It seems like only yesterday that us lot in the Northern Hemisphere were celebrating Litha and the Summer Solstice. Yet, in what seems like a blink of an eye, the wheel of the year has turned and once again, we are celebrating the longest night of the year.
Even though winter is just getting started, the Winter Solstice marks a time when the days begin to lengthen, taking us skipping joyously towards summer.
Long before the church adopted December 25th as the birthday of a guy named Jesus, people have been celebrating the longest night as a time of rebirth. Ancient Romans celebrated Midwinter with the week-long, hedonistic feast of Saturnalia, while pre-Christian Scandinavians spent 12 days celebrating the rebirth of the sun during the Feast of Juul, or Yule.
Christmas and the quintessential Christmas Tree came much later, although evergreens have been used to decorate homes for thousands of years, while burning a Yule Log pre-dates medieval times.
Originally, the Yule Log was a carefully chosen tree that was brought into the home with great ceremony and burned. A piece would be held back and stored safely to light the following year’s Yule Log – a tradition that is still honoured by many today.
If you’ve been around these parts a while, you’ll know that Beloved crafted me a perpetual Yule Log over a decade ago that boasts medieval heritage of its own. It was made from a fallen branch from the grounds of an historic English castle where Henry VIII is said to have stayed.
Quite the pedigree!
Not only is it the most important candle holder I have, it also plays a central role in my annual festive décor. Suzy’s Yule Log is most definitely not for burning, but I will be lighting the candles as part of my Winter Solstice celebrations.
I don’t remember where I found it, but this Yule Ritual is from my personal Book of Shadows and I use it every year as my way of honouring the season. I hope that by sharing it with you, it will help bring light and renewed optimism into your life. If you would like a larger version, drop a comment below and I’ll get that to you.
All that remains to be said is to wish you a very merry Yule. I hope all your festivities are overflowing with joy and laughter. May the Winter Solstice bring much light and love into your life.
A hui hou,