Yule is a good time to chase out ill-meaning wights like mischievous elves, dwarves, and trolls. Though it’s said that wights are who they are, and some serve a purpose, some are just trolls – ugly dwarves or fiends – and unpredictable… and sending them back to where they came from is good for both them and us.
Here’s what one family does:
Towards the end of the night of our Yule Feast, we grab our large family Thor’s Hammer (He likes to chase Trolls), and a fire source such as a candle, and some noise makers, like drums that can sound like the thunder Thor is known for.
We then form a procession to go through the house waving the hammer and fire while drumming and rattling and shouting, “Out Trolls, out Trolls!” to scare these ill meaning wights out of the house.
This version of the chasing out that comes from an Icelandic custom called “bidding the alfs to home”…
The house-mother would sweep everywhere, in every corner, then kindle lights all through the house, wherever their might be a shadow. She then went out and around the dwelling, some say three times, and spoke,
‘Come, those who wish to come;
stay those who wish to stay;
and fare, those who wish to fare,
harmless to me and mine.’
Source: Hex Magazine
There are quite a few steps to this ritual, and that is one of the things that makes it special.
If you are worried about “not having the right materials”, do not worry. You can substitute as you need, and use symbolism as you need (for example, if you don’t have a yule log, use a fallen tree branch, some twigs, etc…)
Take a warm bath with cinnamon, mint and rose petals to improve psychic awareness. Relax… let the warm sooth you, and consume you.
Decorate the sacred space with gold and silver spheres to represent the returning sun, and wreaths to symbolize the turning Wheel.
Have oak shavings ready as a base for your incense. Add any other personally meaningful herbs to this mixture and start burning it before the invocation to help prepare the sacred space.
Finally, put a candle representing the sun at the southern point of the circle.
Cover the altar with a pale green cloth – the color of early sprouts, which represents continuance. Add red berries for life’s blood; holly; ivy; and pine branches as a symbol of longevity. The pine also welcomes sylvan spirits to your circle.
Have a Yule log at the center point, placing there your God and Goddess candles. Always keep a part of the candles or the log itself for future years; this brings good luck, life, health and providence.
Take up your Athame, butter knife, or finger and Cast the Circle starting in the West, the region where several cultures believe the afterlife resides, the direction of the Dying Sun.
Take a moment to center yourself and begin to cast the Circle. Visualize a white light coming from the tip of the Athame and with arms straight out, turn the blade point out, slowly turning clockwise the light following you.
When you return to the West bring the athamé back to you and say: “As above, so below.” As you say this, visualize the light going above you and below you forming a perfect sphere.
Light the Goddess candle in the Yule log, then move to the Northern point in your Circle. This is the quarter traditionally ascribed to the season of winter.
- Face North and say:
“Ancient Mother, I look for your opulence, but tonight naught but barren trees decorate the land. In this restful moment, let my spirit find healing.”
- Face East and say:
“Ancient Brother, I listen for your winds, but tonight they are still. In this quiet darkness, help me find inspiration.”
- Face South and say:
“Ancient Father, I look for your fires, but tonight the embers only begin to glow more brightly. May this gentle warmth temper my spirit.”
- Face West and say:
“Ancient Sister, I seek your glistening tears, but tonight they are frozen. Beneath this cool blanket, let my emotions find stability.”
- Face center and say:
“Ancient Ones, I seek Your face, but tonight darkness surrounds. Help me find Your spark within to guide my path.”
Sit and close your eyes. Let any remaining tension drain away, then begin listening to the sound of silence. Smell the aromas of oak and herb. Feel the latent energy of everything around you and the magic you’ve placed there. Know it as your own.
Listen to your breath and your heartbeat. Sense the pulse and ebb within as the same energy without. Listen closely; does it whisper a message to you? Does it whisper a name? Do you hear the cry of an animal? Do you hear words that fill you with energy? Linger in this place between Earth and stars until you receive a message. Then return to normal levels of awareness, and write of this experience in your journal.
Turn toward the northern part of your circle.
Think of things that you want to banish, such as bad habits. Say:
“I call to the darkness. Come embrace my __________ (fill in with your negative characteristics).”
Take them to yourself. I release them. As the sun climbs in the sky, take these things with you in retreat, never to return to me again.”
Turn to the south of the circle, light the sun candle, and repeat this chant. Let it naturally grow to fill the entire space with positive vibrations:
“Strong sun, returning sun; the light burns as the Wheel turns. Strong sun, returning sun; the shadows fade; my magic bade. Strong sun, returning sun; the shadows flee, the magic is free!”
Return to the altar now and light the God candle, using the Goddess candle as a fire source (symbolic of the womb).
“Sun Father, Your journey has left you weary. May this light give you strength to reach toward the heavens again with warmth and brilliance.”
After saying so, go through your home and light all its candles, lamps, flashlights, or decorative lights to represent the sun’s return.
- Face West and say:
“Spirit of the West, thank you for cleansing body, mind, and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise purify Earth.”
- Face South and say:
“Spirit of the South, thank you for this warmth of body, mind and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise generate love on Earth.”
- Face East and say:
“Spirit of the East, thank you for this stillness of body, mind and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise bring peace to Earth.”
- Face North and say:
“Spirit of the North, thank you for healing me in body, mind, and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise heal Earth.”
- Face Center and say:
“Ancient Ones, thank you for turning the Wheel that enlightens body, mind, and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise edify Earth.”
From: Rose Ariadne
Here is a fun way to gather the family in a simply beautiful Yule project and ritual. With supervision, most children can easily make this themselves; it makes a fun family project.
1. Gather your favorite evergreens. Choose a few cuttings each from such winter favorites as holly with berries, juniper with berries, cedar, spruce, or pine needles. If available, add a few tiny birch pine cones as well (these are one inch or less).
2. Pour water into a three-inch deep rectangular plastic (flexible) container, half full. Place three to six naturally scented beeswax, soy, or essential oil scented candles into the container. The candles should be four inches tall and three to four inches wide.
3. Add the evergreens and berries to the container in a pleasing arrangement around the candles. Cover the greens with more water so they’ll appear to float once frozen. Be careful not to over fill; the plastic container should be two-thirds full of water in the end.
4. Place in the freezer until frozen (or outdoors if it’s cold enough). Freeze until solid.
5. Slide out the rectangular ice block with the evergreens and candles frozen inside. Turn onto a fireproof plate (a high-fired glazed ceramic plate would serve well) or an old cookie sheet covered with foil. You can accentuate the display by placing polished stones or polished glass beads around the edges of the ice.
6. Light the candles. Say a winter prayer, offer a blessing, and be thankful to our essential elements of fire, water, air, and earth.
Here are a few more ideas for this Fire and Ice project.
From: Four Seasons of Mojo
On the darkest night of the year, gather together three dried leaves of holly and pulverize them into powder. On a clean, four-inch by four-inch piece of paper, write a single word in red ink that represents what quality you would like to be born within yourself along with the newborn Yule Sun.
Sprinkle the holly powder into the center of the paper, twist the whole thing closed with the holly powder inside. Light the wick of a red candle, and from this flame, light the holly- filled paper on fire. As it burns, see your wish fulfilled. The spell is done.
From: Earth Witchery
All trees or boughs
That have been cut
And kept for luck
Within the house
Must not be cast
Away and scorned,
But gravely burned
To dust at last;
Chop them fine,
Give them flame,
Offer this rhyme:
Forgive our fire,
Warm us now
Who have warmed thee.
Often, the items we truly need cannot ride home with us in a bag from the mall during the holiday season countdown. The day before Thanksgiving, take a trip to the tree nursery and find a small, potted evergreen. On your way home, purchase a few yards of red, green, and white ribbon.
During the Thanksgiving supper, introduce the tree to the family and the tribe to the tree. Each member of your clan should tie a ribbon on the tree to represent an intangible blessing they would like for the upcoming Yule season. Wishes could be for peace, enough rest, health, etc. Bless the tree and set it where it will have enough light.
When family and friends visit, explain the purpose of the wish tree to them and give them a ribbon to tie on the tree, too. The tree is for everyone. If you plan to use the tree in ritual, have everyone participating make a small ornament, empowered for strengths like self-esteem, goal planning, security, etc. and hang it on the tree while connecting with the divinity of their choice.
On the first day of February, remove all the ornaments and ribbons. Burn the ribbons and cast the ashes to the winds. Pack the ornaments away. Next year, when you open the box, you can de-magick the ornaments and return them to their owners, or hang them on your big tree in memory of last year’s prosperity. Continue to take good care of the tree over the remaining winter months. Don’t forget to give it water and plenty of love. In the spring, you can plant the tree outside on your property or on the property of a friend.
(The above “The Yule Wish Tree” by Silver RavenWolf is quoted directly from Llewellyn’s 1995 Magical Almanac, page 264, Llewellyn Worldwide Publications, 1994.)
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