Winter Blogfest: Barbara Robinson

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $25 Amazon E-gift card as a prize to one of the readers who visits the LASR Winterfest blog and comments on my post.


A Yule Log on the Eve of the Winter Solstice by Barbara Robinson

As a Christmas tree farmer’s daughter, I am fonder than most of holiday greenery. I still make my own wreaths and garlands, and I still go out to harvest a Christmas tree from our land each year. My husband and I bought a red pick-up back in April, and in a week or two we’ll be coming down off Folly Mountain looking like a 2023 version of those little trucks that decorate throw pillows and wall plaques in Christmas discount stores this time of year. Finding and decorating a Christmas tree is a cherished tradition, and I could write pages about the history, symbolism and beauty of evergreens, but today I thought Id write about the yule log, and the part that this lesser-known tradition plays in my own holiday celebrations.

In its earliest guise, a yule log was a massive thing, dragged into a hall at the darkest time of the year, and meant to burn all through the yuletide celebrations. Pre-dating electricity by more than a millennium, the light from the yule log would have been an important reminder that that sun’s strength would soon increase, and light and life return to the land. Many charmand traditions grew up around the log, like saving a small piece from the previous year to light the new yule log, and some of these have survived with variations into modern times. Now, yule logs might be made from confectionary, or they might be ceramic decorations with electric lights, but some people still use an actual log, decorated with candles and greenery.

We use a birch log, in part because the white birch bark is decorative when paired with greenery and red or white candles, but also because it is deeply symbolic. The rune representing birch is Berkana (Beorc), and it is associated with fertility and new beginnings, holding the promise of the new year ahead. We usually decorate our yule log and leave it on display, then remove the greenery on the eve of the winter solstice so we can light the candles without risk of stray spark igniting the tinder-dry boughs and pinecones. We have been using the same piece of birch for many years now, saving the log and replacing the candles and greenery each yuletide.

After supper, I will light the candles, and watch them burn down until they are spent. In early Anglo-Saxon England, the eve of the winter solstice was known as Modranigt, the night of the Mothers, and it was a time to pay homage to the female ancestral guardian spirits who watch over families and are concerned with fate and destiny. I usually leave a small offering of food for these guardian spirits, in gratitude for their care and protection throughout the year. Though not actively scrying, I think about the year to come as I watch the yule log, and ideas will often come to me as I watch the candle flames dance. Once the candles have burned away, the yule log is safely stowed away for the next year’s celebrations.

For centuries, Gamekeepers have used their magical abilities to create a buffer between the creatures who dwell in the enchanted forest and the sleepy coastal town that sits in its shadow. When Gamekeeper Stan Ross’s magic begins to fail, he must find out what went wrong, then fix it before the two worlds collide. His hit or miss magic has already led to a few close calls so he journeys to the Sacred Isle searching for answers and advice. Finding a cure proves elusive—until Stan encounters a kitchen witch who captivates him body and soul. Lynnette Peters is healing from her own wounds, however, and it isn’t clear whether she’s ready to open herself to the possibility—or the peril—of love.


Barbara Robinson is a debut paranormal romance author who writes novels and short stories with an otherworldly flair. She is an unrepentant optimist who believes that lasting love is possible, and her stories feature happily-ever-after endings.

Most of her writing includes an element of magic, rooted in the cultural and spiritual traditions of pre-Christian Europe. She finds inspiration in myths and folktales, poems and ballads, historical sources and academic writing.

She also draws inspiration from nature. Barbara lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, in the shadow of ancient mountains that lie along the Bay of Fundy coast. New Scotland has a magic all its own, with mist covered valleys and wild, windswept shorelines. These rugged vistas shape her story settings, while providing the perfect backdrop for life with her husband, three hounds and a dragon (Pogona Vitticeps).

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  1. I loved this post. I know so much more about Yule logs now thanks to you. 🙂

    • You’re very welcome, Lydia. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

    • Hi, Lydia. I clicked on your site but didn’t see a direct ‘contact’ link. I understand that people may be hesitant to post their email or mailing address publicly, so I am going to suggest that you send me your preferred prize format (Amazon E-gift card or physical Amazon gift card) and your email or mailing address via the contact page on my website (

      Thank you again for participating.


  2. I love this — I’d only ever heard of a yule log in the fireplace, so this is a great idea (since I don’t have a fireplace!). Thank you!

  3. What lovely insight into the season’s traditions. Thank you for expanding my understanding of the yule log.

  4. Thanks for sharing… enjoyed reading this!

    • I’m glad you liked it, Colleen. I have been including a folklore corner in my monthly newsletter, but I’ve been thinking of expanding it to a folklore, myth and magic blog. I built a blog page when I designed my website, but I haven’t launched it yet.

  5. Marcy Meyer says

    I like the cover. Looks good. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I enjoyed reading about your traditions. I don’t really have any, but need to start. I wouldn’t mind having a read truck with a tree to match my T-Shirt. 🙂

  7. Hi, Annette. I’m fond of those little red trucks with the single Christmas tree on back. As a Christmas tree farmer’s daughter I could say that we usually have a bigger load on, but I’d also have to admit the my husband drives a red pick-up truck, and if you check out my Facebook page you’ll see a photo of it with this year’s Christmas tree on back 🙂

  8. This is a neat tradition! Love learning about why we do the things we do. 🙂

  9. Dreaa Drake says

    This sounds really cool. I didn’t know any of this so thank you for sharing! Hope you have a lovely Christmas!

  10. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my post. I assigned a number to each person who commented, according to the order in which your comments appeared, and I the placed numbered tags in a bag. This morning, I reached into the bag and drew… the number “1”.

    Congratulations to Lydia Schoch, who won the $25 Amazon gift card. Lydia, I will reach out directly to make arrangements to deliver your prize.

    Happy New Year, everyone. I have always found this to be a time of new beginnings, bright with hope and possibility – but perhaps I’m biased by the fact that my daughter was born on New Year’s Eve, many years ago.

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