Category Archives: Odin

Yule Log Ritual

Merry Meet All,

Yesterday I was out on a walk on the nature trail. I had wanted a yule log and the first day when I didn’t see anything that would be suitable, I gave up. Yesterday I was on my walk and I saw a log on the ground. Perfect, I thought. I picked it up and took it home. It is sitting in my garden, waiting.

However, I don’t have a fire pit or a fireplace. So I will have to figure out something. That is the tradition. People burn a yule log on Winter Solstice. It is a Scandinavian tradition. That’s great, because I am part Scandinavian, and I have been enjoying learning more of my family background and the ancient traditions.

Join with family and friends for the Yule log burning ritual. Enjoy food and wine and make an offering to the deities. Yule logs bring good luck, so keep a piece of the wood for next year’s Yule log burning ritual. Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning wheel, when the wheel of the year is about to rise again.

ANCIENT YULE TRADITIONS

The tradition began in Scandinavia and predates Christianity by thousands of years. They celebrated the Feasts of the Dead and honored Odin, the god of intoxicating drink and ecstasy, and the god of Death. Their customs varied from region to region. They left offerings after their feasts to appease the Yuletide ghosts. The origins of the Yule log were traced back to the Midwinter festivals when the Norsemen indulged in the revelry of feasting and watching the fire leap around the burning Yule log in the home hearths.

Winter Solstice symbolized the return of the light. The days grew longer and the sun began its return. The Scandinavian lasted for twelve days. That was how the tradition began of the twelve days of Christmas. Some Christmas traditions are steeped in ancient Yule traditions. At Midwinter, the Vikings honored their Asa Gods with much religious rituals and feasting. They sacrificed animals such as boars to Frey, the God of fertility, to ensure a growing season in the coming year. The meat was cooked and enjoyed at the feast.

The first night of Yule, which is celebrated for twelve days, is called The Mothernight, and is when Frigga and the Disir, are honored. The Mothernight is the rebirth of the world from darkness. A vigil is held from dusk to dawn. At Yule, the gods and goddesses are close to Midgard. Their deities were known as ‘Yule-Beings’. Odin is called Jolnir, the “Yule-One” and is where Santa Claus originates from.

They burned a huge sunwheel, which was lit on fire and rolled down a hill to encourage the sun to return. This may be the origin of the Christmas wreath. Another Viking tradition was the decorating of evergreen trees with food and clothing, statues of their beloved deities, and runes to entice the tree spirits to return in the spring. They believed the Mistletoe could resurrect the dead. This belief is based on a legend about the resurrection of Baldur, God of Light and Goodness, who was killed by a mistletoe arrow. Frigga cried for Baldur and her tears turned the red berries white.

I hope you enjoy reading about the origins of many traditions we celebrate today. I hope I do find a way to burn my Yule log. I would be proud to partake in an ancient tradition that was honored by the ancient Vikings and their gods and goddesses.

Blessed be,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Filed under ancestors, gods and goddesess, Odin, ritual, tradition, Yule log

Winter Solstice

Merry Meet All,

Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere. There are twenty-four hours of sunlight south of the Antarctic circle. It is the longest night of the year. Winter Solstice is a time for celebration to coax back the sun. The Latin term for solstice is sun set still. Winter Solstice is the stillness before the Sun’s strength returns. It is time to reflect on the fruitful dark earth from which life eventually emerges.

The Celts celebrated Solstice by holding bonfires to keep darkness away. The year’s shortest day and longest night was honored with the coming dawn. The Sun had won over darkness. The Sun was reborn. The Norse held feasts to honor the Solstice.

This marked the “nether” time that began at Samhain, when the spirits roamed freely across the land. The otherworldly portals closed for another year. The time for the growing light nears, the time of the spring Equinox approaches.

The Yule celebration comes from the legendary battle between the Oak King and the Holly King. The Oak King represents the light half of the year and the Oak King represents the dark half of the year.

ORIGINS OF SANTA CLAUS

There are a few theories about the origins of Santa Claus. He was originally based on St. Nicholas, an early fourth-century Bishop from Turkey. He was influenced from early Norse religion. If you know your lore and mythology, then you may have guessed at who I am referring to. Yes, Odin. Odin wore a long white beard much like Santa.

Odin had a mighty horse called Sleipnir, who had eight legs. Sleipnir was compared to the eight reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh. Sleipnir could leap great distances.

During the winter, children would leave offerings in their boots near the chimney, filling the boots with treats for Sleipnir. Odin rewarded them with treats. The tradition survived the adoption of Christianity. Today we hang stockings rather than boots by the chimney. The Dutch settlers called him SinterKlaas, which later became Santa Claus. That is the origin of Santa Claus.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Filed under Odin, origins, Santa Claus, SinterKlaas, Winter Solstice