6 Simple and Meaningful Ways to Add More Light to Your Yule Season

To the ancients – or even just our relatives a few short generations ago – the ability to harness and control light at the flick of a switch, press of a button or pull of a cord would likely have seemed like the work of the gods or, at the very least, some seriously powerful magic. 

It is easy to take light for granted when it’s pretty much always at our fingertips. Yet even in this world of artificial lighting, our bodies, made of star stuff and genetic memories as old as time itself, still have a natural affinity to work in tandem with the seasons.

As the year winds down we, in the Northern Hemisphere, say that the days grow shorter. Technically, each day remains 24 hours long, as usual, but the amount of visible light that we’re treated to dwindles drastically. As it does, a yearning often forms deep within us to connect with sunshine, warmth and natural vibrancy once more. Alas, unless we take a trip to some place closer to, or below, the equator, that isn’t possible – not for a few more months at least.

This month we welcome the Winter Solstice with open arms and hearts, knowing that, technically, the daily amount of light that we see will gradually grow larger once more. That takes some time though, and so, in the interim, fortunately, there are things – magickal and mundane alike – that we can do to inject a greater sense of light into our lives.

I’m a firm believer that celebrating and honouring the seasons and sabbats need not cost much, if anything at all, and that there is much to be gleaned from how those that walked the earth before us interacted with these important points in the year.

By the Light of the Fire

Bonfires have been a beloved and poignant part of Winter Solstice events for thousands of years. Though far fewer communities now hold them to celebrate the longest day of the year, you may still be able to light and enjoy one yourself.

Some municipalities permit backyard fires, beach fires (usually in special pits or barrels for this purpose), or campground fires. Find out if this is permitted in your area and, if so, gather with 

kindred spirits (and/or loved ones) to draw warmth and inspiration from the flames before you.

Naturally, fires that take place indoors, such as in wood stoves and open fireplaces, can serve much the same purpose and may be a more viable and easily accessible way for you to hold a beautiful Yuletide blaze. You may wish to include a traditional Yule log itself in with the wood you burn at your mid-December fire.

Sunrise and Sunset

If the weather and your location allow, there is something incredibly powerful about waking (or staying awake through the proceeding night) to watch the sunrise on Yule, or if you prefer, the following morning.

While little discernible heat may reach you from the sun, the beauty before your eyes and the symbolism of the brighter half of the year returning are humbling, wonderful things to experience.

You may wish to photograph this special sunrise and/or record, such as in a journal or your grimoire, the thoughts, feelings and any messages that came to you while you were standing in its prescience. Whether at sunrise (or set) or another point in the day, you may choose to actively welcome the sun back into your life and the world in general. This can be done indoors our out, but stands to feel even more aligned with the Solstice if you do it in the presence of the sun (or at least the grey or snowy sky).

Color Magick

Wear colours that evoke a sense of sunlight and warmth. Red, yellow and orange are all perfect choices here, as are gold, brass, bronze and copper. White, too, especially creamier tones, can have a subtle warmth unto itself. Plus, white is a colour closely associated with light. As each colour and metal has traditional meanings, you may opt to sport certain hues in conjunction with spellwork or other magick workings that you’re undertaking at the time – and/or to honour the deities that you personally connect with in your practice.

Likewise, consider making or purchasing décor items that resonate with your spiritual path and which are in colours that speak to warmth and light. Pale natural woods, poinsettia plants, burnished metals, glistening blown glass ornaments, cozy cushions and blankets, and flame hued decorations are all especially lovely choices. And while you’re stringing lights and decking the halls with lovely decorations, consider putting up and festooning lights around a Yule tree for an extra hit of brilliant shine in your environment.

Electric Light

December and strings of lights go together like snowy days and hot cocoa. Whether inside, outside or both, why not hang, string, drape or otherwise safely display a lovely group of holiday season lights? I’m personally extra fond of classic white lights,

 including strings of fairy lights, as the purity and timelessness of creamy white light echoes the beauty of snow. It also makes me think of natural sunlight and reminds me that, eventually, the temperatures will climb above freezing again.

Traditional Lights

Utilize alternative forms of lighting. Bulbs are a marvelous invention and are a terrific way to further illuminate your Yule season, but they are by no means the only way to light up a room. From candles of all shapes, sizes and colours to oil lamps, lanterns to mirrors, look for ways to inject traditional forms of light into your home, including at your altar.

Research the history of Yule, including how various societies around the world have celebrated this meaningful winter day.

Are there any light-related traditions that you could incorporate into your own festivities, magickal workings, or coven (or other Pagan group) activities?

Your Own Inner Light

Look inside yourself. While light is often thought of as an external force, and it certainly is one, each of us has an incredible inner light that glows in our souls and hearts as well. So often the challenges, daily grind, and (negative) relationships we experience can put a damper on that light, which in turn can contribute to feeling low, sad, unsettled, annoyed and myriad other undesirable emotions.

Are there ways, as one year winds down and another begins anew, that you can make your inner light a great focal point of your existence and spirituality alike?

While this topic is big enough to fill many posts unto itself, one awesome way to do just that is to focus more on the things (and people) that truly bring you joy. It’s astonishing sometimes just how much we bury our passions 

(and our spirituality, for that matter), other areas of our life take precedence. Can you carve out an hour or two a week for something that makes your heart radiate with joy? What about 15 or 20 minutes per day? Any amount of time is a plus and may go a long way towards increasing your happiness levels and helping you to feel like you’re living a more balanced life.

One of my favourite things to do at Yule is to focus on my inner light and look for ways that I can share it, or what it helps to foster in my life, with others. That naturally leads to another important (though not, of course, mandatory) aspect of the Winter Solstice and December in general – gathering to connect with people that matter to us. Bonding through the warmth of friendship, common ground, love, laughter and support.

 

May light and the hope it inspires fill your days this holiday season, and may you have an abundantly blessed Yuletide!

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