Monthly Archives: December 2018

Magical Colours of the Yule Season

Magical Colours of the Yule Season

 

When it comes to doing Yuletime magic, there’s a lot to be said for colour correspondences. Look around you, and think about the colours of the season. Some of the most traditional seasonal colours have their roots in age-old customs, and can be adapted to suit your magical needs.

Red: Shades of Prosperity and Passion

Red is the colour of poinsettias, of holly berries, and even Santa Claus’ suit — but how can it be used magically during the season of Yule? Well, it all depends on how you see the symbolism of the colour. In modern Pagan magical practice, red is often associated with passion and sexuality. However, for some people, red indicates prosperity. In China, for example, it is connected with good fortune – by painting your front door red, you’re practically guaranteed to have luck enter your home. In some Asian countries, red is the colour of a bridal gown, unlike the traditional white that’s worn in many parts of the western world.

What about religious symbolism? In Christianity, red is often associated with the blood of Jesus Christ. There’s a story about in the Greek Orthodox religion that after Christ’s death on the cross, Mary Magdalene went to the emperor of Rome, and told him of Jesus’ resurrection. The emperor’s response was along the lines of “Oh, yeah, right, and those eggs over there are red, too.” Suddenly, the bowl of eggs turned red, and Mary Magdalene joyfully began preaching Christianity to the emperor. In addition to Jesus, red is often associated with some of the martyred saints in Catholicism. Interestingly, because of its connection with lust and sex and passion, some Christian groups see red as a colour of sin and damnation.

In chakra work, red is connected with the root chakra, located at the base of the spine. Holistic Healing Expert Phylameana Iila Desy, says, “This chakra is the grounding force that allows us to connect to the earth energies and empower our beings.”

So, how can you incorporate the colour red into your magical workings at Yule? Deck your halls with red ribbons and bows, hang garlands of holly with its bright red berries, or position a few pretty poinsettias* on your porch to invite prosperity and good fortune into your home. If you’ve got a tree set up, tie red bows on it, or hang red lights to bring a little bit of fiery passion into your life during the chilly months.

* It’s important to keep in mind that some plants can be deadly if ingested by children or pets. If you have small ones running around your home, keep the plants in a safe place where they can’t be nibbled on by anyone!

Evergreen Magic

Green has been associated with the Yule season for many years, by many different cultures. This is a bit of a paradox, because typically, green is seen as a colour of spring and new growth by people who live in areas that experience seasonal changes. However, the winter season has its own share of greenery.

There’s a wonderful legend of the winter solstice, about why evergreen trees remain green when everything else has died. The story goes that the sun decided to take a break from warming the earth, and so he went on a bit of a hiatus. Before he left, he told all the trees and plants not to worry, because he’d be back soon, when he felt rejuvenated. After the sun had been gone a while, the earth began to get chilly, and many of the trees wailed and moaned in fear that the sun would never return, crying that he had abandoned the earth. Some of them got so upset that they dropped their leaves on the ground. However, far up in the hills, above the snow line, the fir and the pine and the holly could see that the sun was indeed still out there, although he was far away.

They tried to reassure the other trees, who mostly just cried a lot and dropped more leaves. Eventually, the sun began to make his way back and the earth grew warmer. When he finally returned, he looked around and saw all the bare trees. The sun was disappointed at the lack of faith that the trees had shown, and reminded them that he had kept his promise to return. As a reward for believing in him, the sun told the fir, the pine and the holly that they would be permitted to keep their green needles and leaves all year long. However, all the other trees still shed their leaves each fall, as a reminder to them that the sun will be back again after the solstice.

During the Roman festival of Saturnalia, citizens decorated by hanging green branches in their homes. The ancient Egyptians used green date palm leaves and rushes in much the same way during the festival of Ra, the sun god — which certainly seems like a good case for decorating during the winter solstice!

Use green in magical workings related to prosperity and abundance — after all, it’s the colour of money. You can hang evergreen boughs and holly branches around your house, or decorate a tree with green ribbons, to bring money into your home. As the tale of the sun and the trees shows, green is also the colour of rebirth and renewal. If you’re thinking of conceiving a child or beginning new endeavours at Yule, hang greenery in your home — especially over your bed.

White: Purity and Light

If you live in an area that experiences seasonal change, chances are good you associate white with snow during the Yule season. And why not? The white stuff is everywhere during the chilly winter months!

White is the colour of wedding dresses in many Western counties, but interestingly, in some parts of Asia it is associated with death and grieving. During the Elizabethan era, only the nobility in Britain was permitted to wear the colour white — this is because it was far more expensive to produce white cloth, and only people who could afford servants to keep it clean were entitled to wear it. The white flower known as Edelweiss was a symbol of bravery and perseverance — it grows on high slopes above the tree line, so only a truly dedicated person could go pick an Edelweiss blossom.

Often, white is associated with goodness and light, while its opposite, black, is considered a colour of “evil” and badness. Some scholars argue that the reason Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is white is to represent the inherent goodness of the whale, in contrast to the black-coat-wearing evil that is Captain Ahab. In Vodoun, and some other diasporic religions, many of the spirits, or loa, are represented by the colour white.

White also associated with purity and truth in many Pagan magical practices. If you do any work with chakras, the crown chakra at the head is connected with the colour white. Our About.com Guide to Holistic Healing, Phylameana lila Desy, says, “The crown chakra allows inner communications with our spiritual nature to take place. The opening in the crown chakra… serves as an entryway wherein the Universal Life Force can enter our bodies and be dispersed downward into the lower six chakras housed below it.”

If you’re using white in your magical workings at Yule, consider incorporating it into rituals that focus on purification, or your own spiritual development. Hang white snowflakes and stars around your home as a way of keeping the spiritual environment clean. Add plump white pillows filled with herbs to your couch, to create a quiet, sacred space for your meditation.

Glittering Gold

 

Gold is often associated with the season of Yule because it was one of the gifts brought by the Magi when they went to visit the newborn Jesus. Along with frankincense and myrrh, gold was a prized possession even then. It’s a colour of prosperity and wealth. In Hinduism, gold is often a colour connected with deity – in fact, you’ll find that many statues of Hindu gods are painted gold.

In Judaism, gold has some significance as well. The first Menorah was crafted from a single lump of gold by a craftsman named Bezalel. He was the same artist who built the Ark of the Covenant, which was also covered in gold.

Since winter solstice is the season of the sun, gold is often associated with solar power and energy. If your tradition honours the return of the sun, why not hang some gold suns around your house as a tribute? Use a gold candle to represent the sun during your Yule rituals.

Hang gold ribbons around your home to invite prosperity and wealth in for the coming year. Gold also offers a sense of revitalisation — you just can’t help but feel good about things when you’re surrounded by the colour gold. Use gold wires to create shapes for ornaments to hang on your holiday tree, such as pentacles, spirals, and other symbols. Decorate with these, and bring the power of the Divine into your home for Yule

THE YULE LOG

THE YULE LOG

The Yule Log, an ancient symbol of the season, came to us from the Celts. The log, a phallic symbol, is usually cut from an Oak tree, symbolic of the god. The entire log was decorated with holly, mistletoe, and evergreens to represent the intertwining of the god and goddess who are reunited on this sabbat. The log was burned in the hearth or fireplace. Modern pagans also have the option of using pieces of oak small enough to be burned in the cauldron.

In modern times, another tradition has emerged since not everyone has fireplaces. Three holes are bored in the top of the log for three candles, representing the goddess in her three aspects — maiden, mother, and crone. Normally these candles are white, red, and black in honor of this triple aspect. This log may be reused year after year, with the candles changed each year.

An ancient rhyme of unknown origin reflects the importance of the Yule Log on this sabbat:

May the log burn,
May the wheel turn,
May evil spurn,
May the Sun return.

The ashes of the yule log or spent wax from candles are tied up in a cloth for the entire year as a charm for protection, fertility, strength, and health.

 

The yule log is a remnant of the bonfires that the European pagans would set ablaze at the time of winter solstice. These bonfires symbolized the return of the Sun.

An oak log, plus a fireplace or bonfire area is needed for this form of celebration. The oak log should be very dry so that it will blaze well. On the night of Yule, carve a symbol of your hopes for the coming year into the log. Burn the log to release it’s power. It can be decorated with burnable red ribbons of natural fiber and dried holly leaves. In the fireplace or bonfire area, dried kindling should be set to facilitate the burning of the log.The Yule log can be made of any wood (Oak is traditional). Each releases its own kind of magick.

Ash — brings protection, prosperity, and health

Aspen — invokes understanding of the grand design

Birch — signifies new beginnings

Holly — inspires visions and reveals past lives

Oak — brings healing, strength, and wisdom

Pine — signifies prosperity and growth

Willow  invokes the Goddess to achieve desires

The burning of the Yule Log can easily become a family tradition. Begin by having parent(s) or some other family member describe the tradition of the Yule Log. The tale of the Oak King and Holly King from Celtic mythology can be shared as a story, or can be summarized with a statement that the Oak represents the waxing solar year, Winter Solstice to Summer Solstice, and the Holly represents the waning solar year, Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice.

Lights are extinguished as much as possible. The family is quiet together in the darkness. Family members quietly contemplate the change in the solar year. Each in her/his own way contemplates the past calendar year, the challenges as well as the good times.

Then the Yule Log fire is lit. As it begins to burn, each family member throws in one or more dried holly sprigs and says farewell to the old calendar year. Farewells can take the form of thanksgiving and appreciation and/or a banishment of old habits or personal pains.

Once the Yule Log itself starts blazing, then the facilitator invites family members to contemplate the year ahead and the power of possibilities. Each member then throws in an oak twig or acorn into the fire to represent the year ahead, and calls out a resolution and/or a hope.

Families using a Yule Log with candles each family member can write a bad habit and/or a wish for the upcoming year on a slip of paper and burn it in the candle flame.

When this process is done, the family sings a song together. The traditional carol, “Deck the Halls,” is good because it mentions the Solstice, the change in the solar year, and the Yule Log.

Let the Yule Log burn down to a few chunks of charred wood and ashes (or candles burn down). Following an ancient tradition, save remnants of the fire and use them to start the Yule Log fire the following year.

(from the Llewellyn’s Witch’s Calendar 1998)

 

MAKE A YULE LOG

To make a Yule Log, simply choose a dried piece of oak and decorate with burnable ribbons, evergreens, holly, and mistletoe. To make a Yule Log with candles (suitable for indoor observances when a fireplace is not available), you will need a round log at least thirteen inches long and five inches thick. Flatten the bottom of the log with a saw (preferably a power saw) by trimming off an inch or two so the log will sit without wobbling. Next determine where the three candle holes should be drilled along the top of the log. They should be evenly spaced. The size of the holes will be determined by the size candles you are using. Drill the holes 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch to accommodate the candles.

The log with candles may be painted or sprayed with varnish or shellac to keep it from drying out. When the varnish is dry, insert candles and decorate it with holly, evergreens, and mistletoe. Candles may be green, red, and silver or white to represent the Oak King, the Holly King, and the Goddess; or white, red, and black to represent the Triple Goddess.

 

CAKE

1 cup cake flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbl cocoa
1/3 cup boiling water
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup buttermilk

CREAM FILLING

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

GLAZE

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup whipping cream
Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

For cake, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine cocoa, water, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. In a large bowl, cream butter and shortening. Gradually beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Beginning with the butter and egg mixture, alternately beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Beat in cocoa mixture until smooth.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat the remaining 2 Tbl. sugar until mixture is stiff. Fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Carefully fold in the remaining egg white mixture. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 15X10X1 inch foil-lined jelly roll pan. Smooth top with a spatula. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until the cake is slightly puffed and just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cake will be underdone. Place on wire rack to cool.

For filling, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Using a knife, loosen the cake from the edges of the pan. Place a second jelly roll pan on top of the first pan and invert cake on to top of the second pan. Peel off foil. Invert cake again so it is right side up. Spread the cream filling over the cake, leaving a one-inch border around the edges of the cake. Beginning with one long edge, roll up the cake. Wrap the cake tightly with aluminum foil and freeze overnight.

For glaze, melt chocolate chips in the top of a double broiler over warm water. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Beat in butter and cream. Allow mixture to sit at room temperature until slightly thickened. Remove cake from freezer and unwrap. Place cake, seam side down, on a wire rack placed over wax paper. Pour the glaze over the cake — spread evenly over tops and sides. Transfer to serving platter. Use a fork to make the “bark.” Refrigerate until served. Prior to serving, sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top to simulate snow and top with a sprig of holly.

Easy Yule Log Cake

1 package commercial cake mix, preferably chocolate
2 cans (24 oz.) pre-made frosting in a dark brown color
Several tubes of cake decoration frosting in green, white, and red
Several toothpicks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a jelly roll pan with waxed paper. Mix the cake according to package instructions and pour a thin layer — no more than 1/4-inch thick — into the prepared jelly roll pan. Bake the cake until just underdone. If you can’t tell by looking, then use the knife test. When the knife emerges not quite clean from the center of the cake, and when a light touch does not bounce back easily, it needs to come out. Check the cake at 7 minutes, and then every 2 minutes past that. DO NOT overbake or the cake will be hard to work with. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool slightly. Remove the cake from the pan by lifting out the wax paper. With the dark frosting, coat the top of the cake. Carefully lift one end of the cake and begin rolling it up as if you were rolling up a map. When you are done, anchor the cake with toothpicks and let it cook 5 more minutes. Let it cool for 30 minutes, then frost it with the dark brown icing. Next take the tubes of icing and make holly and mistletoe on the top. To finish, use toothpicks to etch lines in the log. You can decorate with artificial greenery until time to eat.

WINTER SOLSTICE

solstice

The Winter Solstice is a magical season . . . one that marks the journey from this year to the next, journeys of the spirit from one world to the next, and the magic of birth, death, and rebirth. The longest night of the year (December 21 in the Northern hemisphere), is reborn as the start of the solar year and accompanied by festivals of light to mark the rebirth of the Sun. In ancient Europe, this night of darkness grew from the myths of the Norse goddess Frigga who sat at her spinning wheel weaving the fates, and the celebration was called Yule, from the Norse word Jul, meaning wheel. The Christmas wreath, a symbol adapted from  Frigga’s “Wheel of Fate”, reminds us of the cycle of the seasons and the continuity of life.

That the timing of the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ occurs in the Yule season is no coincidence. Christmas was once a movable feast, celebrated many different times during the year. The decision to establish December 25 as the “official” date of Christ’s birth was made by Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD, hoping to replace the pagan celebration with the Christian one, since this date coincided with the pagan celebrations of Winter Solstice with the Return of the Sun Gods occurring throughout the world.

Numerous Christmas traditions derive from the earlier pagan celebrations. Yule, celebrating the birth or rebirth of a god of light, made use of fire, both in candles and the burning of a Yule log.

The Christmas tree has its origins in the practice of bringing a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months.  Bells were hung in the limbs so you could tell when an appreciative spirit was present. Food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat and a five-pointed star, the pentagram, symbol of the five elements, was placed atop the tree.


In Northern Europe, the year’s longest night is called “Mother Night” for it was in darkness the goddess Frigga labored to bring the Light to birth once more. The Young Sun, Baldur, who controlled the sun and rain and brings fruitfulness to the fields, was born.  Frigga’s blessing is invoked for all birthing women, and a white candle that last burned on the solstice is a charm to provide a safe delivery.

The mistletoe’s association with the holidays come from the myths of the goddess Frigga. The plant’s white berries were formed from  Frigga’s tears of mourning when her beloved son Baldur was killed by a dart made from mistletoe.

Some versions of the story of  Baldur’s death end happily. Baldur is restored to life, and the goddess is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the baleful plant, making it a symbol of peace and love and promising a kiss to all who pass under it.

Read more about the goddess Frigga and other legends about mistletoe.


Throughout the world gods and goddesses of light were being born during the Winter Solstice. The Egyptian goddess Isis delivered Horus whose symbol was the winged Sun. Mithras, the Unconquered Sun of Persia, was born during the solstice, as was Amaterasu, the Japanese Goddess of the Sun. Rhea gave birth to Saturn (son of the Father of Time), Heraconceives Hephaestus, and Quetzalcoatl and Lucina (“Little Light”) also celebrate birthdays at this time. Lucia, saint or Goddess of Light, is honored from Italy to Sweden, crowned with candles to carry us through the darkness. The birth of Sarasvati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and the Queen of Heaven, is also celebrated during Yule-tide.


The Solstice is also a time of plenty. The Hopi Kachinas return to the Earth during the solstice, and the Deer Mothers dance for the fertility of the earth.   The hearth fires of Hestia(known as the Roman goddess Vesta) are quenched and then rekindled. The “first fruits” festival, Kwanzaa, is held to honor the seven major deities of Yoruba.

And Winter Solstice is a time for visions. Rhiannon, a Welsh incarnation of Epona, the Celtic Mare Goddess, rides through the dreams of her people by night, transporting them to the place between the worlds where they can create their own visions, giving them a gift of what they need most, helping them to make real their dreams. In Scotland, the last night of the year is Wish Night, a holiday when wishes made for the coming year are at their most powerful.

 

YULE HISTORY

Division: Minor Sabbat

Other Names: Winter Solstice, Midwinter, Sun Return, Alban Arthan, Pagan New Year, Saturnalia, Finn’s Day, Yuletide, Festival of Sol, Great Day of the Cauldron, Festival of Growth.

Southern Hemisphere Date: June 20-23

Northern Hemisphere Date: December 21

Associated Holiday: Christmas

Associated Deities: Mother Berta, Father Winter, Santa Clause, Kriss Kringle, St Nick, Kings of Holly and Oak, Aphrodite, Fortuna, Gaia, Hel, Holle, Ishtar, Isis, Apollo, Attis, Balder, Dionysus, the Green Man, Lugh, Odin, Ra

Associated Herbs: Chamomile, rosemary, ginger, sage and cinnamon

Associated Stones: Bloodstones, Garnets, Quartz crystal, blue sunstone, emerald, ruby, sapphire and diamonds

Symbols of Yule: Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, Christmas cactus.

Foods of Yule: Biscuits, Caraway cakes ,roasted apples, fruits, nutmeg, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, or lamb’s wool.

Drinks of Yule: Eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb’s wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).

Incense of Yule: Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Ritual Oils: Rosemary, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Saffron, Cedar/Pine, Wintergreen, Ginger

Colors of Yule: Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.

Taboos: Extinguishing Fire, Travelling

Plants: Holly, Mistletoe, Evergreens, Poinsettia, Bougainvillaea, Tropical Flowers, Bay, Pine, Ginger, Valerian, Myyrh.

Element: Earth

Activities: Decorating the Yule tree, Gift giving, storytelling

Animals: Stag, Squirrels, Wren/Robin, Bear, Boar, Squirrel, Sow, Tiger, Bear,

Mythical Creatures: Phoenix, Troll, Mermecolion

Celebration of: The Goddess giving birth to the God.

About YULE

Yule is one of the Lesser Sabbats, it marks the Winter Solstice and is the time of the year when the God is reborn of the virgin goddess. The God is represented by the Sun which returns after the darkest night of the year, to again bring warmth and fertility to the land.

During Yule the daylight hours are the shortest in the year, and the nights are the longest. The Moon after Yule is said to be the most powerful of the whole year. Divine babies were born on this day – famously baby Jesus, Mithra, Oedipus, Hercules, Dionysus and many other holy beings.

The origins of Yule date back to the Egyptians, they held the festival to celebrate the rebirth of Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, Horus took the form of the Sun. Because greenery was seen as magical growth, and they wanted the Sun to stay longer, everything in sight was decorated in all the greenery. Others followed, and when the Romans came along they named their festival Saturnalia, they brought in things such as candles, singing, lavish feasts and extravagant gift giving. As this spread through Europe it became Yule.

Many things that Christians use to celebrate Christmas have Pagan origins, such as the Christmas tree. Pagan families would bring a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months. Bells were hung on the tree so you could tell when a spirit was present. The five-pointed star, the pentagram, symbol of the five elements, was placed at the top of the tree. The colours of the season, red and green, are also of Pagan origin, as is the custom of exchanging gifts. The Druids honored trees and collected and hung mistletoe. Group singing (caroling) was also a way of guiding the spirits towards the warmth of the homes. Yule is always considered a celebration of peace, love, spirituality and positive energy.

The origin of the word Yule, has several suggested origins from the Old English word, geõla, the Old Norse word jõl, a pagan festival celebrated at the winter solstice, or the Anglo-Saxon word for the festival of the Winter Solstice, ‘Iul’ meaning ‘wheel’.

Yule Activities

* Decorate a Christmas or Yule tree.

* Exchange gifts with family and friends

* Decorate with the colors Red, gold and green in honour of the God

* Add mistletoe, this is both protective and representative of fertility

* Sing carols

* Donate food and clothing to others.

* Private Meditation

* Light Candles

* Drink cider

* Ring bells to greet the Solstice Morning

* String popcorn and hang them on an outdoor tree for the birds.

* Hang little bells on the Yule Tree to call the spirits and fairies.

* For prosperity, burn ash wood.

* Make and burn a Yule Log.

* Bake a Yule Log Cake.

YULE RITUAL

YULE RITUAL

Here’s one Yule ritual you should perform before the rising of the sun, and this is to welcome the sun god. You will need: a cauldron and a red candle.

What you should do:

1. Stand before the cauldron on your altar and say:

“I worry not,
with the world fast asleep.
I worry not,
with the icy winds.
I worry not,
with snow falling hard and deep.
I worry not,
For this too shall pass.”
2. Light the red candle and say:

 

“Great god of the sun,
I welcome Your return.
May you shine brightly upon the Earth,
With your bright light,
And may you scatter seeds and fertilize the land.
All blessings upon You,
Reborn one of the sun!”

 

3. You may leave your candle burning until it dies out.

You can change the words and personalize them as much as you can. There really is no right or wrong way to pray. As long as your intentions are clear, the sun god and the goddess will be receptive to your prayers and offerings.

YULE PRAYERS

YULE PRAYERS

Yule is a time of reflection and prayer. In your prayers, you should be grateful to the Earth and be thankful to the Goddess for the coming of the sun.

Just because it is cold around, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on down there in the soil. Use this as a time to reflect on what lies dormant in your own life right now and think of what you want to bloom in just a few months. And you do this through prayer.

Here’s a prayer you can say on the eve of Yule:

“This time of year,
It’s cold and dark,
the earth lies dormant,
awaiting the return of the sun,
The sun brings with it life.
Underneath the frozen surface,
A heartbeat waits,
Waiting for the right moment,
Waiting for spring.”

When the sun rises on Yule, the longest night of the year has passed, and the days are only going to get longer. Facing the sun, you may welcome it with a prayer:

“Sun God, we greet you,
You are born on this happy morning.
We are grateful to you who brings the day and gives us light.
With your birth we welcome rebirth in our hearts.”

Buttermilk Bread Charm for Yule.

Buttermilk Bread Charm for Yule.

You will need: 

3 mugs of strong white flour
500 ml of Buttermilk (available from the supermarket)
I teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda
Yule ribbon in red & green or gold
4 dessertspoons of honey
3 dessertspoons of golden syrup
4 dessertspoons of mixed peel
3/4 cup of mixed dried fruit
3 pieces of ginger, roughly chopped (the type you get in syrup)
chopped walnuts and rich brown sugar for sprinkling

Place the flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda and pour in the buttermilk. Mix well all the remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon until the dough feels springy. You can add some of the preserved ginger syrup for extra stickyness and zing) If it feels too sloppy just add a little more flour. Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Brush with milk and sprinkle with nuts and sugar.

Place onto a greased baking tray and pop your buttermilk bread into a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it. When the bread is ready it will change colour and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, tie it with Yule ribbon.

Take time to concentrate on the bread you have created and turn the loaf three times saying “From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Yule Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”

Now take your bread and share it with your family and friends and pass on the generous blessings of this festival of Rebirth! Eat it fresh, as soon as it is made if you can.

I am discovering that you can add almost anything appropriate to this simple bread recipe and it STILL WORKS beautifully. You can decide for yourself what the appropriate additions are for a particular festival, and just do it. There is much kitchen magic in working with one recipe through the Wheel of the Year just changing it a little as the wheel turns…..

Yule/Winter Solstice December 21st

Yule/Winter Solstice December 21st


At Samhain we honour, celebrate and welcome the descent into, and return of, the dark – the beginning of the New Year, acknowledging that all beginnings emerge from darkness. At the Winter Solstice we reach the depth of that darkness with the longest night of the year. Darkness has reached its peak.

“Now we start to wonder: will this continue? Will the Earth grow darker and colder as the Sun disappears into the south until only darkness is left? But at Yule a wonderful thing happens. The Sun stops its decline and for a few days it rises in about the same place. This is the crucial time, the cusp between events. The Sun stands still, and everyone waits for the turning.

In our heads we know the light will return. But in the darkness of Winter, can we be sure? do our hearts believe what our heads tell us? Will the light keep its promises? We all have moments of darkness, when we don’t know how much deeper we will go before the light starts to return (or even if it will). The world has moments too; it understands us, and lives as we do.

The Sun does start north again and the light comes back. In the world, in our lives, the light comes back. This is indeed something worth celebrating, and it has been celebrated throughout the Northern Hemisphere in remarkably similar ways.” (quote from The Pagan Family by Ceisiwr Serith)

The Festival of Rebirth and The Return of the Sun

With the end of the longest night the dark is defeated with the Return of the Sun, the return of light, hope and promise. The Goddess gives birth to the Sun/Sun God. The Sun begins to wax and the days grow longer. All that is hidden will begin to emerge. This is the Sun’s birthday! And it really is time to celebrate!

The Oak King and The Holly King

The Holly King rules over the dark part of the year from Midsummer to Yule, he is God of the Waning Year. At Yule he surrenders his life to the young light Oak King, God of the Waxing Year and his twin, who rules over the light part of the year from Yule to Midsummer. Both rule for half of the year, both fight for the favour and love of the Goddess and both surrender their life force for the well-being of the land. In truth, they are one.

Traditions of Yule

Yule, or Winter Solstice traditions are many and generous, and are shared not only with Christianity with the birthday of the Christ Child, but with many pre-Christian Pagan traditions and indeed more recent ones. It is difficult sometimes to identify their sources, but they are all very familiar in our Western culture even if we don’t recognise the symbology behind them.

The Evergreen

Evergreens represent everlasting life and were traditionally hung around doorways and windows. Each has a symbolism of its own.

Mistletoe

Greatly revered by the Druids, this is the healer and protector. It is carefully cut to ensure it never touches the earth. It’s magical properties are believed to be connected to the fact that it lives between the worlds, between sky/heaven and earth. The white berries of mistletoe represent the fertile white semen of the life-giving male. Which is where kissing under the mistletoe comes from!

Holly

Another evergreen of protection, holly’s spiky bristles are believed to repel unwanted spirits. Newborn babies used to be sprinkled with ‘holly water’, water in which holly had been soaked, especially potent if left under a full moon overnight. Holly is sacred to Holle, the Germanic underworld goddess, and symbolizes everlasting life, goodwill and potent life energy. Its red berries represent feminine blood. Together, mistletoe and holly represent the Sacred Marriage at this time of year with the re-birth of the Sun/Son.

Ivy

Evergreen symbol of immortality and resurrection, growing in a spiral reminding us of reincarnation and rebirth. Sacred to Osiris, where His death and resurrection was a central theme in Egyptian religion. Sacred also to Dionysys, god of vegetation, blossoming and the Return of Spring.

Yew

Tree of regeneration and rebirth as no other – it sends up new trees from its roots and grows to a very great age. It is deeply connected with the spirit realms and the ancestors. Often used as the central ‘world tree’ in ritual spaces and was often planted in graveyards. Very poisonous.

Pine

Its branches bring healing and joy to the home, burning it will purify.

The Kissing Bough

At Yuletide it has often been customary to make a decoration using two hoops, one thrust through the other, and bound with evergreens, holly and ivy, and rosy cheeked apples specially reserved for the occasion. Inside, dolls are hung, male and female, with other brightly coloured baubles. At the bottom of the decoration a bunch of mistletoe is carefully tied, and the whole tableau is suspended in the middle of the room, the centre of attention. Every berry on the mistletoe bears the promise of a kiss, and for every kiss given or taken a berry is removed. When all the berries are gone, the kissing has to stop! (Hedingham Fair)

The Wreath

It was traditional to make wreaths from evergreen – the Wheel of Life as evergreen. These were hung on doors or laid horizontally and decorated with candles – later becoming the Christian Advent Wreath

The Yule Tree

Introduced into modern times apparently by the German Prince Albert in Victorian times and we love it. In ancient Rome, pine trees were an essential part of Goddess groves. On the eve of the Midwinter Solstice, Roman priests would cut down a pine tree, decorate it and carry it ceremonially to the temple celebrations. People decked their homes with boughs of evergreen trees and bushes in pots. Pines and firs were cherished as a symbol of rebirth and life in the depth of winter. It was the festival of Saturnalia. Pagan families would bring a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm in the cold winter months – food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat.

Candles

This is the festival of light out of darkness and the tradition of lighting candles is ever popular. Red, green and the gold of the Returning Sun are the colours of Yule. Deck your home and altar with evergreens and candles.

Gift Giving 
This is THE Birthday of the Sun/Son! From ancient times the giving and exchanging of gifts has been a vibrant tradition of this festival.

Call to Lucifer

Call to Lucifer

 

You’ll Need:

  • 3 Black Candles
  • Lucifer’s Sigil Printed
  • Latin Spell

Begin By:

  1. Prepare yourself by showering and thoroughly cleansing your body, you should present yourself alone, cleansed and nude.

You are about to embark on an ancient ritual, present yourself with reverence and humbleness.

  1. Prepare Lucifer’s sigil with 3 lit black candles. Make sure you have the spell somewhere you can easily read from.
  2. In a darkened room stand alone and nude holding Lucifer’s sigil and the spell in front of you. (sigil below)
  3. Relax and take a few minutes to quiet your mind. You can do a simple meditation close your eyes and do some deep breathing.
  4. Recite the Latin spell:

 

Ut patet viam meam, Dimitto ceteris,

Aperi tu cor meum ut Lucifer,

Audite quaeso meae voca,

Ego offerre mea erga,

Obsecro incipere.

6. Lastly, scan this last line of the spell from right to left.

 

පීරිස්ටරර් විය යුතුය

 

It is now time to have a conversation with Lucifer. Imagine he is sitting next to you. Even though you cannot see him, he will hear and see you. Do not simply utter a few brief sentences. The key to success with this is to pour your heart out. Speak to him as if he is your father, the light of this world, the one who gives you free will. Take your time, when finished sit quietly in front of your candles in silence. It is done.

Grounding, Centring and Shielding

Grounding, Centring and Shielding

Before you meditate, or do other spiritual work such as energy healings, divination or magick, you should prepare and protect yourself. You do this by grounding yourself, centring your energies, and shielding yourself from unwanted influences.
Centring:
Centring is simply returning all of your scattered energies to home base. Usually throughout the day, you have little energy tendrils out doing things while you are attending to business. Perhaps you are writing a report, but one ‘eye’ is on the clock, because you have a meeting coming up, and a fragment of your attention is thinking about your children, since one was sniffling this morning, and you also have a fraction of your mind drafting a letter of resignation you know you’ll never send.

To centre yourself, call in all your scattered bits of attention and focus, and bring them into your body’s space. You are mentally compacting yourself around your mental or ‘spiritual center of gravity’. People have different concepts of where their spiritual centre physically is – one woman told me hers was behind her bellybutton. Some people locate it at their heart chakra or their solar plexus chakra. Pull your energies into a tight ball at the location where they seem to want to be at rest – if you aren’t centred, you might feel ‘psychically top-heavy’, as if you were prone to topple over.

Pay attention to your breathing while you call in all your forces; imagine yourself inhaling white cleansing energy and exhaling dark, dusty ‘busy-ness’ and futile wheel-spinning. This process can take 10-15 minutes while you’re first learning it, but once you learn the ‘centred’ feeling, you can centre yourself with a few breaths at any time, even while driving your car or walking into that important
meeting.

Grounding:
Grounding connects you to the energy of the earth, and is important in healing and magickal works since it prevents you from depleting your own body’s energy. Simply put, you connect to the earth by imagining you are connected to the earth. Sounds silly, but it works. Here’s how you do it:

Imagine you are standing in your bare feet on the ground. (It doesn’t matter if you’re in your cubicle in a high rise or even flying somewhere on a plane.) Your feet are planted firmly on the bare earth, and by an exercise of your will, you send roots into the earth. As you inhale, you draw energy up through your new ‘roots’, and as you exhale, you send your roots even further into the earth. Do this for several minutes – you should definitely feel a change in the state of your feeling of ‘aliveness’.
Shielding:
Shielding is the process of protecting yourself from the energetic influences around you, and is something you can do independent of grounding, centring, meditating or anything else.

Have you ever experienced a day when you were full of vague, directionless anger? or a strange hope inappropriate to your current circumstances? Before you schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist, see if shielding makes these intrusive emotions cease – you may be taking on the energies of people around you, complete with their own imprimatur of hope, fear, anger or whatnot.

Shielding is a skill that you can use independent of grounding and centering, and when you are going into highly charged situations (a court room, a job review or interview, a family argument), shielding is a vital step in keeping your energies separate from all the swirling energies around you.

Shielding, like grounding and centring, is a visualising process, and everyone evolves their own special shielding ritual. While grounded, draw up energy into your being. Use this energy to form a protective barrier between yourself and the negative vibes of those around you, or random free-floating energies. You can visualise a transparent plexi-glass egg around you – the good intentions and friendly emotions around you are free to pass through your shield, but all bad stuff gets deflected. Some people make shields that reflect negativity back to the source, but this, while perhaps satisfying to one’s sense of fair play, still leaves too much negative energy in the atmosphere. Set your shields to ‘ground out’ any negative energy that impinges on it, and let it flow harmlessly into the earth, where it can be neutralised and recycled into good energy.