The Yule Log

The Yule Log
by Lila

The tradition of the Yule logs dates back millennia. The origin of the word Yule seems to originate from the Anglo Saxon word for sun and light. People used to burn a yule log on the Winter Solstice in December. The Winter Solstice is the day of the year with the shortest amount of daylight. Yule is celebrated by fire, which provides a dual role of warmth and keeping evil spirits away. Many people thought that evil spirits were more likely to wander the earth on the longest night of the year. All night bonfires and hearth fires kept evil at bay and provided gathering places for folks to share feasts and stories.

Winter Solstice marks the sun’s victory over darkness; the days would now grow longer. The cinders from the burnt log were thought to protect homes from lightning and the evil powers of the devil. The ashes were also sprinkled on the surrounding fields to ensure good luck for the coming year’s harvest. The largest remaining part of the log was kept safe to kindle next year’s fire.

The Yule log has waned in popularity with the advent of electric heaters and wood stoves. With no access to a hearth, fireplace or fire pit, modern folks are losing a sacred tradition. Today, we may still partake of the Yule Log tradition by creating a smaller version as a table ornament, embellished with greenery and candles, or the popular Yule log cake. As we eat a slice, we can imagine taking in the protective properties of the log.

Many enjoy the practice of lighting the Yule Log. If you choose to burn one, select a log and carve or chalk upon it a figure of the Sun (a rayed disc) or the Horned God (a horned circle). Set it alight in the fireplace at dusk, on Yule. This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess. As the log burns, visualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days. Traditionally, a portion of the Yule Log is saved to be used in lighting next year’s log. This piece is kept throughout the year to protect the home.

Whether you are burning a log or creating a centrepiece, different woods may be used to produce different effects:
Aspen: invokes understanding of the grand design
Birch: signifies new beginnings
Holly: inspires visions and reveals past lives
Oak: brings healing, strength, and wisdom, symbol of the Oak king, the New year
Pine: signifies prosperity and growth
Willow: invokes the Goddess to achieve desires
Decorate your log with the any of the following items:
bright green needles of fir represents the birth of the new year
dark green needles of yew represent death of the waning year
vines of ivy or birch branches represent the Goddess
sprigs of holly with red berries represent the Holly king of the dying year
As you light the Yule log chant the following:

As the yule log is kindled
so is the new year begun
as it has been down through the ages
an unending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth
every ending is a new beginning
May the Yule log burn
May all good enter here
May there be wheat for bread
and vats full of wine
(or may we never hunger may we never thirst)

When the log has almost completely burned, collect a small piece of the Yule log (dip in a bucket of water to ensure it is completely out) wrap carefully and keep somewhere in the home for safety and protection.

collect some of the cold ashes and store in a glass bottle. The ash can be used for spells of protection and amulets. The remainder of the Yule ash can be scattered over fields or gardens to ensure fertility in the spring.

Pauline Campanelli; Wheel of the Year

Lila is an initiate in The Sacred Three Goddess school. She lives on a mountain in beautiful British Columbia with her husband, four cats, two ferrets and other varied critters of nature. She spends her time communing with the Faerie folk and long walks by the river.

Special Kitty for January 27th

Claude, the Cat of the Day
Name: Claude
Age: Six years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Siamese cross
Home: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Introducing Claude, a.k.a. Mr. Bumbles, a siamese cross. I recently had the pleasure of getting him to replace my poor pixie-bob, Mickey Mouse, that had to be put down due to cancer. Claude’s prior family had allergy issues, and needed a good home for the big guy. I was the lucky one. Claude is getting used to his new home and dad, and his sister Daisy Mae (though that process is taking a little longer). Claude is a bona fide lap cat, often sleeping with all four legs in the air. He has already discovered that my king size bed is an improvement over his cat bed. He’s helped me in getting over my loss, with his antics and head-butting routine, and I look forward to many years of fun with this big pile of love!

Special Kitty for Thursday, Jan. 26th

Levi, the Cat of the Day
Name: Levi
Age: Seven years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Ragdoll
Home: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Levi is our blue mitted Ragdoll. Levi is very special to me, he follows us around like a dog, he even plays fetch! He loves his ragdoll brother Bailey and enjoys chasing him around all day. He also loves his treats and reminds me every day when I get home from work as he sits patiently in front of the treat cupboard until I give him one. He is so cute!

Levi is still the character, he and his younger brother, Bailey, love each other very much and get into all kinds of mischief… usually his brother’s fault. Levi is now seven years old and is still a kind little gentleman. We laugh because of our three cats (he also has an older sister, Maisy), Levi is the best behaved, he has never broken or damaged anything, he doesn’t start fights, he sits back and waits for the others to eat and then he will, his hair is short and neat so never needs to be groomed, and has never had any ‘accidents’ outside the litter box. He is very much loved by everyone in the family (furries and human).

Daily Zen Thought for 4/9

Tall pines chant in the wind,
Rain falls lightly at dusk.
East Cloister is half-shut,
West Cloister is locked.
I walked through mountains all day
Yet met no people;
The perfume of wild plum blossoms
Fills my sleeves.
The resident monk laughs at me
For being so enamored of pure scenes.
He dislikes the remoteness of mountains,
But he cannot leave.
Though I love the mountains,
I, too, laugh at myself.
Solitary withdrawal harms the spirit,
It would be hard to carry on.
How much nicer, on West lake,
To drink fine wine,
The scents of red apricots and green peaches
Filling the hair.

– Su Shi (1037-1101)