holiday

Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

February, 2019

Imbolc Planned and Explored

February is the month of Brigid, the hearth fires are tended, the seeds are readied for planting, and spell work done in February focuses on purification, growth, and healing. Loving the self is the theme throughout the month of February; after all, how you love your self will teach everyone in your sphere of influence how to love you. This is a time for kindness to be extended inward. In addition, the energies in February are peek for accepting responsibility for past mistakes and forgiving yourself while you make plans for the future.

This month, I focus on spell crafting and making sigils. A sigil is a combination of symbols that are placed together with intent and are fashioned to become the embodiment of your intention. For instance, I may use the Theban Alphabet (aka the Witch’s Runes) to fashion a Sigil for a spell. If you’re not acquainted with the Theban Alphabet, a quick Google® search will lead you to the alphabet easily enough. Here is an example of a Sigil, the word is “Love” and I used the Theban Alphabet and then placed the letters together to represent how the “love” could represent itself in my spell crafting. Sigils have many uses in magical workings and it is my belief that when I make a sigil, all of my intent and purpose in the spell is crafted into the sigil and it facilitates my workings by manifesting a physical thing that I can see and use as a reminder or a representation of the working. The entire process of me devising my own sigil puts my intention into the sigil and the meaning is carried through the work. Some people use Runes, Theban Alphabet, Zodiac Signs, Sacred Symbols, and a myriad of other representations of their intention. Even a “doodle” can be a sigil; I have used “doodles” in sigil work as well. The beauty of the craft is that it is your own and you must walk the path, therefore, I am neither right nor wrong, I simply am being the best person I know how to be, and I use the craft to facilitate that idea until it becomes my practice.

The month of February is also the month when I plant my seed for the coming harvests which are Lammas (aka Lughnasadh), Mabon, and Samhain. I rarely plant more than one seed per harvest because I do not like to set myself up for failure by taking on too much when I am working on my own personal evolution. Every year, my seed work manifests during the dark times, between Samhain and Yule and, ordinarily, by Yule I would have begun the ascent from the dark days of self-contemplation with a seed virtually budding and ready for planting. This year was a bit different for me. I have reduced my seed work to a short mantra that has volition and purpose and the intention of the seed work is to write it down on a piece of paper, plant it in a pot with a bulb of some sort – usually Amaryllis because they remind me of my mother – and I nurture that seed daily. Nurturing your seed includes lighting a candle every day, watering, and speaking the mantra out loud every day in front of the seed. This not only reinforces your working, but it sets the tone for the rest of your year. Seed work is always internal work, always something for my highest and best good, and sometimes it is painful. The pain is sometimes like that of my youth, when my long bones ached, and my mother would tell me that someday I would be big and strong and able to do things that I cannot do as a child. I remind myself of that in the midst of any pain that seed work can deliver. I plant the seed on Imbolc (aka Candlemas), February 2, and I tend it daily.

The Goddess Brigid is a focal Deity for me during the month of February, She tends the hearth fires, and Her aspects encompass healing, poetry, and smith crafting. I usually start to play with making chain mail pieces during the month of February, an homage to Brigid’s forge, this year is a pentacle keychain made from chain mail. Of course, February also celebrates the Chinese New Year, with 2019 being “The Year of the Pig” and there may be messages meant for us to receive from Pig this month. They are extremely intelligent animals and have quirky qualities about them, it’s worth a look into them if you’re one of the people who looks for messages from the animal world

February also celebrates Valentine’s Day, and Brigid shares aspects of healing, childbirth, and unity with this celebration. Perhaps you have experienced a broken heart, Brigid can help to soothe that pain and ease the immediate shock of loss, while other aspects of this Goddess also serve to help is with new relationships and the flames of love that most tend to fan during this celebration. For pregnant Pagans, Brigid is often sought to lend Her energies to mother’s during birth. There is no union more sacred than that of a mother and newborn child

As the light begins to return, the darkness begins to wane and we have planted our seeds and February marks the time of year when tending to seed work is important not only in terms of personal growth, but also in how deeply we plant our seed so that the roots take hold and we experience positive, permanent change for the greater good; not only for ourselves, but for the world in which we interact. On the 19th of February we experience a Full Moon in Virgo and with this super full moon comes energies that are prime for completing tasks, putting order into your world, settling chaos, and maybe even trying to grasp a deeper understanding that we live in an imperfect world and must strive for balance during this time.

As Brigid’s month comes to a close, we must be mindful of tending the seeds that we have planted so that our harvest is well tended, our fields well-watered, and that we take the time, on a daily basis, to check in with our spiritual wellness, physical presence, and emotional stability. February is not just a month of exchanging cards and chocolates with our lovers. February is a month of self-awareness and love of the self. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself well. Remember, how you love and treat yourself teaches those around you how to love and treat you. So be kind to yourself.

As a Pagan and a Witch who works in a professional setting, I carry my working Book of Shadows with me to work and everywhere else that I go. I am often referring to it throughout the busy work day or it may even be open on my desk for quick reference. Sometimes, people carry with them a certain vibe or they become negative or speak in a negative manner. When this happens in front of me, I like to dispel the negative energy as quickly as I am able. Because I am out and about and not in my home, I cannot smudge in my office, I cannot use my bell to dispense the negativity, nor would it be professional to cleanse the area with dance and fire. However, I have found an answer to all of the negativity that could potentially linger and that is by placing themed shaker cards in my working Book of Shadows. They are beautiful, easy to keep accessible, and they work like a dream! All I do is remove the shaker card from my working Book of Shadows, take a long look at the beauty in my hands, center myself, and give that shaker card a few shakes and before the last bit of glitter settles…calm and peace is restored. My shaker cards are commissioned by my friend, Suzy Meza, and she makes these fantastic cards to order. As I will do with each and every month, the resources, shop and group links can be found at the end of the article.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI® CHP Extension Packs:

https://www.meandmybigideas.com

CHP Custom Cover & Foiled Pentacle Stickers by Claire McNamee:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BubsLovesBubba

Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/gichiscraftcorner

February Monthly and Weekly Stickers by Shirley Lenhard are free at the Pagan Plannertarium:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/217392179039705/

February Cover Page – Shoot for the Stars – Recollections® “Constellations” paper pad & Miscellaneous Washi tapes:

Available at Michael’s and other craft retailers

***

About the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

3 Pagans and a Cat Monthly Feature

February, 2019

3 Pagans and a Cat Podcast3 Pagans and a Cat Podcast

Three Paths, One Journey, No Cat

In this highly informative & entertaining podcast, three family members embroiled in wildly divergent traditions gather in one room to discuss, debate, and flat-out argue about their magical, mythical, and mundane lives, all for our education and pleasure.

***

Each Month… we will share the previous month’s episodes with you from their site to help keep you up-to-date with their impressive podcast. While there, don’t forget to listen to this month’s as well, we wouldn’t want you to miss a thing!

January 2019 Podcasts

Episode 28: Fire Festival – Imbolc: You thought Car, Gwyn, and Ode had said all they had to say on the subject of holidays, but lo: they’re back for another year of talking at each other about the deeper significance of fire festivals and cross quarters, starting with Imbolc. Are there things yet to learn about Brigid, lambing season, and the start of spring? …well, listen and find out, what do I look like, a prophet?

Episode 29: Liminal 2 – Electrical Boogaloo: Car, Gwyn, and Ode are back for another round of discussion and strong opinions about the role of gender and sexuality in paganism, including a discussion of queer deities, fertility outside heteronormativity, and the deliberateness of inclusion.

This Month’s Podcast Share from their Backlog

Episode 8: Building Your Book – Dedication: Car, Gwyn, and Ode continue the Building Your Book series by talking about dedicating your book (and yourself), cleansing (or not cleansing) your book, and magical methods for protecting your book from prying eyes.

Where Else to Find 3 Pagans and a Cat…

Their Website: http://www.3pagansandacat.com

Their Twitter: https://twitter.com/3_Pagans

Their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/3PaaC

Their YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0GJacu9SUzuumXJNNUZwQ

Their G+: https://plus.google.com/u/2/collection/oCWVXE

Remember …

You can always support your favorite podcasts with a donation. Every bit helps to keep them going.

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Imbolc Correspondences

February, 2019

( Bringer of Light for Imbolc Limited Edition Print by Amanda Clark of Earth Angels s on etsy. )

February 1, 2

Other Names: Imbolg (im-molc)(em-bowl’g) (Celtic), Candlemas (Christian), Brigantia (Caledonii), Oimelc, Festival of Light, Brigid’s (Brid, Bride) Day, La Fheill, An Fheille Bride, Candelaria (Mexico), Chinese New Year, Disting-tid (Feb 14th, Teutonic), DisaBlot, Anagantios, Lupercalia/Lupercus (Strega), Groundhog Day, Valentines Day.

Animals & Mythical Beings: Firebird, dragon, groundhog, deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from hibernation.

Gemstones: Amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise.

Incense/Oil: Jasmine, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, and wisteria, apricot, carnation.

Colors/Candles: Brown, pink, red, orange, white, lavender, pale yellow, silver.

Tools,Symbols, & Decorations: White flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid wheel, Brigid’s cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride’s Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood, snowflakes, snow in a crystal container, evergreens, homemade besom of dried broom, orange candle anointed in oil (see above)can be used to symbolize the renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.

Goddesses: Virgin Goddess, Venus, Diana, Februa, Maiden, Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Brigid, Selene(Greek), Branwen(Manx-Welsh).

Gods: Young Sun Gods, Pan, Cupid/Eros (Greco-Roman), Dumuzi(Sumerian).

Essence: Conception, initiation, insight, inspiration, creativity, mirth, renewal, dedication, breath of life, life-path, wise counsel, plan, prepare.

Meaning: First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter.

Purpose: Honoring the Virgin Goddess, festival of the Maiden/Light.

Rituals & Magicks: Cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk & bread.

Customs: Lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting.

Foods: Dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seeds, poppyseed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes, waffles, herbal tea.

Herbs: Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers, willow.

Element: Earth

Gender: Female

Threshold: Midnight

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

February, 2019

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times For Imbolc February 2019

Bright Blessings!

Oh my, did the Winter Hag hit us last night. In Central Ohio we got I don’t know how many inches of snow- which would be fine- except we got solid ice underneath it first. I can’t walk my dog in certain parts of the grass or we will slide away!

The plows, salt trucks, and sidewalk clearing is in full swing. I only had to shovel my front stoop, as a neighbor shoveled the walk before our helpers got here. Not bad, but I am aching all over- as it’s only 8 degrees, and my body revolts against the cold.

There is ice frozen inside of our vintage 1970 windows, and I am wearing double layers and sitting under a blanket, as is the dog.

The cats are sound asleep, and while I have a cup of hot mint with black tea, my husband has started his coffee ritual. We all know what that means. Nothing happens before coffee!

There is beef stew cooked already for supper, and we will probably make some tacos as well. I am sore, exhausted, and I know it’s due to the cold.

I am one of THOSE people. This weather has knocked me out.

I am more than in the mindset to think about Spring. I’m thankful we are close to another turning of the Wheel, and I look forward to when I can hear more birds singing, and I can see the thaw, and the wildflowers poking through the forest floor.

Imbolc

Possibly one of my least favorite Sabbats- because it is bloody cold, Imbolc is both a blessing, and just another stepping stone moving us towards warmer days, and the growing season.

Halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, it was traditionally celebrated in Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Mann. In a nutshell, the animals would be lactating, or producing milk, so people had a feast, thanked their gods, and had a good old time.

So, it was, and is a seasonal harvest type celebration, but it was so much more than that.

It was celebrating the goddess Brigid.

Ceremony was used to ask her to come into the home to bless and protect the people and livestock. Beds so she could accept hospitality would be laid for her, and special foods set out. Everybody wanted the goddess to come into their home and protect them and guide them into the coming Spring.

Winter is a scary time. Even today, ice can knock out electricity, and what if you can’t even afford electricity? It’s cold! Reports of the poor and homeless freezing to death are in the news every Winter. Imagine how much scarier it used to be hundreds of years ago, and how grateful people were for both the milk, and the thaw which heralded the fact Spring would indeed come. The Wheel was and is turning again, and people are very very happy about that.

The Winter Hag

But while Brigid might be a goddess of light and life, some would say in Winter, she is her hag aspect.

She goes by different names depending on what part of the British Isles she is being talked about. For some, she’s Beira, and she washes her plaid on the Loch until it is pure white, and she spreads it upon the land, making snow. For some, she is called the Cailleach.

Beira uses her hammer to make mountains and valleys, and uses her staff to make it cold and wintry. She rules from November 1- Samhain, to Beltaine- May 1, and she is VERY resistant to give over her rule to Brigid, who rules from May 1- to November 1. Some even say she gives power to Brigid as early as Imbolc although some say it’s as late as Beltaine. Some say the early Spring snows are Beira’s way of trying to stay in power!

In many ways these stories express human beings way of trying to explain seasons before modern science, but in many ways, they express the duality of our own lives as well.

Light and Dark

Who among us has never been a vivacious, lively person one moment, only to endure a period of personal darkness, tragedy, or illness? Just like the goddess.

As for many of us the goddess IS the earth, these stories speak to us. When it’s the warmer seasons, the goddess- aka earth- produces abundantly. Like in our own lives, when all is well and we are at our best, we are more capable, and get more done successfully. Likewise, when we are sick, suffering, sad, or just upset, we are not at our best, and fall fallow- like the earth, or the goddess in Winter.

As my memory is not what it used to be, and I have done a LOT of reading over the years, I cannot pinpoint exactly what stories express what I am about to share.

But I have read many stories about people hearing a knock at their door in the night, and an old hag asks hospitality, sometimes just to warm herself at their fire. In the stories, it turns out this is no ordinary old woman, but either a powerful witch who blesses the family if they are kind to her, or curses them if they are unkind. In some stories, it’s the goddess coming for a bit of comfort.

The moral of these stories is not so much to try and be rewarded for all the good we do, but to remember those who are struggling, who need our help.

Also, you never know who somebody who looks to be a down and out old bag of nothing actually is. Everybody is important and deserves comfort and alleviation of suffering. Let us never forget there will come a day when we, too may be that pitiful creature begging for hospitality.

The Living Saint

One of my personal heroes was Mother Theresa, who, to me, was a living embodiment of the goddess. At a young age, she chose to work with the poorest of the poor because she felt her god called her. Her Sisters in Calcutta are world famous for their compassion and determination to grant comfort and love to those who the World seems to have forgotten.

I used to read her books and just cry. She told stories about people being carried in off the street with nothing. These people were sometimes actively dying. Some of the people could only be given a bed to lie in until they crossed the veil. Sometimes, their bodies were not only filthy, but infested with vermin. The sisters would patiently pick the worms off the people’s bodies, and thank their god for the opportunity to “tend to Jesus in a distressing disguise.”

They drew this belief from the scriptures where it is said ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant [they seemed], you did for me.’

Mother Theresa wrote about tending the body of Christ, HER god. She said by doing for others, you touched, blessed, and tended the body of her god.

NEVER turn away the Goddess

I saw the Goddess in her Winter Hag form at a grocery store this week. She was in a “Distressing Disguise”.

She was sitting by the door, waiting to be picked up, as many elderly people do- and she had her nose and mouth wrapped, and her hands tucked into the sleeves of her coat. I could see she had on no gloves.

I asked if she would like a pair of gloves. She said yes. I put my gloves on her. I had initially walked past her, but something told me not to. She was cold, she was alone, and I did not have time to stay, but I had a pair of gloves to give her. I helped her into the gloves, and she thanked me. As I walked away, I could feel chills, and not because it was cold. I told my husband “That was The Goddess.”

She was old, bent over, decrepit, cold, and suffering. She needed a little comfort.

Was she a celestial spirit? No. She was merely a human being, but women are the physical embodiment of the Goddess in the same way people are the physical embodiment of the body of the Xtian god for people like Mother Theresa.

Instead of a Sabbat ritual, I have a suggestion, a plea actually. Would you be able to find the time to tend to the body of the goddess in her distress? Can you welcome the hag into your home and heart, and celebrate her in her struggles as well as glorifying her in all her splendor?

Saoirse’s Imbolc Working

Keep this as a regular practice, not just something to do for Sabbat. This is not a ritual, but is a set of things to keep in mind. We all need one another and sometimes forget, or don’t know how to ask for what we need.

We get caught up in our own lives and are busy with what we specifically are doing and sometimes forget about the people who are not directly IN our presence. Let’s face it, adulting is exhausting sometimes. It’s not easy to remember everything. Try to train yourself to keep an eye out for those who need your help. You can begin with a prayer like this:

“Great Goddess, she from who all life came, and to who we all return, Open my eyes. Open my heart. Open my awareness to those who need me. I am easily distracted by my own life. Don’t let me miss the call, or misunderstand signs. Use me as your hands, that I may do all the things you see fit. Use my voice to be your words so I may be as comfort for those who are hurting. Use my arms to be your warm embrace. Open my heart so I may take people in who feel nobody loves them. Use me as your vessel that I may be a living embodiment of you. So be it.”

  1. Set an intention to keep tabs on those who are sick, isolated, depressed, sad, grieving, old, or just alone. This extends to your loved ones who are overworked and do not have time for a social life as well. People who are easily forgotten because they are not nearby are the ones who need to be checked up on the most.
  2. Remember that YOU are sometimes the one who needs care or help. Do NOT hesitate to ask for what you need. We are in one another’s lives, and together, life is better. Be compassionate and patient with yourself. If you feel frustrated with yourself for whatever you are struggling with, ask yourself if you would be harsh with somebody ELSE struggling with this? Of course you wouldn’t! Remember to be healing, patient, and loving to yourself as well as others.
  3. Holiday time is especially difficult for those who are alone or struggling somehow. They feel like a third wheel at gatherings, and may forego attending for not only that, but if they cannot afford to contribute, they may feel embarrassed. Think of ways to make them feel comfortable coming, and reassure them.
  4. You may need to arrange transportation and take somebody home early. People who struggle may not be physically capable of staying the whole time. Make sure they know that is okay and they won’t be stuck trying to be presentable when they need to leave early.
  5. On the other hand- be understanding if they just need to skip out. Don’t make them feel attendance is mandatory. Let them do what they can do.
  6. Learn to listen. I cannot tell you how many family members of sick or elderly people I have heard spout off about “I JUST don’t understand Mom/Grandma/Aunt Ethel/ etc…” and literally complain about how said family member has some sort of struggle THEY don’t have, so they have no clue why ANYBODY does. As if said family member is willfully doing this to themselves, and is a GREAT inconvenience to the “normal” people. Learn compassion and empathy, or leave the care to somebody who has some. That is all.
  7. Make quality time with the goddess in distress. Don’t just go do errands and or appointments, aka “good deeds” or “duty”. While all of that is important, do not forget your goddess needs to be treated as a normal person and she wants to spend time with you. Have a cup of coffee and birdwatch together. Go for lunch. Go feed the ducks, or hit the movies. Enjoying life should not be forgotten just because the goddess is in distress!
  8. Don’t just do good deeds for the goddess in distress when it is socially acceptable to do so- like birthdays or Sabbats, or mainstream holidays. People need love and care year round, not just when you get a reminder because of the time of year it is.
  9. Give her gifts. I don’t just mean candles or incense lit on your altar. I mean give things to human beings who are struggling. Say you have an elderly neighbor who used to grow tomatoes, but can’t anymore. Give her some of yours from your garden as often as possible. Say you have a disabled neighbor who likes to go to the park. Take them. Say there is an old decrepit neighborhood stray cat. Give it treats, food, shelter, love, and take it to the Vet …unless you can find a way to have it adopted, of course!
  10. Never stop looking for a way to venerate the goddess through the lives of her creatures. There are opportunities constantly. Keep your eyes and ears open. Ask for guidance regularly, and then just remain open to her call and vice.

May Imbolc bring new beginnings for you. May the weather be gentle, and the Winter Hag spare you in the days before she becomes Brigid. May the goddess appear before you in her splendor, and may you be aware, and know what to do to help when she is reaching out to you in a distressing disguise.

Blessed Imbolc.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

Lick the Sky

February, 2019

It’s Imbolc
And I want to
Lick the sky
Those fiery stripes
Must surely be
As sweet as sunrise ice.

The blackbird nods
Tail bouncing on the wall
Of a run down council house.
The Honda Prelude that
Cuts me up
Is a square assed snap chat
Of the past
And the wind turbine
Crazy in the cruel bite
Of winter’s last stand
Is a bright spark of
Future hope.

It’s Imbolc
And I want to
Grasp the earth
Bulbs tickling my cheek
With first new shoots
Reach out with great
Goddess hands
Surround the sky
And lick.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Post Solstice Blues

January, 2019

The longest day

Was wild

Was fun

With number one

My precious son

Who charms

And smiles

And plays

And whiles

Away the day

That stretches

Until the very fabric

Of dusk is

Thin

Like ancient parchment

On which is scribed

The secrets of

The universe

Then waking post solstice:

Rain and gloom and

Fog and doom and

Mundane madness

Mot, plug faulty,

Purse empty

Child grumpy

Bed lumpy; weak cup of tea…

A headache grows

And blows the beauty

Out of mind

But stay, and pray;

What is that stray

Beam of beauty

Falling through my curtain?

Lugh’s promise: Balor’s gaze.

A vow of brighter days.

I smile, and blues are fading

In the haze.

Copyright 24th June 2015

Image credit: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways On Amazon

Celebrating The Old Ways In New Times

December, 2018

Celebrating The Old Ways In New Times for December 2018

Bright Blessings!

Some of us count the start of Winter with Samhain, and we were lucky that we had a warm beginning of Winter here in Central Ohio. One night in Early November though, surrounded by the glory of fall colors in the leaves of the many trees I live amongst, I was out walking the dog, and I felt a chill, and the silence that had fallen upon the body of Mother Earth told me the Cailleach was here.

My husband swears up and down Winter is not here until Solstice time, but I feel her moving across the land, and in my bones and joints. She’s here!

Soon, Yule will be upon us, or Winter Solstice, whichever you celebrate.

For many years, I have completely removed myself from the traditional American holiday processions. I simply don’t have the time, money, or patience for the craziness. Aside from a meal, a ritual, and a gift for my husband, I don’t do a thing anymore because I am so exhausted from doing Christmas professionally for over a decade. I also have a lot of friends, and cannot afford to buy for all of them, so I don’t buy for anybody. I have not sent holiday cards in close to fifteen years.

For some odd reason, this year, I bought a box of cards to send. I might not send many, and might just send them to my husband’s immediate family. The whole thing made me think, and wonder about how our tradition of gifts got started? I know it originated in Pagan times, but I wanted to look further into the practice.

Speaking of things that can be given as gifts, first, I’d like to review a new product I think many of you would love.

 

Megge on Audio

I had the privilege of reviewing Megge of Burydown, and interviewing author Rebecca Kightlinger earlier this year. The link to the article and review of the book can be found here:

http://paganpages.org/content/2018/04/celebrating-the-old-ways-in-new-times-38/

Luckily, Kightlinger contacted me last month and offered the opportunity to review her book, Megge of Burydown on Audible, a product found through Amazon.

I have never been one for books on tape because I am hard of hearing, but I figured I would give this a go because I like Kightlinger and I love doing reviews.

I, of course, rely very heavily on reading lips in conversations, and use closed captioning/subtitles when watching films, but the speech was clear. My husband, who has normal hearing, said the sound was crisp and perfect. The narration was very good, and I can see why people love these products.

This is the perfect gift because you can have the link for this sent to an ipad or cell phone, and take it anywhere you go. This is perfect for road trips, the commute to and from work, and even in the car waiting for the kids to get out of school. It is also perfect because you can plug your headphones in, and listen on walks places, lunch breaks, while shopping, or anywhere you want to go.

This is the perfect product to give as a gift for the holidays to yourself or anybody on your gift list!

Here is the link so you may purchase Kightlinger’s book on Audible.

https://www.audible.com/search?keywords=megge+of+burydown&ref=a_hp_t1_header_search

 

Presents were Wrapped by the Chimney

So why DO we do gifts during holiday time? I have always questioned it. Especially with the mainstream faiths. It is supposed to be a religious holiday, and for many people, it is all about buying things and attending parties, it seems.

Well, surprisingly, there are different reasons given.

Some Xtians say they give gifts in remembrance of the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh given by the Three Wise Men to Jesus. Some say it is in honor of St. Nicholas, who they believe was morphed into Santa Claus.

Gift giving this time of year predates that. Think back to old Roman times

 

IO- Saturnalia!

 

 

Saturnalia ran from December 17-December 23, and honored the Roman god Saturn. He was the god of agriculture and time, and the event had originally begun as a single day, and they decided to expand on a good thing, and keep the fun going.

Saturn was the god of many things, including agriculture, and Saturnalia was considered both a time to give thanks for harvest and sowing, and a time to reflect on what was considered a golden era- when Saturn ruled. He was overthrown, and kept bound as he was seen as having capacity to be very cruel. During the festival, his bounds were taken off, freeing him for the celebrations.

Ironically, our gift giving might stem from gifts given during Saturnalia, but our style of doing so in no way resembles Saturnalian gifts.

The gifts given by them were sometimes gag gifts, and sometimes candles known as cerei, to signify the strengthening sun. They also gave something referred to as Sigillaria- which was wax or terracotta figurines. Mentioned by Macrobious in the fifth century in his publication Saturnalia, one speaker in the book says sigillaria are substitutes for human sacrifice victims, and another speaker states they are playthings for kids. It is speculated there was a time human sacrifices were made, and that practice was replaced by animal sacrifice, and the figurines.

The word Sigillaria refers to the last day of Saturnalia, the gifts given, and the word sigillarius referred to the crafts persons/ vendors who made and sold the Sigillaria. The vendors set up temporary tables and vendors booths and sold their wares for four days. This sounds just like the crafts fairs and street fairs we have today!

Money was also given to servants by their employers, and this was sometimes used to buy offerings to give at the Temple of Saturn. Today, we have holiday bonuses, and can thank the Ancient Romans for starting that practice.

The employers would also reverse roles, and host dinners for their employees.

Notice I am not referring to them as masters and slaves, as many are overly fond of when referring to ancient Pagans. I have been wondering just WHO cooked the foods, and catered the parties that could become lavish? I highly doubt the employers who had chefs year round became overnight chefs themselves.

I picture people running around for days before the dinners, getting things done in advance, and then paying people to cater those parties for them. Furthermore, recall, at one time, the festival was for a day, then it was extended to three days, and finally five days. Can you imagine people who never cooked or cleaned or did a thing for themselves all year would magically become Betty Crocker for five days? They had some form of help somehow, I am thinking.

Today, we have something similar. While schools and places of business are closed for the day of the holiday, food service staff still work the day of all around the world.

Times may have changed, but how much have humans changed?

So, I write that employers hosted for employees.

Gift giving was a big part of the holiday, and although we do our gift giving differently, we can thank the Ancient Romans for this tradition for the winter holidays.

 

Today

Today, many feel stress and strain to give gifts, some statistics state some people spend around $1,000 for all the gifts they give. Economically, retail establishments market and sell things for Xmas as early as Samhain, or even beforehand, and the day after Thanksgiving begins a mad dash of insanity while people fight, scream, and plow their way through the holiday.

Actually…some shops start their Black Friday sales the day OF Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving this year, before our guests arrived, just for the heck of it, we went to Wal Mart at about 3:45 P.M. There were not a ton of shoppers, but there was a ton of staff. They had set up massive amounts of displays of things they had covered with plastic. I asked if they were getting set up for tomorrow. They said no, that the sale started at 6 P.M. TODAY. I jokingly told them to try not to get trampled, and they did not laugh. My husband said “Let’s get out of here!”

We joked about it at dinner later, and friends informed me that Black Friday sales are basically a conspiracy. I was told they set out things they had in the back they had not been able to sell. They said prices had been marked up right before Black Friday, and dropped to the original price that had not been inflated. They also told me they set out older merch they want to clear out so they can bring in new items. I was told you do not save money at Black Friday sales, and you are not getting anything worth fighting the crowds for.

I did a bit of reading. Stores also create an illusion of scarcity, which makes people FIGHT each other for an item. A store might be out of an item, but it is because they deliberately understock of something they believe a LOT of people want, and this is so they can spike the price, based on supply and demand. One of my favorite holiday films is based on this. Jingle All the Way with Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger is about two dads in a battle to get the last of a certain toy for their kids, and the ridiculous, hilarious messes they get themselves into- all because they both failed to plan ahead to buy their kids gift in advance.

If you wait until AFTER Christmas, you will get a better price because they slash the inflated prices. You might save yourself the trouble of lines at stores, and just nab gift cards for everybody.

A lot of people refuse to give money or gift cards at holiday time, and I have literally been told this- because they take pride in filling up the underside of the tree with gifts, and they enjoy watching their loved ones rip open presents, and exclaim how much they love what has been bought for them. Parents often use it as a sign of wealth and to give themselves a pat on the back for what great providers they are. This is no longer about taking care of your family, but it is a way of making yourself feel good. It’s also a way to compare yourself with others and measure whether you feel you are coming out ahead of everybody else.

Need I remind people just how very much waste we have in our landfills right now, and how polluted we have made Mother Earth? Even just not using all that packaging waste from one time uses at holiday time would drastically reduce waste.

I cannot tell you how many children cry because mom and dad did not buy them what they wanted for the holiday, and how many people save money year-round to buy things they feel will make their loved ones pleased. My Granny, for example gathered gifts all year, and stashed them in a box in her closet. She kept Christmas wrap on hand, and would wrap the gifts and label them the minute she got them home. It would be 99 degrees and Summertime outside, and Granny was nabbing and wrapping Christmas gifts.

All of these things have created an unhealthy expectation and a sense of entitlement for us culturally. Due to this, and various other reasons, some people do not give gifts for the winter holiday.

For example, some Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some Pentecostals do not give or receive Christmas gifts. I have been told Jehovah’s Witnesses also do not celebrate Halloween, and this is due to their understanding it is a Pagan holiday. I had thought perhaps the Amish do not give gifts, but indeed they do! I read that they tend to give more simple gifts, however, and the practice of children setting out a special plate for their parents to fill with nuts and goodies observed. The article I read said parents will give toys their kids want, but it’s not like the toys we have for non-Amish mainstream American kids in stores. They do the handmade toys, and games.

 

Alternative Giving Solutions

I know this is easy for me to say – because I don’t have children. However, ask anybody who knows me, and they will tell you that I can be a cold-hearted bitch, and I don’t bend to peer pressure. I realize those of you who have kids and families who place demands on you will suffer immensely if you rock the boat, and don’t buy them what they expect you to.

Again, I say, yes, it is easy for me to say, but it wasn’t always so. I slowly distanced myself from the holiday expectations, and you can too, if you decide to. Instead of a ritual, I will include some alternative gift giving suggestions, and talk about my very special, late great Aunt Wanda!

 

Aunt Wanda’s Way

My Aunt Wanda was a strong, and shining influence on me, and the older I get, the more I realize just how much she shaped me.

A member of her local Eagles club, and onetime President of that chapter, she worked her tail off gathering and distributing food around Thanksgiving and Christmas to needy families. She would load her cars trunk up, and she and her best friend Ruthie would do drop offs at residences together.

One year, when mom and I were struggling financially, they showed up with a whole trunk full of food just for us. I have never forgotten this.

If you want to get into the spirit of giving during the holidays, instead of dropping hundreds or thousands on spoiling kids, friends, or family members who already have all they need, why not contribute to some cause that reaches out to those who need help? Here are a few suggestions.

 

Saoirse’s Simple Holiday Gift-Giving Suggestions

  1. Contribute money, items, or your time to a local community organization that gives to those in need. Food, clothing, and home goods are accepted year-round at many sites, and your local city offices can be reached for information if you have no idea who to contact. Gently used items can be donated as well. It’s never a bad time to go through your things and purge every last thing you cannot use that is in decent condition, and donate it someplace. Your house will be cleaner, and somebody else will benefit from what you are no longer using.
  2. Volunteer to work the holiday if your work site allows it. It will give the day off to somebody else who wants the day with family. This is an added bonus if your family annoys the tar out of you, AND you often get time-and-a-half pay! Volunteer to do so early, so you can get out of a family gathering without getting yelled at if needs be! You’re welcome.
  3. Have a White Elephant Gift Exchange. A hilarious article about the rules is provided at this link. You don’t have to do White Elephant’s only at holiday time, and I have done this at “Unbirthday” parties, and everybody has a ball. A spending limit is often set, and sometimes, people have a gag gift be the theme.

https://www.whiteelephantrules.com/

  1. For those who do not have family to gather with – or simply do not want to gather with family – have a friend gathering. I always say friends are the family we choose.
  2. Some people I know adopt a family for holiday time and give things to them. You can also sponsor an animal at an animal shelter, or a zoo for an annual fee.
  3. You can anonymously pay towards somebody’s debt. You can pay off the balance on a child’s overdue lunch account. You can offer money towards somebody’s doctor bill without knowing whose bill it is. You can prepay at a restaurant towards whoever the staff feels is needy. I know how some feel about mainstream churches, but truthfully, many of them do amazing community work. You could always call them and ask what debts some of their members need help with.
  4. OR, you could contact your local Pagan, New Age, or Metaphysical shop, and ask if they accept cash donations.
  5. Leave food outdoors for wildlife. Not all birds migrate to warmer places, and not all animals hibernate. Suet, birdseed, corn on the cob, a salt lick, or even water you ensure does not freeze will be a huge help for the animals during the meager winter months.
  6. On a more self-nurturing note – take the money you would have spent on presents for people who do not need them, and apply towards a bill or debt of your own. If you have neither that need paying down, put the money in a savings account, your 401K, or to buy some investment that will multiply!
  7. Pick one person who you know that gets very little company, and spend time with them. Make it a point to do this regularly instead of just doing a holiday visit

The biggest issue with the “giving season” is it lasts for under two months, and people tend to forget to keep the spirit of giving alive the other ten months of the year!

 

Blessings for your Winter Solstice time holiday, however you celebrate. May the spirit of giving be with you year-round, and the light of the love of your family and friends always warm your heart and days.

Blessed Solstice.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mind, Body, Soul- Winter Solstice with Norma Clark of Forevrgoddess Boutique

December, 2018

Mind, Body, Soul- Winter Solstice with Norma Clark of Forevrgoddess Boutique

A Witchy Approach For a Spiritual Llife, Magickal or Non

 

Hello, I’m Norma Clark from Forevrgoddess Boutique. This is my little article about finding Mind, Body, and Soul – during the Winter Solstice Season, using a witchy approach for spiritual life or a non magickal approach.

Winter solstice or the return of the sun, was truly a cause for celebration among our ancestors. Yule is called Winter Solstice Dec 21, Mother night. At Yule the Goddess Shows her Life-In-Death aspect. In this season she is the white Lady Queen of Cold darkness. This is her moment of giving birth to the child of promise who brings back the light and warmth of her kingdom.

Sometimes in this world we’re so busy ( school, work, family, etc). We forget to take a little bit of time for ourselves, self-care or personal time. We’re here to help you: ground, center, recharge, and refocus on good things in life, feel positive and healing energy.

 

Greet the Day

Each of us have different paths that keep us busy every day, we’re either rushing to school or work, getting kids up & ready for day. We might have a little bit of time before our day begins. Rise early and greet the sun, give thanks to solar Gods/Goddess for blessing a new day, even if you wake to Snow or Rain it’s the Goddesses time for rest to prepare earth for it’s next phase of the seasonal circle. Look for beauty in any weather. Begin your day as usual washing your face, brushing teeth or even taking a shower.

 

Start Your Day… Crystal or Gemstone Meditation

Get yourself a cup of coffee or tea and grab a crystal or gemstone of your choice. Try to sit by a window, look at the world around you, even if it’s your backyard. Feel the light fill the room. Put your coffee or tea down pick up & hold your gemstone or crystal of choice. Take 3 deep breathes in and out. Look at your stone or crystal, if there is sunlight let the sunlight shine on the stone; see the color highlights shown by the sun. Close your eyes while holding the stone, think of the healing properties of the stone (rose quartz: love, comfort. Smoky quartz: protection, grounding, dispels negativity. Selenite connects with angelic realm and relieves stress. Amethyst inner peace, serenity, etc… We provided the meanings of your stones with healing info.) Feel the loving energy come thru the stone and up your arm into your heart. See the positive change and blessings this stone has to offer. Try to focus on this energy for 10 minutes if possible. Even if you’re having a bad morning, or sleepless night before try to connect with the stone.

Take a few deep breathes again while focusing on the energy of the stone coming up your arm to your heart. You may feel warm and fuzzy or energized; take a moment to enjoy the feeling. Think about the things you must do today, don’t stress just see you doing them with positive love and light. See each task complete. Greet those you love or encounter with a smile and friendly “Hello”. Even if they don’t respond back smile knowing you’ve greet the day in a positive way. Slowly come back to your body, open your eyes and start your day.

If there is extra time, light some favorite incense, say a morning prayer to your patron Gods and Goddesses. If you have a sunny day go to somewhere in your yard where you won’t be disturb for 10-15 minutes and feel the sun. If it’s a cold day, dress warmly if you have snow, step into the snow, feel and hear the crunch and coldness around your toes. Bend down if standing and rub the snow with your hands try to reconnect with the Earth Goddess.

If you’re stressed, see yourself like a tree with roots even through the deep snow, imagine going down to sleeping grass and finally dirt where mother earth is. Push down all the negative energy, thoughts, anger, frustrations into ground. Once done feel the loving soothing energy come up from below, raise your hands above to the sun and sky welcome positive sun rays and warmth into your body grounding, recharging, refocus your mind set it to positive thoughts. If you’re still holding your stone, enjoy the healing energy. Come back into your body and listen to birds chirping or sounds of the day beginning. Go inside and begin your day. Consider doing yoga and basic stretches.

 

Dressing For the Day

As you get dressed think to wear the best colors for the day that help color magick and energy:

Monday: White

Tuesday: Red

Wednesday: Purple

Thursday: Blue

Friday: Green

Saturday: Black

Sunday: Yellow.

Though don’t be stuck with the list provided. There are many colors of the rainbow to wear and enchant the color of your clothing. ( Llewellyn.com & The Witches Date book or Calendar always has each day of the week for the whole year with info and what color to wear.) There is much to learn about color magick and how to apply it to your life and magickal side. If you have gemstones pendants wear them to compliment the outfit or for specific needs at the moment or for extra protection from city life or daily errands you might encounter.

 

Vitamins … Skin Care

Consider taking a multi vitamin, and herbal supplements. If you are sluggish in the morning from restlessness or medicine, consider looking into taking ginseng. There are few that have various ginsengs combined that can be beneficial to body and mind. One a day if possible helps energy and eventually, after a long day, helps you sleep. Gingko biloba, CQ 10  and Glucosamine with MsM are known for good overall health and rejuvenation of body and mind. One of each vitamin a day & you may see and feel changes. For a more youthful appearance consider taking collagen herbal supplements. They help fill fine lines and wrinkles. I use Reserveage Collagen replenish with Hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. Read their reviews. I love my vitamins and have been using them for several months. It does turn back the clock a bit. Feel free to shop around and find what fits your budget sometimes pharmacy and supermarket vitamins and herbal supplements are on sale so pick up a few on sale. Stock up. I do all the time. LOL. Take a look on amazon.com, also.

Consider using natural products for your face like: face wash, facial lotions etc… I use Andalou naturals, I can find in health food store on sale or amazon.com. They have fruit & stem cells science products. I use sensitive skin, not harsh, not heavy. I love all their products. I found their trail size to be a great price and great as starter kits.

 

Eating

Find something filling and wholesome. Eat fruit if possible or have a protein bar. Be sure to have a well balanced breakfast. As you are about to take a nibble thank the Goddess or Gods for this meal, it doesn’t hurt to give them an offering even if it’s just lighting a candle for a few minutes as you eat or light a stick of incense. As you eat, sit by a window, look up and the sky, see the clouds, sun, moon, stars, try to find 5 things you’re grateful for and thank the Goddesses or Gods with what they have shown or provided you with, even if it’s a job, a warm bed, food on table, bills paid.

 

Going Out Into the World

As you go outside to work, errands, school, etc…take a moment to ground and center again, focus and visualize blue light, a shield, protecting you as you go into the world. To keep negative energy, negative feelings, and negative people away. Try to think of having a wonderful day. There are many blessings to see happening all around us. Be grateful for simple things. Say thank you if someone holds the door for you, or gives you a seat on bus or subway.

 

Other Self Care Thoughts & Ideas

If possible go for 20-30 min walk around the block or park for 3 days a week. It’s a great way to help get in shape, get your heart pumping, and gives you endorphins to make you feel good.

Create a blessing journal to write your thoughts in and the things you are grateful that the goddess / Gods have blessed you with like; your home, family and life. Even if they seems little or silly it’s okay. If you do it often you can look differently at a rainy or sad day. It might even calm your moods by looking at the brighter side of life.

Go get a massage. Look for local massage therapy school that might offer discounts for massages given by students.

Sit in the Sun for 20 mins. Wear sunscreen if needed, especially in the winter the sun reflects off the snow you still get sunburned as my husband does. Feel the warmth of the sun. Recharge, feel all the solar power banishing the negative, frustration, & sad thoughts. Think on the bright side of life.

Take a moment to reconnect, go to a safe place, park, woods, sea shore, stream, etc… Take caution. Be safe, sometimes water currents can be high or frozen on river banks, don’t go out on top of frozen lakes for safety reasons. You can fall in. If you are in a warmer climate area, take your shoes off feel the grass, dirt, sand beneath your feet. Feel the wind in your hair, close your eye hear the calls of natures. Even if you’re in a big city, find a safe spot and reconnect. Meditate even if it’s 10 minutes, breathe in love, harmony, light, exhale negative emotions, sadness, frustration. Ask the Goddess for guidance, tell her what you need help with. Like Gods, the Goddess, is the very essence of everything. She is part of us all, she has so many names. Look up a specific goddess you’ve chosen, look closely to your type of belief (Celtic, Hindu, European, African, Asian, there no wrong or right goddess for you.)

Look at our boutique: find a new candle, incense or smudge blend to set the mood and feel the positive energy about you. Look at any of your gemstones, be inspired to learn more about them and their healing energy. Here’s a link to my boutique.

Look for any books by Judy Hall she write “crystal bible” and more books.

Buy a water bottle with a fruit strainer so you can add chopped fruit inside and enjoy them together. The perfect detox and fresh new approach to drinking water.

Go to Yuletide Craft Faires, look fun home décor or a sweet treat to bring home that is available to sample for the season.

Look to Pinterest. Consider trying a dinner recipe. There are so many to choose from. Consider a new dessert to enjoy with family and friends. Oreo poke with vanilla ice cream is my favorite.

Light a candle or a stick of incense. Say a prayer to your patron Gods or Goddesses. Talk to them they do listen, and may guide you to a higher purpose. Talk to elementals & Faeries. I used both of the Brian Froud faery oracle cards. I love the detailed art work and after using them for a while I didn’t feel alone. When I do a reading to see what lessons I need to learn or just for some fun, my cards come to life, I feel faery presences within my living room and home. You might hear: giggles, twinkling of bells, feel little breezes within your home (movement of plants leaves or your hair when no window is open), watch your pets they will clue you in if something is in your home with you. Remember try not to have a lot of iron within their sights some are offended, always thank them and give an offering for their knowledge and presence.

Try to be Kind to yourself, as well as others. What you do or send out will come back 3x, try to remember that. Find the positive side of things.

Take walks with winter changing in your wooded area feel the cool crisp air. Collect fallen branches of spruce or pine and make a wreath or a beautiful door hanging, Altar piece, or decorate somewhere within the home.

Make Air Dry Clay Ornaments. Use rubber stamps, metal charms, or cookie cutters and stamp out shapes to design then place them on your altar to dry. Write with colored marker or paint a design or in one word what your thankful for. Poke a hole through it, tie a string and hang it where you can see it everyday. As you paint and create the ornament consider working a magick charm into it. Paint on dry clay or carve into the clay before it dries.

Create memories with family and friends and bake Winter/ Yule sugar cookies. Talk about what you are grateful for or just spend time with them. Have a Cookie decorating party! (Our Sabbat Yuletide and any other Wiccan sabbats cookie cutter and recipe box set is available check the boutique Yuletide ritual blessings)

Reflect during this time of year what Winter Solstice/Yule and Holiday season means to you, finding balance within one’s life (work, family, school, children, etc.) and what goals you want to set for this month December and continue on New year and January – go to Sleigh riding in snow, drink Spiced Hot coco – I like Mexican Aztec hot coco just add a half teaspoon or less of Cayenne pepper powder to pot of Hot coco.

Be with friends and family, share sweet goodies, Collect Apples or Oranges. Do some Yuletide crafts with Family and Friends. Look on Pinterest.com for ideas. Go to Yuletide Festivals. Enjoy the fruits, nuts, and favorite foods we enjoy this time of year. Did someone say “peppermint” Nothing to big, just Go, enjoy the Beauty of Winter!

 

If you wish to learn more about unique, one of kind – Mind, Body Soul Box sets, we have a variety for you to select from:

Moon/ Celestite

Crystal Quartz Heart

Strawberry Moon Lotus

Amethyst Cluster- Inner Peace

Quartz Cluster – Positive Thought and Energy

and our newest boxes and gifts for the Winter Solstice

Each box is made to order; each gemstone is handpicked and combined for perfect harmony with your home, sacred space or altar. We provide unique worksheets to help plan a goal for the month of December and beyond, & ideas on how to find the magickal side of life.

Look to Forevrgoddess Boutique, MIND BODY SOUL section to purchase boxes or for more info.

Come browse Forevrgoddess Boutique for unique Yuletide gifts, for sabbats rituals and Box sets, handmade ornaments, adorable handmade jewelry, and some much more!!

Yule Correspondences

December, 2018

(Primitive Witch Hat Tree Topper, “Winter”, by Loren Morris of PrimWitchery on Etsy.)

 

Lesser Sabbat – Winter Solstice, circa Dec 21

Other Names:
Jul (“wheel”, Old Norse), Saturnalia(Rome ~December 17 & 18), Yuletide(Teutonic), Midwinter, Fionn’s Day, Alban huan, Christmas (Christian~December 25), Xmas, Festival of Sol, Solar/Secular/Pagan New Year

Animals/Mythical beings:
yule goat (nordic), reindeer stag, squirrels, yule cat, Sacred White Buffalo, Kallikantzaroi-ugly chaos monsters(greek), trolls, phoenix, yule elf, jule gnome, squirrels, wren/robin

Gemstones:
cat’s eye, ruby, diamond, garnet, bloodstone

Incense/Oils:
bayberry, cedar, ginger, cinnamon, pine, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, saffron

Colors:
gold, silver, red, green, white

Tools,Symbols, & Decorations:
bayberry candles, evergreens, holly, mistletoe, poinsettia,mistletoe, lights, gifts, Yule log, Yule tree. spinning wheels, wreaths, bells, mother & child images

Goddesses:
Great Mother, Befana (strega), Holda (teutonic), Isis(egyptian), Triple Goddess, Mary(christian), Tonazin(mexican), Lucina(roman), St. Lucy (swedish),Bona Dea (roman), Mother Earth, Eve(Hebrew), Ops(roman Holy Mother), the Snow Queen, Hertha (German), Frey (Norse)

Gods:
Sun Child, Saturn(rome), Cronos (Greek), Horus/Ra(egyptian), Jesus(christian-gnostic), Mithras(persian), Balder(Norse), Santa Claus/Odin(teutonic), Holly King, Sol Invicta, Janus(God of Beginnings), Marduk (Babylonian)Old Man Winter

Essence:
honor, rebirth, transformation, light out of darkness, creative inspiration, the mysteries, new life, regeneration, inner renewal, reflection/introspection

Dynamics/Meaning:
death of the Holly (winter) King; reign of the Oak (summer) King), begin the ordeal of the Green Man, death & rebirth of the Sun God; night of greatest lunar imbalance; sun’s rebirth; shortest day of year

Purpose:
honor the Triple Goddess, welcome the Sun Child

Rituals/Magicks:
personal renewal, world peace, honoring family & friends, Festival of light, meditation

Customs:
lights, gift-exchanging, singing, feasting, resolutions, new fires kindled, strengthening family & friend bonds, generosity, yule log, hanging mistletoe, apple wassailing, burning candles, Yule tree decorating; kissing under mistletoe; needfire at dawn vigil; bell ringing/sleigh-bells; father yule

Foods:
nuts, apple, pear, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pork, orange, hibiscus or ginger tea, roasted turkey, nuts, fruitcake, dried fruit, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine

Herbs:
blessed thistle, evergreen, moss, oak, sage, bay, bayberry, cedar, pine, frankincense, ginger, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, myrrh, pinecones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon, valerian, yarrow

Element:
earth

Threshold:
dawn

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

November, 2018

October is quickly coming to an end, and I have never been more thankful. October brought sickness and trials. It was a difficult month to say the least.

But with October coming to a close, Samhain is fast approaching.

Samhain (or Halloween as Little Bear calls it) has always been one of my favorite holidays. Even when it was banned from my childhood home life.

The veil is thinning, the days grow darker, and the nights become almost black.

Living in the Midwest means the weather is unpredictable at the end of October. It could be sunny and hot, or rainy and wet. As a child, “Halloween” meant snow. I can remember more snowy Halloweens than not.

Little Bear and I will make the best of it regardless of the weather. He has his costume picked out. He is going as a zombie SWAT guy. He’s talked me into being a zombie also. He’s a bit obsessed with The Walking Dead right now.

This year, I let Little Bear go wild and decorate the whole house. We put up window clings, black garland, laid out fake spiders, decorated foam pumpkins, and hung up door covers.

Yesterday, we visited the local pumpkin field/corn maze. They have so many activities and it’s a must every year. They have goats, chickens, rabbits, long horn cattle, corn boxes, corn mazes, pumpkin guns, tug a war ropes, inflatables, wooden trains, etc. It is a full day.

Tonight, is pumpkin carving time. I’m sure that my excitement is at a way higher level than Little Bear’s because of the pumpkin seeds. I have dug out some recipes from Pinterest and plan on trying at least three. I have to do normal salt pumpkin seeds. But I’m going to try a sweet version with cinnamon and brown sugar. The other one I haven’t decided on because there is so many variations that can be done. However, I’m leaning towards a savory that uses sea salt and white vinegar. Not sure how it’ll turn out, but we shall see!

One of my favorite traditions for Samhain is the dinner. Eating dinner at the table is something that rarely happens in our home because of scheduling. But when Samhain rolls around, I take the day off. I plan a meal as if it were Thanksgiving and I set the table. I always set a spot for my sister who we lost back in 2015. It helps to bring her close. Little Bear gets excited and will start talking to her spot as if she never left.

Little Bear started asking questions again about “God” last week. This is a conversation that we have quite frequently as he has a hard time understanding something that he cannot see. So, I go into the explanation again. We have talked about the many different religions of the world. Although I am raising him in a Pagan home, I understand that the Pagan path may not be for him.

I found a wonderful series that touches on the spiritual side without focusing on one certain religion. It’s the The Giggles and Joy series. A three-part series that focuses on positive poems. It’s a neat series that I recommend. You can check out my review on them in this same issue!

Next »