Looking for some great books to celebrate the Yule season? Curl up in front of a nice warm fire with one of these ten Yule-themed titles!
Yule - A Celebration of Light and Warmth by Dorothy Morrison. Celebrates the history, traditions, and symbols of Yule, offering advice on gifting, feasting, and commemorating the Yuletide season around the world.
When Santa was a Shaman by Tony van Renterghem. Looks at the legends and lore behind the famous figure of Santa.
Solstice Evergreen: History, Folklore & Origins of the Christmas Tree by Sheryl Ann Karas. From the publisher: Few of us know the origins and spiritual significance of the annual ritual they perform. With depth and detail this revised and expanded second edition of reveals even more hidden meanings of evergreen trees throughout human history - for over 5000 years! Throughout the centuries the evergreen has been a potent cultural symbol of rebirth. Contemporary Christmas Trees are a vestige of the pagan practice during the winter solstice of bringing greenery into the home to symbolize life in the dead of winter.
Celebrate the Solstice: Honoring the Earth's Seasonal Rhythms through Festival and Ceremony by Richard Heinberg. Practical suggestions for ecstatic seasonal renewal by celebrating the solstices.
The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson. This is a picture book aimed at kids, but perfect for adult readers too. Explains the attitudes of early cultures towards the longest night of the year, and delves into rituals and customs of the Romans, Celts and Native Americans (among others). Includes a Cherokee folktale which explains how the seasons were created.
The Shortest Day - Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer. From the publisher: Describes how and why daylight grows shorter as winter approaches, the effect of shorter days on animals and people, and how the winter solstice has been celebrated throughout history.
Return of the Light - Twelve Tales of the Winter Solstice by Carolyn McVickar Edwards. From the publisher: Celebrating the solstices - particularly the moment of the sun's return at midwinter, on December 21 - is a nearly universal human urge, one that dates back thousands of years and has been identified in a wide variety of cultures. Now The Return of the Light makes an ideal companion for all who carry on this tradition, no matter what their faith. Twelve stories - from North America, China, Scandinavia, India, Africa, South America, Europe, and Polynesia - honour this moment, helping to renew our wonder of the miracle of rebirth and the power of transition from darkness into light.
The Winter Solstice: Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John and Caitlin Matthews. From the publisher: The cure for Christmas burn-out! Folklore, recipes, stories, games, songs, and other resources for celebrating the Winter Solstice as a joyous, life-affirming spiritual festival.
A Solstice Tree for Jenny by Karen Shragg and Heidi Schwabacher. A little girl feels left out because her friends all have Christmas trees. She and her non-religious parents decide to celebrate the solstice with a tree that reflects the tradition of the solstice.
10. Pagan Christmas
Pagan Christmas by Christian Rastsch. From the publisher: An examination of the sacred botany and the pagan origins and rituals of Christmas. Analyzes the symbolism of the many plants associated with Christmas; reveals the shamanic rituals that are at the heart of the Christmas celebration.