5 Simple Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice
Yule, also called the winter solstice, is a pagan winter celebration. It can sometimes be thought of as the pagan new year as it is a time for rebirth and renewal. Some traditions, like neopagan Wicca, see Yule as the time when the horned god is born again to travel through the cycle of the year anew. It is a time when the earth is preparing to awaken from its cold slumber and welcome the new life that arrives in spring. Put simply, Yule is when many in the pagan community choose to celebrate winter solstice and the metaphorical meaning that comes along with the longest night of the year and return of the sun.
Although many of the traditions that our ancestors are believed to have followed may not translate well to our modern lives, there are still ways that pagans today can celebrate this winter holiday. There are many different rituals, spells, and other magical workings that can be done during this time of year. However, those that focus on rebirth, renewal, and shedding of things that no longer serve us are at their most potent during the solstice. Protection and purification magic can be especially powerful during this time in the solar cycle as well.
In this article, you will learn simple ways that you can celebrate Yule as a modern pagan. From clearing the negativity from your home to setting intentions for the year there are tons of ways that you can celebrate the season with little to no money or supplies! Most of the ideas on this list are accessible to witches of all abilities, skill levels, and budgets.
Simmer Away Negative Energy in Your Home
A simmer pot can be a great way to clear negative energy from your home and set intentions that you want to inhabit the space. While some ingredients commonly go into the pot this time of year ( apples, cinnamon, oranges, cloves, etc ) it is absolutely fine to adjust your simmer pot to what you have on hand if you can’t go out and buy ingredients.
You can also tailor your simmer pot to any particular intentions that you may have. For example, rosemary is always a good herb to add for protection. You can use a book of correspondences such as Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs to determine what ingredients would be best in your simmer pot based on your magical intentions.
Note: It is always best to use real ingredients rather than essential oils, particularly if you have pets in the home. Some of these oils can cause respiratory issues in cats, dogs, and other pets. Others are just plain toxic to them.
Making a simmer pot couldn’t be any easier. Simply add the ingredients you want to include into a pot of water ( moon water is a great option for this ) set to boil then reduce the heat to simmer on the stovetop. You can leave the simmering pot for as long as you feel comfortable or until you feel like the magic has spread throughout the home.
Once you have finished simmering your simmer pot you can strain the ingredients through a sieve into a spray bottle to use as an energy cleansing spray.
Related: Caring for your Mental Health in a Pandemic
Refocus With a Midwinter Meditation
The solstice can be a great time for meditation. It’s a wonderful time to take a mindful look at your lifestyle, your aspirations, and your stressors to determine where you can make changes in your life to be closer to your ideal version of yourself. Of course, we all can’t live in our best energy all the time. However, simple steps add up quickly. You’d be surprised how much of a change you will see in yourself ( for the better ) if you start a regular meditation practice for introspection.
If you’re unsure of the type of meditation you’d like to do for the solstice you can find many by searching “2021 solstice meditation” on YouTube or by joining us in the Chill Witch Club where we will be doing a short meditation. Of course, if you are having trouble with meditation I recommend checking out this post I did recently with tips on how to meditate even if you think you’re terrible at it ( spoiler alert: you’re not terrible at it, you’re probably just not doing it in a way that works for you!)
Related: Meditation Tips for Beginners: How to Meditation ( even if you think you can’t )
Find Guidance with a Solstice Tarot Pull
There are tons of different tarot pulls you can do for this time of year. You can find several of my favorites on my Tarot Pinterest Board. A simple three-card pull will suffice though. For the first card, you can ask something like “what was the message of the past year for me?”. The second card can give you an idea of your present state of mind or any challenges that currently stand in your path or are keeping you from your full potential. Finally, the third card can help you to pinpoint where you should focus your energy in the new year for the most positive and fulfilling results. There are many variations on this so feel free to adapt it to the insight you would like to gain.
We’ll be doing a solstice tarot pull in The Chill Witch Club so be sure to join us for that to see if this message resonates with you! Of course, it’s always best to do your own card pulls so that they are more closely aligned with your energy but general readings can be helpful in finding direction as well!
Celebrate the Season with Holiday Baking
I know some of you are saying “wait a minute… baking isn’t witchcraft!” That’s where you’re wrong though! It absolutely can be. Many kitchen witches ( including this one lol ) use holiday baking as a way to weave magic into the season for loved ones by sharing their talents in the kitchen. Holiday baking to celebrate winter solstice can also be a great way to honor your ancestors or those who have passed on. Baking a loved one’s prized recipe and spending time thinking of how much that recipe meant to them (and to you) can be a wonderful way to honor their memory. I’ve had a rough time with holidays since my grandmother passed. It was always her favorite time of year and being the beautiful soul that she was she never missed a moment to enjoy all that the holiday season had to offer. This year I’m making my version of her famous holiday fudge recipe to honor her memory.
Many of the magical symbols of the season can also be included in your holiday baking. Fruits like apples or cranberry can easily be baked into bread, pies, or cakes. While not technically edible, the creation of a pomander is a popular holiday tradition in some cultures. Herbs and spices of the season such as cinnamon, cloves, or mint often pair nicely with baked goods and candy treats that can easily be made in the kitchen. The traditional Yule Log cake can be a great baked treat for the holiday season.
Baking holiday treats to celebrate winter solstice can also be a fun and easy way to include children in your pagan holiday traditions. While they may not be old enough to understand the spiritual connotations of the day, it’s never a bad idea to spend a day making memories (and treats) in the kitchen. This is especially true around the holiday season. Some of my personal best holiday memories from my childhood were in my grandma’s kitchen. Perhaps that’s why I remember her fudge so fondly. Or because, well, chocolate lol.
Related: Mindfulness, Meditation, and the Pagan Lifestyle
Wassailing the Season Away
Wassail, a traditional warm English drink featuring cider, spices, and baked apples is generally shared in a toast to good health. Everything going on this year makes this an especially meaningful tradition to start. Wassail can be made with or without alcohol depending on the crowd that you will be sharing it with. The spices used were usually cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Sometimes cloves are added and occasionally a pinch of ginger is tossed in too. ( Ginger is an herb that has many health benefits)
The traditional act of “Wassailing” includes wandering the neighborhood, knocking on doors, and singing Christmas carols for all who would open their door. Nowadays that’s probably not the best idea and Christmas carols may or may not be a part of your pagan holiday tradition. A great way to adapt this old tradition to the modern pagan lifestyle is to have a wassail and enjoy music with your family or a small group of friends. It can be a relaxing time or one to share your favorite memories from the year.
However you decide to celebrate winter solstice this year I hope you have a blessed Yule and a wonderful year in 2022. Thank you to all of my readers who have stopped by this year for my witchcraft tips, paranormal musings, and mental health chat. I appreciate every single one of you and look forward to beginning the witchcraft for beginners series in 2022! Be sure to join our Facebook group, The Chill Witch Club, for all of the latest printouts, discussions, and more with witches from around the world.