As I noted last year, I was unable to find any information the Eleventh and Twelfth Night of Yule. I opted instead to write on both nights, in two parts .. you can read it here.
This year, on Eleventh Night, I would like to discuss the Yule Log. Many of the Old Ways are found in ‘Christmas’ today, like the decorated tree and mistletoe, but often, the Yule Log is overlooked. Perhaps because we no longer rely on wood to heat our home, so many homes do not have fire places or hearths.
Across Old Europe, the Yule Log played a significant role. For example, the bonfires often mentioned in relation to this tide, seldom mention how, at the end of Yule, a brand of this fire, with ashes, were carried into the fields to bless them. The practice of carrying a purifying fire around the fields and orchards, and scattering its ash to promote fertility was once widespread. In some places, the Yule Log’s ash was mixed with drink, and both poured upon crops and drank by all gathered. Pieces of the Yule Log – charred remnants – were carefully collected, wrapped in linen and hung in the home or carried on a person to bring about good luck.
On this night then, consider the significance of the Yule Log .. its ash and charred remnants. If one was able to keep a fire buring for all these twelve night (or candles, as some do today), then consider the idea of collective good fortune. Consider, if you will, how the Yule Log was once held sacred, capable of perpetuating the well-being of the homestead and family, of bestowing fertility upon land and beasts, of re-vitalizing drained energy to re-invoke the powers of Light and Promise; in short .. Healing! Something clearly worthy of having a horn raised over: the triumph of darkness! Hail the Holly King!