Date: December 21
Direction: North
Element: Earth
Season: Yule
Sabbat: Imbolc


Related Motifs:
St. Stephen’s Day

St. Brigid's Day
Twelfth Night
Snow Festival
New Year
Sol Invictus

Midwinter Ceremony
Powamu Festival
Mountain Chant
Shalako Ceremony
Yuki Matsuri



Spring: Vernal Equinox

Summer: Estival Solstice

Fall: Autumnal Equinox

Winter: Hibernal Solstice


Shortest day of the year Longest night

Capricorn the Goat
Aquarius the Water Bearer
Pisces the Fishes


Stars, Snowflakes,

Pinecones, Evergreens,

Holly, Mistletoe,

Candles, Hearth

Rest, Reflection,
Introspection, Hibernation


Mithras, Odin, St. Nicholaus, Jesus, Pluto, Snow Queen, Jack Frost, Njord, Hestia, Vesta, Boreas, Skadi

Science of Seasons
Seasons Explained

Four Seasons

What Causes the Seasons
Seasons of Life
Nat Geo: The Seasons
EarthSky: Summer Solstice


Cultural/Ethnic Motifs:
Eskimo, Inuit, Nordic, Scandinavian, Swiss

Egg Nog, Hot Apple Cider, Brandy, Wassail, Mulled Wine, Hot Chocolate


Roasted Beef or Pork,

Soups, Stews, Chili,

Brussel Sprouts, Cornbread, Fruitcake, Muffins, Confections

Pine, Bayberry, Rosemary, Juniper, Cloves, Peppermint


Poinsettia, Pansy,

Crocus, Violet

Turquoise, Garnet,



Classical Strings, Acoustic Guitar, Madrigal Choir

Hearth , Wrapped in Quilts

or Furs



Seasons Dates & Times
Year on Planet Earth
EarthSky: Vernal Equinox
Transformation & Change
One Year in Nature
Equinox Explained
Seasons of the Year


Winter Solstice



The winter solstice (or hibernal solstice), also known as midwinter, occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). The winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky.


The winter solstice occurs during the hemisphere's winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the December solstice (usually 21 or 22 December) and in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the June solstice (usually 20 or 21 June). Other names are midwinter, the extreme of winter (Dongzhi), or the shortest day. Traditionally, in many temperate regions, the winter solstice is seen as the middle of winter, but today in some countries and calendars, it is seen as the beginning of winter.


Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals. It marked the symbolic death and rebirth of the sun. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.”




Beautiful Nature: Seasons
EarthSky: Autumnal Equinox
Seasons of Change
Solstice Explained
Celebrating the Seasons
Animation: Four Seasons
EarthSky: Winter Solstice




Winter Solstice, or Yule, is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. The Goddess gives birth to a son, the God. The festival of the Sun's rebirth, and a time to honor the God. Love, family, togetherness and accomplishments of the past year are also celebrated. It is celebrated by fire and the use of the Yule log. A portion of the Yule log is saved to be used in lighting next year's log (Should be oak.) This piece is kept throughout the year to protect the home. The Yule log is burned to give life and power to the Sun. Hang mistletoe over doorways, decorate the Yule tree and exchange gifts. Bayberry candles are also burned to ensure wealth and happiness throughout the following year. The reindeer stag is also a reminder of the horned God.

(Wheel of the Year)



Seasons & Sabbats

Auld Lang Syne

Seasonal Traditions

Months and Weeks

Astronomical Perspective







Spring: Vernal Equinox

Summer: Estival Solstice

Fall: Autumnal Equinox

Winter: Hibernal Solstice


It is the life of the crystal,

the architect of the flake,

the fire of the frost,

the soul of the sunbeam.

This crisp winter air is filled with it.”


“Cold and dark, this time of year, the earth lies dormant, awaiting the return of the sun, and with it, life.

Far beneath the frozen surface, a heartbeat waits,
until the moment is right, to spring.”
(Prayer to the Earth)

“Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer to stop without a farmhouse near, Between the woods and frozen lake, the darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake to ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
(Robert Frost)

All About Yule
Seasons: Meteorological & Astronomical
Wikipedia: Seasons Explained

Autumn Winter Spring Summer

Live Science: What Causes the Seasons
Seasons of Life
National Geographic: The Seasons
Earth & Sky: Summer Solstice


“Oh Great Spirit of the North, we come to you to ask for the strength and power to bear what is cold and harsh in life. We come like buffalo ready to receive the winds that truly can be overwhelming at times. Whatever is cold and uncertain in our life, we ask you to give us the strength to bear it. Do not let the Winter blow us away. Oh Spirit of the North, we ask you for strength and warmth.”
(Diann Neu)

“O Mighty goddess, in silvery ice, watching over us as we sleep, a layer of shining white, covering the earth each night, frost on the world and in the soul, we thank you for visiting us. Because of you, we seek warmth in the comfort of our homes and hearths.”
(Prayer to the Winter Goddess)

“Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
(Sammy Cahn)

“From the reaches of the north, a place of cold blue beauty, comes to us the first winter storm. Wind whipping, flakes flying, the snow has fallen upon the earth, keeping us close, keeping us together, wrapped up as everything sleeps beneath a blanket of white.”
(Snow Prayer for Yule)

“The seed now begins its time of gestation in the rich dark earth. It is the great cold of night: not the negative images of darkness, but the dark richness of that unknown, fertile, deep part in each of us where our intuitive creative forces abide.”
(Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon)


Spring: Vernal Equinox

Summer: Estival Solstice

Fall: Autumnal Equinox

Winter: Hibernal Solstice


“See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the bright sun soon to come.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way,
for the world to awake once more.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the longest night of the year.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the sun to finally return,
bringing with it light and warmth.”
(Prayer for the Beginning of Winter)

“When icicles hang by the wall, And Dick the shepherd blows his nail, And Tom bears logs into the hall, And milk comes frozen home in pail. ... When all aloud the wind doth blow, And coughing drowns the parson's saw, And birds sit brooding in the snow, And Marian's nose looks red and raw, When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, Then nightly sings the staring owl, "Tu-whit, Tu-who!" a merry note, While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.”
(William Shakespeare / Love's Labor's Lost)

“To thy loved haunt return, my happy muse: for now behold the joyous winter days -- frosty, ethereal and serene -- restoring afresh with elemental life. The shining atmosphere binds and strengthens our bodies in its cold embrace, animating our blood and refining our spirits. The soul stirs keen, intense, collected and cool under bright skies. All nature feels the renovating force of winter, and gathers vigor for the coming year.”
(John Thomson)

“Beneath the tree of light and life, a blessing at this season of Yule! To all that sit at my hearth, today we are brothers, we are family, and I drink to your health! Today we do not fight, we bear no one ill will. Today is a day to offer hospitality to all that cross my threshold in the name of the season.”
(Nordic Yule Prayer)


Vivaldi Four Seasons: Winter1
Celtic Winter: Ice Fairies

Celebration: Winter Solstice
Vivaldi Four Seasons: Winter2
Winter Fantasy Music: Snowflake Lullaby
Vivaldi Four Seasons: Winter3

Sarah McLachlan: River





"In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago."
(Christina Rossetti, In the Bleak Midwinter, 1872)

"The longest night has come once more,
the sun has set, and darkness fallen.
The trees are bare, the earth asleep,
and the skies are cold and black.
Yet tonight we rejoice, in this longest night,
embracing the darkness that enfolds us.
We welcome the night and all that it holds,
as the light of the stars shines down."
(Sunset Prayer for Yule )

I cannot tell you how the light comes.
What I know is that it is more ancient than imagining.
That it travels across an astounding expanse to reach us.
That it loves searching out what is hidden, what is lost,

 what is forgotten, or in peril, or in pain.
That it has a fondness for the body,

for finding its way toward flesh for tracing the edges of form for shining forth through the eye, the hand, the heart.
I cannot tell you how the light comes,

but that it does, that it will.

That it works its way into the deepest dark that enfolds you,
though it may seem long ages in coming,
or arrive in a shape you did not foresee.
And so may we this day turn ourselves toward it.
May we lift our faces to let it find us.
May we bend our bodies to follow the arc it makes.
May we open and open more and open still
to the blessed light that comes.
(Jan Richardson, Winter Solstice)


All About Yule
Seasons: Meteorological & Astronomical
Wikipedia: Seasons Explained

Autumn Winter Spring Summer

Live Science: What Causes the Seasons
Seasons of Life
National Geographic: The Seasons
Earth & Sky: Summer Solstice




“Spring is past, and Summer's past, and Autumn's come, and going; Weather seems as though at last We might get some snowing. Spring was good, and Summer's better, But the best of all is waiting. Madame Winter, don't forget her -- O you skating! Spring we welcomed when we met, Summer was a blessing; Autumn points to school, but yet Let's be acquiescing. Spring has many precious pleasures; Winter's on a different rating; She has greater, richer treasures -- O you skating! Gleam of ice, and glint of steel, Jolly, snappy weather; Glide on ice and joy of zeal, All, alone, together. Fickle Spring! Who can imprint her? Faithless while she's captivating. Here's to trusty Madame Winter -- O you skating!”
(E.E. Cummings)

“Yule or winter solstice happens near December 21, which is the longest darkest night of the year. The dark of Winter is safe like my bedcovers at night. Dark whispers of a Mother's love caress me. In the darkness of the Mother's womb, the void I am safe, sustained, at peace. and can move inward, into my own dark self, looking, learning, purifying. I can cleanse myself of all that blocks me from being born new with the rising new solstice sun when the sun king is born, with promises for the Spring ahead.”
(Francesca De Grandis)


Deities of the Winter Solstice

Farmer's Almanac: Seasons Dates & Times
A Year on Planet Earth: Four Seasons
Earth & Sky: Vernal Equinox
Seasons: Transformation & Change
One Year in Nature
Wikipedia: Equinox Explained
Celebrating the Seasons of the Year

“We must follow the star. Even on godless nights when there is no star, we must follow the star.”
(John Moriarty)

“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane snow is glistening. A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland. Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is a new bird. He sings a love song as we go along, walking in a winter wonderland. In the meadow we can build a snowman, and pretend that he's a circus clown; we'll have lots of fun with Mister Snowman, until the little children knock him down. Later on we'll conspire, as we dream by the fire, to face unafraid the plans that we made, walking in a winter wonderland... When it snows, ain't it thrilling, though your nose gets to chilling? We'll frolic and play the Eskimo way, walking in a winter wonderland.”
(Felix Bernard & Dick Smith)

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Yuletide caroles being sung by a choir. And folks dressed up like Eskimos.”
(Torme & Wells)

“How like a winter hath my absence been From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! What old December's bareness everywhere!”
(William Shakespeare)


Winter Songs: Christmas Celebration

Pentatonix: 12 Days of Christmas
Michael Buble: Jingle Bells
Postmodern Jukebox: Last Christmas
Pentatonix: Little Drummer Boy
Jennifer Nettles: O Holy Night
Michael Buble: Winter Wonderland
Postmodern Jukebox: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings
Pentatonix: Carol of the Bells


“The frost is here, And fuel is dear, And woods are sear, And fires burn clear, And frost is here And has bitten the heel of the going year.”
(Alfred Lord Tennyson)


“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.”
(Gary Zukav)

“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.”
(John Burroughs)

Spring: Vernal Equinox

Summer: Estival Solstice

Fall: Autumnal Equinox

Winter: Hibernal Solstice




“Winter tames man, woman, and beast.”
(William Shakespeare)

“Ice on the earth, bitter black frost, and a winding sheet of snow upon her withered breast, and deep within me, dread and ice... Encircled by dark trees, icy in their wintry death and bleak against a lowering sky, I hear the bare branches sound a muffled drum to the north wind's piping... Naked to the piercing wind, barefoot in the snow, I kneel before her... I see her face, ancient, wise and pitiless, more beautiful, more seductive in her changeless purity than the radiant face of life. Her song of death is the only song in my heart as she takes me in her shadowy arms and holds me to her frost-riven breast... And I am the daughter of the killing frost and to the firey funeral pyre... I have given myself to the dark and frozen earth... I am crystal cold and alone... I fall on the icebound earth, fall on the quickening seeds of future spring.”
(Jessica Macbeth)

“O Great Spirit of the North, Invisible Spirit of the Air, And of the fresh, cool winds, O vast and boundless Grandfather Sky, Your living breath animates all life. Yours is the power of clarity and strength, Power to heal the inner sounds, To sweep out the old patterns, And to bring change and challenge, The ecstasy of movement and the dance. We pray that we may be aligned with you, So that your powers may flow through us, And be expressed by us, For the good of the Earth, And all living beings upon it.”
(Ralph Metzner)


Oddly inspired by the receding months of sweltering warmth,
Listlessly seeking respite from the lazy tropic banality,
With vigor embracing the cold winter wind, we welcome its icy starkness,
And hail with frozen breath the arrival of arctic vitality.

As if to wash boldly through the seething stables of Augeas,
The cleansing, crisp hibernal squall purges the languid soul
Of lethargy and discontent, of heat that turned to mugginess,
Cooling tempers, venting rage, and restoring the elemental whole.

(Michael Lebeau)

“Mithras, God of the Morning, give us strength for the day. Mirthras, God of the Noontide, keep us true to our vows. Mithras, God of the Sunset, keep us pure till the dawn. Mithras, God of the Midnight, lead us to the light.”
(Rudyard Kipling)

“It's coming on Christmas, They're cutting down trees, They're putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace, Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”
(Joni Mitchell)


Vivaldi Four Seasons: Winter1
Celtic Winter: Ice Fairies

Celebration: Winter Solstice
Vivaldi Four Seasons: Winter2
Winter Fantasy Music: Snowflake Lullaby
Vivaldi Four Seasons: Winter3

Sarah McLachlan: River

“In the winter things are reduced to essentials. We see the bones of the land, the bones of the trees, the stark elegance of the underlying structure of life. And we see the frailty of our own soft flesh, the brittle, yet lasting structure of our own bones, our bid for eternity.”
(Jessica Macbeth)

“And you would accept the seasons of your heart just as you have always accepted that seasons pass over your fields and you watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.”
(Kahlil Gibran)

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”
(William Blake)

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
(Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.”
(Paul Theroux)


Beautiful Nature: Four Seasons
Earth & Sky: Autumnal Equinox
Seasons of Change: Transition Map
Wikipedia: Solstice Explained
Circle Sanctuary: Celebrating the Seasons
Animation: Four Seasons
Earth & Sky: Winter Solstice




“With sudden stir the startled forest sing’s Winter’s returning song.”
(John Clare)


“When darkest winter draweth near, The light is kindled without fear; Love sparks at Midwinter so deep, This blessed time in our hearts keep. When coldest winter draweth near, Turn we to joy and make good cheer; Remembering our vows so strong, We raise our voices in this song. Drive darkest want and need away, Remember we this happy day. Call love to witness everyone, And dance beneath the winter sun.”
(Caitlin Matthews)

“Make thou my spirit pure and clear as are the frosty skies.”
(Alfred Lord Tennyson)

“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
We're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland
Gone away is the bluebird
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song
As we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland”
(Richard B. Smith)

“O Winter! King of intimate delights, fireside enjoyments, and home-born happiness.”
(William Cowper)


Spring: Vernal Equinox

Summer: Estival Solstice

Fall: Autumnal Equinox

Winter: Hibernal Solstice