Wicca: Winter Solstice

Holy Victoria — alternatives to Christmas (Part 2 of 3)

Priestess, psychic and shaman Alison Skelton.

Holy Victoria — alternatives to Christmas (Part 2 of 3)

Come one, come all and dance the Wiccan night away, naked under the cool moonlight.

“Actually my circles don’t tend to do that,” says Wiccan elder Alison Skelton. “Although some traditions or circles might in the summer when it’s warm. And only if you want to!”

Priestess, psychic and shaman, Skelton has practiced in Victoria since she was 17. The 60 or so Yule observers will follow her lead this year at a brand new (and secret) location.

Wherever it may be, practitioners will gather on the weekend before the Dec. 21st winter solstice. “That’s when most people can come. You’ve got to be flexible.” Skelton collects contributions for finger food and drinks available throughout the night. “We also ask everyone to bring donations for a local charity.”

Circles are very important in Wiccan practice. To begin, those gathered will form a circle to create a sacred space.

“I like to think of the circle as more of an amoeba. Sometimes, someone walks around the room and sings us into the circle. That’s really lovely.”

Next comes the ritual battle between the Holly King and the Oak King acted out by two male witches. In mythology, the two twins are locked in eternal battle. The winter solstice is the moment the Oak King takes his first steps toward his mid-summer supremacy. Then guests will eat, sing pagan carols (which consist of reworded Christmas carols), have a raffle draw and attach wishes to the hula-wreath.

Then it’s hula-hoop time. “It’s the same one we used during the Samhain (coinciding with Halloween). That one’s covered with bones and skulls and cobwebs representing death and release.”

The Yule hula-hoop is adorned with oak and holly leaves depicting the transition between the dark period of the year to the time of most light. “You can think of it as moving from Ying energy towards increasing Yang energy. The dark also represents the feminine. The dark, warm and reflective womb from which the sun is reborn.”

When practitioners jump through the hoop they do so shouting their intention for the coming year. “This is the masculine, energized moment of the ritual.”

“We have families there, so of course there are children shouting ‘I want a pony’ but there are many, many wishes for peace and love for the world.”

In February, wishes on the hula-wreath are burned to give them added energy. “These rituals have all been made by those involved so they change a little every year. I always tell my students, if you want a powerful ritual, make it yourself.”

Through 13th House, Skelton, who considers herself a Shamanistic Wicca, teaches the highly personal and individual Wiccan craft. Informational classes are available along with options for more involved tutelage. Learn more at Alisonskelton.com. Hula-hoop not included. M

See Part 1 of the series: Holy Victoria: Hanukkah, a story of faith

Just Posted

Deep Island connection for indie rockers Half Moon Run

Montreal-based band brings their dreamy sound to Victoria for Jan. 14 show at the Royal

Have your New Year’s Eve set? Try out these musical gala options

Greater Victoria venues featuring local bands to ring in 2020

Ladysmith set to star in new Syfy series, Resident Alien

Island town will play the role of Patience, Colo. in the series

Jim Cuddy Band members turn trio for next Victoria show

Jan. 11 stop at the McPherson Playhouse part of the Countrywide Soul tour

The Strumbellas grow their award-winning sound organically

Juno-winning band makes a rare West Coast appearance at the Royal Theatre for Jan. 9 concert

Fashion Fridays: A masterclass on H&M knitwear

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

‘Homespun’ brings six Greater Victoria artists together for genre-bending music

Highlands Music Coffee House returns Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

B.C. family’s ‘Feud’ game-show trip was ‘meant to happen’ after father’s death

Surrey resident Atish Ram’s departed father ‘loved game shows’

‘Jurassic World 3’ will film in Metro Vancouver under working title ‘Arcadia’

Filming is set to take place between Feb. 24 and March 6, 2020

Bursary created in memory of late Duncan musician triples in second year

Young Vancouver Island musicians in financial need can apply by Dec. 15

Talking about tubas! Annual concert attracts hundreds to Market Square

The 2019 edition of Tuba Christmas concert and fundraiser goes this Saturday in the square

Yellowpoint holiday spectacle returns this weekend

Musical variety show offers a wide range of genres, along with many of your seasonal favourites

Most Read