I must admit, wanting to have a Yule log and burn it on Solstice was in part my way of ridding the yard of some of the wood pile we have in the back under a maple tree. I don’t want to burn all of the pile because a possum lives there. However, we haven’t had a wood stove since our insurance company said we had to get rid of ours. But I was surprised when my daughter didn’t know what a Yule log was.
Yule is the Northern European term for the winter solstice. Before people knew that the solstice was caused by the earth being temporarily tipped away from the sun, Northerners used the Yule log to banish the darkness and any evil spirits lurking about. Yule is thought to derive from the Norse word for “wheel”. Northern Europeans believed that the sun was a wheel that turned with the seasons. A wreath is used to symbolize the wheel.
I also bought some mistletoe. The druids thought mistletoe was divine and a cure-all.
The Norse thought it a symbol of love and friendship. British are to blame /get credit for the kissing tradition according to some. Others say this was a Roman tradition.
In honor of the Vikings, I put a crow and a goat on my tree. Crows have meaning for Northern folks. Two crows named Thought and Memory aka Huginn and Munnin were scouts for the Norse god Odin.
In Celtic mythology, the warrior goddess Morrighan does her own scouting and visiting as a crow or raven. To druids. crows were a means of divination. In any case, they represent the first stories of shape shifting and teleporting. In practical terms, Viking sailors used ravens to see if land was ahead.
A Yule goat, particularly one made from straw, is a Scandinavian tradition. In some legends, goats pulled Thor’s chariot, in others a Santa-like character rode a goat, and in others goats checked in on Christmas festivities and demanded presents. Even older legends have the goat as a fertility god and party master . Sitting on his lap is naughty or dangerous depending on your perspective. Talk about horny! The last time I was near a goat it tried to eat my shirt so I plan to keep away from goats and serve some goat cheese for Yule.
If you want to be officially Yule, you should serve a wild boar or its modern version a ham. I don’t eat pork in general due to pigs being smart and CAFOs being dirty. However, for Yule, I’ll make an exception.
For my fire, I’m going to burn a sexist edition of this book. Allegedly the author is sorry for his description of another scientist as deserving to have her data stolen because she was stubborn and didn’t wear enough make-up or dress like a siren in the lab.
It’ll be a while until the sun takes a direct hit on my part of the world. Until then, I’ll need to stay cozy. As for sexism–up in flames it goes!