Wood Between Worlds

Yule, Advent, Christmas and Saturnalia Altar Ideas for the Season

There is a complex tapestry of holidays in December, and so many different ways to celebrate. I tend to pick an emphasis each year to avoid overload. Below are some traditional elements to include during the winter months, if you are looking for new additions to your altar space.

Candle Colors

Blue
Advent/Christmas: Theotokos, Hope, Heaven
Yule: Peace, Serenity, Forgiveness, Kindness

Gold
Advent/Christmas: Royalty, Love
Saturnalia: Celestial Light, Return of the Sun
Yule: Sunlight, Prosperity, Success

Silver
Advent/Christmas: Starlight, Celestial Light
Saturnalia: Return of Light
Yule: Moonlight, Intuition, Dreams

Green
Advent/Christmas: Faith, Rebirth
Yule: Sunlight, Growth, Prosperity, Healing

Purple
Advent/Christmas: Sacrifice, Penance, Royalty
Yule: Power, Ambition, Wisdom

Pink
Advent/Christmas: Joy, Love
Yule: Kindness, Love, Empathy, Friendship

Red
Advent/Christmas: Holy Spirit
Saturnalia: Sunlight at it’s Zenith
Yule: Passion, Divine Feminine, Rebirth, Courage

White
Advent/Christmas: Purity, Unity
Yule: Purity, Cleansing, Unity, Snow/Ice, or as always, a neutral color that can be substituted for any other

Black
Yule: Divine Feminine, Underworld, Warding

Juniper Advent Wreath

Juniper

Advent/Christmas: Protection (especially with red cord), Holy Family, Blessing
Saturnalia: Healing
Yule: Protection, Healing, Crossing the Hedge

Holly

Advent/Christmas: Eternity, Passion of Christ
Saturnalia: Sunlight, Rebirth
Yule: Protection, Eternity, Rebirth

Holly for Yule and Christmas

Ivy

Advent/Christmas: Unity with God, Protection
Saturnalia: Revelry, Celebration
Yule: Eternity, Divine Feminine, Luck

Evergreens (Cedar, Fir, Pine)

Advent/Christmas: Strength, Resilience, Eternity
Saturnalia: Good Luck, Celebration
Yule: Resilience, Eternity

Evergreens and cat for Yule and Christmas

Mistletoe

Advent/Christmas: Protection, Healing, Love, Peace
Saturnalia:
Joy, Celebration, Healing (do not let it touch the ground)
Yule:
Joy, Protection, Love, Rebirth, Healing

Rosemary

Advent/Christmas: Protection, Theotokos, Faithfulness, can be used as a substitute for Frankincense
Saturnalia:
Remembrance, Love, Healing
Yule:
Protection, Love, Cleansing, Loyalty, basically this can be used as a substitute for any herb

Wreath

Advent/Christmas: Eternity of God, Everlasting Life in Christ
Saturnalia: Victory, Celebration, Return of the Sun (with candles)
Yule: Return of the Sun (lit on fire or with candles), Cycle of the Year, Protection, Prosperity

Oranges for Yule and Christmas

Pomander Balls / Oranges

Advent/Christmas: St. Nicolas originally filled stockings with gold, and it morphed into oranges (another rare treat). It was especially popular during the Victorian period.

Yule: Protection, Healing, Good Luck
Often tied with a red ribbon and dressed with oils

Apples

Advent/Christmas: Humanity, Adam’s Fall, Creation
Saturnalia: Used as food offerings and added to spiced wine or decorated in gold
Yule: Healing, Isle of Avalon, Rebirth

Yule Log

Advent/Christmas: Represents the fire the shepherds made to keep the child warm on Christmas night, usually a bundle of twigs, rather than a single log. It can also be represented by lighting a single log on Christmas Eve and allowing it to burn all night long.

Yule: There are all sorts of traditions, but overall it is seen as protection, representing the return of the sun. Part of it is saved for the next year, and the ashes have magickal properties. They can be inscribed with runes / sigils before setting them on fire, and some practitioners burn petitions in the flames.

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