Merry Meet All,
Yesterday I was out on a walk on the nature trail. I had wanted a yule log and the first day when I didn’t see anything that would be suitable, I gave up. Yesterday I was on my walk and I saw a log on the ground. Perfect, I thought. I picked it up and took it home. It is sitting in my garden, waiting.
However, I don’t have a fire pit or a fireplace. So I will have to figure out something. That is the tradition. People burn a yule log on Winter Solstice. It is a Scandinavian tradition. That’s great, because I am part Scandinavian, and I have been enjoying learning more of my family background and the ancient traditions.
Join with family and friends for the Yule log burning ritual. Enjoy food and wine and make an offering to the deities. Yule logs bring good luck, so keep a piece of the wood for next year’s Yule log burning ritual. Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning wheel, when the wheel of the year is about to rise again.
ANCIENT YULE TRADITIONS
The tradition began in Scandinavia and predates Christianity by thousands of years. They celebrated the Feasts of the Dead and honored Odin, the god of intoxicating drink and ecstasy, and the god of Death. Their customs varied from region to region. They left offerings after their feasts to appease the Yuletide ghosts. The origins of the Yule log were traced back to the Midwinter festivals when the Norsemen indulged in the revelry of feasting and watching the fire leap around the burning Yule log in the home hearths.
Winter Solstice symbolized the return of the light. The days grew longer and the sun began its return. The Scandinavian lasted for twelve days. That was how the tradition began of the twelve days of Christmas. Some Christmas traditions are steeped in ancient Yule traditions. At Midwinter, the Vikings honored their Asa Gods with much religious rituals and feasting. They sacrificed animals such as boars to Frey, the God of fertility, to ensure a growing season in the coming year. The meat was cooked and enjoyed at the feast.
The first night of Yule, which is celebrated for twelve days, is called The Mothernight, and is when Frigga and the Disir, are honored. The Mothernight is the rebirth of the world from darkness. A vigil is held from dusk to dawn. At Yule, the gods and goddesses are close to Midgard. Their deities were known as ‘Yule-Beings’. Odin is called Jolnir, the “Yule-One” and is where Santa Claus originates from.
They burned a huge sunwheel, which was lit on fire and rolled down a hill to encourage the sun to return. This may be the origin of the Christmas wreath. Another Viking tradition was the decorating of evergreen trees with food and clothing, statues of their beloved deities, and runes to entice the tree spirits to return in the spring. They believed the Mistletoe could resurrect the dead. This belief is based on a legend about the resurrection of Baldur, God of Light and Goodness, who was killed by a mistletoe arrow. Frigga cried for Baldur and her tears turned the red berries white.
I hope you enjoy reading about the origins of many traditions we celebrate today. I hope I do find a way to burn my Yule log. I would be proud to partake in an ancient tradition that was honored by the ancient Vikings and their gods and goddesses.