The Wassail Circle
as we know, is an ancient custom of blessing orchards with fertility
for the coming year. Not all of us are looking for physical fertility,
of course, but most of us are happy to be creative in other ways. To
make this ritual part of your Yule Sabbat, you need a bit of winter
greenery, one small evergreen branch for every participant. If you
don’t live near a source of evergreen branches, you ca usually get
leftovers at most tree lots, sometimes just for the asking, otherwise,
a wreath split among several witches is very helpful. You can use the
same "ale" you have for Cakes and Ale, but its equally appropriate to
prepare a special wassail drink for this rite; and you may wish to do
this short ritual at another time or place than your Sabbat.
Traditional Wassail is a wine based drink, but any festive drink will
do. Invite the children to participate, and feel free to use alcohol if
you choose to. Everyone does need a glass or cup, use festive paper
cups or individual chalices, drinking horns or wine glasses. The hems
of your robes might be splashed, so hike them up a bit if you can, if
you can go barefoot, do so, it is the best way to do this.
in a circle, it can be a formally cast circle or a small casual one to
share with non- pagan, with the supply of "ale" on a table at the North
or at the center. A solitary witch can stand at the center of their
altar, facing south to begin with and including all the direction in
everything he or she does. It is the host or the Priest’s job to fill
everyone’s cup. All lift their cups and the Priest and Priestess make
the toast, which everyone repeats in unison:
Hail and Wassail to everyone here
May our blessings increase as waxes the year!
now raises his or her greenery to shoulder level or higher. The
following lines can be memorized, or they can be read by the Priest or
Priestess and repeated by everyone:
grow like the trees, and our labors bear fruits; like trees we are
grounded, like trees we have roots. We can shade one another and
shelter from storm; we bend to each other, by passions keep warm. Like
the trees may we blossom, and keep safe the vale. As an orchard we
thrive, now hail and Wassail!
the last line is spoken or repeated, everyone simultaneously lowers the
greenery and pours out the contents of their cups on the green branch.
The blessing goes deosil around the circle.
performing this rite, we acknowledge our connection to the God in His
vegetable aspect, for He is the evergreen as well as the deciduous
trees that take the form of death every Yuletide, and are reborn to
leaf, flower and fruit again. We express our understanding that none of
us can get by without a little help from our friends, even if we’re not
with them at the moment. We’re part of the cycle, and we must nurture
each other to survive ourselves. This ritual also creates for us a new
connection with those who did and those who still tend to the orchards.