“The Tree” is the basic liturgical and organizational writing and the basis for Seax-Wica, but it is a ‘base’. It provides the rituals as if being practiced by a coven, but nowadays most Wiccans, especially those of the Seax-Wica tradition, are solitary practitioners (they work alone). The following information on the Sabbat is adapted from “The Tree” and is only one way that a solitary can use these rituals in their own practice. For more details on how to adapt coven rituals, check out Raymond Buckland’s “Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft”, in particular the section on Solitary Practice. It seems especially fitting that his advice be followed when working with his rituals (as was done here). I’ve replaced all instances of Priest and Priestess with ‘Gesith’, which is what one is referred to after being initiated into or self-dedicating as a Seax-Wican.
Yule marks the beginning of Winter (in the US, anyways…), well into the ‘dark half’ of the year that Woden presides over. In other traditions, this is the time when the Lord is said to be reborn after dying on Samhain. It is a time when our ancestors began to depend on the fruits of the year’s harvest and look forward to the next growing season. Since survival was often dependent on numbers, it benefitted all to make sure others could get through the cold seasons, and resources were gifted to those who did not have enough. We continue that tradition with gifts, although they tend to be much less ‘essential’ and far more ‘luxury.’ If that makes the season feel shallow, it’s good to remember that we should be thankful that our ancestors got us through the tough times of our history so we could enjoy the much easier times we have now. If it still seems shallow, there are also many organizations and charities you can donate goods and foods to that will make sure they go to those that do truly need them.
The Erecting the Temple is performed, Gesith kisses the blade of their Seax. On the Altar stand two unlit candles, one on either side of the Altar Candle.
“Now is the sun well on its course
Through the long dark months of winter.
Lest me show my love for the Gods
By sending strength where it is needed.
Let me kindle here fresh fires
To light my Lord upon his way.
Fires to give him confidence;
To show him my love burns forth
Even though the hardships of winter be upon us.
So be it!”
Gesith takes up one of the unlit candles and hold it before him, then continues:
“Let Woden bear the blessing of my Lady Freya
As he guards me and guides me
Through the long dark days ahead.
May all our power, Wiccans all,
Be symbolized by this light,
As it burns with steady flame,
Aiding and strengthening that which is there.”
Gesith lights their candle from the Altar Candle and stands it alongside, takes up other unlit candle, then continues:
“To that do I add a further prayer.
One light to take him into the winter,
Yet another light to lead him back.
That my Lady Freya be ever with my Lord Woden
Is meet and right, and be it so.
Let my prayers and thoughts go to him
For as he guards and guides me
So do I love him,
And so have we trust in all things.”
Gesith lights candle from Altar Candle and stands it alongside, then continues:
“Let these lights burn
Till Imbolc time,
When I shall know
The worst of winter is behind me.
So be it!
And so here be the love
Of the God for the Goddess.”
Gesith kisses Seax. Then shall follow the Ceremony of Cakes and Ale, followed by games and merriment.
What is the Meaning of Yule?
Yule is a time of charity and hospitality, as we continue the traditions of our ancestors to ensure that the community survives the harsh months ahead. This is also the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice, when the Sun is fleeting in its warmth and light. Besides being the shortest day of the year, it’s also worth remembering that from this day on, the days will in fact begin to grow longer.
Symbols of Yule
Evergreens are the most common symbol of Yule in modern times, and Holly, Oak, Mistletoe, Ivy, Pine, and other plants have ancient origins in their use for Yule. Snowflakes and candles are also great symbols for the season (cold and dark!).
Foods & Herbs of Yule
Apples, oranges, cranberries are great foods to have on Yule, as are cookies and other treats seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and peppermint. Wassail (basically orange juice and apples juice with some cinnamon) is common drink. Remember the charity of the holiday, too, and do what you can do ensure that other’s have a Yule meal worth celebrating.
What else can you do on Yule?
One fantastic thing to do is to bring gifts to whatever celebration you have that can later be donated. A Circle surrounded by wrapped gifts for charity can be a powerful, meaningful addition to your rituals. Community meals, even if that’s just your friends and family, are another great event for Yule. To fully appreciate the Winter Solstice, you can watch the sunrise and sunset, and even time it, or if your able, lights some candles and tell stories throughout the longest night of the year.