So – what is this Yule-tide about, anyway?
In Danish it has been suggested that there may be a connection between the word Jul and Hjul (Wheel) as in the wheel of the year. Another word Guili signified a period of midwinter celebrations from late December to the first days of January, determined by a lunar calendar.
Yule was a midwinter festival celebrated by Germanic and Nordic people as a celebrating of the return of light at the winter solstice, but was later absorbed by Christianity. A yule log was lit at the hearth of the house, and the celebrations lasted as long as it was still burning or glowing.
It has also been suggested that it was a blót or a drinking festival in honor of the german and norse gods Thor and/or Odin, and scholars have linked the celebrations to the myth or legend of the Wild Hunt.
Yule was celebrated for a fertile and peaceful season and consisted of a fertility sacrifice, which is inherent in the concept of blót which means a sacremental meal or feast, with sacrifices of food or animals.
So, what are we celebrating? The return of the light and the sun, fertility, prosperity, the hope of peace and the happy expectations of a new Beginning. One circle has come full – a new circle is starting all over. So it is definitively a period of passage from dark to light, and thereby it signifies something holy or sacred – also for us modern pagans/heathens.
With these words I’ll start my Sacred Days of Yule Spread.