Merry Meet All,
It is now Christmas eve day. The big day is almost here. I am going to take the next few days off but I wish you all a memorable Yule. I hop Santa is good to you. Tonight I am off to do some baking at my mother's house. So enjoy Yule and the magic of the season.
Merry Meet All,
This post shall focus on a slightly different note. As you may know, from past posts, I am writing my second novel. It is a ghost story and the main character is a Witch. I am in a lot of emotional turmoil lately. It is not the ghost that people are concerned about it is the fact that my character is a Witch.
Well this may be emotional, so if some of you have a problem with that, you can stop reading here. For you braver souls, read on. Well excuse me. Yeah so my mc is a Witch. I can't believe the way I have been treated. It shows that there is still plenty of change to be made. I can't believe people. They have either liked it that she was a Witch or stopped talking to me altogether or told me that I was wrong to cast a main character as a Witch. I feel as though I should apologize. Well. I refuse. I feel true empathy for my main character and I will soldier on.
I know now how Rowling felt or any other author brave enough to stray from the much-beaten path. Even my family members gave me heat about it. Some of them have stopped talking to me. Wow. We have come a long way and thought the worse was behind us only to discover the worst is ahead of us. Well march on, dear soldiers. I am proud of who I am. If some want to flag their ignorance, and berate me for my choice of how I tell my story, let them. Even if they stay silent in not responding to my well sent emails, then it still hurts. People have a right to how they feel. But shouldn't I have rights? Right to peace of mind and freedom to tell my story how I want to without being afraid of being ostracized? I am still editing it and actually I confess to feeling like crap. I am on the precipice of a cliff and don't know if I should turn back or leap. Is it worth the pain, the hate, the experience of being ostracized? Why the hate? What have we done to deserve it?
I refuse to apologize for who I am and for my beliefs and my novel. How else do we remain as individuals? Must we wear the same clothing, believe the same things, become a culture of conformity. We are all diverse and different and multiculture for a reason. I do not know why though I wish we could all learn to learn from each other and live with each other. But hopefully, in future generations, we shall.
We Witches have a right to be proud. My older brother said I couldn't cast a main character as a Witch because readers won't be able to relate to her. Well let's see that leaves out Harry Potter, Hermoine Granger, and Minerva McGonnagall. They were Witches, weren't they? What about Kelley Armstrong? I eventually concluded that he lived under a rock and has not troubled to try to see the light. I won't take him seriously. Well I refuse to trouble myself to change my story to please the moronic muggles. That is what leads to moronic muggle-minded mindless fiction. Some of the best authors are the ones who were brave enough to hold true to their beliefs and their story. Witches walk between the worlds, an act that requires the utmost bravery. I can't please everyone.
As a final note to my rant, has anyone besides me noticed that Witches are treated as evil in movies lately? I noticed it in Red Riding Hood, Brave, Lord of the Rings, and some others. I am deliberately boycotting the upcoming Hansel and Gretel movie. They act as Witch-Hunters. I will not be going to that movie.
I am not Korean or Hispanic. But you don't see me telling someone to be Canadian or they will go to Hell. I tolerate much yet I am tolerated little in turn. Change is ugly and gory. But I hope one day there will be more understanding. I will stand with my shoulders out and my head held high. I attended the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia with no witch hat- but I did wear my cloak, a glittery blue dress I made myself, a circlet, top, and boots. I felt medieval and I looked medieval and it was great. Dare to be different. Dare to stand out. People will stare, so why not make it worth their while?
Lady Spiderwitch )0(
Merry Meet All,
Yay!! The world didn't end. The world was not going to end. It was the end of the Mayan calendar. I remember thinking this morning as I struggled to get out of bed, about the end of the world and the Mayan calendar. I am relieved everything is okay.
So to celebrate, I am proud to share a link with you. My essay on The Crone of Winter Solstice is published on the Ezine Eternal Haunted Summer website. Here is the link:
So enjoy reading my contribution to Eternal Haunted Summer and have a merry solstice!!
Merry Meet All,
Winter Solstice begins tomorrow. I hope you have all been preparing for the big day. You can read the earlier posts for inspiration on how to celebrate Solstice.
People are talking about December 21 being the end of the world. I highly doubt it. If it were true, things would be a lot worse right now.
So cast off the worry of tomorrow being the end of the world- not so- and celebrate Solstice with all your heart. Life will continue on as it always has.
I saw the movie The Hobbit the other night. I was mesmerized by the magic of Middle Earth. I was carried away into the magic of it. I want to see The Hobbit again, for sure. I think Peter Jackson did a beautiful job of The Hobbit. I have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I will reread those magickal, awe-inspiring tales again and again.
Merry Solstice to you all!!
Merry Meet All,
Yule Sabbat Simmering Potpourri is a wonderful gift idea for friends and family!
YULE SABBAT SIMMERING POTPOURRI
To make Yule Sabbat simmering potpourri, you will need the following:
A clean dry Mason jar
pretty list of ingredients paper
dried orange rind (dried in oven and ground in blender or mortar and pestle)
frankincense + myrrh (I ground the resin in a mortar and pestle)
brown paper bag
Mix the above ingredients in your mortar and pestle. Grind them with intent. When you are satisfied with the scent, put the ingredients in a jar, and close the jar with a silver lid. Silver makes the jar look beautiful. Empower and bless a green gemstone and go on a walk or look around your house for some nature findings such as acorns, pinecones, holly, mistletoe, or ivy for the gift. If you find any, add them to the jar. Put the jar on your altar and meditate with the jar in your hands. When your hands grow warm, you have blessed and charmed the jar. Tie a festive ribbon around the jar and tuck in a pine bough and stick with natural or artificial berries. Trim the ribbon and tie it in a bow. Now the jar is ready to be given as a gift to friends or family. Put the jar in a brown paper bag, cover with festive tissue paper, and seal the bag. Give as a gift to your loved ones for Yule!
Merry Meet All,
A light dusting of snow covers the ground outside. When I was younger, the snow would be up to my waist. I know we will get snow in January.
Are you like me? Do you save special yule decorations and hang them on your tree year after year? I do. I have some that are quite special to me. Make a pipecleaner pentacle to hang on your yule tree.
Bend the first stem into a circle, and then overlap the ends by an inch, and twist them closed.
Take the second stem, and make three arms of the star inside the circle. Twist the stems around as you make the points. This will keep it from sliding apart and ruining the efforts.
Take the last stem to create the final two arms of the pentacle. Use the remaining length of the stem to twist into a loop to hang your pentacle.
MAKE YOUR OWN YULE LOG
To make a Yule log, you need the following:
A log that is about14-16" long
Cuttings of mistletoe, holly, pine needles, and ivy
feathers and/ or cinnamon sticks
Red or green ribbon
A hot glue gun
Now wrap the log with the ribbon. Once you have done that, you can begin gluing the other items onto the Yule log. Glue on the cinnamon sticks, berries, and ivy. Then once you have decorated your log, decide what to do with it. It may make a lovely centerpiece and you can burn it in your fireplace or in a fire pit outside.
Well I hope you find other great crafts to make this Yule, and that you enjoy the Yule season with your friends and family. Merry Yule!!
I recently ordered a pentacle cookie stamp for Yule baking. You can try pressing a pentacle or other Yule symbol into your holiday baking. You will transfer the energy into whatever you are cooking! Pentacles represent earth energy and that corresponds with the earth energy. As you eat the cookies, you take that energy into you.
Merry Meet All,
Yule is almost here! Yule is eight days away. I have been preparing here for the big day. I decorated my apartment with what I aleady own and am making Yule incense. I dried orange peel in the oven. Every time I open the container, it smells great. I also checked my candle supply. It's a good thing that mini candles and tealights are affordable. I received my pentagram cookie stamp in the owl mail this week. I am all set to do some holiday baking too. I sent Christmas cards to my favorite people and near and dear.
I also have to think about possibly spending Christmas with my non pagan family. I am not looking forward to it. I stand out like a sore thumb. I have already been attacked by them for my religious views and lifestyle. I do not feel like experiencing that again. I would almost prefer to spend the day alone. My older brother wants nothing to do with me because of what I am and yet my family accuses me of being judgemental.
So I have to decide what to do. Some family members will be upset if I don't show up, but if I do, I am walking into the proverbial starved lion's den. So I think that I wil make it clear ahead of time that I do not want to be gobbled up by the lion or fed to its cubs. It does not make sense to me that I should spend time with people who hate me the rest of the year and paste smiles on our faces. Pass the gravy with the kitchen knife, please?
I am sure there are many other pagans experiencing the same thing or feeling nervous about attending Christmas dinner. Well remember to stay calm, avoid drinking too much alchohol, and to try not to argue with (closeminded) family members. Alcohol makes you say things you may regret. Remind yourself that you are visiting and thank the Goddess that you do not need to live with these muggles. You do eventually get to go back home to your sage and salt and altar. There, you can let out your frustrations till next Yule.
Merry Meet All,
Nine more days till Winter Solstice! Are you all excited? I am. We have learned much of the ancient traditions and rituals performed by the ancient Druids, Norse, and Celts. Now it is time for how to bring those traditions to the modern day. Much of the lore and traditions is still done to this day. Here is a ritual you can try to honor the Winter Solstice.
DECORATING THE ALTAR
Clean your altar and put a fresh altar cloth on it. Use a cool color for an altar cloth to reflect the cool colors of winter, such as white, silver, deep blue. Use green and red candles and evergreen boughs. Place pinecones on your altar too. Use silver and gold colors.
SYMBOLS OF WINTER
Yule is a Sabbat about the returning of the sun. Use a solar symbol on the altar. Gold discs, yellow or gold candles can represent the sun. Add sprigs of holly, ivy, pinecones, a Yule log, reindeer, and other fertility symbols.
WELCOME BACK THE SUN RITUAL
Prepare a feast prior to the ritual. Cornbread, buttered rum, cranberry dressing, stew, and shortbread cookies would be appropriate. Put candles on your table or altar. Do not light the candles yet. Face all the candles and say:
The wheel of the year has turned,
the nights grow cold and long.
Tonight, the darkness is in retreat,
light glows over the earth again.
As the wheel continues to spin,
the sun returns to us once more.
Light the sun candle, and say:
Even in the darkest hours,
in the longest nights,
the spark of life flickers ever brightly.
The spark glows on Winter Solstice eve,
and the darkness retreats again.
Beginning with the candles closest to the sun candle, light each one and work your way outward. As you light each candle, say:
As the wheel turns, light returns.
Repeat this until all the candles are burning bright. Say:
The light of the sun shines now,
shadows wane, light returns.
Pause to consider what the return of the sun means to you. Enjoy the feast and celebrate with eggnog or other refreshments. Bask in the glow of your candles and extinguish the candles from the outside of your altar towards the center. Leave the sun candle for last.
Merry Meet All,
Yesterday I was out on a walk on the nature trail. I had wanted a yule log and the first day when I didn't see anything that would be suitable, I gave up. Yesterday I was on my walk and I saw a log on the ground. Perfect, I thought. I picked it up and took it home. It is sitting in my garden, waiting.
However, I don't have a fire pit or a fireplace. So I will have to figure out something. That is the tradition. People burn a yule log on Winter Solstice. It is a Scandinavian tradition. That's great, because I am part Scandinavian, and I have been enjoying learning more of my family background and the ancient traditions.
Join with family and friends for the Yule log burning ritual. Enjoy food and wine and make an offering to the deities. Yule logs bring good luck, so keep a piece of the wood for next year's Yule log burning ritual. Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning wheel, when the wheel of the year is about to rise again.
ANCIENT YULE TRADITIONS
The tradition began in Scandinavia and predates Christianity by thousands of years. They celebrated the Feasts of the Dead and honored Odin, the god of intoxicating drink and ecstasy, and the god of Death. Their customs varied from region to region. They left offerings after their feasts to appease the Yuletide ghosts. The origins of the Yule log were traced back to the Midwinter festivals when the Norsemen indulged in the revelry of feasting and watching the fire leap around the burning Yule log in the home hearths.
Winter Solstice symbolized the return of the light. The days grew longer and the sun began its return. The Scandinavian lasted for twelve days. That was how the tradition began of the twelve days of Christmas. Some Christmas traditions are steeped in ancient Yule traditions. At Midwinter, the Vikings honored their Asa Gods with much religious rituals and feasting. They sacrificed animals such as boars to Frey, the God of fertility, to ensure a growing season in the coming year. The meat was cooked and enjoyed at the feast.
The first night of Yule, which is celebrated for twelve days, is called The Mothernight, and is when Frigga and the Disir, are honored. The Mothernight is the rebirth of the world from darkness. A vigil is held from dusk to dawn. At Yule, the gods and goddesses are close to Midgard. Their deities were known as 'Yule-Beings'. Odin is called Jolnir, the "Yule-One" and is where Santa Claus originates from.
They burned a huge sunwheel, which was lit on fire and rolled down a hill to encourage the sun to return. This may be the origin of the Christmas wreath. Another Viking tradition was the decorating of evergreen trees with food and clothing, statues of their beloved deities, and runes to entice the tree spirits to return in the spring. They believed the Mistletoe could resurrect the dead. This belief is based on a legend about the resurrection of Baldur, God of Light and Goodness, who was killed by a mistletoe arrow. Frigga cried for Baldur and her tears turned the red berries white.
I hope you enjoy reading about the origins of many traditions we celebrate today. I hope I do find a way to burn my Yule log. I would be proud to partake in an ancient tradition that was honored by the ancient Vikings and their gods and goddesses.
Merry Meet All,
Mistletoe, holly, ivy, and pine are the mainstay of the Yule tradition. Today we will look at what is so magickal about mistletoe. The Druids valued mistletoe. They harvested mistletoe from oak trees with golden sickles. They collected it under a waxing moon phase, and then fed to their livestock to ensure fertility. They sacrificed white bulls to appease the gods and if their prayers were heard, then prosperity would be showered down upon the villages.
The Druids loved oak and mistletoe. They held rituals, such as on "the sixth day of the moon," the plant is cut with great ceremony using a sickle-bladed knife." (Pliny.) Mistletoe is a parasite and grows high on trees, especially on oak trees.
"For they believe that whatever grows on these trees is sent from heaven, and is a sign that the tree has been chosen by the gods themselves. The mistletoe is rarely to be met with; but when it is found, they gather it with great solemnity ceremony. This they do above all on the sixth day of the moon, from whence they date the beginnings of their months, of their years, and of their thirty years cycle, because by the sixth day the moon has plenty of vigor and has not run half its course.
After due preparations have been made for a sacrifice and a feast under the tree, they hail it as the universal healer and bring to the spot two white bulls, whose horns have never been bound before. A priest clad in a white robe climbs the tree and with a golden sickle cuts the mistletoe, which is caught in a white cloth. Then they sacrifice the victims, praying that the gods will make their gifts propitious to those to whom they have given it." (Pliny)
Ivy was also considered one of the strongest trees, because it could strangle an oak. Ivy was counted among the sacred evergreens and associated with the Otherworld.
The Norse have an ancient tradition in connection with mistletoe. The traditional custom was that if you were out in the woods, and you found yourself standing under the mistletoe, you both had to lay down arms until the following day. The ancient Scandinavian custom led to the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. The tradition went hand-in-hand with a Norse myth, the myth of Baldur.
THE MYTH OF BALDUR
Baldur's mother was the Norse goddess, Frigga. When he was born, Frigga made each and every animal and inaminate object promise not to harm Baldur. But she overlooked the mistletoe. Loki, the ever mischievous god that he was, tricked one of the other gods into killing Baldur with a spear made from mistletoe. Hermes had to travel to Hel and back to resurrect Baldur. Every last living thing had to weep for Baldur. Only a giantess did not weep for Baldur. His ressurection was ruined.
A variation of the story from the Prose Edda. After the death of Baldur, it was decided that thenceforth mistletoe would bring love into the world rather than death, and any two people passing under mistletoe would exchange a kiss in honor of Baldur. Others say that the tears that Frigga shed for the slain Baldur became the mistletoe berries.
Mistletoe is considered an aphrodisiac and fertility herb. Mistletoe was regarded with awe by ancient peoples. Mistletoe remained green in the winter and the trees which it fed on did not.
Now you know the origins of the traditions of mistletoe. Tomorrow we will look at more yule traditions.
Merry Meet All,
There are fourteen more days till Winter Solstice. I hope you are all excited! The moon is in the waning crescent phase. The waning moon is a time of for study, meditation, and to do magick to banish harmful energies. The next Full Moon occurs on December 28, 2012.
I bought the Wild Wisdom of Faery Oracle Guidebook by Lucy Cavendish. The artwork is by Selina Fenech. This deck is AMAZING! As soon as I took it home with me, I felt a connection to the deck. The artwork is beautiful. I love this deck because I feel it really does reflect faerys' essence. The images on the cards are stunning. At the top of each card is a number, a regular number, not a Roman numeral. The theme of the card is written at the bottom of each card and a few keywords. For instance, card number 4 is the StoryKeeper card. The keywords are "Tell your story, Legacy, Write your wisdom". The image is of a faery seated on a throne. The face of the Green Man looks out at you from the top of the throne. The faery is writing her wisdom in a thick book. She looks relaxed and dreamy. Her long dark curly hair trails past her feet. Bare trees stand in the background. How can you not be inspired? A book accompanies the deck. This book too reflects faery wisdom and is quite thick. The artwork is beautiful. The artist survived cancer and completed the artwork for the deck. That must not have been an easy feat. I would highly recommend purchasing and using this deck. You will not regret it.
Speaking of magick, here are some 'cool' spells to cast this winter. Build a snowman as a poppet. Empower the snowman with the magickal task of being a guardian at the entrance to your property.
Channel your bad energy or bad luck into snowballs and throw them as far away as you can. The snowballs will banish the bad energy.
I love this spell! If someone is bothering you and won't leave you alone, write their name on a slip of paper, and put the paper in an ice cube tray. Add camphor to the ice water and put the ice cube tray in the freezer. Leave the tray there and do not remove it till the person "chills" out. It does not hurt anyone and it does work.
Go for a walk in the woods. Watch the snow falling softly and listen to the silence. You might receive a message from the Divine.
Merry Meet All,
Yule is a merry and festive season. You will want to celebrate knowing all of the correspondences for Yule. Here they are but feel free to be inventive.
Candles in red, white, and green colors would be appropriate. Try pilar or taper shaped candles and layer holly or ivy around them for a rustic look. Incorporate a sunwheel to symbolize the returning of the sun.
Herbs for Yule are mistletoe, holly, ivy, balsam and fir, pine needles, oak leaves, cinnamon, bay laurel, frankincense and myrrh, nutmeg and cloves, and dried orange peel. To dry orange peel, save the peel from those delicious mandarin oranges. Scatter the one-inch orange peel pieces on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 150%. Remove from oven after three hours and let dry overnight. Store in a sealed container. Place in a blender to create a powder.
Amethyst, clear quartz, citrine, diamond, jet, kunzite, ruby, and sodalite. You can also choose gemstones that correspond with the cool colors of winter.
PREPARING YOUR ALTAR
Use royal shades of colors for your altar. Consider the cool shades of winter with the warmth of evergreen. Use bayberry, pine, spruce, spice, cedar and cinnamon incense. Mix it together and combine to make a herbal sachet. Decorate your altar with holly, ivy, pine and pine cones, and ash twigs in the cauldrons. Nine woods in the cauldron go!
Bayberry, ginger, rosemary, saffron, sage, sandalwood are all appropriate for Yule.
Gold, green, red, silver and white.
TOOLS, SYMBOLS, AND DECORATIONS
Candles, evergreen boughs, holly, Yule logs, sunwheels, wreaths, bells, wassailing cup and bowl. Some altar decorations can be athames, pine cones, wreaths and sunwheels. Use something that could represent the Sun God.
The Great Mother, the Snow Queen, Persephone, Rhiannon, Morrigan, Freya, and Demter.
Sun Child, Odin, the Oak King, and the Holly King.
I hope this helps you enjoy the festive season of Yule!
Merry Meet All,
Winter Solstice celebrates the return of the sun. The Norsemen of Northern Europe viewed the sun as a wheel that changed the seasons. The Celtic Druids cut mistletoe from oak trees and blessed the mistletoe. Many of the traditions we follow today were practiced by the Celts.
We honor the Crone during Yule, or the Winter Solstice. Yule is derived from the Norse word Jul, meaning 'reborn'. The Crone is symbolic of life, death, and rebirth. She is the gatekeeper of death and transformation. The Crone's cauldron is a vessel of rebirth. Winter brings rest to the earth and reminds us of mortality. What is born dies and what dies is reborn. We all return to the earth.
Here is a meditation to honor the Crone during Winter Solstice. You can perform the meditation indoors but try to perform it outdoors if you can. Prepare yourself and your sacred space with a purification ritual. Smudge your meditation area with sandalwood, frankincense, and/or sage, all of which possess purifying qualities. Take three deep cleansing breaths for your mind, body, and spirit. Allow yourself to be open to any messages you may receive and be open to meeting the Crone.
If you do perform the ritual outdoors, make sure you will be safe and bring your ritual tools with you. Light a dark colored candle. The colors that represent the Crone are dark blue, purple, black and dark green.
Sit in a comfortable chair or on the floor, or ground. Wear a ritual robe and a crown of holly or ivy. Burn a Yule log during the ritual. Light some fragrant incense such as frankincense, cinnamon, and/or myrrh, which are appropriate for Yule. Think of how our ancestors celebrated Yule. They prayed to the gods to bring back the light.
Close your eyes and visualize a mist showering over you until the light surrounds you. Relax your entire body. You are standing in a magical forest. You pass through a parted veil and enter the woods to meet the Crone. You can sit down on a tree stump or boulder. You hear animals around you. You are rooted to the cold earth and feel its energies around you.
Wind stirs the leaves on the fallen trees. Old rotted tree trunks surround you, covered in moss and faded leaves. Small birds burrow through the tangled and aged tree branches to their nests. Sounds grow louder: birds' songs, wind, and the creak of the boughs. The deep stillness fills your soul. Your feet grow cold and tingle. A peace fills you as you feel the pulse of this forest. The ground is matted in leaves and pinecones.
You see someone standing before you and realize she is the Crone. She blends with Nature and yet you know she is the Crone. Greet the Crone reverently. Leave an offering of mistletoe and apples. Ask for a message or a prayer for healing or something to aid you in your spiritual development. She will bless you with her wisdom. Before you leave, thank her for her presence and guidance.
Leave the forest and return your awareness to the room you in. When you are ready, open your eyes. Be sure to ground and center yourself. Visualize roots extending from the soles of your feet into the earth and draw up energy. If you are outdoors, relax before jumping to your feet to leave.
Pay attention to any messages or auspicious signs that you may encounter in dreams or a meditation. Sometimes, auspicious signs emerge in your daily life, like an image on a tarot card. Reflect on the messages of the signs and note them in your journal.
Ask yourself if you accomplished everything you wanted to and if you grew in your spiritual development in the past year. Think about what you might learn from the Crone. She is the great teacher of mysteries of life. The Crone reminds us we are all mortal and death is a natural fact of life. Winter is the time for introspection, meditation, and prayer. We have much to learn from the Crone and to be aware of her cycles of life, death, and rebirth.
Merry Meet All,
Stockings hung by the chimney with care, visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. It is that time of year again. Here is a good craft idea that will be lots of fun for the whole family.
Make a template. Draw the shape of a stocking on a piece of cardboard. Now here you are allowed room for creativity. The stocking can be the shape and size you want. Cut it to your desired size and shape.
Draw on the felt. Draw on the wrong side of the fabric so the drawing marks don't show. Fold the felt in half or use two seperate pieces. Place the template on the felt and trace around it with chalk.
Pin the felt. Use pins to attach the two pieces of felt together. Place the pins evenly and neatly in the fabric. Place pins in straight on the material. Do not use bent or broken pins.
Before you sew the two pieces of felt together, give some thought to how you want to decorate the stocking. Also, give thought to the color of the stocking. You can do any color you want. I saw gorgeous cream-colored stockings with beautiful embroidery and beads at Chapters. I also saw silver-colored stockings there with the same embroidery and beadwork. You can be really decorative or really simple. It is all up to you and how attractive you want your stocking to look. Tie ribbons around the top of the stockings. Embroider a special someone's initials onto the stocking for a personalized touch.
Press the fabric with an iron. Pressing out the rough edges of the fabric ensures a smoother look to the stocking.
Sew the two pieces of felt together by sewing machine. Using a sewing machine ensures that the stocking will look great. Trim the material with pinking shears. Make a hole in the corner of the top of the stocking and run a length of cord through the hole. Tie a knot in one end. Thread the other end through the hole in the stocking and tie it into a knot. Tie both ends together to make a loop.
Decorate the stocking by gluing beads on in a snowflake pattern, or any other pattern you can think of. It is easier to decorate the stocking before you sew the two pieces of felt together.
Now that you know how to make stockings, you can make them for your family, friends, and even pets. They will love receiving such thoughtful gifts. Remember to hang the stockings by the chimney with care. Tuck in cinnamon sticks, mandarin orangs, nuts, and pine for a wintry scent.
Merry Meet All,
Yule is a magical time of year. Trees adorn our homes and shimmering snowflakes drift by the windows. The chilly nights force us indoors, when families and friends share in festive fun. This article will show you how to make Yule crafts for gift ideas and decorations.
Here is a Yule incense recipe to share with friends. You can feel free to adapt it to your needs.
Mix together the following ingredients: Juniper berries, cedar, pine resin and needles, mugwort, cinnamon, rosemary and bay laurel leaves. Blend them together, stirring deosil (clockwise), and send positive vibrations into the incense. Decide whether you want the incense mixture to be made into sticks and cones, or as loose incense. Fill a shallow pot with water and add your herbs to the water. The herbal simmering potpourri will make your home smell beautiful.
As you blend the ingredients, focus on your intent. The wintry scent evokes aromas of a cold December night. You can use it during a ritual or to purify prior to a ritual. Measure carefully and store the incense in a sealed and dry glass jar. Never store herbs in a damp jar or the herbs will mold. Label and date the jar. Keep out of sunlight. Store in a clean jar and tie a ribbon or raffia around the lid. "Other ingredients to add are: dried orange peel, cloves, allspice, elder berries, holly, or lemon zest.
Pinecones make great ornaments. Go on a nature walk to find some pinecones and acorns. Clean the cones and acorns, remembering to thank the trees for sharing their seeds. Rinse the pinecones under cold running water and put them on a baking sheet. Bake at 250 degrees for twenty minutes. The pinecones open up and the bacteria die. The sap dries and leaves a pretty sheen on the pinecones.
Last year at Yule, I painted a pinecone with silver paint and sprinkled the cone with silver glitter. The pinecone looked beautiful. Alternatively, you can put pinecones once coated with clear paint or glue, and silver glitter, into a Ziploc bag and shake the cones. Allow the cones to dry, tie a ribbon onto the pinecones, and place on your tree or a mantle to grace your home with rustic beauty and fragrance.
CINNAMON STICK BUNDLES
Bundle a few cinnamon sticks with a pretty ribbon or twine. Tie a bow and a loop at the top. Glue on pine or dried flowers, and sprigs of holly. Tuck the stems under the holly and use as a tree ornament.
Use a four-inch square of festive fabric. In the center, put a tablespoon of a scented herbal mixture. See the incense recipe above for inspiration. Bring the ends of the fabric together. Tie the ends with ribbon or twine, making a pouch with the herb mixture inside. Tuck a sprig of holly or a cinnamon or pine into the twine or ribbon.
YULE EPSOM SALTS MIX
The holidays can be stressful with relatives visiting and holiday shopping. The best gift for a friend is one that relieves stress. Here is an Epsom salts mix to reduce the stress of the season.
You will need the following: a large clean stainless steel bowl, a spoon, a measuring cup, a jar, a ribbon, cardstock (for label tags), sea salts, peppermint essential oil, and a candy cane, Epsom salts, and glycerin.
Empty the Epsom salts into the mixing bowl. Add the sea salts. Stir in the glycerin and add six drops of the essential oil. Focus on your intent as you mix the ingredients. As you stir deosil, add your energies to the mixture. Stir until blended. Add the salts to the jars carefully. Create a tag for the jar and attach to the jars. Tie a ribbon around the jar and tie on a candy cane. Peppermint is zesty and invigorating, and evokes memories of Yule in the country.
You can also put some sea salts into a separate bowl and add food coloring. As you put the Epsom salts and sea salts into the jar, alternate between the Epsom salts and the red sea salts to add color to the mixture.
These crafts are easy to do and affordable. I hope you enjoy these crafts and that you have a merry Yule season.
Merry Meet All,
Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere. There are twenty-four hours of sunlight south of the Antarctic circle. It is the longest night of the year. Winter Solstice is a time for celebration to coax back the sun. The Latin term for solstice is sun set still. Winter Solstice is the stillness before the Sun's strength returns. It is time to reflect on the fruitful dark earth from which life eventually emerges.
The Celts celebrated Solstice by holding bonfires to keep darkness away. The year's shortest day and longest night was honored with the coming dawn. The Sun had won over darkness. The Sun was reborn. The Norse held feasts to honor the Solstice.
This marked the "nether" time that began at Samhain, when the spirits roamed freely across the land. The otherworldly portals closed for another year. The time for the growing light nears, the time of the spring Equinox approaches.
The Yule celebration comes from the legendary battle between the Oak King and the Holly King. The Oak King represents the light half of the year and the Oak King represents the dark half of the year.
ORIGINS OF SANTA CLAUS
There are a few theories about the origins of Santa Claus. He was originally based on St. Nicholas, an early fourth-century Bishop from Turkey. He was influenced from early Norse religion. If you know your lore and mythology, then you may have guessed at who I am referring to. Yes, Odin. Odin wore a long white beard much like Santa.
Odin had a mighty horse called Sleipnir, who had eight legs. Sleipnir was compared to the eight reindeer that pull Santa's sleigh. Sleipnir could leap great distances.
During the winter, children would leave offerings in their boots near the chimney, filling the boots with treats for Sleipnir. Odin rewarded them with treats. The tradition survived the adoption of Christianity. Today we hang stockings rather than boots by the chimney. The Dutch settlers called him SinterKlaas, which later became Santa Claus. That is the origin of Santa Claus.
Merry Meet All,
Today is December 1st. Winter Solstice is coming up on December 21st. The Snow moon of November just passed. The moon is waning and is in Cancer. The Celtic Tree Month Between starts on Dec. 23rd. Today the sun is shining. I saw frost on the cars parked in the driveway.
The upcoming posts will help prepare you for a magical, memorable Yule! Winter Solstice, is magical and serene, different from Samhain's chaotic energy. I saw a squirrel eating seeds, perched on a tree the other day. They are storing food for the cold winter ahead. We can prepare too. The upcoming posts will cover Yule lore, correspondences of Yule, how to make Yule stockings, Yule baking, incenses, candles and herbs for Yule, and traditions and rituals for Yule.
The Hobbit will be in theaters soon. Be sure to see it. You can view the trailer on my blog. Currently I am working on creating a fairy tale book for my niece as a Christmas present for her this year. I plan to make it very Celtic. I hope she likes her gift.
So enjoy candy canes and cider and stay tuned for posts on how to celebrate Yule this year!!