We are all excited about Christmas, but today I would like to introduce you to the pagan festival of Yule. It is traditionally celebrated at the darkest time of the year, on the shortest day, when the sky is dark for longer than it is light. At this time of year, we hear stories about the Oak King and the Holly King, as they battle for control over our changing season. Mother Earth has gone to sleep, and so only the toughest trees and plants will survive a cold, frosty winter.
Many of us are familiar with the Yule Log. It is not simply a chocolate cake, as I used to think when I was growing up. It has evolved as part of Christmas traditions that were practised by early pagans and was picked up by Christian settlers in later years. The Yule Log is a hardy chunk of wood taken from the forest, that you can light and that will keep a fire burning during the darkest hours of winter. It will keep your spirits up, give you warmth when you need it, and give you hope for a bright spring when the sunshine returns.
I think that in today’s modern age, we often forget how close we remain to our ancestors and their traditions. Many of our Christmas traditions have their roots in ancient paganism but have been evolved to suit different cultures at different times. Ultimately, Yule is a time to retreat from busy life, to give thanks for the successes of the past year, and to look forward to a bright and cheerful future. Enjoy your Christmas sweet treats, your colourful decorations, and those spicy, warm drinks. They are all part of Yule.
Yule Blessings, my friends.
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