"WOODLAND GUARDIANS -
SAGE AND MAIDEN"
Solstice/Yule cards by Wendy Andrew
This is my fifth year of writing a Yule post. I was hard-pressed to find images that I have not used in the past, but I finally came up with a few. I was also-hard pressed to write something about Yule that I have not written before. In the end, I borrowed the written material from the Internet, altering it just a bit. Since Yule IS a pagan holiday, don't be surprised to find images of goddesses, fairies, elves, Druids, oak and holly kings, a unicorn and even a dragon in the art below.
"FESTIVE DRUID" Yule card by English artist Briar
"SPIRIT OF YULE" by Jillian
As the longest night of the year, some people believe that Yule is akin to the Long, Dark Night of Soul. Yule celebrations often echo both of these sentiments, often beginning in silent darkness and ending in a blaze of light, fire, and laughter.
"YULE STAG" card by Briar
While Yule is most often juxtaposed with Christmas today, Yule and Winter Solstice celebrations far outdate the Christian Christmas celebration. December 25th, the popular date to celebrate Christ’s birth, was also the birth date of Mithras, the ancient Persian Sun god of light and the guardian against evil.
"THE HOLLY KING"
By Shona M. MacDonald
Christianity didn’t even celebrate “Christmas” until the fourth century, and even as late as 1740, it was a normal workday for the Puritans in the New World of America. They viewed Christmas as a pagan holiday, and forbade any celebrations and/or decorations of acknowledgement of the day.
"THE OAK KING" by Yuri LeitchYes, try as one might, one cannot erase the pagan aspects of this holiday. Most of today’s Christmas traditions are pagan in nature, derived from both old Yule and Solstice traditions, and include holly wreaths, decorated Christmas trees, the Yule log, kissing under the mistletoe, and the jolly old man himself, Santa Claus.
"YULE GODDESS" by J. M. Leotti
"WINTER'S SENTINEL" by G. Bell
Living trees were also brought into the home to provide a warm place of residence for the wood spirits, who would then look kindly upon the family during the year. Foodstuffs such as apples and cinnamon sticks were hung on the branches so the spirits would have plenty to eat in this barren time of year, and bells were hung from the branches so that their tinkling could announce the presence of a spirit. The five-pointed star, symbol of the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and spirit, would be placed at the top of the tree and crystals hung to represent icicles.
"WINTER SOLSTICE" by Willow
Yule, being a Sun celebration, was most often noted by the lighting of the Yule Log, a large log burned throughout the Yuletide celebrations and then saved as a protective charm until the next Yule, when it was used to start the new Yule fire. The red and green colors of the season are probably derived from the colors of the trees, mistletoe, and holly berries found in abundance at this time of year. They are, however, also a form of sympathetic magick, with red representing the warmth of the sun and green representing the growth of new plants, aspects everyone wishes to draw into their lives at this time of the year.
"SOLSTICE GATHERING" by Anne Stokes
(The helpful little dragon assists his
mistress in gathering holly and mistletoe)