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

Let Downchild chase those blues away

Donnie Walsh and company celebrate the band’s 50th year with an Oct. 18 concert in Victoria

HOROSCOPES: It’s all about you, Libra and Scorpio

Monday astrologer Georgia Nicols serves up her best bets for the coming month

Burton Cummings’ Up Close and Alone tour offers more intimate rock ‘n roll setting

Canadian rocker playing two sold-out shows at Mary Winspear Centre in October

Catch the Motown sound on stage in Oak Bay

Dave Dunnet Community Theatre hosting Motown Magic on Oct. 3

Scottish flavours abound at the McPherson during Skerryvore’s return

Acclaimed Celtic rock fusion band here Oct. 6; whisky tasting, acoustic pre-show added

Set your alarm! Night Shift Halloween tix on sale Friday morning

Royal BC Museum’s adult-only costume event expected to sell out quickly

Canadian author Graeme Gibson, partner of Margaret Atwood, dies at age 85

Gibson remembered for putting his words into action for both cultural and environmental causes

Trailer released for Jason Momoa TV series filmed on Vancouver Island

‘See’ will debut on Apple’s new streaming service on Nov.1

Victoria bookstore looking to earn a place in the record books

Russell Books still collecting Guiness World Records books from public for massive tower

Eddie Money, ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’ singer, dies at 70

The rock star recently announced he had stage 4 esophageal cancer

Cross-cultural flamenco production tells personal story through dance, music

Indian, Spanish influences seen in Nritya, coming Sept. 26 to Glenlyon Norfolk School theatre

$9.8 million announced for B.C. arts groups by province

BC Arts Council to distribute 394 grants across more than 50 communities

Most Read