Think you can’t do a yule log ritual just because you don’t have a fireplace or fire pit?
In this tutorial, I’m sharing with you a super fun hack that allows you to experience the magick of a fragrant pinewood fire even if you live in an apartment…
And don’t worry – I’m not going to tell you to bake a chocolate cake and decorate it to look like a piece of wood. Fellow pyros rejoice! This spell tutorial is a hack that will allow you to fully engage with the element of FIRE!
It’s that time of year when we make rituals out of leaving behind the old year and making way for the new.
One such ritual you may have heard of in pagan, Christian or even secular culture is the Yule log.
Traditionally, in old world communities, a large (in some cases, absolutely MASSIVE) log was burned continuously yet gradually over the course of the Yuletide season.
It took several people to create and maintain, and was done publicly or in large groups. In some traditions, the very end of the log was kept as kindling for the new log that would be lit the following December – To represent the full-circle completion of a prosperous year.
In modern times, it’s evolved into a much more accessible practice of ceremoniously burning a smaller log that fits into your own fireplace or fire pit… But what if you don’t have either of those things? Can you still participate in this enchanting practice? Yes you can! … Kind of!
As with all things, it’s simply a matter of getting creative! If you really wanted to burn an actual yule log, you could create one out of a small log of firewood and journey to a safe place in nature where you can burn it – This could even be in a grill at your local park if it’s a park where grilling is normally allowed!
Personally, I’m pretty sensitive to cold temperatures, so I prefer to be closer to home for this ritual, where I can be relaxed and cozy in the process of creating the spell – And can easily take shelter if need be, and still see the log burning.
I did a “proper” yule log spell back in 2015 when I lived in a house where I could have an enclosed fire on my porch using the above method… But I’ve lived in apartments where fire pits (and in some cases, even grills) weren’t allowed for the past several years now. And I’ve deeply missed this practice of celebrating the new year with the elements of nature.
So this year, I decided to get extra crafty and came up with a version of the Yule log spell that can be done at home even if you don’t have access to a yard, fireplace or fire pit… As long as there’s somewhere on or near your residence where you can get away with burning a pine cone, this is the yule burning spell for you!
And since I’m posting this video on the Gregorian calendar new year, I have a quick note on timing when it comes to seasonal rituals:
I know in modern pagan and muggle cultures alike, it’s very common for there to be a lot of hype around getting everything done in time for specific dates on the calendar. Personally, I’m not one to make too big of a deal out of any overly-specific dates on the calendar – Instead preferring to embrace the new year energy gradually over the course of December through January.
So spells like the one we’re doing together in this video can be equally effective when done on any day of the “advent” period, on the astronomical date of the Winter Solstice, on whichever calendar date you normally celebrate as Yule, on New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Twelfth Night or any day of your choosing during what YOU consider to be the Yuletide season.
So with that being said, I invite you to light a candle, pour yourself a mug of something cozy, and lets make some magick!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- – A large dry pine cone (preferably one of the fat, sturdy ones)
- – Eight good sized, fully intact bay leaves
- – A permanent marker, optionally in a seasonal color
- – Any eight small biodegradable tokens to represent your wishes for each of the eight seasons on the pagan calendar (optional)
As with all spells in my practice, there’s no need to follow these instructions or ingredients to the letter. Just use what you have on hand and do the ritual in whatever way feels most natural and magickal to you!
Choose a cozy location to sit down and set your intentions.
If you’re comfortable outdoors in the winter (or if you’re someone who likes to embrace the magick of a little discomfort if it allows you to be at one with the elements) feel free to do the entire ritual outdoors!
I’m here for all the cozy vibes, so I chose my dining room table.
Sometimes, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can really get your head stuck in a busy mindset, so before attempting to do any magickal working, its essential to calm your mind and raise your vibration first!
Take a moment to take at least three slow, deep breaths, consciously calming and quieting the mind. Leave any thoughts of business or stress behind, and really begin to feel present in this magickal space. If you have a particular calming ritual you normally do before a magickal working, feel free to add that in during this step.
Now its time to begin the “spell,” and you’ll do this by “spell-ing” out your intentions… See what I did there lol?
Words are powerful! We all have ideas floating around in our minds, but there’s something truly magickal about writing it down clearly and reading it back to yourself to bring it to life.
This is where our bay leaves come into play! On each bay leaf, write the name of one of the eight sabbats or seasons on the wheel of the year. If you’re not really into sabbats, you can skip this step and move on to the next.
The next step is to write one word or short phrase of power on each of the leaves. If you chose to represent the eight sabbat seasons, you may wish to match the power words with the themes you associate with that season, but this is entirely optional.
If you’re using a really fine point Sharpie, you can fit a lot more words on each leaf if you want to. I decided to keep it super simple and blunt and just used a fat metallic marker to write one big word on each leaf… Get it? Blunt? A blunt tipped marker? Tee-hee! Anyway.
Next, another optional step is to pair each of your bay leaves with an additional biodegradable item that to you represents the energy of that power word and / or season – Or it can represent how you desire to feel during that season.
Decorate the pine cone
Now, we get to decorate our yule cone with the leaves and optional additional items.
If you have a really large pine cone, you could get super crafty with this and make it look totally decked out like a yule log (which traditionally is bundled with things like holly, ivy, pine sprigs and branches with winter berries.
I’ve even seen an online tutorial where they turned a pine cone into a mini yule tree to use as an ornament, and you could do something similar to that for this spell!
This time, I decided to keep mine fairly simple and mainly just stuck my leaves into the spines of the pine cone arranging them in such a way that the whole thing almost looked like a big flower with spiraling petals going around it. Then I just stuck my additional objects in wherever they would fit and stay stuck in the pine cone. I also decided to add eight allspice corns to give each season an extra boost of good fortune in my spell.
The final step is to go to your outdoor spot to complete the spell.
Obviously, practice fire safety and do your best to be as respectful as possible to your local environment and others within it.
For areas like patios and porches, I always recommend an enclosure or container of some kind. For this spell, I used this beautifully ornate pewter cauldron. It happens to have feet on it, which would make it ideal for setting down on the pavement… But since there was no pavement to be seen on my patio that night, I just sat it in my epic snow cave.
And remember, you don’t have to, but it can also be fun and symbolic to keep a small piece of the cone to use in other spells, and/or as kindling for next year’s fire. You could even save the ashes from this fire to use in spells as well. Or you can simply scatter it to the wind or onto the earth to activate the spell through nature.
Not going to lie, I’m sure the housing managers wouldn’t be happy if they knew I was doing fire magick on my patio, but I’m an Aquarius. Sometimes, we must rebel! Bedsides, it was hidden behind my epic snow wall in a storm during the holiday season… Who was going to stop me?
The nifty thing about this yule cone spell is that it allows you to briefly engage with the element of fire without you having to commit to a long or overly involved bonfire situation. You can allow the cone to smolder for up to about a half hour, or you can use a lighter or wooden dowel and a candle keep it lit and poke at it with a tool to actively burn it away as quickly as possible.
Fire represents passion, action, and transformation, and it’s with this element that we release our intention into the vastness of the Universe. I’m also an Aries moon, so bringing the element of fire into my witchy practice is something I find super empowering. So if you’re a little bit of a pyro like me, I hope you’re able to do something like this too! I must say, it was incredibly satisfying!
For me, doing this spell on my patio in a slightly rebellious manor was actually one of the empowering aspects of the spell itself. I’ve been rather dissatisfied with the way I’ve been treated by the management of this building in the past year. And since manifesting a new living situation that’s compatible in both magickal and mundane ways is one of my biggest intentions for the next chapter, I found it rather fitting that I both stick it to the man a little bit – And evoke the energy of having immediate access to nature right outside my door as I call in that private yard of my dreams!
Your intentions and motivations for your spell might be totally different to mine, so I invite you to engage with your own energy and environment in whatever way feels most empowering and magickal to you personally!
I feel like the past few years have been way too “serious” for many of us. And for the new year, I’ve really been feeling called to prompt myself and others to ask ourselves questions like:
What actually feels fun to me? What do I truly want to be spending my time doing (that isn’t just what I’m pretty good at that I feel like I’m supposed to be doing)?
For me, the answer to those questions are storytelling, playful creativity and focused community connection.
I’ve discovered that my favorite parts of my work now are the storytelling aspect as well as the crafting / ritual / decorating tutorials in my videos… Even moreso now than the educational and personal-development focused content that I was so passionate about creating in past years. I mean, those things will always be important parts of my life, practice and expression, but I’m giving myself permission to explore more of the other things that bring me joy too.
That’s why I’ve secretly been working on (or I should say PLAYING with) some fun projects behind the scenes! For one, I’ve just added a new feature to the Subscription Box tier on Patreon which includes grimoire pages of my favorite spells with HAND DRAWN illustrations –
The first of which is this little chapter on yule log spells. It goes into a lot more detail on how to craft a more in-depth version of this type of ritual, including how to incorporate an actual log if you can, and how to turn it into a more detailed manifestation spell.
And after years of only selling products, services and memberships that were focused around journaling, manifestation and personal development, I’m also finally giving myself permission to open my witchy home decor / ritual tools shop that I’ve been dreaming about for so long!
…Because as it turns out, making one’s home an inviting, cozy and magickal environment is just as “important” as doing our shadow work and manifesting “bigger” things in life! It’s what helps get us there by allowing us to change the energy of our immediate surroundings to better match the reality we’re creating.
Introducing Hestia’s Hearth Home Shop! Where I create and curate witchy home goods like the things you see in my videos! I get comments all the time saying how inspiring you all find my home projects, so now I’m embracing this fun, carefree part of my magickal practice with you!
From now on, when I craft or go antiquing for the kinds of unique, enchanting objects I use in my home, I’ll be making and/or collecting enough to offer to you too! And yes, the ornate pewter cauldron you saw in this video is actually for sale!
I’ve just launched my new shop page featuring some lovely antiques and ritual tools like the ones you’ve seen me use in my videos! Most items are one of a kind, and I’ll be adding an even wider variety of items in 2023!
I hope you find something you like! In any case, I wish you an expansive, freeing and FUN new year where you give yourself permission to do the things that feel fun and exciting to you too!
Have a blessed Winter Solstice season!
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