*The questions posed in the spread can also be used as prompts for personal exploration and free writing and do not need to be used with a Tarot deck.
The Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, is a time of introspection, and setting intentions. It is a time for celebration and renewal, a time to welcome back the light. When the winter solstice (Yule) is celebrated in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere celebrates the summer solstice (Litha).
The dark half of the year again relinquishes to the light half. This is the longest night of the year, it marks the return of the Oak King, and the Sun King, the giver of Life that warms the frozen Earth. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. From this day forward, the days will become longer.
Also known as Yule, a number of traditional rituals are re-enacted on this day. Bonfires are lit, mulled cider and gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges, representing the sun, are given, and evergreen decorations symbolizing immortality abound. A Yule log is a highlight of the festival. A modern version of this ritual can be created using a smaller branch of oak or pine and drilling three holes in the top side to hold 3 candles. Combinations of red, green, white (the season), gold (the sun gd), and black (the great goddess) are used.
Mistletoe is said to possess powers to bring good fortune to a household and to ward off evil spirits. In Norse mythology it was considered a sign of love and friendship, thus the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Today, mistletoe is being used as a treatment for cancer.
Herbs and plants of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense, holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar, poinsettias, christmas cactus
Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon, cloves
Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.
Gifts of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.
– adapted from Akasha Ap Emrys off the web
The Talmud recognizes the winter solstice as “Tekufat Tevet”. The beginning of the month of Tevet, the start of winter, it occurs on the last night of Chanukah, the 8th night, Zot Chanukah (this is Chanukah!).