The Yule Log, A Ritual for New Beginnings

The Yule Log, A Ritual for New Beginnings


This time of the year the old must end and so the new will begin. Yule is the day in Norse Mythology that the Holly King or Dark God dies so that the Oak King or Sun God can be reborn. The nights are longer now and so it brings with it the darkest of dark early in the day. Many of us leave for work in the dark and drive home in the dark, leaving little time in the day to get out into the sun and soak some of that goodness into our bodies. This is the great wheel of the seasons, but we can look forward to the up and coming Winter Solstice where we celebrate that which will bring light back to us as the days will get longer.
One of the most fun and powerful rituals I do this time of year is a ritual Yule Log.  At Christmas, with Yule or the Winter Solstice homes are decorated with symbols for the return of the sun to warm the earth or to celebrate “birth” (metaphorically or literally). Like many of our electric decorative lights, the Yule Log is used to bring forth and celebrates the new coming of light but also is a powerful ritual to leaving behind what no longer serves us so we can welcome in our best and most cleansed selves in a ritualistic way. This kind of ritual allows for a concentrated effort and focus that can feel very real to the body, mind, and soul. I light my candles at the time of the Solstice and this year it will be Friday, December 21st, 2020, at 5:02 AM in the Northern Hemisphere. Many of us, like myself can claim a new feeling of lightness and feeling of joy in the midst of any crisis. 

Here are the easy steps of making and using the ritual Yule Log:

• Find a good Birch Log (can be long or short, I use one that is around 24 inches)
  If you do not have birch you can use what is indigenous to your surroundings. 
• Flatten one side of the log so it sits flat on a table. 
• Drill 3 holes with a wide drill bit onto the round side of the log spaced equally but allowing some room at the ends. (This is for your   candles)
• I do not decorate the log but many people do. You can attach dried flowers or herbs with some melted wax or non-toxic glue. 
• The candles can be tapers, pillars, or votives. Use carving tools to decorate your candles or log with wishes of rebirth and renewal for the coming year. 
• Light the Candles on the Yule Log at a significant time of your choosing. I like to do this just before our Solstice Brunch. 
• You can use any kind of prayer or poem but this is my simple "saying"  that seems to surround me with new and invigorated light.
While lighting the candles I say:
May the log burn,
May the wheel turn,
May evil spurn,
May the Sun return.


There are many variations including burning the log itself in a fire pit with messages of goodbye to the past year and anything you would like to shed. This year you may have reflected a lot and in that accumulated a lot that will no longer serve you in the year to come. Shed it! I have participated in this ritual for the past 2 years strong at my brother's home and at a cabin with outdoor fire pits and I can attest to its power. 
In the second ritual with my small 3 person family this year in a safe indoor space as the candles are lit, each family member will burn a small holly sprig in the candle fire and says farewell to the old calendar year casting the sprig into a ceramic or smudging bowl. Saying goodbye can take the form of giving thanks and appreciation for the banishment of old habits or personal anguish. I believe again, that this year is a great time to engage in rituals to leave negativity behind and find ways to cultivate a more open future. 


Be well & stay well!
Plan for your Yule Log Ritual and let us know your experiences with this ancient tradition!

Sat Nam ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ
Written by Soorya Kirti Kaur


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