Yule Log 2021 Traditions, Beautiful Pagan History, and Everything You Need To Know

Decorating a Yule log is a beautiful way to enjoy the pagan holiday of the winter solstice!

During the longest night of the year, we rest, contemplate and reflect on our life and the paths we would like to take. Even now, in the darkest time, we know that each day will bring more warmth and light. That the sun will rise again, bringing with it hope and joy. I hope this helps you feel inspired to celebrate the winter solstice.

Many pagans, witches, and those interested in nature spirituality celebrate the seasonal cycles. Sometimes called the pagan festivals or the wheel of the year, which consists of eight celebrations. Four of these festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain) have their roots in Celtic history and origins.

The other four (spring equinox, summer solstice, autumnal equinox, and winter solstice) represent the location of the sun. I created a comprehensive guide for each season, including history, traditions, symbols, correspondences, ritual ideas, and how you can celebrate.

Please note that I do my best to ensure this information is correct and accurate. through my own experiences and by referencing the sources listed at the end of this article.

Posts on this site may contain affiliate links that allow me to earn a small commission of shopping that (at no additional cost to you!)

What is a Yule Log?

A Yule Log is an ancient pagan tradition of placing a log big or a whole tree in the part of your house. home. People would bring the trunk of the Yule tree inside, place the larger end in the hearth, and continue to push it in until it was completely burned.

In more modern times, a Yule log consists of on wood typically decorated with symbols of herbs, plants, flowers or candles.

“Yule” comes from the Norse word hweol, which means wheel. The Norse believed that the sun was a great wheel of fire that rolled toward and away from the earth.

History – Christmas Traditions Around the World

The Burning of Christmas logs symbolizes the change from darkness to light. They knew that the longest night of the year was here, and each day brought more warmth and light.

Drying Oranges Symbol of the Yule Log The Peculiar Brown

Traditions, history and origins of Yule Logs

Logs have their roots in pre-Christian pagan history, although no one knows the exact origins. Most believe that this seasonal ritual originated as an ancient Germanic winter solstice practice.

However, there are some who believe it may have Celtic origins.

It was also the Druids who started the tradition of Christmas registration. The Celts believed that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log was lit to conquer the darkness, drive away evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year.

BBC – Religions – Winter Solstice

It was customary for the Yule Log celebration to be a whole family affair, with everyone coming together to find and harvest the perfect tree.

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The tree from which the log was harvested had to be given away or cut from their own land. It was considered unlucky to buy the tree. Families decorated the logs with pine cones, ivy, holly, or evergreens (representing new life).

They would place the huge log in their home on the night of the winter solstice to welcome the return of the sun, bring abundance, and honor various gods.

The Christmas registry could also have served a practical purpose. Due to its magnitude, circumference, and size, it burned all day, ensuring that no one had to relight the fire during the winter solstice celebrations.

A small piece of the Christmas log was saved and he placed a bed under it to protect himself from misfortune, fire or lightning. Which makes sense considering that most houses were made of wood!

The following year, that leftover piece of the log was used to start the fire for the new log. If the new Yule Log did not light on the first try, it was believed to be a bad omen, foreshadowing misfortune and tragedy for family members.

The ashes from the Christmas log were said to be unique and were planted in the ground for good luck. We now know that wood ash is full of potassium, which is great for plants!

As Christianity grew, the tradition of Christmas logs continued. However, on a more modest scale as fireplaces or hearths had become much smaller. Those fireplaces were great for baking pies though! The origin of the first Christmas log cake or ‘bûche de Noël’ is unknown, but some believe it could date back to the 17th century.

Pagan winter solstice Christmas log with a piece from the previous year

How to make a pagan Christmas log to burn

A traditional way of making a Christmas log is to use a small piece of wood Cut one side to make it level – drill three holes to fit taper candles You can use it as a centerpiece until winter solstice and then burn the entire log in your fireplace or fire pit in the backyard. .

The color of the candles placed inside is chosen based on what they represent. Feel free to select any color that appeals to you, but here are a few ideas!

Check out this post for magical color meanings and even more inspiration.

  • Red, Green, White (celebrate the season)
  • Gold, yellow, red or white (to represent the sun),
  • White, silver and black (to represent the moon).

Another option is to use a pack of small logs without candles (as I did in the photo above). I think it’s quite pretty and festive. B Place yours in a backyard fire pit and make it a fun family event! Have everyone snuggle up in jackets, mittens, blankets, hats, and ear muffs! Drink warm cocoa, cider or mulled wine. Comment what you are most grateful for from the previous year and what dreams or goals you have for the next one!

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Yule Log Greenery Symbolism

What kind of wood is a Yule Log?

Each type of tree is unique and can symbolize different intentions. Most of these correspondences coincide with the Celtic Ogham alphabet and symbols. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Birch (fertility, creativity, cleanliness, and new beginnings)
  • Aspen (overcoming your fears, divination, spiritual knowledge and perception)
  • Oak (intellect, leadership, security, resilience, perseverance and wisdom)
  • Pine (success, well-being, joy, excitement, and spiritual awakenings)
  • Ash (wealth, prosperity, transitions, growth, peace, and the strength of women )
  • Holly (protection, expertise, analysis, and open your mind to accept revelations (useful for divination)
  • Willow > (balance, intuition, sentimental feelings, flowing water and honoring a god/goddess/deity)
  • Yew (ancestry, history, aging, death, transitions, thoughts and memory)
  • Rowan (advocacy, property control) as actions, in defense of animals, growth and fresh ideas)
  • Alder (spiritual guidance, creativity, choices and protection from harm)
  • Hazel (Knowledge, Creative Inspiration, Competence, and Practicality)

Remember, you can feel free to use any type of wood you like or choose your log based on their corresponding meanings.

What are some examples of Christmas log decorations, correspondences, and symbolic ideas?

You can add anything you want to your Christmas registry! Here are some ideas in addition to the above and their corresponding intentions.

  • Cinnamon sticks – Good luck
  • Lavender – Happiness , luck and peace
  • Dried oranges: symbolizes the sun and the change from darkness to light
  • Ivy > – healing, love, protection and representative of the seasonal cycle of death and rebirth
  • Granadas – mean abundance due to its excess of seeds, its circular shape can also represent the sun
  • Baby’s Breath – because they are so delicate and white, baby’s breath symbolizes purity, innocence and love
  • Key – protection and clarity
  • Star anise – symbolizes good luck, purification and opens psychic abilities
  • Pine cones – illustrative of the pine, which even during the darkest season of winter or still remains green. A representative of prosperity, comfort and protection. You can also use boxwood branches for similar reasons.
  • Rosemary: Burning rosemary is said to clear the air of negativity. I have used rosemary to say goodbye to any negativity from the past year and clear the way for a positive new year.
  • Mistletoe: promotes healing and stimulates fertility

See this post for more information on the magical properties and associations of botanical herbs and an explanation of the origins of the genera, planets and elements.

My 2019 Christmas Log

I wanted to avoid drilling holes for candles to make it easy for any beginner to use for inspiration.I included boxwoods from my own garden, scavenged for some pieces, and bought the rest (like baby’s breath, dried pomegranate, and cinnamon sticks) at Trader Joe’s.

Yule and the solstice of pagan winter log to burn peculiar brunette

My 2020 log

This log incorporated much more symbolism and dried mint, rosemary and lavender than my own backyard. I used a 1 1/2″ paddle bit to drill holes in my Christmas log so I could place candles with the corresponding intentions.

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Don’t forget to add last year’s Christmas log if you have it! !

You can see how I made this Christmas registry, as well as other homemade winter solstice decorations here. Christmas registration begins at 7:15.

<img src="https://www.thepeculiarbrunette.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/finished-Yule-log.png" alt="DIY pagan Winter Solstice – complete Yule log" /

Pagan Ideas for Christmas Log Rituals

Now that you’ve created your Christmas log, I bet you’re wondering what to do with it! There are many different ways to use your Christmas registry, and I encourage you to try creating your own traditions and rituals! Here are some ideas to get started!

Natural Decorations

A Christmas log makes a beautiful centerpiece for your kitchen table, and you can add additional greenery, candles, a table runner, or any other symbolic item that consider significant to accompany it!

Yule Log Burning Ritual

This is a beautiful tradition to add to your family celebration for Yule and the winter solstice (although I enjoy burning mine on Christmas Eve). New Years If you have a fireplace feel free to burn your Christmas log inside, or if you have an outdoor fire pit you can do it outside too!).

Now is a great time for you to each family member discuss what they would like to accomplish and change in the coming year. Each family member can also feel free to journal and reflect quietly on her own.

Have each family member write down a bad habit they would like to break. They could also add goals, dreams, or an intention they would like to manifest. Slide all the pieces of paper into the Christmas Registry. before lighting it.

Once the Yule Log fire is lit, the pieces of paper will burn and all those thoughts, dreams and wishes will be sent out into the universe!

Also I like to add a little rosemary to banish any negative this year and open up the positivity for next year. As the log burns, reflect on the past year: what have you learned, what are you grateful for, and what challenges have you overcome?

Be sure to honor the age-old tradition and keep the last piece of your log. Christmas for next year’s burning ritual.

Create a miniature Christmas log

If burning a Christmas log is not an option, you can also decorate your home/meditation /altar space with a symbolic MINI CHRISTMAS LOG! I made two examples for you in the photos below.

Use cinnamon sticks, 4-6″ twigs, evergreens, holly, or whatever decor you feel connected to!

Mini Christmas Log The Peculiar Brunette

You can also create a smoke cleaner using the same materials. I have even seen someone use a small cast iron skillet to burn their incense and candles on their altar. That’s the most magical idea I’ve ever heard of!

Another great option is to create a mini version using a pineapple.

Pine Cone Yule Log Mini The Peculiar Brunette

I hope this Yule log post was helpful! Sending you lots of love on your winter solstice and remember as always…


Editors at History.com. Christmas traditions around the world. October 27, 2009. https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/christmas-traditions-worldwide

BBC Religions. Winter Solstice. June 7, 2006. https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/holydays/wintersolstice.shtml


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