Yuletide greetings! (+ Yule altar and The Old Ways.)

Warm winter solstice greetings, my friends! The solstice took place on Tuesday, so we’re two days into the 12 days of Yule!

Some of you know this already, but for those who don’t (and who may be interested), the “12 days of Christmas” of which we sing was first the 12 days of Yule. Yule begins on the solstice because solstice is the year’s shortest day and longest night; the 12 days of Yule celebrate the year’s progression to longer days and a new season of growth. Many neo-pagans look to the Old Ways for inspiration in celebrating Yule.

Alas, I didn’t have a Yule log, but I could set up my main altar for Yule.

I started off with a natural pine essence floor wash to spiritually (as well as physically) cleanse my home for Yule, and then I hung my wreath on the front door. A note about the pine floor wash: I put very little of the (Mrs. Meyers Iowa Pine – a lovely limited edition release for the season!) pine cleaner into my mopping bucket full of water, and I followed up the wash with a plain water mop-up. I made sure to do it while Nenette was sleeping on the bed, so the floor would be dry before she could walk on it. (Pine is toxic to cats and dogs.)

With the house cleansed and the wreath hung, I got right into decorating my altar for Yule, starting with slicing an orange into thin rounds and setting the slices in the oven to dry. I’d received a beautiful little orange among the wonderful things I found in my stocking at work, and as soon as I had it in my hands, I knew that it would be a part of my Yule altar. I’d actually planned to stop to buy an orange after work, but instead, work gifted me with an orange!

Welcome wreath
Orange slices for drying

After some deliberation, I decided to move a small piece of furniture into my office to sit against the north wall, beneath the window, because I really wanted another north-facing altar… not just for Yule, but for general use as my main altar. My main altar had been against the north wall in another room, but for whatever reason, it never felt right.

Now it feels right.

I burned some Frankincense and Myrrh incense to smoke-cleanse my new altar as well as the crystals I chose for Yule, and I made a garland of star anise and the dried orange slices.

Come along on a small tour of my completed Yule altar, if you’re so inclined!

I had representations of evergreens and holly, but none of ivy. Ivy is there in spirit!
Dried orange and star anise garland with a cinnamon stick offering
Hematite, Aventurine, Pyrite, Obsidian, Amethyst
The Sun, as promised by the Solstice
Clear quartz, Citrine, Carnelian
The Triple Goddess and the pentacle

The five elements are represented in the pentacle… just the elements, and nothing more. The pentagram (and pentacle, which is an encircled pentagram) has been appropriated and thereafter feared, misunderstood, and maligned, but the pentagram simply represents Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. It is a representation of nature.

[Next morning edit to add several daytime pics to offer a better idea of the colors! Thank you for the request!]

On the left: Hematite at the top, Aventurine beneath it; Pyrite on the right
Clear quartz on the left, Carnelian at the (top) right, Citrine beneath it
Same shot, but in this one you can see the gold bell above the Carnelian (which I don’t think was visible in the night pic)
The Sun on a silvery tree… Solstice! The little white tree on the right was a stocking stuffer from work
Tree of pinecones and holly, with obsidian and amethyst crystals at its base. The tealight candle on the right is inside a mini cast iron cauldron
Triple Goddess cabinet
Orange slices, star anise, cinnamon stick offering, and pentacle

I’ll leave you with this Winter Solstice prayer, and a song of Loreena McKennitt’s. I don’t know to whom I should attribute the poem, but I thought it was lovely. I snipped this pic from a shop on Etsy.

Blessings of peace and love to you, my friends.

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