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Your Yule altar is where you will work your magic through the Winter Solstice season. It’s a personal space where you can ground and center yourself even when the world around you is hectic.
Setting up a basic Yule altar is quite simple and requires only a table and the tools you will use to create magic during the yuletide season. It’s best not to clutter your Yule altar, but it is also where you should place offerings to the gods and decorations to keep you in the spirit of the Winter Solstice.
Building Your Own Pagan Yule Altar
The construction of an altar for Yule is a deeply personal experience. Maybe you only have a little windowsill overlooking a back alley for space.
Urban witchery can be like that. Maybe you take meticulous effort on a large, grandiose table. Maybe you don’t put in any effort at all, and you just do what feels right.
I’m still new to this whole thing, even after almost six months, and I’m still finding, every week, that I am learning something entirely new, or that my preferences are a little different than I thought they were.
And this time, I’m learning about making altars, and I’d like to share that with you. Here are my winter solstice altar ideas!
Basic Yule Altar Setup
First, there’s a question of what kind of candles to use.
I hear you asking if you can use the same colors as always, and the answer is “yes of course.”
But if you want to have More Yule on your altar, and I decided that I did, going into the next solstice, then it can help to figure out what you’re going to do. I started with a fair amount of green and a little red.
It’s reminiscent of the trees and fruit that grow during the Yule season (we’ll get to that!), but more than that, it symbolizes the coming new year wonderfully.
The green speaks to the growth we all hope for in the new year, and if you hope for a little money to come to you on the side, who can blame you?
The red speaks to the sexuality of the sacred masculine and sacred feminine, in the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth that symbolizes the cycle of the year as a whole.
Then you want to add white and blue, which symbolize the ice and snow of the season first and foremost, look great, and add necessary purification and protection to keep you safe, to keep your loved ones safe, and to keep all of us safe in these trying times.
Last, as wonderful flair to really fill out the spread, and break up the colors, gold and silver make an excellent pairing!
They’re traditional, with the gold drawing focus to the other powerful colors, like red and blue and green, and the silver helping to give depth and interest to the white.
|Black||Protection, uncrossing, warding off negative vibes, banishment, violent power|
|Blue||Peace, protection, calmness, communication, clarity, the throat chakra|
|Brown||Earth, reconnecting to the natural world, home life, stability|
|Gold||Financial gain, business endeavors, the sun, business success, career boosting, legal success|
|Green||Earth, growth, money, fertility, new businesses, new opportunities, the heart chakra, forgiveness, platonic love|
|Indigo||The third eye chakra, healing depression, healing emotional vulnerability, self-realization, empathy, letting go of emotional baggage|
|Light blue||Healing, patience, understanding, honest communication, trust, being truthful and fair|
|Orange||Creativity, beating writer’s block, attraction, encouragement, new opportunities, fun and adventure, self-expression, the sacral chakra, healing mental health|
|Pink||Softer love, self care, kindness, good relationships, empathy, healing the heart, friendship|
|Purple||Psychic powers, intuition, creativity, your inner royal nature, your highest self, ambition, power, the crown chakra, connecting to the divine, fate|
|Red||Passion, sex, love, romance, seduction, courage, health, competition, war, power, the root chakra|
|Silver||The moon, divination, psychic powers, dreaming, astral travel, women’s mysteries, pregnancy, truth, intuition|
|White||A blank slate, cleansing, purification, innocence, new opportunities, new ideas, connecting to the divine, peace, unity|
|Yellow||Abundance, joy, happiness, sunshine, the source of life, persuasion, protection, the solar plexus chakra, self-empowerment, self-control, self-confidence|
But if it’s not symbolically appropriate then it’s right out.
In this case, gold symbolizes the sacred masculine, and silver the sacred feminine, who are coming together.
By using their colors in this way, you symbolize the way that they suffuse everything in life, but more than that, the way that they come together in this solstice in particular to create and birth the new-born year.
The altar cloth, under all of this, can be white, blue, or green. Red, silver, and gold are more akin to accent colors, which would be inappropriate.
I, myself, think blue is the most appropriate, but I also have an altar cloth I use all the year round, rather than multiple I might switch between. Maybe next year?
Last but not least, additional symbols of Yule. These tend to fall into two categories: general symbols of winter and of the end of the year, and as with all seasons, seasonal fruits, vegetables, and plants.
The winter is somewhat unique as a season; it offers very little in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables, with the majority of plants dying or going into a sort of hibernation during this time.
Traditional fruit are the mistletoe, with its white berries, and holly, with its red. Pine also goes to seed during the winter, though most people don’t try to eat pine cones!
Of course, the other green growth during the winter is on the evergreen trees, so commonly used now for certain other holidays! All of these are wonderful Yule symbols.
The symbols of the time of year are many. Snowflakes, or just snow, or ice, are all excellent symbols. Contrary to this, sun wheels are also great choices, symbolizing the rebirth of the year and the sun that we’re all anxiously awaiting.
Bells are traditional, they’re fun, and they also help to ward off evil spirits. Plus, if you have a toddler, like I do, they’re going to love them. Just make sure they don’t bang the bells into everything else in their excitement!
How To Decorate For Yule
Decorate your Yule altar with handmade crafts from Etsy this year! Here are some of my favorite products and ideas that will make your altar stand out.
Traditionally, these are hung on doors, but they make a lovely statement on the wall over your altar.
Choose wreaths with pine cones, pine needles, snowflakes, pentagrams, and solar symbols to honor this season.
The Ancient Romans decorated their homes with vines and ivy. Ancient Egyptians used palm fronds. Celtic and Nordic pagans used mistletoe.
Decorating with greenery is an ancient pagan practice, and a wreath is one extension of this practice.
To make your own Winter Solstice wreath, simply forage for discarded tree branches, pine cones, leaves, and acorns. Then you can wrap the twigs and branches with twine or hot glue and decorate with the other pieces you picked up.
These are ornamental arrangements that are found in many homes year-round. They’re most common during the yuletide season, however.
They can be made of fresh greenery, bare branches, seasonal flowers, and faux plants.
Pagans and witches associate the Yule wreath with protection, prosperity, and the sun.
As a festival of the sun, the most important part of Winter Solstice celebrations is fire. This includes candles and bonfires.
For some ancient people, a candle or bonfire was lit to symbolize the sun. It was lit on Christmas eve at sundown and kept going through to dawn on Christmas day.
To celebrate Yule, you can do the same ritual. Burn a large candle through the Winter Solstice and send energy to the sun so that it can be strong in the coming year.
This traditional Yule symbol would usually go in your fire place, but smaller versions can sit on your altar to represent the season.
Wheels, circles, and sun decor help to encourage the sun and bring it back to its full strength after the winter solstice.
Snow And Ice
Snowflakes and icicles make for pretty decor. Icicles can also be used in rituals to replace your wand.
I hope you learned something, enjoyed the article, and most of all, I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Yule season as things go forward. I know I’m looking forward to it! Let me know how it goes!
Other Yule Altar Ideas
Crystals For Your Yule Altar
Here are 5 perfect crystals for your Yule altar:
- Bloodstone: A symbol of vitality and strength, Bloodstone’s deep green hue with red speckles beautifully captures the essence of Yule. This powerful healing crystal encourages courage and provides protection, making it an ideal addition to your altar.
- Garnet: The vibrant red Garnet crystal is a beacon of passion and love. Associated with abundance and prosperity, it is an excellent choice for the Yule altar. Garnet’s fiery red color represents the warmth of the sun during the winter solstice, signifying hope and new beginnings.
- Black Obsidian: Known for its grounding and protective properties, Black Obsidian is a spiritual cleanser that helps banish negative energies. Its dark color symbolizes the longest night of the year, while also reminding us of the light that lies ahead.
- Citrine: Radiating joy and positivity, Citrine’s golden-yellow color embodies the returning sun and the promise of brighter days. This uplifting crystal enhances creativity and attracts abundance, making it a wonderful crystal for your Yule celebrations.
- Clear Quartz: Often referred to as the “master healer,”
Clear Quartzamplifies energy and intentions. Its transparent color signifies purity and clarity, bringing peace and tranquility to your Yule season.
Incorporating these crystals into your Yule altar helps create an atmosphere of celebration, renewal, and harmony. Each crystal holds unique properties that align with the energy of Yule, the winter solstice. Feel free to arrange them in a way that resonates with you, alongside other Yule symbols such as candles and evergreen branches, to create a meaningful and inspiring space for your celebration.
Herbs And Plants For Your Yule Altar
Looking for herbs and plants to put on your Christmas altar? Decking out your altar with festive and symbolic plants is a wonderful way to celebrate the season. Here are a few plants and herbs that are sure to bring warmth and joy to your holiday altar.
Evergreens, such as pine, spruce, or fir branches, are a staple of the season. They symbolize life and resilience, serving as a reminder that even during the coldest and darkest times, life persists. Adding evergreen boughs to your altar brings a touch of nature’s beauty indoors. For a pop of color, include sprigs of holly with their bright red berries. Holly is believed to bring protection and good fortune, making it a perfect addition to your festive display.
Spices like cinnamon and cloves are not only aromatic but also full of symbolism. Cinnamon, with its warming scent, is associated with love, prosperity, and comfort—perfect for creating a cozy atmosphere. Cloves, on the other hand, are believed to offer protection and promote healing. Both spices can be sprinkled around candles or placed in small bowls on the altar.
And of course, no Christmas altar would be complete without mistletoe. This classic plant is a symbol of love, friendship, and joyful connections. Hang a sprig of mistletoe above your altar, or place it in a prominent spot to encourage loving interactions and warm holiday wishes.
By incorporating these traditional herbs and plants into your Christmas altar, you can create a space that radiates warmth, hope, and joy. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Yule, these plants and herbs will add beauty and meaning to your holiday celebration.
Yule Colors And Symbols
There are many Yule colors and symbols that you can add to your winter solstice altar. Yule, celebrated during the Winter Solstice, marks the return of light after the longest night of the year. By incorporating meaningful colors and symbols into your altar, you can create a beautiful and spiritually resonant space for this special time.
One way to adorn your altar is by using the traditional colors of Yule, each with its own significance. Red represents the transition from the old year to the new, symbolizing warmth and vitality. Green signifies renewal and growth, echoing the promise of brighter days ahead. White embodies purity, hope, and the new light of the solstice. Silver is linked to the moon’s mystical energies, and gold celebrates the sun’s life-giving radiance.
In addition to colors, you can bring in symbols that hold deep meaning for Yule. Evergreen branches, which stay green through the winter, serve as a reminder of life’s resilience and the eternal cycle of nature. Holly, with its red berries, is a symbol of protection and good fortune. The Yule log, traditionally burned to bring warmth and light, embodies the returning sun and the rekindling of hope.
Whether you choose to light candles in Yule colors, arrange evergreen boughs and holly sprigs, or display a symbolic Yule log, your altar will become a focal point for reflection and celebration. Let it be a place that honors the magic of the solstice and the joy of the season’s return to light.
What Goes On A Traditional Norse Yule Altar
The traditional Norse Yule altar can include a variety of items that honor the return of the sun during the winter solstice. One common feature is the inclusion of solar symbols, such as gold discs and yellow candles. These items represent the sun’s light and warmth during the longest night of the year. Some practitioners even use a large pillar candle, adorned with solar symbols, as a centerpiece for their altar.
In addition to symbols of the sun, natural elements that capture the essence of the winter season are often used to decorate the Yule altar. Evergreen boughs, sprigs of holly, and pinecones create a festive and earthy atmosphere. The Yule log, a traditional symbol of the season, can also be placed on or near the altar. Fertility symbols, such as antlers or reindeer figurines, represent abundance and the renewal of life.
The Yule altar is a highly personalized space, and individuals may choose to include additional items that hold special significance to them. For example, some may incorporate Santa Claus or other festive symbols into their altar decor. Ultimately, the Yule altar is a sacred space for reflection and celebration during the winter solstice. By thoughtfully selecting meaningful items, practitioners create a Yule altar that reflects their connection to the season and their spiritual path.