The winter solstice marks the longest night of the year, and so we traditionally associate it with darkness.
But it’s also the beginning of the waxing phase of the year, as the days start to get longer and nights start to get shorter. We are reminded that light always follows dark. The balance begins to shift, the wheel of the year turns back again.
This sabbat, also known as Yule, is a time for us to connect with our darkness and alchemize it into lessons, into medicine, for the year to come.
Below are some ways to honor this sacred holiday.
Create a quiet, safe space (candles are recommended!) and let yourself free write to the questions below with no editing. No one’s going to read your answers but you!
- Write a love letter to your darkness.
- What am I most ashamed of? How can I transmute this shame into a source of power and love?
- What part of me do I want to feed and grow?
Tarot or oracle spread
Pull out your tarot or oracle deck and set the intention for your highest self to speak to you through the cards. Give them a shuffle, and pull a card for each of the questions below. I recommend writing down the spread and the cards you pull, as well as your interpretations of them.
- What shadow wants to work with me?
- How does it want to be worked with?
- Advice for moving through shadow
- What wants to be born from my darkness?
- Advice for birthing whatever needs to come through
- Message from my inner child at this time
Lay out the cards in two rows of three like so. The deck featured here is The Ritual Deck, click here to shop it.
Create an altar
Creating an altar is a beautiful way to honor any sabbat. Let this be an intuitive, creative process and place anything there that feels good to you! Some ideas to spark your creativity are:
- Your Death and Temperance tarot cards
- A Yule log or branch
- Holly or mistletoe
- An evergreen wreath to symbolize the wheel of the year
- Any red, green, or white crystals that you’d like (I love carnelian for red, selenite for white, and moss agate or malachite for green)
- Ash, frankincense, and any other sun herbs you like
- Pine cones
- White and silver candles
- A representation of something in your shadow that you’d like to honor and alchemize this year
One of my favorite ways to work with my subconscious these days is intuitive painting. Get out your paints, paper, and allow whatever whats to come through you to come through you as you focus on the winter solstice and what it means to you. Try not to focus on how it looks— no one needs to see it but you!
After you finish, you could place it on your altar.
Want to learn more about the different sabbats on the wheel of the year? Click here to learn more about the wheel of the year and download your free wheel of the year printable.
About Eryn Johnson
Eryn is a mystic and seeker currently based in Philadelphia. She teaches yoga, reads tarot, does reiki energy healing, and loves to write. She is also the host of the Living Open podcast, and if she’s not teaching yoga or reading tarot you can probably find her in a crystal shop, buying plane tickets, or googling someone’s birth chart. Follow along with her adventures on Instagram at @erynj_ and at www.living-open.com.