winter fairy Celebrate Yuletide

Celebrations, music, spells, gifts, books & recipes for Winter Solstice
inspired by ancient Pagan customs & traditions

Wiccan Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures the world over for thousands of years. Here in the northern hemisphere, nights get longer and days get shorter until (in 2005) December 21 when the cycle reverses. What better time than the start of the solar year to celebrate the cycle of nature and reaffirm the continuation of life?

In old Europe, this time of year was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel. Ancient rituals -- with fertility rites and fire festivals -- are at the root of our modern affinity for candles, evergreens, feasting and generosity during holiday celebrations.

spells and rituals Let there be Light!

Meditate in darkness and then welcome the birth of the sun by lighting candles and singing chants and carols. If you have a indoor fireplace or woodstove, burn an oak log as a Yule log and save a bit to start next year's fire. Decorate your home with electric colored lights. Click on the candle for some spells & rituals related to growth & new beginnings, and books on spellcraft.

Pagan Holidays
A Time of Giving

We all enjoy exchanging gifts and feasting with our friends and family at this time of year but how about extending this beautiful custom to include the other living creatures who share this earth with us? Put up bird feeders and keep them stocked with seed. You can also make decorative wildbird treats by rolling pinecones in peanut butter and bird seed. This is also a wonderful time to visit an animal shelter and adopt a homeless cat or dog. Donate funds and items to environmental organizations. Meditate for world peace.

Holidays for PagansMaking Peace with the Past and Looking into the Future

The four days out of the year that mark the turning of the seasons are especially magical times so dvination of the events of the coming year was and is another prominent feature of Winter Solstice. Tarot, Rune or I Ching readings can be especially significant at this time as can dreams or visions seen in meditation. Winter Solstice is also an excellent time for banishing rituals to eliminate disease, bad habits & addictions.

magickal cooking for Pagans, Wiccans and others

Yuletide Recipes: the magick in food

Click on the steaming cauldron for a collection of dessert recipes perfect for celebrating Yule and the Winter Solstice. You'll also find magickal associations for some of the ingredients and links to Pagan cookbooks.

Pagan origins of Santa Claus What about Santa Claus?

Each culture has had its own traditional character who visits at the time of Winter Solstice, bringing gifts & treats. Today's Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos ( Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), & the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year). Santa's reindeer can be viewed as forms of Herne, the Celtic Horned God.
Santa based on a design by Victor Moscoso

If you're new to Paganism, check out my Paganism for Beginners page
Our Winter Solstice Sunrise Picture Slideshow

Please scroll down the page for some recommended music, books and holiday gift ideas for Pagans and other tasteful types who appreciate the uniquely beautiful, sensual and magical. And since I'm a calendar collector, I've also included some of my favorite Pagan/mystical calendars to help you start the new year off right :-) You might also enjoy exploring some of my other pages on the Pagan Wheel of the Year, meditation, angels, animal totems & spirit guides, altered states of consciousness, drumming circles, Reiki healing or the Egyptian Cat Goddess Bast. Or maybe you'd like to meet my own feline furry family :-)

Circle of the Seasons Circle of the Seasons
by Lisa Thiel

A collection of songs for all the Pagan holidays: Imbolc (Candlemas), Ostara (Spring Song), Beltane (Lord & Lady Song), Litha (Summer Solstice Song), Lammas Song, Mabon (Autumn Equinox), Samhain, and Yule (Winter Solstice)

Winter Solstice Carols - reclaiming the celebration of the season Winter Solstice Carols - reclaiming the celebration of the season
by Megha Morganfield
A collection of 15 holiday songs celebrating the return of the light, and hope renewed for peace and community. Inspired by Mary Daly's book "Gyn/Ecology", Megha Morganfield rewrote 12 tradition carols, retaining their melodies, but enlivening them with universal transcendent messages. A collaborative production, the Winter Solstice Carols is a recording with harp, guitar, piano, violin and voice.

Beautiful Darkness - Celebrating the Winter SolsticeBeautiful Darkness - Celebrating the Winter Solstice
by Jessica Radcliffe/Lisa Ekstrom/Martin Simpson

This unusual collection of tunes, songs and spoken words will help you celebrate the Winter Solstice as the joyous, life-affirming spiritual festival it is meant to be. Includes "To Drive the Cold Winter Away," "Solstice Fire," "The Holly & the Ivy," "One Small Candle/Beautiful Darkness," "Holly Bears the Crown" and 12 more songs of the season. This recording was inspired by John & Caitlin Matthews' book, The Winter Solstice

Paul Winter ConsortSolstice Live!
by Paul Winter & friends

A live recording of one of The Paul Winter Consort's legendary annual Winter Solstice Whole Earth Celebrations in New York City. A world music festival with 20 guest artists performing ancient & modern Sun-welcoming songs from all over the world including Celtic Galicia, Ireland, Russia, Native America, Africa, India & the Ecuadoran Andes, SOLSTICE LIVE! captures the adventure & drama of this musical journey through the longest night of the year. Perfect for multi-denominational family celebrations.

Blackmore's Night CarolsWinter Carols
by Blackmore's Night

Richie Blackmore, Candice Night and their Renaissance rock band put together a lovely collection of Celtic and medieval inspired winter holiday music with this CD. As usual, Candice's heartfelt vocals and Richie's brilliant instrumental work shine particularly bright. Even though I personally celebrate Winter Solstice, their Christmas Eve is one of my favorites; the lyrics are multi-cultureal and it captures the spirit of this season beautifully. Winter, Lord of the Dance, Ding Dong Merrily On High, I Saw Three Ships and Ma-O-Tzur are are also standouts.

Books of the Season

Here are some of my favorite books on celebrating Yule and other holidays in communion with nature.
Click on the title to learn more about the book.

Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life
by Pauline Campanelli
12 chapters... one for each month of the year... containing lore, crafts, recipes, magic,
and ritual for celebrating the seasons and cycles of life.

Yule: A Celebration of Light and Warmth
by Dorothy Morrisson
Explore the Pagan & regional roots to many of our contemporary rituals & celebrations.
Includes homemade crafts & gift ideas. seasonal recipes,
and a December calendar listing traditions & rituals for every day of the month.

The Pagan Book of Days: A Guide to the Festivals, Traditions, and Sacred Days of the Year
by Nigel Pennick
This fascinating book is like an ancient cultural and religious almanac combining Celtic, Roman, Egyptian and other traditions. There's literally something to celebrate every day!

The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas
by John Matthews & Caitlin Matthews
This beautifully illustrated coffee table style book packed with folklore, stories, recipes, games, activities, decorating ideas, and songs of the Winter Solstice would make a beautiful gift.

The Winter Solstice
by Ellen Jackson
This is an excellent introduction to the ancient traditions of Yule for children.

The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice
by Carolyn McVickar Edwards
A beautiful retelling of 12 traditional tales... from North America, China, Scandinavia, India, Africa, South America, Europe, and Polynesia... that honor the magical moment of Winter Solstice when "the sun stands still."

Wiccacraft for Families
by Margie McArthur
An excellent reference book for any Pagan,Wiccan or Nature Religion family
packed with seasonal recipes, crafts, ritual ideas & lore.
Create your own family traditions!

Sabbat Entertaining
by Willow Polson (just published Oct 2002!)
Craft projects, seasonal recipes, decorating ideas,
& lots of folklore & activities surrounding the Wiccan Sabbats for all ages.

Witch Crafts: 101 Projects for Creative Pagans
by Willow Polson
Learn to make beautiful holiday gifts for your friends & family... or yourself!
This book features projects for all ages & skill levels and is beautifully illustrated.

The Magical Household: Empower Your Home With Love, Protection, Health and Happiness
by Scott Cunningham
A wonderful little book to help make your home a haven of sacred space and magick,
for the holidays or any time.

Celebrate the Solstice: Honoring the Earth's Seasonal Rhythms Through Festival and Ceremony
by Richard W. Heinberg
Two books in one. A history of Solstice celebration including Stonehenge, ancient Chinese, Mayan & Native American rites... followed by suggestions on creating your own personal seasonal rituals.

The Fires of Yule: A Keltelven Guide for Celebrating the Winter Solstice
by Montague Whitsel
This is not a strictly Pagan book but if your family and friends are a mix of Pagan and Christian, this book on Celtic-inspired Yule celebration might be just what you're looking for

Pagan & Mystical Calendars for 2020

The Pagan Book of Days: A Guide to the Festivals, Traditions, and Sacred Days of the Year

Pagan rites and festivals are at the root of many traditional holidays in the Western world. Embracing a sensitivity we have lost, the Pagan traditions emphasize mystical spirituality, and the links between people and the earth. This unique daybook contains a treasury of information about rituals and celebrations that have for centuries been associated with the changing seasons of the year. Included are the observances of the ancient Greek, Roman, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Norse traditions, and Wiccan traditions.

In The Pagan Book of Days the author provides details on auspicious and inauspicious days, and the eight stations of the year (the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days). He also includes lunar and solar charts indicating dates of major Pagan celebrations from the year 2011 through 2033. Illustrations throughout depict images from the classical and northern European traditions. The Pagan Book of Days is an enlightening way to incorporate these ancient cultural and spiritual practices and awarenesses into your daily life.

Seasons and Cycles Moon Calendar 2020
Beautiful Lunar calendar includes Phase Of The Moon Each Day ~ Full & New Moon Date, Sign & Time ~ Solstice & Equinox Dates & Times

Llewellyn's 2020 Witches' Calendar
A classic. Includes Wiccan holidays, color correspondences, the best days to plant and harvest, the Moon's sign and phase, planetary motion including retrogrades, and solar and lunar eclipses along with practical tips, invocations, folklore, herb lore, and original scratchboard art by Kathleen Edwards.

Goddesses: Susan Seddon Boulet 2020 Wall Calendar
Inspiring paintings of the Goddess in her many guises by Susan Seddon Boulet.
Another classic, with such beautiful imagery you'll want to keep it long after the year has passed.

Call of the Goddess 2020 Calendar
Visionary artist Helen Nelson-Reed offers thirteen exotic images of the sacred feminine
drawing upon fantasy, myth, dreams, shamanism and mysticism.

Llewellyn's 2020 Astrological Calendar: 87th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar
A must for everyone who wants to plan 2020 wisely, with an amazing amount of astrological data laid out on forty pages. Colorful, contemporary art by Mia Bosna kicks off each month, and monthly horoscopes by Carole Schwalm include the most rewarding and challenging dates for each sign. You’ll find major daily aspects, planetary sign changes, in addition to the Moon’s sign, phase, and void-of-course times. As always, there is a Table of Retrograde Periods and ephemerides for each month.

yule holly graphic

Holiday Gift Ideas

Pagan Greeting Cards
cards for Yule & all the Sabbats... handfastings & other rites of passage featuring Gods & Goddesses, faeries, Celtic knotwork, animal Totems, zodiac signs & more

Celtic, historical & mystical gifts - jewelry, medieval reproduction swords & more

T-Shirt King
many Celtic, fantasy & tribal designs

Save up to 80% on candles, holders & unique holiday gift sets

Mystical Posters & Art Prints
beautiful pictures of faeries and angels - framing available

Abundant Earth
environmentally sensitive products for those who care about the Earth. home & garden ornaments, hemp products, meditation tools, wildlife feeders, ecosystem games & toys

The Gift Tree
elegant gift baskets featuring gourmet chocolate, fruit, flowers, wine, bonsai trees & more

All Wine Baskets
the best wine, champagne & gourmet cheeses with same day delivery available

please visit the rest of our site...

yule holly graphic

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