top of page

Yule: Dark Moon Phase of the Year (Living the Deeper Wisdom of Winter Solstice)

Winter Solstice. Photo of the Milky Way over a forest in Poland. Mountains in the background,

Hey, beautiful people!

Each and every month, for a brief couple of days, we experience the Moon's Dark Moon phase. This is the short period of time between the Moon's final waning and when She is again illuminated by the Sun. The New Moon occurs right in the middle of this dark period.

At the Dark of the Moon, we simultaneously hold space for the mysteries of death (9) and rebirth (1). And we realise how intimately these sacred processes are entwined.

It’s a time of darkness and letting go, as well as a time of faith and preparation for the new beginnings that beckon us forward. It's a time of ritual; a time to make course-corrections; and a time to dream into our New Moon intentions for the coming month.

I'm sure many of us celebrate the New Moon, regularly.

Well, this is exactly where we are now, but on a much greater scale.

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, tonight (i.e. 21 June) is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. We are being held in the darkest part of the year.

Put another way, Yule/Winter Solstice is the Dark Moon or New Moon phase of the whole year.

But instead of lasting for just 2½ days (like the Dark of the Moon each month), Yule is a season that lasts for roughly 7 weeks. (This year, Yule spans from 21 June to 7 August.)

The dark of the Moon.  Photo by NASA

Living the Deeper Wisdom of Winter Solstice

Tonight, as we celebrate Yule, we are crossing a sacred threshold.

The Old Sun is dying and, in the same night, the New Sun is being born.

A whole new cycle, a new year, is preparing to begin.

Let's explore the deeper wisdom of Winter Solstice, and what is being asked of us . . .


With the dying of the light of the old Sun, we identify those aspects of our own Light that need to die, too. Yule invites us to consider the habits, fears, beliefs, conditioned patterns, relationships, addictions, and worn-out stories that need to be released if we are to step forward into the more empowered, authentic life that we've envisioned for ourselves throughout Samhain.

As the Dark Moon phase of the whole year, Yule is our chance to let it all go, with the full energetic support of Life itself!

Write down everything you want to release, and burn it in your fire or your vigil candle tonight, if you’re going to hold vigil for Yule.

NOW, is your chance to let it all go! 

(Can you feel the wisdom of the Number 9?)

Personally, I've been on a sugar detox as I don't want to bring that energy or that habitual way of eating into yet another year. And tonight, in my own ritual space, I will further lean into this awareness of what needs to be released, and left behind.

A candle ritual.  A witch burning a piece of paper that says, "So mote it be." Releasing.


There may also be areas of life that you thought had "died". All may have seemed bleak, hopeless, and lifeless, and perhaps you’ve given up on something?

Or perhaps there are parts of yourself that you'd rejected, denied, or repressed.

Or elements of your life that you just haven't devoted time to, and so you believed they were no longer part of your life experience?

And yet, Yule reminds us that just when you thought all was lost, something shifts and you realise it’s not too late. In fact, you’ve still got time! All is well. You can still embrace the path or the opportunity you thought you’d lost.

Trust that you can reclaim those parts of yourself and your life that you'd perhaps long forgotten.


Yule is simultaneously when the fragile new Sun is being born, heralding a new Light into the world. It's the New Moon phase of the year, as I keep saying! So, too, are you invited to birth new aspects of yourself, of your Light into the world (1), unencumbered by all that you've released with the dying Light of the old Sun (9).

In this rich darkness of the year, you are called to hold and protect the tender visions that you received at Samhain, like seeds waiting in the rich, dark, loamy soil of the Earth.

This is not a frightening darkness. It is the darkness of the womb, the darkness of the night sky just before dawn . . . it is nurturing, caring, protective, and full of promise. (Can you recognise the Number 1, the presence of a new spark of life, a new possibility, waiting to be fanned into flame over the coming months?)

A New Year's Resolutions list, written in ritual space

New Year Intentions

And just as we set our intentions at the New Moon each month, Yule is when we set our New Year Intentions for the year ahead.


Not at Litha, in the heat of our Summer Solstice, at the energetic height of the year.

Question: Why do we "typically" set our New Year Intentions in January, if NOW is when it's actually energetically aligned to do so?

Simply put: Because that's when the Northern Hemisphere does it—at their Winter Solstice.

Culturally, our ancestors simply brought their calendar with them, and we continued to celebrate the Holy Days on the same dates as the Northern Hemisphere, not understanding that the Sabbats are NOT celebrated on specific dates of the calendar year. Sabbats are not like a birthday that is recognised on the same day every year, no matter where you happen to be travelling on the planet.

Instead, they celebrate one of the eight major astronomical or seasonal events that we experience each year: the March and September Equinoxes, the June and December Solstices, and the four cross-quarter days in between them.

And, therefore, the date we celebrate the Sabbats will not only change from year to year . . . but, more significantly, it will change depending on which hemisphere we're living in. 'Cause, as we all know, when it's Winter here in Australia, it's Summer in Finland, or Ireland, or Canada. Right??

Well, Yule is celebrated at the Winter Solstice.

And today is the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

So, today is the day we honour and celebrate Yule!

And today is the day we write our New Year Intentions.

Let's energetically align with the magic and energetic cycles of Life where we actually live, rather than unquestioningly adhering to a calendar that is created for the Northern Hemisphere.

Yule bonfire in the middle of a snowy pine forest

Yule Traditions

There are many traditions associated with Yule, but they primarily centre around a form of sympathetic magic, where we hold vigil all night long on the evening of the Solstice. As the old Sun slowly dies, the Goddess assumes Her role as Great Mother and prepares for labour, to birth the new-born Sun into the world.

Like the ancients before us, we are called to intentionally offer flame to flame, in direct relationship with Life itself! We hold lantern parades; gather together to drum and dance around magnificent, communal bonfires; and we have firework displays.

We kindle the fires and offer the Light of our hearts, our candles, our hearth fires, and our bonfires to strengthen the Great Mother and the Sun itself, in labour.

Heat to heat!Light to light!

We offer our own Light to the Sun at Winter Solstice to ease His birth pangs, and to remind Him that he MUST be reborn!

(Ever wondered why we celebrate with fireworks on New Year's Eve in January? Most of us continue our ancient customs, without ever truly knowing why, or realising that we're now—as a culture—celebrating on the "wrong" day, six months out.)

Midwives to the Light of the World

We offer ourselves and our magic as midwives, to support the Sun (i.e. Life itself) to successfully traverse that threshold from 9 into 1, from death to new life.

Through the longest night of the year, we anxiously await the news that "Both Mother and Child are well." The Sun’s annual rebirth heralds the continuation of all Life on Earth. While Winter Solstice is a time of darkness and fear, it's also a time of faith and of magic. It's a time of individually and collectively remembering our power as midwives. And with the Sun’s blessed rebirth, it is a time of renewal and great celebration!

(No wonder Christianity co-opted such an enormous Pagan celebration of the Birth of the Sun and turned it into the Birth of the Son, the Light of the World.)

Importantly, in holding vigil in a time of darkness and offering ourselves in service, we’re reminded that we have our part to play in the Great Turning of the Wheel; that we are in relationship with Life itself. We’re not supposed to just sit idly by in desperation.

Yule is when we are reminded that we are midwives to the Light of the World, as well as to our own Light.

As Above, So Below.

As Below, So Above.

We are significant. We are empowered. We are necessary.

Deep blessings on this holy night. I'll be holding vigil all night. If you are, too, we'll be energetically connected as we help midwife the birth of the new Sun.

Thank you for taking the time to find out more about Yule and the Great Wheel of the Year. If you have any queries, drop me a line. Always happy to connect! I truly hope you journey with me through all eight Sabbats over this coming year.

And on that note, I wish you all a blessed Yule!

Thank you for your company on this path. I am so grateful for it. 


Juliette xo


bottom of page