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Witch Explains the Magical History of the Yule Log

Spoiler alert: it's from pagan mythology!

A self described eclectic witch explains the ancient pagan history associated with the yule log and how she interprets the celebration of Yule. She reminds everyone that it can be celebrated differently depending on your personal path and that is okay! Traditionally, Yule was a twelve day celebration from December 21st to January 1st recognizing the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. She explains that ancient Celts believed the sun stood still during solstice and to fight the dark a Yule log was kept burning for these twelve days to encourage the sun to return and lengthen the days.  

Symbolism of divine light is present in many Yule customs, including a Yule fire and Yule candle. Some cultures even saved the charred remains of the Yule log to place beneath the bed for good luck and protection from household threats like lightening strikes or accidental fire.

These associations with fire, light, and the sun all incorporate back to the idea of the cyclical patterns of nature, and welcoming the return of spring and the new cycle of rebirth. Modern interpretations have divided the Yule concepts between Christmas and New Year but historically they were often melded together into one long midwinter revelry. 

Many different religions and cultures feature a prominent winter celebration that often includes fire and feasting as part of the tradition. Sociologists attribute this phenomenon to a natural expression of group psychological comfort, to seek social connection and warmth while waiting out the winter. Feasts also represent the comfort of abundance, demonstrating there is enough food to last till spring and that winter stores are not running too low or too bare.

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