Brightly burns the Yule log tonight
Magic dances in firelight
Hold my hand and join the song
Raise the Sun King bright and strong
Dark is giving way to light
As brightly burns the Yule log tonight!
Many cultures organize feasts, festivals, holidays and celebrations around December solstice.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice occurs during the coldest season of the year. Although winter was regarded as the season of dormancy, darkness and cold, the coming of lighter days after the winter solstice brought on a more festive mood. To many people, this return of the light was a reason to celebrate that nature’s cycle was continuing. (ref: Timeanddate.com)
The winter solstice occurs on December 21 and marks the beginning of winter (this is the shortest day of the year). The Newgrange burial mound in Ireland’s County Meath is surrounded by megalithic stones set in what archeologists believe to be astronomical position to the Winter Solstice. The Stone Age monument dates to around 3200 B.C., making it 500 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and a thousand years older than England’s Stonehenge. Stonehenge itself has long been associated with the solstice and equinox cycles. Once again, there is evidence of ancient people recognizing these times of the year not just from an astronomical perspective, but in terms of spiritual reverence as well.
The more significant perspective that seems to hold a stronger connection to the historical evolution of Yule comes from Old Norse. According to The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology,
- “Yule is derived into modern English from Jól deriving from Old Norse hjól, wheel, referring to the moment when the wheel of the year is at its low point, ready to rise again (compare to the Slavic karachun).”
- For all it’s inputs and influences, Yule is still an important time of the year to pagans around the world. In the most direct terms it is still a festival that honors the cycle of nature and the Wheel of the Year. It is not just about the rebirth of the God figure in pagan lore.
- Yule is a 12 day holiday, it begins on “Mothers Night” (December 21st) and ends 12 days later on “Yule Night” (January 1st). It’s the origin for the Christian “12 Days of Christmas”.
- For Celtic pagans, Yule is the time when the Sun God Lugh is reborn in human form to rejoin his beloved wife Eriu. She is described as a hag, who transformed into a beautiful Goddess by the marriage and personifies the land of Ireland in her every feature and character. She becomes known in legend as the “Sovereignty of Ireland”. Yule is also the celebration of the cycle of life through Eriu and all her incarnations as the Maiden, Mother and Crone Goddess.
- The first direct reference to the Yule log can be found around the 17th century. The Old Norse ‘jol’ seems to have been borrowed in Old French as ‘olif’, which gave way to the Modern French ‘joli’; “pretty, nice,” originally “festive”. In Scandanavia, Old Norse pagan fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire in the center of their village. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. Some suggest this is the significance or origination of the 12 Days of Yule. (12 Days of Christmas)
(Ref: The Pagan’s Path)
This Sabbat (i.e., Yule or Christmas) represents the rebirth of light. Here, on the longest night of the year, the goddess (Semiramis or her derivative) gives birth to the Sun god (Nimrod or his derivative) and hope for new light is reborn. Yule is a time of awakening to new goals and leaving old regrets behind.
Yule coincides closely with the Christian Christmas celebration. Christmas was once a movable feast celebrated many different times during the year. The choice of December 25 was made by the Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD because this coincided with the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice, or Return of the Sun. The intent was to replace the pagan celebration with the Christian one.
Yule is celebrated by fire and the use of a Yule log. This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the god within the sacred fire of the Mother goddess. As the log burns, visualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days. Traditionally, a portion of the Yule Log is saved to be used in lighting next year’s log. This piece is kept throughout the year to protect the home.
“…It was traditional to offer gifts of imitation fruit (a symbol of fertility), dolls (symbolic of the custom of human sacrifice), and candles (reminiscent of the bonfires traditionally associated with pagan solstice celebrations). A mock king was chosen, usually from a group of slaves or criminals, and although he was permitted to behave in an unrestrained manner for seven days of the festival, he was usually killed at the end. The Saturnalia eventually degenerated into a week-long spree of debauchery and crime – giving rise to the modern use of the term saturnalia, meaning a period of unrestrained license and revelry…” (ref: TimeandDate.com)
“…Therefore, the 25th of December, the day that was observed at Rome as the day when the victorious god reappeared on earth, was held at the Natalis Invicti Solis, “he birth-day of the unconquered Sun.” The Yule Log is the dead stock of Nimrod, deified as the sun-god, but cut down by his enemies; the Christmas-tree is Nimrod redivivus — the slain god come to life again…it was an essential principle of the Babylonian system, that the Sun or Baal was the only god. When, therefore, Tammuz was worshipped as god incarnate, that implied he was an incarnation of the Sun. Now, the great god (Nimrod), cut down by his enemies (in reality by Semiramis), was symbolized by the Yule Log being cut down. Then his reincarnation into the living tree (Christmas tree, representing Tammuz the everlasting god) would come through the burning of the Yule Log (this symbolized the “Ignigena”, or “born of the fire”, from the fiery bowels of the mother goddess Semiramis…” – ref: “The Two Babylons”
Just as Justin Martyr pointed out in his treatise against Satan, this is part of the on-going battle of Satan to deceive the world and blend a pagan, satanic viewpoint with the true, Christian viewpoint, so that eventually Christian’s would no longer be observing and following Christ, but Satan himself…