During classes last weekend, the subject of Yule Logs came up. I was asked by one of my students to share my tradition of the Yule Log on the PaganCentric web site (especially in regard to a post I wrote a few years ago). This seemed like the perfect day to do so! So… here it is, in its entirety.
Happy Solstice! ~ Claire
Taken from “About That Yule Log”, December 23rd, 2009.
I forget sometimes that my traditions are not the same as everyone else’s. In recent correspondence with a friend about secular traditions and Yule spirit (in regard to how I celebrate the holidays), I explained my family’s peculiar tradition regarding the Yule log. I thought I would share it here.
The one and only lasting Yule tradition I have is a Yule log. The one in my possession has been maintained since my great-grandmother’s day. Every year I keep a fire burning in the fireplace for the whole Yule season, starting with the Winter Solstice around Dec. 21 and burning until Twelfth Night (around Jan. 6). The fire is started with the Yule log from the year before. And when the fire is ended on Twelfth Night, the largest remaining log is saved for the next year. This way there is an unbroken chain from each year to the next.
My family has done this for many generations, passing down the Yule log to our descendent’s. It’s a way of inviting ancestors to join you at the hearth, because technically parts of the Yule fires they made in their time are still very much present, since the Yule log has been passed down through the generations and the each new Yule fire is started with a remnant of the previous one. There are carbon remains of every preceding fire, and when you believe in the elemental spirits, that’s a big bonus.
To my family the Yule log is the most precious heirloom we can pass down. I’d save it in an emergency before anything else I own.