Part of our annual tradition is making a Yule log. Drilling holes and decorating a piece of wood, not the chocolate cake kind. Although I am wondering if I should make one of those this year as I have never had one.
We light the Yule log’s three candles which represent the maiden, mother and crone aspects of the Goddess. She is giving birth to the Sun God on the Solstice and we celebrate the return of the light.
One year we had a duraflame log with the paper peeled off and tiny candles stuck on with sculpey. That was the year I forgot to prepare one ahead of time I think.
Here is some further information about the Yule log from online:
The Yule log was originally an entire tree, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony with the purpose being to provide maximum warmth and endurance. In some European traditions, the largest end of the log would be placed into the fire hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room. While references are anecdotal, it seems to be a tradition that morphed into early European Christian tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Within 20th century Europe and North America was predominantly a reference to the burning of the largest log possible at or around Christmas.
The Yule log has frequently been associated with having its origins in the historical Germanic paganism which was practiced across northern Europe prior to Christianisation. One of the first people to do so was the English historian Henry Bourne, who, writing in the 1720s, described the practice occurring in the Tyne valley. Bourne theorised that the practice derives from customs in 6th to 7th century Anglo-Saxon paganism.
Yule log symbolizes the light returning to conquer the darkness. According to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder’s land, or given as a gift… it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze . The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out.
There are many traditional ways to collect your log; Some collect a log at Beltane and dry out till Yule. Others use the thickest part of the Yule tree trunk to save till it becomes next years Yule log. Still others will make a ritual of trekking into the woods at yuletide and dragging their Yule log home.
I decorated our Yule log with my circle this past weekend. We used dead/dried rose hips, gold ribbon, holly from a nearby tree and baby sized pinecones from another tree around the corner.The candle holes are almost hollowed out enough and I have the three candles ready to put into it. I went to go shopping after this and came home to find two more Yule logs decorated by David and Melody. Melody used clear thumb tacks to put a lot of drawn and colored decorations. She did a sun on the back and a star on the side because, “yule is about the return of the light.” Willow wanted to make her own the next day so I went out and found her an appropriate size and she glued on what she chose from a box. 🙂 She has since removed the baby and put it somewhere else.