to honor the Yule Sabbat is to just sit in front of a window, with a warm cup of tea, and reflect on who you have been this last year, and who you will become in the next.
What things do you need to let go of in order to thrive in the coming spring?
The sun’s return is the return of the Divine Masculine. At that time we are reborn out of the dark cave of contemplation. In this way both the Divine Feminine (the Shadows) and the Divine Masculine (light) are honored during the Yule season.
The colors of Christmas are also very much connected to the pagan roots of the Yule Sabbat. With each color having its own powerful meaning.
Red: symbolizes passion/sex, blood, life-force, life-death-rebirth cycle. The Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine (or the God and Goddess in witchcraft) dance passionately at this time of year, they make love. Their energy and wisdom is combined at this time. Red is also blood, which is life-force and this time of year celebrates the life-death-rebirth cycle that is intrinsic in all of nature.
Green: symbolizes the evergreens that thrive at this time of year. It reminds us of the growth that we will have when spring returns! Green reminds us of the life that is just under the surface of the snow, waiting to burst forth and exist again.
White: symbolizes innocence, purity and cleansing. Winter takes us to a childlike place of wonder, it cleanses us from the year that has just passed and reminds us of the purity that always lies within our soul. The more stillness we can practice at this time of year, the more we will be able to connect to the authenticity of our soul.
Gold: symbolizes the Horned God, the Oak King, Divine Masculine, and the return of the sun! It is a reminder that the light is returning after the dark and cold days of winter.
Silver: symbolizes the Divine Feminine, who is connected to the lunar cycles, and the beautiful silvery moonlight that seems to reflect clearer and crisper in the winter months. Silver also symbolizes winter Goddesses like Demeter, Yuki-onna, and Freya, among others.
Part of the fun and magick of the Wiccan Yule is getting to eat lots of yummy food and drink delicious libations! We get to indulge in more decadence now (after all, we are storing for winter!). The traditional foods of Yule also have their own magickal meanings! Below you will find lots of magickal inspiration and even a few simple recipes to try!
Traditional Yule Meats: Ham, turkey, wild game if you have access to it, smoked sausages and meats.
Dried Fruits & Nuts: Before electricity and refrigerators, people had to figure out how to store food to survive the sparse winter months. Dried fruits and nuts provided a healthy way to consume calories. Now, they remind us to be grateful for all that we have during this season.
Jams & Preserves: Fruits and vegetables that were harvested during summer and fall were turned into rations for winter. Eating these foods at Yule is another way to honor all that we have in the winter months.
Root Vegetables & Winter Squash: It’s always good for our bodies to eat what is in season, and root vegetables like parsnips and carrots, and winter squashes like butternut, acorn and kabocha, are great to make warm soups with. They are very hearty and full of essential vitamins and minerals to get you through the winter season.
Traditional Wicca Yule Log & Chocolate/Sweet Treats: Making a Yule Log cake is more popular now than actually burning a Yule log, and of course there are always chocolate and sweet treats at most festivities this time of year. I highly recommend making your own sweet treats.
It’s a fun activity and they can be a lot healthier than store-bought treats. Down below you will find my own delicious chocolate sauce/frosting recipe. Delicious and nutritious!
Eggnog: Eggnog represents rebirth and renewal, and as such celebrates the return of the Oak King bringing back the light. It is also spiced with nutmeg, a spice that corresponds to the Oak King. Eggnog packs a lot of nutrient dense calories (if you make a healthy version of your own) and for our ancestors was a great way to consume calories during the sparse months of the winter.
Spiced Apple Cider: Apple’s are a fall fruit that are eaten throughout the winter. Making spiced apple cider with warming spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger is a great way to enjoy a traditional Yule drink.
After a little trial and error, I have perfected the most decadent homemade fudgy chocolate sauce you will ever try. It is so amazing and so easy to make!
This chocolate sauce is amazing over some fruit, and even works as frosting on paleo brownies! It also goes great with a spoonful of almond butter for a decadent and healthy version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. My partner also eats it on its own, by the spoonful!
It is made with maple syrup instead of sugar and ethically sourced cocoa powder (single sourced so we know where it came from). You can even add a drop of peppermint oil to make it taste like a minty Yule chocolate!
Add all of your ingredients into a pot in the order that they are listed above.
Bring to a light boil over a medium-low heat, to activate the tapioca powder.
If you want it thicker, simply add more tapioca powder. Be warned that it takes a little while to thicken, so be patient or you might over do it.
The sauce also thickens after being refrigerated for a while. Keep stirring.
Once it begins boiling, turn the heat off and continue to stir while it thickens.
Viola! Amazing fudgy chocolate sauce that is actually good for you! Store in the fridge and it will become even thicker and more fudgy overnight.
This recipe is inspired by paleoleap.com Paleo Eggnog recipe. I’ve added a few magickal twists to make it extra witchy for Yule!
Add in your egg yolks, vanilla, (optional almond extract), maple syrup, nutmeg, allspice, clove and cinnamon into a blender and mix thoroughly.
Add your milk and a drop or two of peppermint oil (optional) and blend again until thick and frothy. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
To craft your eggnog into a Yule spell, add intention to each of your ingredients as you place them in the blender…
When you add the egg yolks call in rebirth and fertility to your life (in all ways, prosperity, love, joy, etc. whatever it is you desire).
For vanilla extract, call in the romance and sensuality.
For almond extract, call in prosperity for the year to come and beauty for this current season.
For maple syrup, call in longevity for the darker season, and balance within yourself.
For nutmeg, allspice & clove call in health, luck, prosperity, healing and protection for the season.
For cinnamon, call in the warmth of the season to surround you in love, joy and connection and also physical warmth to keep you warm though the long winter nights.
For milk, call in the nourishment to help sustain you through the season.
And finally when you add peppermint oil, call in money and prosperity.
As you blend, blend with the intention of drinking in all that you have called in, infusing your whole being with the Spirit of Yule!
The best parts of Yule are the fun festivities that we get to share with our loved ones or our witchy clan! A lot of Christmas festivities are derived from Pagan Yuletide, so many of these traditional activities may sound familiar to you.
Wiccan Yule Divination/Reflections Journal: Since this time of year is all about inward reflection and connection, it’s a great time to connect to your spirit guides. You can do this with a tarot or oracle deck. Divination adds magickal work to your Yule season, truly making it a witch’s Christmas.
You can ask these three Yule inspired questions and journal on your answers:
Caroling: Children used to go singing door to door in exchange for treats and small gifts. This time of year has always been about giving what we can to others, and celebrating the childlike spirit.
DIY Wreaths: Make a wreath with pine and or fir clippings, mistletoe and holly and hang it from your front door. This is a great way to magickally protect your space. It is also a reminder of hope and everlasting life to come. Craft your own Yule wreath and weave in magickal intentions as you create it!
Gathering With Family & Friends: Connecting with those that we love has always been a tradition at this time of year. And sharing what we have, only creates more abundance.
Playing games, watching movies all night, making arts and crafts together, and sitting by the Yule log as we dream of better tomorrows for the New Year, is a great way to celebrate The Wiccan Yule Sabbat.
Cuddle Up By The Fire With A Cup Of Tea & A Good Book: To honor the cycle of this time of year, we can slow down more. Winter asks us to go inward and slow down our fast paced rhythms of summer. What better way to do that than to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea and just let the world melt away as we are immersed in another world?
Make Snow Angels: If you live where there is snow, you can go out and ask your angels to come with you. Lay out in the snow and ask them to show you their form as you make a snow angel.
Get up and see if you can see them or any messages or symbols they may be sending to you, in the snow.
Listen To Wiccan Yule Music: There is actually Yule inspired music that is different from the traditional Christmas music.
You can find a lot of Yule inspired music on YouTube, and Loreena McKennitt also has amazing holiday celtic music that is very reminiscent of Yule music.
Gather With Your Coven & Call In The Oak King, Honor the Holly King & Call Upon A Winter Goddess: If you have a coven you can do a ceremony where you honor the passing and “death” of the Holly King (who joins us during the Summer Solstice) and the return of the Oak King, who brings back the light. You can also celebrate winter Goddesses like Demeter, Freyja, and Gaia.
You can honor them by honoring the dark winter and earthy Goddess that lives inside of you and by calling them in to be welcome at your gathering.
Ring Bells & Call On The Elves: Ringing bells was said to chase away the evil spirits back into the darkness. Calling on elves to surround and protect your space also keeps the evil spirits at bay during this time of year. They are special protector spirits of the Wicca Yule season.
DIY Decorations For Your Yule Tree: Create Wicca Yule decorations with clear Christmas bulbs that you can open and add things into! Add in witchy Yule crystals and gems that resonate with the Yule season like rubies, emeralds, clear quartz, bloodstone, citrine, etc. Add witchy Yule herbs such as pieces of pine, fir, mistletoe and/or holly. You can even paint them on the outside with phrases like “Merry Yule” and “Happy Yuletide!” and “Welcome Oak King” or “Welcome to the Rebirth of the Sun!”, etc. Get creative and string them with red and green twine! You can even add red, green and white feathers, pine cones, the list goes on! These are also known as a Witch’s Ball or a Witch’s Christmas Ball.
Make A Pagan Yule Simmer Pot! Check out this video link to “Kitchen Witchery: Yule Simmer Pot Magick” to be a kitchen witch during the Yule season without anyone even knowing that you are practicing your craft!
Release some lovely Yule magick into the air and conjure the mood for Yule with the smells of the season. This Yule simmer pot is also totally edible, so can be a delicious Yule tea as well! Watch this video and join me in some cauldron magick using the kitchen witch’s cauldron, your everyday cooking pot.
Decorating is such a fun and special part of the Yule season!
We get to conjure so much Yuletide magick into our environment, just by creating a Winter Wonderland of joy, hope, peace and light within our home! There is something particularly magickal about Yule decorations that brings about a sense of childlike wonder and awe.
Below is a list of ideas for how to bring that magick into your home and also a wonderful little craft video for something that you can add to your Yule altar or decorations! You’ll have to scroll down to find out what this fun witchy craft is!
Decorate A Yule Tree: This is a very traditional Yule activity, bringing in the green of life and covering it with lights to symbolize the returning of the light! Also adding red, green, white, gold and silver ornaments are a great way to honor this time of year! You can even add your DIY Yule ornaments that I wrote about above!
Cover Your Home In Lights To Welcome In And Honor The Oak King: The more lights the better! Candles (electric or wax), Christmas lights of all colors, pretty strung lights or lights with candy canes, elves and reindeer on them! Go wild with the sparkly lights!
Add Pine And/Or Fir Branches/Leaves To Your Mantelpiece With Lights: (You may want electric lights for this so as to not cause a fire.) You could even weave in some holly for the pop of red or sprinkle with some silver and gold biodegradable glitter to add sparkle!
Add Magickal Elves To Your Wicca Yuletide Decor: The spirit of elves was originally called in to ward off the evil spirits of the dark season of Yule. Their innate joy and light would drive away any malicious energy. You can place elves near your front door to protect the entryway to your home, or around your mantelpiece or even place them on your altar to bring in that protection, joy and light energy to your altar!
Surround Your Space In Sparkles And The Colors Of Yule: Anything that is red, green, white, silver or gold, put it up, add it, sprinkle it, hang it! Get creative with this color scheme!
Witchy Tip Decorate your home starting from the front door inwards to invite the light into your space!
Let’s make this a true witch’s Christmas and set up a Yule magickal altar, shall we!?
What better way to celebrate Yule than to create a reverent space for our Yule magick! Decorating our altars to reflect the seasons is also a wonderful way to be in the rhythm and cycles of the energies that are moving through Gaia, and when we generate our magick around those rhythms and cycles, our magick only becomes stronger.
Put Down A White, Green, Silver, And Or Gold Altar Cloth: It is always wonderful to generate the energy of a season by covering our altar in the corresponding colors of the season.
Add As Many Candles (In Yule Colors) And Lights As Possible To Your Altar: call in and celebrate the return of the light by generating light magick on your altar!
Add Pine Cones To The Left Side Of Your Altar And Cranberries Or Pomegranate Seeds To The Right Side Of Your Yule Altar: pine cones represent the Divine Masculine or Horned God or Oak King, and the cranberries or pomegranate seeds represent the Divine Feminine or winter Goddesses.
Add Yule Stones Or Crystals: rubies, white/red/green/silver/gold swarovski crystals, diamonds, garnets, emeralds, green peridot, citrine, are all great stones to add to your altar for Yule.
Burn Frankincense And Myrrh: Burn this scent at your altar to cleanse and purify your magickal working space as well as relieve depression during these darker months.
Add Pictures Of Odin And His Great Wild Hunt Or Of St. Nick: Call in the energy of these great and generous spirits to help support you and your magick for the Yule season.
Add Elves And Bells To Protect Your Magickal Working Space: As mentioned above.
Do Some Yule Knot Magick And Make A Witch’s Ladder To Add To Your Altar Or Wicca Yule Decorations: Watch the below video “Yule Knot Magick: Simple Prosperity ‘Witch’s Ladder’” to learn how to make a witch’s ladder for a very witchy Christmas “decoration” that you can add to your altar or home. This is full of intentional magick and helps to focus your intent to bring in prosperity, joy and light for this season and the year to come!
Thank you so much for joining me on this Wiccan/Pagan Yuletide adventure today! I hope this journey helped shed light on what Yule is and inspired you to have a witch’s Christmas!
Wiccan Yule celebrations are a wonderful way to enjoy this time of year as a witch. It was an honor to get to explore this merry and joyful Yule Sabbat with you! I hope that your Winter Solstice is full of light, warmth, joy, connection and most importantly, love.