A Yule ritual of course would involve a Yule log. Yule logs are best made of Pine, Fir or Evergreen. The custom of lighting a Yule log is the classic representation of the birth of a God from the fire of the Mother.
Tools I Use: Boline, Chalk, Myrrh oil, Sea Salt, Wine, One green candle and 4 white candles, and Wood matches.
First, one needs to say a prayer of thanks to the spirit of the tree before cutting it down. (It is always best if you can cut down your own tree if possible, however I usually use a sturdy branch to represent.) After you cut down the tree, cut approximately 1-2 feet for the log. From the bottom, leave the rest intact to decorate.
Depending upon which ritual tools you have, you can either take a piece of chalk, and draw the symbol of the sun on the log. Or take you Boline and carve a representation of the sun.
I place the log in my burning pit (which I’m technically not supposed to have as I live in an APT, but I just use it for the ritual). I open a circle around it, calling the four corners:
South (fire) rub the oil onto the carved sun figure, saying: "The Wheel has turned full circle, we call you back to warm us."
West, (water) pour the wine on the log, saying: "You, who have died, are now reborn."
North (earth) sprinkling salt over the log, saying: "Since time began we celebrated the birth of God. The darkest of nights gives birth to the new sun."
East (air) taking the wood match, light the fire, saying: "I light this fire in honor of all. Thank you God for the light you will bring us. Thank you mother for the warmth of your son. Live within us."
I do the above quickly over the Yule log, and then I have another longer indoor ceremony. (it gets cold in these here parts!)
So for my indoor ritual I begin the ritual, sitting on the floor near my altar. I take a few moments to remember what it was like for my ancestors at this time of year. The harvest had been brought in, and they knew that in a few months, their stockpiles of food would be running low. It was the season of Death, the time when the earth went dormant once more, sleeping until the spring returned. Our ancestors knew that despite the darkness of this night, soon the light would return to the earth, bringing with it life. This night, the Winter Solstice, welcomes back the Sun, the ultimate giver of light.
I light the first candle, and say:
Tonight is the night of the Solstice,
the longest night of the year.
As the Wheel turns once more, I know that
tomorrow, the Sun will begin its journey back to us.
With it, new life will begin,
a blessing from Earth to her children.
I light the second candle, and say:
It is the season of the winter goddess.
Tonight I celebrate the festival of the winter solstice,
the rebirth of the Sun, and the return of light to the Earth.
As the Wheel of the Year turns once more,
I honor the eternal cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth.
I light the remaining candles on the altar at this time and and face the holiday tree. I raise my arms up to the tree, and say:
Today I honor the god of the forest,
the King of nature, who rules the season.
I give my thanks to the beautiful goddess,
whose blessings bring new life to the earth.
This gift I offer you tonight,
sending my prayers to you upon the air.
I light my incense, and make an offering of food, bread, or something else. As the smoke of the incense rises, I meditate on what changes I’d like to see before the next Sabbat. Reflect upon the time of the season. Although winter is here, life lies dormant beneath the soil. What new things will I bring to fruition for myself when the planting season returns? (AKA dreaming about what container planters I’ll do) How will I change myself, and maintain my spirit throughout the cold months? When I am ready, I either end the rite, or continue on with additional rituals, such as Cakes and Ale or Drawing Down the Moon.
It can be pretty lengthy or pretty simple. I usually like to keep my rituals on the simplistic side. A simple thanks and some reflective meditation.
And that’s that!