When Yule arrives in December in the Northern hemisphere, or in June for the South– one of the most well-known aspects of the season is specific scents and smells. Yule traditions are triggering memories and recollections of the Yule season and Yule blessings.
Aromas of mulled spices, pine needles, frankincense or cinnamon are reminders of the wintertime holidays.
Myth and Ritual for the Old Norse Yule Blessings
What was the Yule concerned with, as a religious celebration? As a matter of fact, we do not know exactly. Yet as I will show in this little article, Yule includes many mythological features that may throw some light on what our ancestors were up to during Yule. What they actually may have celebrated: the Rebirth of the Sun Goddess, the liberation from the Rule of Death and the Powers of the Underworld, the celebration of Thor, who is to protect us from these powers, and the celebration of the ancestral Mothers who will guide us through the time of darkness into the new Sun cycle. (Source)
Yule Traditions: How to Make DIY Smudge Sticks Today
To make a seasonal smudge stick, you bundle herbs together, tie them with string, and allow them to dry out, ready to be burned later.
Plants such as evergreen juniper, pine, fir, balsam, and cedar can be mixed with other scents you find appealing. One of the best combinations is rosemary, pine, fir, and juniper.
Trim your clippings down to a length between 10 and 25 centimetres. They can be as long as you wish. Put some branches together, and wind the string tightly around them. Tie a knot when you get to the end, and leave a loop to hang them for drying for a few weeks. Once they’re ready, burn them according to Yule traditions during Yule rituals and ceremonies, or use them for the cleansing of your sacred space.
Step by Step Instructions for Making Smudge Sticks with Cedar, Rosemary, Sage, and Mugwort, can be found here
Yule Blessings and Purification Ritual
Create a purification spell or ritual not only with yourself but mainly with others. As you do this, everyone can come bringing good intentions and good positive energy.
Light a white candle in the middle of your circle and as everyone’s standing, before they are seated, smudge everyone. Smudge the bottom of their feet too, to make sure they have a good connection to mother Earth.
Get as many people involved in this as you can, the more, the merrier. Make sure you use a Yule smudge that has some pine or pine scent in it. It could be herbs resin, smudge wands or just insense. Make sure that you do smudge everyone from head to toe.
As you do smudge it, each person says a blessing to them and make sure they respond by opening themselves to receiving the blessings and opening themselves to purification. Standing or sitting, holding hands and going in a clockwise motion, let everyone speak out, something that they are grateful for. Repeat this pattern while going in a circle until it comes to an end.
Then everyone should quietly sit for a simple meditation with some holiday music or some seasonal music to lift the spirits. Close the circle going counterclockwise and everyone saying thank you.
Read more about Wiccan Yule Decorations & Winter Solstice Altar and Pagan Winter Solstice Traditions and Customs