Between June 20 and 23
Yule comes from the Nordic word "iul" meaning "wheelâ€.
Jul ~ Alban Arthan ~ Yuletide ~ Fionnain
Solstice Night ~ Feill ~ Winter Solstice
The Lady labours through the longest night of the year, giving birth to the Lord at dawn and beginning her recovery. Lights and candles are left burning to guide the Lord from the Goddess' womb and to symbolise the return of the Sun, bringing light to the Earth. The long, cold nights are shortening and the days are getting longer and warmer.
depth of darkness, turning point, remembering light in darkness, festivity,
generosity, merriment, warmth, mother & baby, wonderment, joy, mystery.
Holly (masculine), ivy
(feminine), mistletoe (fertility), cinnamon, pine cones, cloves, nutmeg.
Red (the Goddess' menstrual blood), white (the
God's semen), green (plant kingdom), gold (the Sun).
The second balefire holiday, with the fire usually taking the form of a Yule log - from a special species of tree, or part of the Maypole from Beltane. Yule logs are burned from dusk on the Winter Solstice till dawn on the following day to symbolise the return of the Lord and the Sun. The log should traditionally be from a hardwood tree and in Australia mallee roots, Victorian ash, Tasmanian oak and Eucalyptus (to name a few) are ideal for this purpose. The Yule log is burned down until only a small piece remains, which is saved and kept to be used as a lighter for the following year's Yule fire - in doing this, the Yule fire is symbolically reborn each year as well.
This is a turning point, a point of change, where the tides of the year turn. At this time of the year, no matter how cold it may be, there is a glimmer of spring in the distance. The shortest day of the year has come and the next festival on the calendar is Imbolc, which marks the beginning of Spring.
At Yule, homes are decorated with evergreen, non-deciduous trees, and gifts are given to all family members and all who pass the threshold to symbolise the gift the Lady has bestowed upon the Earth.
A good time to do workings for peace,
harmony, love, and increased happiness.
A small white candle inside a cauldron on the altar (symbolises the return of light from within the Goddess' womb), pine cones, symbols of the Sun, wreaths, nativity scene (representing the Mother, Father and infant Sun God), red/green/white candles, evergreens, acorns, nuts, apples, cinnamon sticks, reindeer.
A note on Yule and Christmas:
You'll note that the Wiccan Yule lore/celebrations and the Christian Christmas lore/celebrations are quite similar. Please don't send me angry emails about this, because I'm just giving you some facts here, but the main reason they are so similar is that Christmas is based on the pre-Christian pagan festival of Yule, held on the Winter Solstice long before the advent of Christianity. Now, I'm not saying that Mary and Joseph didn't turn up at the inn 2000-odd years ago, only that the Yule festival itself predates Christianity by thousands of years. Many of the Christmas traditions we observe today (the evergreen Christmas tree, gift-giving, celebrating the birth of the infant Lord, etc.) are remnants of the ancient pagan Winter Solstice celebrations: these practices were 'absorbed' by the Church to make the Christian Christmas more palatable to the pagans they were converting.
Please do your own research and find out why we celebrate Yule/Christmas like we do and try to understand how we came to do these things - why we decorate the Christmas tree with lights, why we give gifts, and so on and so forth. Open your mind and find out why you celebrate Yule/Christmas the way you do.