- Holidays and Celebrations
Tales Of Ye Ol' Yule Log
Almost all of our Christmas festivities come from Norse origins, thousands of years before Jesus was born. The central tradition to all of this was the Yule Log tree. For many of us this has now split into the traditions of Christmas tree and that yummy chocolate and nut coated cake we now call a Yule Log.
In this feature we will cruise around the Northern Hemishere searching for the origins of the Yule Log tradition, and how this has evolved different traditions and celebrations in several countries.
Though I will be describing traditions that exist or did exist in various countries I hope you will find one or two ideas and inspirations that you may start to include in your Yule celebrations, or even change it completely to time time more meaningful and more joyful for you, and far less pressure.
a bit about the ol' Yule
Our festive celebrations at this time in most countries have become multi-cultural in tradition. I feel that being inspired to add fragments of tradition from the past, maybe from another country and culture, to embrace it as a new tradition in our homes is a very good thing.
Much of what we celebrate at this time of mid-winter has associations with Nordic divination and Roman Mithraism.
There are fragments of Celtic fertility traditions taken from other times of the year and thrown in to Yule time as well. No wonder John Calvin and other Reformation Puritans despised this time
When we consider the births and deaths of ancient gods, goddesses and heroes like Perseus, Theseus, Oedipus, Dionysus, Mithra, and even the Celtic Arthur they all include tales of resurrection. To Puritans and other Christians this was, and still is, uncomfortably too close to the stories of Jesus.
Yule time is Winter Solstice time in the Northern Hemisphere. It is mid-winter so I feel it is natural to be observant of this time. It is a profound moment in the cycle of the year.
This is a time that becomes more profound the more north we are on this earth. This would explain why this time is much more Norse in tradition and celebration than Celtic.
Winter Solstice time, mid-winter, the time with the longest night and shortest day of the year. The sun stays still in the same position, from our view, through three sunrises after the point of Solstice. On the fourth day the sun appears to move close to us again, a time when the sun is born for a new year cycle.
Solstice is often on the 21st of December, or a day or two before or after, then the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of December are the "sun still" days. On the 25th the sun is born again.
Think about this. There are some places along a Northern Hemiphere latitude where it is impossible to physically see any sun from about December 17th until 25th. It will seem to have vanished, and then on the 25th a rim of its yellow glow can be seen on the horizon at mid-day or early afternoon.
So for our inner souls, I feel this time is an opportunity to spark new hope. The Coel Coeth returns, the Light of the World, the Sacred Fire of the Sun.
the primal symbolism of the Yule log
The Yule Log is the main symbolism of everything Yule at mid-winter.
Yule is very much male in its symbol origins, unlike Samhain and Imbolc, that are equally either side of Yule, where traditions are feminine guided.
This quarter cycle of the year with its three points, two female and one male in the middle does take on a male anatomical function in its symbolism.
One woman one side is the midwife of life to the other world. One woman to the other side is the midwife of life from the other world to this one. The male in the middle is the conduit of life flow
The Yule log will be explained here as the fuel for the fire that connect the waning sun to the new waxing sun of the new solar cycle. This is what will bring longer daylight in our days and more warmth to provide our new nourishment.
Yule is a tradition of the Norse, and the Yule log is a symbol of the mating stick, some say the wedding tackle, of Odin entering into the fire hearth womb of Freya.
It is believed this ritual union of fuel to fire ensures fertility and a new birth of abundance in harvest, hunting, animal rearing and newborn for the year ahead.
To ignite this, there is the challenge of sustaining the log of Odin to burn in the fire hearth of Freya for at least 12 days, without breaking off.
This is Yule :-)
a bit more about mid-winter Solstice
The world "solstice" is derived from two Latin words and not of Norse-Saxon origin like Yule. The "sol" means sun, and "sistere" is the action of standing still, which the sun does for 3 days after solstice.
The winter solstice has long been celebrated as the birth of the sun, of light, of life itself. In Maeshowe, on the main Orkneys island in Scotland there is a chambered cairn built on a leveled area with a surrounding bank and ditch. It has been carbon dated to 2750BC. Inside the cairn is a stone structure with a long entry tunnel. The structure is aligned so that sunlight can shine along the entry passage into the interior of the cairn, and illuminate the back of it.
This only happens at sunrise at the winter solstice.
In Ireland, there is the famous Newgrange, in Bru-na-Boinne, County Meath. This huge cairn has an entrance passage that is almost 60 feet long. Above the entrance way is a stone box that allows the light from the sun to penetrate to the back of the cairn at sunrise only on the Winter Solstice. Older than Maehowe, Newgrange has been dated to about 3,000 BC, making it one of the oldest known existing ancient standing structures in the world.
This Solstice time was known to the ancient Norse as "Jol", also known as "Jule", pronounced "Yule". It appears to have been a festival to honour Jolnir, another name for Odin. Actually, a name for Odin when his mating prowess is active.
Odin was also regarded as a god of intoxicating drink in addition to ecstasy and male fertility, so the Norse men took great advantage of celebrating all that.
When their feasting was done the Norse Jule customs included leaving "sacrificial beer" called "Jule" with some fresh food, all left on the tables, to feed the roaming Yuletide ghosts.
These Norse Yule traditions then spread in popularity and eventually were enjoyed through the lands of Danes, Saxons, Germanic and Balkan people before spreading around Europe and eventually the world.
why the confusion with Christmas?
Emperor Aurelian of Rome, around 270 AD, blended together a number of ancient solstice celebrations for all kinds of gods such as Apollo, Baal, Hercules, Horus and Theseus and declared single titled festival called Sol Invictus, the new "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun" on December 25th.
It is said Mary bore the child Jesus on the twenty-fifth day, but nobody quoted a month, so ...
In 320 AD the Christian Catholic Fathers in Rome decided the month of the birth of Jesus should be December as it was a great opportunity to opt-in with the new traditions of Sol Invictus for December 25th set by Aurelian 50 years earlier. Mixed into this was some of the recent imported Yule celebrations of the Saxon culture.
The December choice for celebrating the birth of Jesus destroyed any historical value considering that shepherds do not attend to their flocks by night in high pastures through winter, not even in the warmer Holy Land.
Also taxes were not collected in December. Taxes were collected after harvest in autumn, just before Samhain, and again just after Imbolc after the birth of new animals. These were the only two times of the year that people had any kind of wealth and currency.
The Christians of Edessa, Mesopatamia, the original birthplace of doctrined Christianity based on the Gospels, were not happy at all with the December 25th birth of Jesus decision! They accused the church in Rome of leaving Christianity and heading back into the world and faith of idolatry and sun worshiping.
Despite this move away from the preserved Edessa Gospel doctrines, the celebration of the combination of the birth of Jesus on December 25th with the birth of the new cycle of the sun, all on the same day, began to catch on internationally and crossed into other cultures.
Around 340 AD Pope Julius I also acknowledged the Yule Log tradition of Winter Solstice leading up to Christmas Day but he translated and ordered that the fire at Yule must represent the coming light of the Savior Jesus instead of the light of the coming new Sun.
This expanded change of acceptance by the Catholic church caused a swing in its favour. Within a few years, Mithraism, that Aurelian had declared as the official religion of the
Roman Empire, became replaced by Catholicism as the new official religion of the remaining Roman Empire in 350 AD.
Christianity had become accepted due to its willingness to merge with the old ways and Roman missionaries started to travel with their new doctrine.
This new doctrine from Rome was a mix of Gospels and wisdom of the Magi of Edessa that included their ways of scribing and community farming, a large dose of Norse tradition and trading skills, some Saxon traditions and masonary skills, and some Pythagoreanism tradition and education techniques from Greece.
The Roman missionaries shared this combination of skills and tradition for living around Europe, over to Britain, and onto Erin to set up the first of the monastic communities. Monastic communities were not only to teach but also be new centres for the a new industries of education, scribing and very abundant farming.
Many Saxons were attracted to this new way and immigrated to Erin to learn them and also introduced more of their own traditions into this monastic culture too. This can be seen through their art contribution such as in the book of Kells where they introduced knot art to combine with the Norse serpents and Celtic spirals.
By 529 AD this celebration of a collection of traditions from December 21st until January 6th became a down tools, holiday from work time. All work and businesses except cooks, bakers, and other people that service others through the holiday, stopped their work and enjoyed a holiday to celebrate.
In 568, the Council of Tours, in France, proclaimed that twelve days from December 25 to Epiphany as being a sacred time. For a lot of people in Scotland, especially in building, fishing and manufacturing, this 12 day holiday, became extended to 15 days allowing a break from Solstice right through to Epiphany.
This is still a complete break from work holiday for many in Scotland today, and for the building trade in Ireland.
Return to work is on the Epiphany day, January 6th, if that is not a Saturday or Sunday. Many male workers in Ireland return to work on the 7th due to staying at home to look after home and children while their wives celebrate "Nollaig na mBan", Little Women's Christmas, that I will write about in another feature.
For a lot of people, especially in North America who are lucky to get one day away from work at this time, all this must be boggling. When I lived in Florida some people used their December 25th day off to change their Christmas decorations over to Valentine's decorations, partially to show off and be the first to do so, but mainly because they say they will not have time any other time due to work.
The real tradition though, is to have sacred time from Winter Solstice until Epiphany on January 6th.
This is the time of Yule.
Yule or Christmas is not from December 1st, or even November 1st when stores rip down their Halloween décor and immediately put up their Christmas displays, which are pulled down on December 26th or 27th to put up the Valentines décor and displays.
Sadly, I feel this consumerism cycle has become dictating and duplicated more in our homes as being the current Christmas tradition. This the main reason why the Yule Traditions has dissolved, and needs revival.
I feel there is really no reason to have décor, tree and celebration up before middle of December. It never was when I was a child, but today I am considered odd if I delay decorating my home until then.
the popularity of the new Saxon Yula
Saxon descended missionaries, many called saints in later years, took over from the Roman missionaries to spread the new combined traditions that were merged in Rome about 350 AD
The word for this mid-winter festive time they pronounced as "Yula" descended from the Norse name of Jul. Ireland and Gaelic Scotland switched from their old ways to this new tradition almost right away as it is unlikely there was a strong Norse tradition in the Gaelic lands yet so these elements of Yule traditions,
Magi Gospels of the birth of Jesus, and from Greece would have all been very new.
It is certain that Ireland did have ancient mid-winter traditions that were fire based. They was the Celtic thinking of the time.
Druids, or the Drui, were the "professional" class or culture in the Celtic society. They were educated people that performed the combined functions of modern day priests, teachers, and judges. Druids led all public education and rituals within groves of sacred trees with sacred fire hearth and water features and people needed special permission for entering.
There is abundant mythology of the Druids, the Drui, guiding people through winter solstice as a death of the old sun and the birth of the new half of the year of lengthening days. There is a myth name of "Alban Arthuan" for this ceremony.
It appears this ancient Drui activity was more ceremony of observation rather than of celebration like at Samhain and Imbolc equally distanced at each side of Winter Solstice.
When this new combined culture of Norse, Saxon, Magi and Pythagoreanism appeared, it was accepted and merged well with many of druids.
Today we label this combined culture as "Celtic Christianity"
The drui grove enclosed fire and water features became enclosed in sacred buildings through this new culture. The Norse traditions within this new culture also seemed to have converted this time from observation to celebration.
Within England, Switzerland, Austria and Germany it took about another 100 years for this new "Celtic-Norse-Christianity" culture to convert them from their old ways.
Around the Baltic, where these traditions are probably still the strongest these days, this new "Celtic-Norse-Christianity" culture was not accepted by them until 9th and 10th centuries.
By the 11th century the time of mid-winter at Solstice until Epiphany was of celebration of the new cycle of longer days through folk dramas with songs, poems, stories and dances from Norse, Saxon, Roman Saturnalian and Bacchanalian traditions.
Pious Christians that were still closer to the Magi of Edessa teachings of the Scriptures thought this was all an abomination. This is a feeling still carried by many Christians today, and probably growing.
When the Normans arrived, their traditions merely merged with this old Norse, Saxon, Roman, Greek and Celtic traditions. This all became known as Medieval until an attempted invasion to stop it all by the post Tudor Protestant Puritans who passed laws to make Christmas illegal in 1647, and tried to enforce the same in New England, USA, but without success.
England, Wales, and especially Ireland, still revel in this combination of traditions from Solstice to Epiphany, especially on December 25th.
Though the workforce of Scotland still honour this time as a down tools national holiday time, December 25th is not widely and openly celebrated in Scotland. The reaction in Scotland is commonly "we do it for the children".
It has been suggested that the reason that Yule and Christmas is downplayed in Scotland is because of the long term influence of the Presbyterian Kirk, the Scottish "wee free church" views Christmas as a Catholic event.
Of course, Scotland makes up for it on through Hogmanay after midnight December 31st and then first footed until Epiphany on the 6th.
what is ye ol' Yule Log?
As the Yule log traditions spread the the Celtic Christian years it developed into interesting names.
In Ireland it was the "Bloc na Nollaig", the Christmas Block.
In Scotland it was "Yeel Carline", the Old Wife of Christmas
In Wales it was "Y Bloccyn Gwylian", the Festival Block
The seemingly crazy thing is that the Yule Log was not a log but a whole fallen tree, where possible, or as much of the tree as could be brought into the house and the wide base end was set on fire in the hearth. This was done with great ceremony.
What a tricky and smoky traditions that was.
I assume in a small room it was sawn close to the exit door so that door could be closed to keep out the winter air.
It seems the oldest tradition was to burn ash, lighted on the eve of the solstice. Ash is symbolic of being invited into a sacred circle, a sacred space. In this tradition, neighbours and friends were given some kind of an invitation to share and celebrate around the fire.
If a fallen ash was not available to be used as a Yule Log oak was chosen, often sunken bog oak, sometimes quite ancient, then elm a next choice and so forth.
All of these hardwood trees are very slow burners but also very difficult to set alight. They were wrapped in holly, ivy, and woven thin branches of birch, rowan and willow woven around the log both as sacred décor and for firelighting kindling. The end of the Yule log from the previous year's Yule would have been saved for good luck and also used to kindle the new log as a symbol of end of the old and beginning of the new.
When all of this was set alight the sparks of the woven branches, holly and ivy would be like fairies dancing around and blessing. Once ignited the Yule Log burned slowly, moved into the hearth slowly as each inch burned and it was hoped it would last and bless the house through to Epiphany, if it could.
The last part of this log would be doused before being completely burned to use as an igniter log for the following year's Yule Log tree.
A few hundred years later, the full or almost full length Yule Tree was replaced by an actual more practical Yule Log.
Using a log instead of a tree truly cut down the chances of it being able to fuel the hearth fire from Solstice to Epiphany. The tradition at this time moved more into a candle tradition rather than open fire tradition. It is likely this tradition was tamed down to candles to appease or avoid the wrath of the Protestant Puritans.
A nice long with attractive bark, again preferably Ash, it was carved so candles could sit in it, candles that would be replaced and kept burning until Epiphany.
The full Yule Tree still lived on though, but it not burned. It became our Christmas Tree
From the 16th century the Christian Puritan Protestants claimed and broadcasted that there was never an ancient Yule Tree tradition and that it was all founded from a Martin Luther inspiration in the 16th century.
Meanwhile, Catholics may say it was St. Boniface started the tradition in the 8th century when the oak he had cut down was used as a festive log.
Despite these possible different Christian order beliefs it does seem that from the 16th century our Yule Log tree became a standing Christmas Tree beside the fire rather than in the fire. The way it became decorated started to rapidly change too. Decorations no longer had to be considered for their kindling power in addition to their blessing power but were still adorned with candle lights and food items and maybe still had wine, beer or cider splashed over it for awhile.
These standing trees were still brought in with ceremony on the eve of Winter Solstice and taken down on the eve of Epiphany.
On the morning of Epiphany, or the eve night before, many people did, and still do, pay their respects to the Yule Tree in the old tradition by having a sacred festive tree burning of the whole tree and with its outdoor fire bake potatoes, apples and fish to share around.
so what do ye do with ye ol' Yule log?
Some of this question I aimed to answer in the previous chapter where I also mentioned " ... a whole fallen tree, where possible, or as much of the tree as could be brought into the house and the wide base end set on fire in the hearth. This was done with great ceremony."
I will explain some of the "ceremony".
To fulfill the Yule Log tree tradition, the log must either have been gathered as a fallen tree or harvested from the householder's own land, or given as a gift if the householder has no land and no trees are available. It must neverhave been bought.
Buying a Christmas Trees today is breaking tradition, but it is hard imagining everyone cutting down a tree and burning it with the population most of us have now around us. Doing so would go against all of our growing green and eco principles of this time.
I like the idea of live tree rentals but several rural people like myself depend on wood for warming fuel in winter so the Yule Log tree tradition is just a re-arrangement of my own survival. You really have to make your own choices on this one related to population, climate and conditions of where you live.
So, on to bringing the chosen Yule Log tree into the house, or as much of it as will fit.
As the tree enters the house there should be a welcoming ritual of at least people holding candles each side of the door. The eldest man in the house should be the first in and leading the dragging in of the tree. That man should be showered with some of this year's harvest grains and maybe a little cider, beer, or mead just brewed from the last harvest.
The hearth fire should already be burning due to being cold outside and indoor warmth desired and needed. At this point there is a mixture of thought.
Many homes in Ireland and Britain would have already been through a ritual of dowsing the old fire and re-lighting the new at Samhain. For those who have not done this, then Yule is the alternative for this ritual.
A few preperations were, and need to be, made before the wide base end of the tree was lifted into the hearth.
The Yule Log tree is decorated with a weaving of thin branches of
birch, willow, holly and ivy, whatever can be gathered.
Ribbons are often used to hold the branches and add extra decoration.
Personal notes are then written, or may have been composed earlier. These notes can be of wishes, personal prayers, blessings for others, and a list of personal choices that did not bear fruit and may have upset others during the past year and how you wish this to be forgiven and made better for the year ahead.
I believe "letters to Santa" are related to this tradition, and even the sending of Christmas cards that wish well, prayers, blessings and joys upon others.
These notes are tucked into the ribbons and branches.
Before the ceremony of commencing the burning of the Yule Log tree a meal should be made, a celebration meal with beer, cider or mead. The choice of meat for this mid-winter Solstice meal used to be wild boar. This tradition surives through us including ham with turkey with the Christmas day meal. More recently fish has taken over as the main meat for this meal. For vegetarians and vegans a rich nut roast is popular.
Before the meal is started, and towards the end of the meal, often before dessert, there are toasts, prayers and blessings to give thanks for the year passed along with thoughts for those not able to be present.
At the end of the meal some food is left on the table, and in some traditions is left there until Christmas Day for the ghosts of ancestors to feast on it. Sometimes there are empty chairs around the table for those who have passed away during the past year or two.
After this meal the attention is on setting ablaze the Yule Log tree, that may commence with dowsing the old fire and starting anew, or continuing with the existing fire if the exchange of fire ritual was done at Samhain.
Some of the food is also poured over the Yule Log tree, though most folks prefer to sprinkle it with grain, oats or flour from the last harvest. This is then sprinkled with the beer, cider, mead or wine consumed during the mid-winter meal. While this is done songs ar sung and rhymes recited. Wassailing songs are usually the most popular at this point.
First to be set ablaze is the placing of the saved piece of last year's log along with thanks for the blessings and good health it brought the home.
Then the big new Yule Log tree is placed into the hearth, wide base end first. The branches and ribbons wrapped around it will ignite causing small bursts of flames that appear to dance around the Yule Log tree trying to ignite it.
This is regarded as a kind of faery dance, a dancing of spirits of the ancestors blessing the fertility, abundance and good health for the year ahead.
Let us not forget the deep origin of this tradition of Odin's stick of giving life, the fuel of life, entering the hearth, the womb of Freya to fertilize the seeds, growing and birth of new life for the year ahead.
Also, the Yule Log tree was, and I feel should still be, a symbol of the the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. The ash, a herb of the Sun, to bring light, hope, health and the unfolding of granting wishes we ask at this time.
The notes tucked into the log would also ignite, small flames dance around when they do, concerns and demons of the past year gone, so everyone can enjoy a clean slate now when the daylight days begin to get longer.
As the log learns to ignite songs continue to be sung, rhymes said,
stories told and dances danced.
From popular Carols, To Drive A Cold Winter Away, Joy To The World, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Silent Night are suitable.
This log should burn throughout the night, then smolder through each day before being ceremonially put out on the morning of Epiphany on January 6th or on its even the night before. A small piece from the left over Yule Log tree is then dowsed and saved to use to ignite the next Yule Log tree
At Epiphany, and each time the fire is stoked and ashed cleared, the ashes from the log are placed in wells to keep the water good. Ashes were also placed at the roots of fruit trees and vines to help them bear a good harvest.
A variation on the above ceremony could be to bring in the Yule Tree Log on mid-winter Solstice day, have a welcoming meal and then spend the next 3 days up until Christmas Day decorating it then place the Yule Log tree into the fire before or after the Christmas Day meal, and then it would be in the hearth for 12 days and 12 nights before Epiphany.
A Christmas Tree, the one we usually have that we do not burn or replant until Epiphany, should also never be brought into the home before mid-winter Solstice, but I know we do. It should not even be decorated until after the Solstice moment.
Sadly, during these days where consumerism and even impatience is the faith, people are even starting to consider when to take the tree down after Solstice. The tree may have already been up and decorated for 3, 4 or more weeks and is already losing its needles. I think some people imagine the winter will pass quicker if they speed up this tradition.
Another variation is for the personal notes of wishes, personal prayers, blessings for others, and resolutions for the year ahead are tied and pinned to the piece of log saved from the previous Yule and that placed on the fire at Solstice then gifts appearing on the Christmas tree or around the big Yule Log tree 3 days later on Christmas Day, are a response to these wishes and prayers burned at Solstice.
Now can you visualize how all these old Nordic and Saxon based traditions form the bulk of all that we still do at Christmas?
The Yule Log lighting was a time of celebration, songs to be sung, stories to be told and dances to be danced. Food, wine and decorations were placed upon it.
Yule Log traditions around Europe today?
Today, the Yule Log traditions are probably most alive in Croatia and Serbia where young oaks are felled for every home, one for every male in the home. At sunset on Solstice eve, these are brought in and placed on the open fire.
These oaks are felled at the previous sunrise. Through the day, in some places in south Croatia, women wind red silk around the oak trunks, and pin leaves and flowers to the silk.
When these young oaks are carried into the house after sunset, candles are held each side of the door by other family members or guests. The first to enter is the eldest man and cereal grains, usually wheat, are thrown over him. His log is placed on the fire first and he sprinkles grain and wine on the log and wishes that harvests and animal rearing will be healthy during the next year.
In Serbia there is a solemness in the Yule Log ritual as it is treated as a ritual for connecting to ancestors who have passed away, quite similar to some Samhain traditions of Erin and western Scotland. Food from the Christmas Day meal is even left out for three days for the nourishment of ancestor spirits in the home, the "Absent Ones".
In England the Yule Log tradition seems to still be alive in rural Devon where sticks of ash are tied together by ashen bands. Cider is on hand to fill the glasses of all those present as each band bursts in the flames. An ashen band is either a strip of ash bark or thin ash twig, either used as ties.
Yule log traditions throughout the rest of England, Wales and Scotland seems to have been replaced by candle traditions, sometimes with candled being held in bored out logs. I noticed this was very active in homes along the north coast of Scotland when I lived there. The tradition is also to buy and burn large dense candles that would burn through the entire dawn to dusk of daylight to bring good luck for the year ahead. Along the North Scotland coast where the daylight is about 4 hours in mid-winter, no problem.
Then what about the area of the ancient source of the Yule and Yule Log tradition, Scandinavia?
Candles have mainly replaced Yule Logs there, with two candles burning together on the dining table each day between solstice sunrise and Epiphany, though many homes have now shortened this to the end of December and even shorter, to the dawn of Christmas Day. Sometimes these candles are only lit from dusk to dawn, though fire safety may reduce this to snuffing out at bedtime. The snuffing out, by tradition, is done by the oldest male in the home or if no males present by the eldest woman.
Close to these candles, when alight, are coins and items of food in reach of candle rays shining upon them as a means of blessing abundance for the home for the year ahead.
so what about Edible Yule Logs?
It appears to be the French who were the first to eat their yule logs.
They started burning them like everyone else, but when big open fireplaces began to disappear in France, especially in urban town and city places they moved into a tradition to the table by making a sponge cake roll that looked like a Yule log, and called it a "Buche de Noel".
This does have candles to light for the purpose of blessings and prayers, but they do not have to stay
alight all night as the cake has to be eaten :-)
Today, a cake shaped and decorated like the Christmas log is used. It is the color of wood, and covered with chocolate or crÃ¨me de cafÃ©. It is usually sprinkled with glazed sugar and surrounded by little woodcutters and meringue as snow and mushrooms.
This French cake-dessert was first created in Paris at the end of the 19th century in the ovens of the historian and pastymaker Pierre Lecam. It is recommended that the Yule Log Cake should be accompanied with a semi-sweet wine.
This is an opening clip of a series to help you make a Yule Log cake
so how will you celebrate Yule now?
I hope you enjoyed reading this journey through the ancient traditions starting with the fertility Jul of Odin merging with the fertility fire of Freya. I hope you can visualize how these traditions have expanded into more symbols that have made this time interesting.
Perhaps you will now view your Christmas Tree very differently and offer it much more reverence than before too.
Don't feel obliged to have a tree for this Yule time either, when an alter of candles can serve a wonderful symbol of bringing the light back. This is especially useful for an urban apartment home and making this a special time in that space.
I look forward to what you may have to say about your Yule in the comment box space below.
Many thanks for reading this :-)