Winter Solstice and the Yule Log

Winter Solstice and the Yule Log

Winter Solstice and the Yule Log 1037 439 Paul Ward


As we celebrate the winter solstice and prepare to eat Yule Log Cake over the holidays, this is good time to think about leaving some of our recent dark experiences behind and beginning to set positive intentions for a brighter new year. Although my memories of the yule log are dominated by the taste of chocolate cake, a deeper story is worth exploring.

The burning of the Yule Log dates back to a Nordic tradition and maybe beyond. Yule was the name of the old Scandinavian Winter Solstice festivals. The log burning ceremony involved bringing an entire tree into the house, placing the base of the tree into the hearth and setting it alight, leaving the rest of tree sticking out in the room and pushing it further in as it burned. In some traditions, a log was cut off the tree before lighting and saved for special rituals.

The burning of the yule log remains a common ceremony at the time of the Winter Solstice. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can watch YouTube videos of Yule Log burning for hours and hours! I was recently introduced to the ritual of jumping over the Yule Log before you burn it. The significance of jumping or simply stepping over the Yule Log is in leaving the dark times behind and looking towards the light of the lengthening days following the winter solstice.

Setting intention is one of the themes in the book, The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership. Letting go of what has been hurting you can free up space for creating new beginnings and for setting intentions for the new year. What do you need to let go of and leave behind as you step over the Yule Log? You don’t have to use a real log; create the Yule Log in your mind and reflect on what you need to release. Having let go and jumped over the log, real or imaginary, begin setting intentions for the brighter, lengthening days ahead. Know that where you are doesn’t determine where you can go, only where you start.

The Yule Log Cake is often made of a chocolate sponge roll layered with cream, with the outside covered with chocolate or chocolate icing and decorated to look like a bark-covered log. Maybe you will get to taste a Yule Log Cake over the holidays. If you do, and if you don’t, step over the Yule Log, real or imaginary, setting positive intentions for year ahead.

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