Celebrations, music, spells, gifts, books & recipes for Winter Solstice
inspired by ancient Pagan customs & traditions
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, fire festivals and offerings and prayers to
Gods and Goddesses -- are at the root of our modern affinity for candles, evergreens,
feasting and generosity during holiday celebrations.
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.
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.
Making 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
for every day of the month.
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!
by Willow Polson (just published Oct 2002!)
Craft projects, seasonal recipes, decorating ideas,
& lots of folklore & activities surrounding the Wiccan Sabbats for all ages.
Teen Witch Datebook: September 2002 to December 2003
by Frankie Banfer, Gwinevere Rain & Lily Gardner
The first and only planner specifically designed for young witches.
Includes rituals and spells;
Moon signs, phases, and times of change;
& articles by well-known Pagan writers to enhance your practice.
Lunaria Lunar Almanac 2011
teaches us there always comes a time for self-renewal and new beginnings. Discover in the
Lunaria luscious romantic era artwork and prose, an eclectic mix of classical literature,
poetry, mythology, esoteric texts, folklore & charms. These treasures honor the Earth, Moon
and Sky, as well as love, spirituality and humanity. The Lunaria utilizes thirteen true
lunar months including a lovely depiction of each day's changing moon phase.
Here you will find all the necessities of a traditional calendar and so much more!
Included are traditional calendar dates with each month beginning with the new moon.
This calendar provides information regarding which astrological house the moon is in,
v/c and aspects, major planetary signs and aspects, traditional and earth holidays,
rise-set times, quarter times, eclipses, solstice/equinox times, planet visibility,
and, an informative user's guide.
Llewellyn's Witches Calendar 2011
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.
World of Faerie by Brian Froud 2011 Calendar
Brian Froud is an artist, conceptual designer for The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, top-selling author, and a world authority on faerie lore. He has collected some of his most magnificent illustrations for the World of Faerie wall calendar. This spectacular sightseeing tour of faeries and their mystical universe will bring magic to your home all year round.
Call of the Goddess 2011 Calendar
Visionary artist Helen Nelson-Reed offers thirteen exotic images of the sacred feminine
drawing upon fantasy, myth, dreams, shamanism and mysticism.
Celtic Mandala 2011 Datebook (Engagement Calendar)
Welsh artist Jen Delyth weaves magical images inspired by the ancient Celts
of the divine forces present in all aspects of nature.
If you appreciate the gracefully complex curves of Celtic knotwork and zoomorphic imagery,
you'll love this uniquely beautiful calendar.
Llewellyn's 2011 Astrological Calendar: Horoscopes For You Plus Astrology Basics
This calendar is packed with astrological information to plan the year wisely. You'll find horoscopes, best days for planting and fishing, rewarding and challenging days, and travel forecasts by Bruce Scofield. There's also an astrology primer to help beginners use the vast amount of astrological data contained within. Comprehensive and practical, with original artwork by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, the creator of the Shadowscapes Tarot.
Holiday Gift Ideas
My own collection of handcrafted jewelry includes Victorian, Egyptian and
stealth Pentacle necklaces, Triquetra Moon jewelry featuring Celtic knotwork,
& and tributes to the Cat Goddess Bast including Winged Cat designs and Egyptian pentacles.
There's also a section on crystal healing & gemstone magic.
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