Revisiting a Colorado Yule Log Hunt

The little southern Colorado town of Beulah has a traditional Yule log hunt that is almost as old as Wicca — it began in 1952.

M. and I attended with a friend and her young son in 2015, and I wrote a blog post about it, “Invoking the Birds and Hunting in the Woods at Yule,” with lots of photos.

Then I chanced across another set of older pix on Facebook at the Beulah Historical Society’s page. Here is one from 1954 and one from 1977. Those “huntsmen” from 1977 look like they are ready to get back to their moonshine stills, but I think a couple of them worked at the steel mill down in Pueblo, a city that is a sort of mash-up of Pittsburgh and Albuqueque, although much smaller than either of those. One’s surname is either Slovenian or Czech; I had a co-worker who might have been his relative.

The 1954 Yule Log (Beulah Historical Society)

The “huntsmen” of 1977 — they direct the Yule log hunt (Beulah Historical Society).

When I watch the hunt, I think of something that the English folkorist E. C. Cawte wrote back in the 1970s. He was directing a group of schoolboys in performing a “souling play,” a traditonal entertainment from the winter in which St. George slays someone — who does not stay slain.

Huntsmen of 2015.

“The boys found the play much easier to learn and perform than others they were given . . . and the Wild Horse seemed to know, without rehearsal, exactly what he was supposed to do.”[1]E. C. Cawte, Ritual Animal Disguise (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1978), 224.

The kids in Beulah know it too.

This year, of course, everything fun has been cancelled, but up in Beulah, they are planning for 2021. Covid-19 should not last as long as Oliver Cromwell.

Original Beulah Yule log blog post and photos here.

Notes

1 E. C. Cawte, Ritual Animal Disguise (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1978), 224.

This Is the Real “War on Christmas”


From a hardcore Muslim Instagrammer:

Shaykh Ibn Al Qayyim said “Congratulating the non-muslims on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by ijmâ (consensus), as is congratulating them on their festivals and feasts by saying: ‘a happy festival to you’ or ‘may you enjoy your festival,’ and so on. If the one who says this has been saved from disbelief, it is still forbidden. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah (innovation) or disbelief exposes himself to the wrath and anger of All?h.” [Ahkaam Ahl Al-Thimmah]
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See, Ibn Al Qayyim was a renowned Shaykh of Ahlul Sunnah from over 600 years ago. On top of that, he mentioned this statement with reference to the Ijmâ (consensus) of that time! An ijmâ (consensus) is when every single scholar agree on a certain matter and none of them disagree over it, so this is something we haven’t even had for hundreds of years. So if you want to say, “Nah maybe he’s wrong”, surely the other hundreds and thousands were not all wrong!
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Tell your friend/family, or Abu Fulan who talks a lot, or your misguided Shaykh who gives you a fatwa for celebrating Christmas; tell them they have no authority to overwrite an ijmâ.

#tawheedvision #shirkmas #shirk #tawheed #christianity #christmas #carol #jesus #allah #makkah #madinah #polytheism #monotheism Reposted from @tawheedvision

And then you have the monotheists who say, “We all worship the same god.” Somehow, I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means. At least polytheists can say, “Well, maybe Yahweh and Allah are not the same god, and we can make room for that, at long as you are not trying to kill us according to the instructions in your holy book.”

Have a wonderful Yuletide, y’all.

A Secular Solstice or Truly “Pagan-ish”?

I saw this sign last Friday at the public library in Pueblo, Colorado, and I liked it for a bunch of reasons.

Sometimes I get tired of the “jolly old elf” and would not mind seeing a more dignified winter monarch(s). For all its other problems, I thought that the Soviet Union’s promotion of (non-religious) “Grandfather Frost” was a pretty good idea. (Here is more about him, with regional variations.)

So has he infiltrated  the public library system? And has the Snow Maiden come along as well?

If she has, I am for it. But then I was the little boy who read Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Snow Queen” and came away thinking that the Snow Queen was in fact admirable, not the villainess from whom the little boy had to be “saved.”

Meanwhile, our Pueblo Winter King can aspire to equal that Sakut “Khan of Winter” (photo at left).

I have not heard how the metro Denver “solstice war” is playing out this year — here was the 2015 version — but this year’s astronomical solstice is at 1628 GMT, so 0928 Mountain Time, Thursday the 21st. Perfect for drumming-up.