A Blessed Yule to All!

Wreaths at the Granville Island market

What a Yule season this year! So busy with work and fitting social events into it all too!  Tuesday I went to Granville Island with a lovely herby witchy friend for some last-minute holiday shopping. The market smelled amazing – fragrant with evergreens in the florist stalls and spices, fruits, earthy mushrooms, coffees, cheeses, and cured meats… Then it was off to bookstores, paper stores, the music shop, and all our favourite artisans. Her hubby picked us up after and we found chocolate and then Guinness and lunch… yes in that order.

Yesterday on the eve of the Winter Solstice I went to the mountain for some wildcrafting as it was a gorgeous sunny day. I visited my favourite trees and harvested boughs of cedar, juniper, and western hemlock and also found the juniper berry motherload. Then it was over to a witch’s house on the mountain for tea to warm my cold hands and cheeks. We talked of magic and our seer’s gifts while watching the bushtits, junkos, and fat brown wrens devour suet in her yard.

Holly against the cold blue sky

Ivy climbing a maple tree

That night it was off to my neighbour’s Yule ritual. A lovely gathering of witches celebrating the darkness under a dark cloudless sky full of stars. We bathed our bare feet in a bath of candles and evergreen sprigs. Our bare feet circled around a cauldron and crossed from the dark half of the wheel to the light. Our bare feet crushed cedar and hemlock, toes stained green, releasing the smell of deep forests and childhood memories of christmas trees. We scried into the fire lit in the cauldron in hopes to see visions of our futures. Then it was back to the mundane world for homemade meads and fig liquor with a veritable feast and the giving of gifts. We all left with smiles on our lips and love in our hearts.

Mulling homebrewed mead for Yule

Yule Feast

Today, on the day of the Solstice, I made myself my very own feast. I cracked open a three-year-old bottle of sugar pumpkin spice mead (which tastes like a dry white wine) and mulled it with a honey mandarin, a small lemon, fresh ginger slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns, honey from a local beekeeper, and some of the Rocky Mountain Juniper I harvested yesterday. It was divine, ambrosial. I say was because I just drank the last sip. I roasted up some chicken and veggies, made myself a beet and goat cheese salad, and put together a plate of sweets – chocolates and cookies friends gifted me.

Welcoming the Ancestors to the feast

Then I lit the candles at the ancestral altar and invited the ancestors of my blood to dine with me and share in the bounty on this shortest day and longest night.

A blessed Winter Solstice to all! May it be full of love, laughter, mischief, and plenty.

Slàinte Mhòr!

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • nightjohn says:

    Absolutely wonderful! You’re always such an inspiration! I really miss being away from home at this time of year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to really celebrate the season next winter.

  • Nikkie says:

    Slainte mhor dear Sister Witch! Here, celebrating Midsummer is being extended for some reason! The Veil is super thin and the Ancestors in a real mischievous mood……off to bake some light cake to honour them with! Be well and be warm!


  • Lindsey says:

    Most of my winter solstice day was spent at a family christmas:) However, somewhere between my middle son throwing up egg nog and getting up for my newborns nightly feeding, I found time to do a small ritual. As much as I would have loved to jump through a giant evergreen wreath to symbolize rebirth…I had to settle for a hula hoop with a spruce sprig attached. After being reborn along with the sun..I then cleansed myself with white sage and last months full moon waters. Its amazing how just a simple ritual can feel so powerful:) A very blessed Yule to you Witch of Forest Grove and to all your readers!

  • Feral Druid says:

    Sounds beautiful! A very happy Yule to you Sarah.

  • Scordra says:

    A very Blessed Yule to all!! May you spend time doing what’s meaningful and important to you….may you be kept safe in all your travels….and may the New Year be even better than you could have ever imagined!! A wish for all!! Many Blessings!

  • Melissa says:

    Lovely. I’m glad to have read about you and your friends’ Yule celebration (as mine wasn’t exactly what I had hoped it would be). On the day of Yule I was invited to an open circle at a psychic’s shop that would take place that night. As I am just starting my journey down the witches path (really still just learning) I was happy to join them for my first ever winer solstice celebration. However from the onset there was open discontent between the sister witches who lead the ritual (apparently one hadn’t read the ritual and the rest seems angry with her, openly disputing infront of everyone.) This seemed to carry over into ritual with narrowed eyes and occasional sideways glances. When they then cast the circle and the people went to join hand over hand, there was a point where a woman refused to join hands with a man. While there was no verbal exchange between them her jaw was set in such a way that she seemed resentful that he was there, and he (rightfully offended) stared her down for a time before clenching his hand at his side.
    I hate sounding as if i’m looking at the negative side of things— though there were some dissapointments, I was grateful to hear about the story of the holly king and the oak king, and the beautiful pagan tale of the winter solstice. Thankful to learn from a new experience, i’m still more happy with my choice to go than if I had not gone at all. But there seemed to be alot of negative energy between people at a time when I was hoping to feel some connection to others who walk this path, and hopefully to learn something from them. Maybe next time it will be different. This has done nothing to change my mind. It simply validates the obvious— that people are people are they are flawed. Even in situations where you hope they won’t be (and that’s okay). Maybe next time i’ll find a place that suits me better… hopefully one that will take the ritual outdoors. I feel like that would make a world of difference.
    Sorry for this comment that is probably way too long… ultimately I guess what i’m trying to say is that through your post atleast I could imagine an ideal Yule celebration. You and your friends seem to create an atmosphere and place of sharing that is perfect for you. I hope this coming new year brings you and yours happiness and many blessings. Thank you again for your wonderful writing.

  • Susan says:

    Much Blessings and Love to You Sarah on Yule!

  • sunny251 says:

    ahh celebration without a hitch….the baby and I had MAJOR runs and slept through. So all my well layed plans were crap (no pun intended). But I have struck a compromise with every one and the have agreed to put it off till January 7th (which is orthodox christmas anyway).
    But after reading along with what you’ve been through this year I’m happy all went well.

  • Gary says:

    Yuletide blessings to you, Sarah. You capture the essence of this ancient celebration through your beautiful descriptive imagery. May the brilliant Solstice light continue to shine in you throughout the coming year, evoking a strong sense of renewal and purpose.

  • Jack says:

    Beannachtaí na Nollag agus Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit