Woman outdoors at winter.

The winter solstice, the darkest and longest night of the year, is a time of reflection. Why not take a moment to offer up a prayer on Yule? 

Please note that this collection of prayers is not meant to imply that Pagans need to celebrate Yule for twelve days, or that there is a certain date that you must begin and end your celebrations. The twelve days of prayers is simply a play on the whole "twelve days of Christmas" thing.

Try a different devotional each day, for the next twelve days, to give you food for thought during the holiday season - or simply incorporate the ones that resonate with you into your seasonal rituals!

of 12

A Prayer to the Earth at Yule

Druids celebrate the winter solstice each year at Stonehenge. Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Just because the earth is cold doesn't mean there's nothing going on down there in the soil. Think about what lies dormant in your own life right now, and consider what may bloom a few months from now.

A Prayer to the Earth at Yule

Cold and dark, this time of year,
the earth lies dormant, awaiting the return
of the sun, and with it, life.
Far beneath the frozen surface,
a heartbeat waits,
until the moment is right,
to spring.
of 12

Yule Sunrise Prayer

Yule celebrates the return of the sun after the long, dark nights. Image by Buena Vista Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

When the sun first rises on Yule, on or around December 21 (it's around June 21 if you're one of our readers below the equator), it's time to recognize that the days will gradually begin to lengthen. The nights get shorter, and it's a reminder that even when it's cold, warmth is returning. If you're hosting a winter solstice gathering, try to time things so your family and friends can greet the sun with this prayer as it first appears over the horizon.

Yule Sunrise Prayer

The sun returns! The light returns!
The earth begins to warm once more!
The time of darkness has passed,
and a path of light begins the new day.
Welcome, welcome, the heat of the sun,
blessing us all with its rays.
of 12

Prayer to the Winter Goddess

Welcome the ice and snow of winter with a prayer to the goddess of your tradition. Image by Hugh Whitaker/Cultura/Getty Images

Despite the fact that some people hate cold weather, it does have its advantages. After all, a good cold day gives us an opportunity to cuddle up indoors with the people we love the most. If your magical tradition honors a seasonal goddess, offer up this prayer in her honor at Yule.

Prayer to the Winter Goddess

O! Mighty goddess, in silvery ice,
watching over us as we sleep,
a layer of shining white,
covering the earth each night,
frost on the world and in the soul,
we thank you for visiting us.
Because of you, we seek warmth
in the comfort of our homes and hearths
of 12

Yule Prayer to Count Your Blessings

Prayer Beads
Patti Wigington

Yule should be a time of joy and happiness, but for many people it can be stressful. This is a season to take a moment and be thankful for the blessings you have, and to take a moment to remember those less fortunate.

Yule Prayer to Count Your Blessings

I am grateful for that which I have.
I am not sorrowful for that which I do not.
I have more than others, less than some,
but regardless, I am blessed with
what is mine.

If you have a set of Pagan Prayer Beads, or a Witch's Ladder, you can use these to enumerate your blessings. Count off each bead or knot, and consider the things you are thankful for, like so:

First, I am thankful for my health.
Second, I am thankful for my family.
Third, I am thankful for my warm home.
Fourth, I am thankful for the abundance in my life.

Continue counting off your blessings, until you have thought about all of the things that enrich your life, and the lives of those around you.

of 12

Prayer for the Beginning of Winter

The skies have turned gray, the air is cold, and winter is near - but the sun will soon return. Chris Clor / Blend Images / Getty Images

In early winter, we can see the skies becoming overcast, and smell fresh snow in the air. Take a few minutes to think about the fact that even if the skies are cold and dark, it's only temporary, because the sun will return to us, beginning on the winter solstice.

Prayer for the Beginning of Winter

See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the bright sun soon to come.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way,
for the world to awake once more.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the longest night of the year.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the sun to finally return,
bringing with it light and warmth.
of 12

Yule Sunset Prayer

Celebrate when the sun sets on the longest night of the year. Image by Jonas Forsberg/Folio Images/Getty Images

The night before the winter solstice is the longest night of the year. In the morning, with the return of the sun, the days will begin to grow longer. As much as we enjoy the light, though, there is a lot to be said for acknowledging the darkness. Welcome it, as the sun sets in the sky.

Yule Sunset Prayer

The longest night has come once more,
the sun has set, and darkness fallen.
The trees are bare, the earth asleep,
and the skies are cold and black.
Yet tonight we rejoice, in this longest night,
embracing the darkness that enfolds us.
We welcome the night and all that it holds,
as the light of the stars shines down.
of 12

A Nordic Yule Prayer

In Scandinavian legends, when Frau Holle shakes out her mattress, snow falls to the earth. Image by Per Breiehagen/Stone/Getty Images

Yule is a time to set aside animosity between yourself and people who would normally antagonize you. The Norsemen had a tradition that enemies who met under a bough of mistletoe were obligated to lay down their arms. Set aside your differences, and think about that as you ponder this devotional. Keep in mind this is not an ancient Norse prayer, but a modern one inspired by Norse legend and history.

A Nordic Yule Prayer

Beneath the tree of light and life,
a blessing at this season of Jul!
To all that sit at my hearth,
today we are brothers, we are family,
and I drink to your health!

Today we do not fight,
We bear no one ill will.
Today is a day to offer hospitality
to all that cross my threshold
in the name of the season.
of 12

Snow Prayer for Yule

Snow is symbolic of purity and inspiration. Image by Light of Peace/Moment/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, you may be seeing snowfall long before Yule arrives. Take a moment to appreciate its beauty and its magic, both as it falls and once it covers the ground.

Snow Prayer for Yule

From the reaches of the north,
a place of cold blue beauty,
comes to us the first winter storm.
Wind whipping, flakes flying,
the snow has fallen upon the earth,
keeping us close,
keeping us together,
wrapped up as everything sleeps
beneath a blanket of white.
of 12

Yule Prayer to the Old Gods

First-century relief from the Zollo Frieze, found in Aphrodisias, Turkey. G. Dagli Orti / De Agostini Picture Library / Getty Images

In many Pagan traditions, both contemporary and ancient, the old gods are honored at the time of the winter solstice. Take a moment to pay them tribute, and call upon them during the Yule season.

Yule Prayer to the Old Gods

The Holly King is gone, and the Oak King reigns -
Yule is the time of the old winter gods!
Hail to Baldur! To Saturn! To Odin!
Hail to Amaterasu! To Demeter!
Hail to Ra! To Horus!
Hail to Frigga, Minerva Sulis and Cailleach Bheur!
It is their season, and high in the heavens,
may they grant us their blessings this winter day.
of 12

A Celtic Yule Blessing

Winters in the Celtic lands were harsh, and the people knew the significance of the solstice. Travel Ink / Gallo Images / Getty Images

The Celtic people knew the importance of the solstice. Although the Yule season marks the middle of winter, colder times were still to come. It was important to put aside staple foods for the coming months, because it would be many months before anything fresh grew again. Consider, as you think on this devotional, what your family has put aside -- both material goods and things on the spiritual plane.

Keep in mind that this is not an ancient Celtic prayer, but a modern one inspired by Celtic myth and folklore.

A Celtic Yule Blessing

The food is put away for the winter,
the crops are set aside to feed us,
the cattle are come down from their fields,
and the sheep are in from the pasture.
The land is cold, the sea is stormy, the sky is gray.
The nights are dark, but we have our family,
kin and clan around the hearth,
staying warm in the midst of darkness,
our spirit and love a flame
a beacon burning brightly
in the night.
of 12

Elemental Prayer for Yule

Girl Blowing Snow. Sunset. Winter Mood.
Samantha Carrirolo / Getty Images

In the middle of winter, it's hard to remember sometimes that light is coming back to earth. However, despite the gray, cloudy days, we know that soon, the sun will return. Keep this in mind during those dreary days when it seems winter will never end, by invoking the four classical elements.

Elemental Prayer for Yule

As the earth grows colder,
the winds blow faster,
the fire dwindles smaller,
and the rains fall harder,
let the light of the sun
find its way home.
of 12

Yule Prayer to the Sun Gods

Windy winter sunrise at mountain summit
Maya Karkalicheva / Getty Images

Many ancient cultures and religions honored various solar deities at the time of the winter solstice. Whether you honor Ra, Mithras, Helios, or some other sun deity, now is a good time to welcome them back.

Yule Prayer to the Sun Gods

Great sun, wheel of fire, sun god in your glory,
hear me as I honor you
on this, the shortest day of the year.
Summer has gone, passed us by,
the fields are dead and cold,
all of earth sleeps in your absence.
Even in the darkest times,
you light the way for those who would need a beacon,
of hope, of brightness,
shining in the night.

Winter is here, and colder days coming,
the fields are bare and the livestock thin.
We light these candles in your honor,
that you might gather your strength
and bring life back to the world.
O mighty sun above us,
we ask you to return, to bring back to us
the light and the warmth of your fire.
Bring life back to earth,
Bring light back to earth.
Hail the sun!

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