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 and fire festivals -- 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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