We now approach Yule. A very ancient tradition. It has many names, many spellings, but all are at one with the solstice; the shortest day, the longest night. This was a time of "resting", of festivities. The earth was "sleeping". The land had been dug (ploughed), and the winter frosts would be "breaking up" the earth, ready for planting in the Spring. The festival would normally start on the eve of the solstice, and continue to "worship" the coming Sun, as from now on,the nights would get shorter,the days longer.
We now focus on the "calendar", but the ancients had no notion of actual "dates". They only knew of the changing seasons of the year.
In fact, the early calendars had only ten months!( periods of the year) December actually means ten! So Yule was not a date in a calendar, it was the winter solstice;longest night. In the days of the great "kings" with the huge "hearths", there would burn the Yule log. Often a whole tree! The base of the tree was first put into the fire, and as it burned, the tree would be moved forward into the flames. This Yule log would often burn for twelve days, the original time of Yule. (The Christians stole it as the twelve days of Christmas.) And so, to all the newbies, and the young and the old, I give Bright Blessings for Yule! Spring is not far away!