Yule falls on December 22nd this year, which is throwing me off big time! This solstice is the opposite of the Summer Solstice, making it the longest night of the year. It is a time of rebirth, reflection, new beginnings, and transformation, making it the perfect time for shadow work and goal setting. It is also a time of merriment and joy, so why not spread some this holiday season by sharing some Wassail?
1. Create a New Year's tarot spreadTarot is a great way to communicate with spirits, and because Yule is the longest night of the year, it is deeply associated with release and reflection. This is the perfect time to do a year in review and reflect upon the previous 12 months and set intentions for the next 12. To create a New Year's tarot spread, begin by lighting a white candle. Focus on the candle's flame and ask the spirits for guidance in the New Year. Shuffle your deck and begin drawing 12 cards, one for each month of the year. Lay them out in a row and turn them over, one at a time. Reflect upon the meaning of each card. Be sure to write down any messages, thoughts, or meanings that pop into your mind. After reviewing the first card, which is associated with January, close your eyes and open your consciousness to any other messages the spirits may have for you regarding January. Repeat this step for the remaining 11 cards. If you need to, light some mugwort incense or drink some mugwort tea prior to partaking in this ritual. Mugwort opens the mind and makes you more preceptive to receive messages from beyond.
2. Drink WassailOkay, on the surface it probably isn't the most magical thing you can think of, but drinking wassail can be. Wassail is a spiced cider that contains port and sherry, although there are nonalcoholic versions available. The word wassail is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words waes hael which means "to your health." Historically, this hot alcoholic drink was served during the holiday season, especially to visitors and family, from a large wooden bowl decorated with holly and ivy. Wassail is a great way to honor the changing seasons, the triumph of the Holly King, the end of the year, and to drink to the health of yourself and your loved ones. Furthermore, it is extremely grounding. Brew up a batch of wassail in your crockpot, step outside into the snow or cold, and drink deeply. Express gratitude to the spirits and the Earth around you. Be sure to share a little wassail with the local land spirits. They will appreciate the warm drink. Looking for a recipe? Try this traditional recipe.
3. Perform shadow work.Being the longest night of the year, this is a great time to focus on yourself and your "shadow" side. We all have something we need to heal, improve upon, or reconcile. This is the perfect time to do so. The first step in performing shadow work is deep self-reflection. I like to meditate and hedge ride when I do this. I begin by digging deep and reflecting on all that has happened, what is still bothering me, how I respond to stress and changes, and how I would like to improve upon those things. I follow it up with a hedge riding session where I discuss other potential issues with my guides because, let's be honest, they often see more than we do, and potential ways to respond to these issues. During the process, take extensive notes. Use these notes, along with the tarot spread mentioned above, to set goals and plan for 2020. Remember, the best goals are specific, attainable, and measurable. I like to plan 3 months at a time so I can see progress, but use whatever goal-setting method works best for you.
And there you have it, a full year of ideas for spirit work. Working with spirits, whether they be your guides, local spirits, or our ancestors, can be amazingly fulfilling. Furthermore, building these relationships helps strengthen our bond with the unknown and enhances the efficacy of our magical practice. My spells are significantly more successful with the help of spirits, and I hope you find the same to be true in your practice. So what are your plans for this Yule? Do you have any magic already scheduled? Myself? I'm going to spend the holiday out of town enjoying a new city, hiking, and honoring the spirits of the season. I hope you enjoy the holiday as much as myself.