Winter Solstice marks the start of Yule season. December 21st is known as the Mother Night of Yule, this lasts for approximately 12 days.
In the Norse year, this is a very important time. Yuletide is a Fire Festival, the Yule log being the focus of sympathetic magic.
Ash is the log of choice for the Norseman, it is considered the world tree or Yggdsrasil. You want to carry on some good luck for the next season? Save a piece of the ash to light the fire of the next Yule, this is considered lucky.What to do with the ashes? Sprinkle it on the land to ensure fertility.
What does the Yule season celebrate? It is a time of rebirth, a time to renew the old, a time to celebrate the start of longer , brighter days, as the Sun lights up our world. At this time, evergreens enhance the magic of the season. The celebration and decoration of the season is not complete without the mistletoe, which is sacred to the Druids and the Scandinavians, though the latter considers it unruly. It is still banned from churches for being unholy, perhaps because of the lore that being under the mistletoe invites an ardent kiss from an admirer or lover. It's quite romantic, I think.
The Yule log is a symbol of the idea of the continuation of light. There are aspects of light in connection with the festival, from differing cultures, which are very interesting.
In the pagan festival of Midwinter, candles are part of the celebration - its magic ensures the return of the Sun.
The Egyptians for centuries annually watch and wait for the Star Sirius to appear in the sky.This is known to announce the birth of Osiris as Horus from the womb of Isis- yet another birth story.
Have a safe and happy Yule Season.
This page was created on November 13, 2002 and updated 2007-06-08.