Candlelight Yule Ritual: A Meditation of Hope and Peace

Modern Witchcraft happens in every conceivable environment, from the wide-open countryside, to the high-rise apartments of the inner city. Sometimes witches invite our families and friends to join us in celebration. A Yule ritual involving children, like this Yule Log Ritual for Winter Solstice Magick, needs to be participatory and theatrical, without requiring much inner focus. Other times, we prefer to take the deep dive into magick best reserved for the small group of witches who are properly prepared. The good news is that the Craft is an adaptable art form that fits the needs of the moment and the group, wherever we may gather.

The Yule ritual I offer you today is held indoors, and is more appropriate for folks in apartments and cities without access to outdoor fires, or where it is just too cold to be outside. This ritual does make use of a Yule log for symbolic purposes, so keep this one for use year after year. However, instead of big fires, we use candles. We focus more on the inner journey to rekindle the Divine Light of peace and hope within.

Yule Candles CC0 Creative Commons - Pixabay
Yule Candles CC0 Creative Commons – Pixabay

Candlelight Yule Ritual

Altar:

A low table (like a coffee table, 12-18 inches from the floor) is placed in the center of the circle. Dress it with a red altar cloth, symbolic of fire, and lay out the Yule Log (preferably ash wood) that holds three taper candles, White, Red and Green. Decorate the log with fresh evergreen boughs, pine, holly, mistletoe, juniper – whatever is seasonal, growing locally. There will be a seated meditation around this table, so consider having cushions or chairs handy, or plan to sit on the floor.

Nearby on the circle’s edge, easily accessible by the priest/ess, is a working altar that has ready:

  • Bell, singing bowl, or chime of some sort
  • A basket of white tea light candles, each anointed with the Yule Oil in advance.
  • Yule anointing oil (recipe)
  • Yule incense (recipe) on charcoal in a brazier, sea salt, red candle, water dish
  • Altar tools as you desire
  • Chalice of Wassail, Platter of decorated gingerbread cookies
  • A set (or two) of Runes in a sack, or a deck (or two) of tarot or oracle cards, for a divination draw.

Creating the Temple

Anoint celebrants on their crown chakra with the anointing oil. Light the incense in the brazier and smudge the space and the celebrants. Awaken your altar, light the white spirit candle, consecrate the space and cast circle in your usual manner.

Statement of Intent:

Priest/ess: We are gathered in this sacred space for the Sabbat of Yule, to celebrate the Turning of the Wheel to Winter Solstice. On this night we release the old year and sit vigil to the rebirth of the new sun. On the longest night of the year, we hold a festival of lights to tend the growing hopefulness within us, fueled by the growing sun into the light half of the year. We seek peace and hope in the darkness, and we find it within ourselves.

Quarter Calls:

Priest/ess: Let the gateways to the elemental realms be opened. (Turning to face each cardinal direction in turn.)

East: Powers of east and of Air, who tonight blows icy cold, be with us now. Hail and Welcome.
Draws Invoking Pentagram

South: Powers of South and of Fire, who tonight will warm us as our Yulefires burn, be with us now. Hail and welcome!
Draws Invoking Pentagram

West: Powers of the west and of water, who tonight falls as snow, blanketing the shoulders of mother earth to comfort her labors, be with us now. Hail and welcome!
Draws Invoking Pentagram

North: Powers of the North, and of Earth, who tonight begins her deep slumber, be with us now. Hail and welcome!
Draws Invoking Pentagram

Invocation of Goddess and God:

Priest/ess: 

On our Yule log we have three candles. The White is for the great spirit which is all things, the creative life force that is both matter and energy, inspiration and creation, growth and decline. Spirit is the force that continually brings renewal and change.

We honor the polarity of this Spirit, the yin and yang, the light and the shadow, the Goddess and the God.

Lights the Goddess and God candles from the Spirit Candle

Great Goddess, We welcome you to our celebrations as the Mother from whose womb all life proceeds. The new light of hope is rekindled within, and brought forth from darkness.  Your labors complete, nature rests as winter falls, to be renewed come Spring. Grant us your blessings of Winter’s peace.

Great God, we welcome you to our celebrations, once the sacrificial King, who at Samhain descended into the underworld to rest. Tonight as the infant sun who is reborn, your light grows, bringing the promise of spring. Grant us your blessings of winter’s hopefulness.

All: Hail and Welcome!

Lit Tealight Candles
CC0 Creative Commins – Pixabay

Candlelight Vigil

Outer Work: Candle-lighting

We each take a tea-light candle representing what light we kindle with the new sun and in the new era.

Priest/ess lights their tea light candle from the spirit candle, stating aloud in a single word what their light brings forth into the world. Then, they pass the light deosil around, each celebrant lighting their candle from the person’s on their right, as they speak aloud another word for what their candle rekindles.

Examples: hope, peace, love, wisdom, compassion, renewal, acceptance, sovereignty, empowerment, healing… 

When all candles are lit, we hold them before us as we stand in the circle, and sing…

Silent Night II
words adapted by Karen Deal Robinson (link to source)

Silent night, holy night,

All is calm, all is bright.

Starlight gleams upon the snow.

In our hands the candles glow,

As we sing of peace.

As we sing of peace.

Silent night, holy night,

We will share love’s pure light.

Radiant beams from every face

Tell our dreams for every place.

Hope again is born,

Hope again is born.

All the celebrant’s candles are placed in a circle on the central altar around the log – beware of fire safety around the foliage! Celebrants sit around the altar such that they can candle gaze while meditating comfortably.

Sunrise over Earth CC0 Creative Commons - Pixabay
Sunrise over Earth CC0 Creative Commons – Pixabay

Inner Work: Yule Ritual Meditation to Rekindle the Divine Light of Hope and Peace

Priest/ess guides the Meditation:

[Rings Chime Three Times] I invite you to close your eyes, and join me on a journey inward and downward….breathing deeply into ourselves… deep into our center… deeper and deeper…until at last we find our way to the crossroads within us…to the source of all possibility…

[Rings chime once] We dwell now at the axis of our being. Above and below; Within and without, there is a light. As the bell chimes, we fly beyond this mortal place on the wings of thought…as the bell chimes, we fly freely to seek the source of the light…

[Rings chime once] It is Winter Solstice night, in the dark hours before the dawning of winter’s rest, and all below is blanketed in pure white. Above us arches the indigo depths of twinkling, starlit cosmos. All is clean and clear, purifying and invigorating.

As we gaze to the east, we sit in vigil  awaiting the dawning new sun, like baby new year born anew–Yule’s regeneration of hopeful possibility, rising from the ashes of the last year’s Samhain funeral pyre.

[Rings chime once] There is a rising glow over the horizon. The fire’s of the sun now peak over the horizon…the rays of light split the darkness and fall upon us now, bathing us in their warmth.

[Rings chime once] This sun represents the Divine light of creation. It is called many things: Ki, Chi, Prana….Universal life force…Unconditional Divine Love.  This light brings balance and peace…and rides on the breath. Wherever the light touches, we relax, softening, easing into peace on all levels.

Yule RItual Meditation: Light Breathing
CC0 Creative Commons – Pixabay

[Rings chime once] We reach out to connect through this light. Breathing in deeply through the nose, exhaling slowly through your mouth….the Divine Light flows in on the breath……

[Rings chime once] Deep breath in….drawing the light into our physical body…filling our lungs….filling our bellies….to our finger tips to our toes… we become glowing beings of Divine light. Where the light touches, our body relaxes….we exhale all that hinders our health, releasing disease, blowing it away… Deep breath in, we are Divine manifestation… the light restores balance…we are at peace.

[Rings chime once] Deep breath in…drawing the light into the body of our Will, into our bellies…where the light touches, our motivation ignites…we exhale all that hinders our Free-Will, releasing all discouragement, blowing it away… Deep breath in, aligning with Divine Will, the light restores balance…we are at peace.

[Rings chime once] Deep breath in…drawing the light into our emotional body, into our hearts…where the light touches, our emotions flow freely…we exhale all that hinders our compassion, releasing judgement, blowing it away… Deep breath in, embracing Divine love, the light restores balance…we are at peace.

[Rings chime once] Deep breath in…drawing the light into our mental body, into our minds…where the light touches, we are inspired…we exhale all that hinders ingenuity, blowing it away… Deep breath in, thinking within Divine Mind…the light restores balance…we are at peace.

[Rings chime once] Deep breath in…drawing the light into our Spiritual body, into our consciousness…where the light touches, we are interconnected throughout the cosmos…we exhale all that hinders our sovereignty, blowing it away… Deep breath in…we are open to Universal Consciousness…the light restores balance…we are at peace.

[Rings chime once] (Long Pause as the bell rings out.)
I invite you now to open your eyes, and gaze softly into the light of your candle. Open your inner eye to a vision of what new light you will bring into the world over this next turning of the wheel.

Allow for a few minutes (as long as you think is needed) of candle gazing and inner reflection. Continue to play the singing bowl, if you have one.

[Rings chime once] Return, return, return with the light. Return with the spark of hope and peace. Your candle flame represents this new light you bring to the world. Return now to our sacred circle, and let us radiate this hope and peace into the world.

[Rings Chime Three Times]

Tealight candles glow on Tarot Cards at Yule Ritual
Yule Candle Divination – Photo by Courtney Varnadoe

Divination:

At this time, some form of divination for guidance in the coming year may be offered. Such as, drawing of a single rune from a sack. Or selecting a single card from your favorite tarot or oracle deck – spread out on the altar so folks can choose the one that calls to them. Place the card or rune under/beside your tealight candle on the altar.

Power Raising Song

The group stands once more, takes hands, singing a carol or power raising chant of your choice. This rewrite of a Christmas classic is particularly lovely:

Lady Moon Shine Softly
Tune:  “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (Link to source)

Lady moon shines softly down

To light the Earth below

As we, her children, gather here

Around the Yule fire’s glow
We wait for morning’s dawning

First light of holy birth

Our Lady turns the wheel of life

Her Son returns to Earth
With joy we’ll greet his dawning

A new year has begun

With increased light is bright new hope

Reborn in Everyone.
We wait for morning’s dawning

First light of holy birth

Our Lady turns the wheel of life

Her Son returns to Earth!

Direct all the energies raised into the candles/cards. End with clapping and rejoicing! Shouting: Merry Solstice!

Simple Feast:

Bless the chalice of wassail and the plate of Yuletide cookies as continued sustenance throughout the long winter. After offering libations, pass them around the circle to be shared by everyone, in your usual manner.

Deconstructing the Temple:

Priest/ess: Let us all radiate this Divine Light in our lives and may it be shown by our deeds. I now declare this Sabbat of Yule complete, the season of winter is welcomed.

Release with gratitude the Goddess and God, extinguishing their candles. Bid the elements Hail and Farewell in that special way that you prefer and close the elemental gateways with a banishing pentagram.

Gather up the remains of the circle itself, and taking hands to represent that energy, dedicate it to lighting the path that lies before each celebrant as they enjoy their winter rest. Now, passing the farewell of “Merry Solstice” around the circle widdershins (counter clockwise) dropping hands as it is spoken, until it is completely opened once more…

All: The circle is open but never broken, merry meet, merry part and merry meet again!

Allow all the candles to burn throughout the evening.

Merry Solstice!
~Heron

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