Happy Winter Solstice everyone! Seems the apocalypse isn't upon us yet, although our furnace is out. Being bundled in multiple coats in your own house definitely gives an end-of-the-world feel, that's for sure!
As you know already, my circle celebrated the holiday a few days early. One of the most essential parts of my Midwinter celebration is the Yule log. The tradition of the Yule Log has its roots in German Paganism. Intended to bring good fortune, the log may never be bought. Either it was the first cut log of the winter or it was a gift from family or friends. Our log this year was the first cut log from a tree that grew in our backyard. We were forced to cut it down due to insurance reasons, but we wanted to make sure it didn't simply go to waste.
The toppings of the Yule log are very important to me. This year, I topped it with thyme, bay, pine cones, holly and a cinnamon stick, all wrapped together with a bow (and some hot glue for added support). Cinnamon sticks are so hard to find in my part of the world - or at least where I shop. I should have ordered them early, but I luckily ran into them just a few days before the celebration. The bay and thyme on top are part of the same herbs I was drying for the Yule Prosperity Ornament baskets I created for my circle.
During the celebration, I had each member of the circle write a word or phrase that represented one goal or wish they had for the following seasons. It ended up looking pretty neat in the end. Everyone was so excited about it that they wanted to take pictures. We dropped our no technology rule for a few moments to snap these pictures before putting it in the fire:
|Click to view!|
|Even the fire's embers had a special violet glow that night.|
The yule log burned in full that night. It actually caught fire pretty quickly. The entire room smelled amazing for a few minutes as the bay and thyme burned. We'll save some of the ashes for next year's fire - always connecting our past to our future as we move forward on the Wheel.
UPDATE Yule 2015:
Here are a few more recent pictures of this exact same tradition with Circle of Fountains! You can read more about this specific ritual by clicking here.
Do you burn a Yule log? What are your traditions?