The Sabbats are our Holy Days on the Calendar, with respect to the Sun. They honor the God, and the cycle of birth, death, and transformation of our physical, active, projective God selves. Through attuning ourselves with the cycles of the seasons, we can transform ourselves from a self-centered separate identity, to a connected, balanced, entity that lives in harmony with the universe.
Sabbats have layers and layers of depth, and can be celebrated in many ways. There are myths and psychodramas to celebrate the passing seasons from the prospective of the Gods, and there are personal, inner stirrings that can be ritualized to tune you into the deep rhythmic movements of the energies of each season.
The wheel of the year is a circle, with no beginning and no ending. At this time, we are in the season of Yule. We are in the depth of dark, it is a time of expressing gratitude’s to those who have helped us this year, reflecting on lessons learned, and letting go of pains or hurts that we might be holding onto because of those lessons.
Yule – 1˚ Capricorn
Depth of Dark, Beginning of Winter
Fundamentally Concerned with Identity
Analyzing Past Accomplishments and Projecting Future Desires
Setting aside all pains and re-assessing the Now
Honoring family, friends, and allies.
Colors – Red, Green, Gold, Silver
Gods – Holly King, Crone Aspect
Direction – North
Herbs – Holly, Mistletoe, Cinnamon, Apple, Cranberry, Bayberry
Magic – Prosperity, Success, Peace, Joy, Happiness, Family, Friends
Yule is when we are in the depth of dark. We are fundamentally focused on what the past year has brought us and how the new year will come into being. We are reaping the rewards of our successes and failures, and analyzing things that we need to do differently in the year to come.
We do not have to look to a mysterious past for the answers to this season. Santa Claus is a perfect representation of the Holly King, the Father God that is joyously rewarding us with the fruits of our labors from the previous year. Myths about how Santa Claus rewards good children, and brings bad children a bag of switches, or a lump of coal, is referring to your karma, and reaping the consequences of your actions. But, Santa is compassionate. Even if you deserve nothing, the Holly King will bring you a little something to burn on the fire to keep you warm on the longest night of the year.
The Holly King/Santa Claus is the wise father. He is clothed in White, Red, and Black, the colors of Maiden, Mother and Crone (as is the less mentioned Ms. Claus). He is often shown with Holly leaves and berries, representing his role as Holly King. He is the old father who is giving way to the new young Oak King.
The God’s purpose is to manifest, or make material, the gifts the Goddess has for us, on the physical plane. Santa Claus delivers gifts. Santa Claus is the Holly King, a pagan God that stands as a beacon of happiness and hope, never to be shadowed by the new rising Oak King, and who is well prepared and easily at home in the coldest darkest times. Other special pagan symbols are; the star, which represents your wishes for the coming year, ball ornaments, which represent the orchard fruit of summer, immortality and eternity, the evergreen tree, which represents the Goddess in her immortality, and the Yule Log, which is where we do immortality magic by placing our burdens into the log and burning them away with the fire.
The Pagan symbolism in Christmas abounds. It’s harder to find something that isn’t Pagan than to find something that is. Many Christmas carols have the meaning of the Winter Solstice in them and are warmly appropriate for Yule celebrations.
The birth of Jesus, is a retelling of the birth of the Oak King. It is customary for Pagans to hold vigil all night at the Winter Solstice to await the rise of the new sun, and bless the birth of the Oak King. Christmas being celebrated three days after Yule, is in keeping with astrological turning of the sun and is the perfect time to celebrate the birth of the Oak King. This doesn’t have to be an internal source of stress with your Christian family members. Once you can see past what you have been told Christmas means to Christians, and come to know the pagan roots of it all, you can enjoy Yule with all your usual family traditions that you enjoyed as a child, and stay completely true to your pagan beliefs.
So, enjoy your Solstice Celebrations, in the many wondrous ways that they manifest for you this year. Exchange gifts, get kissed under the mistletoe, and take your kids to see Santa. Let go of any pain, or hard feelings holding you back, so you can enjoy perpetual youthfulness. Sing Jingle Bells and Santa Clause is Coming to Town till your hearts content. Spend the season with a Jolly Old Elf, and enjoy the magic of the season with open heartedly with everyone you love.
Author: Belladonna LaVeau