In Pagan traditions, plants and their lore are a huge part or belief and practice. Sabbats and Esbats have plants which properties are associated and aligned with specific aspects of the celebration. Yule, the winter solstice, like the other Greater Sabbats has plants that are sacred or otherwise important to the celebration. P.S. This short list would be a fantastic addition to the Yule portion of your Book of Shadows or Grimoire!
Evergreens, traditionally found as your classic Holiday tree, is a time-honored tradition of bringing the outdoors in. There are several evergreens used during the season, including pines, fir, juniper, and cedars. Evergreen trees are associated with protection and prosperity, and the continuation of life and renewal.
Even if you don’t have a full-sized evergreen in your house, fallen branches can be used to create boughs and wreaths for decoration. Evergreens also have the added bonus of filling your home with their beautiful fragrant scents.
Holly plants have come to signify the waning sun and the approach of the solstice. Holly is also associated with protection, some plant a small hedge around the home to keep bad spirits out (those sharp spikes do the trick for physical bad stuff too). The wood of the Holly has been used for protective magic work, as well as to ensure good luck and safety. Adding some Holly branches to evergreen wreaths is a classic way to bring the Yule season into your home.
We’ve all heard of the old-time tradition of kissing under the mistletoe! Mistletoe is associated with peacemaking and ending of discord. Usable in magic work relating to ending strife and discontent is popular. Hanging mistletoe over a doorway is, of course, the traditional use during Yuletide, but it can also be used as decoration in wreaths, trees, and tabletops. Due to its relation with deities such as Frigga and Baldur, it has connections to prosperity and fertility as well. So go ahead, kiss under the mistletoe and let bygones be bygones.
Birch is associated with rebirth and regeneration. Adding birth to spellwork to benefit new endeavors can give it that extra push to bring about your desires. Birch is also associated with magic relating to creativity, fertility, healing, and protection. Besoms are often crafted out of birch and hung over main doorways, as well as used in spells relating to renewal, purification, and new beginnings.
Yew is associated with immortality and longevity. In many societies, Yew is thought to give passage to the afterlife. In Wiccan traditions, yew is sacred to the crone aspect of the triple goddess. Yew can be used in magical workings dealing with the afterlife, and overcoming obstacles.
Ivy has come to signify the cycle of life, often living past the life cycle of its host plant. It shows us the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Ivy is used in magical work relating to improving yourself and removing things that are toxic to your lifestyle. Ivy is also used in magic related to healing, protection, and collaboration. Associated with fidelity and loyalty it can be used in Yule decorations to signify family unity and friendship.
Oak is a symbol of endurance, power and represents victory. Due to their symbolism in representing triumph, oak leaves are still used today as a symbol for leadership in the military. In old days gone by, Roman generals were presented with oak crowns after returning from a victory in the battlefield. Oak is used in magical work relating to strength and overcoming difficult situations.
As always, when using any plants or natural items, be mindful that some may be toxic to pets or when ingested (we see you over there Holly berries)! So have fun, make a festive display and enjoy Yuletide!
Love and Light,