Daily Archives: December 20, 2011

A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~

A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~

Author: Lady Abigail

In a time before time had been named, when life danced as a dazzling rainbow upon the mystical Earth, magick lived inside each earthen creature. Some, the big ones, were having a harder time seeing the magick now, than in the past. They were starting to forget that magick is all around you, if only you believed.

Alicia was a small and tiny earthen spirit with sparkling blue eyes and a pinched up nose; even in the fairy world, where all things are small, she was the smallest of them all.

Her home was deep inside the strong and twisting roots of a big Oak. It was safe and none of the winter cold snows could find their way in.

She loved playing around her cozy and warm home with her mom and dad. They would play hide and seek and she could easily hide in the corners or under the furniture. They would read books by the firelight and sing songs that only the fairies knew.

Alicia was frightened of the other earthen creatures, as well as of what might be outside her cozy home under the big Oak. She had never been out before and saw no reason to go into the “outside.”

When company came over Alicia would not come out of her tiny seedpod bed. When the Bunny family who lived next door came to visit, she was frightened that being so small, one of the many bunny babies might accidentally hop on her. She would only peek over the beds edge with her tiny pinched nose when the Gloends, a family of glowworms came to visit, because she wanted to see where the warm yellow glow was coming from.

At dinner one evening, Alicia’s mom and dad told her that soon winter’s hold would be ending. That frightened Alicia since she only knew the winter and could not imagine what might happen if it was to end.

They explained to her that in the entire magickal world, it was her magick that would call in the changing of seasons and the turning of the great wheel. On the eve of the next night Alicia, her mom and her dad would go on a journey into the forest. Here, there would be a great gathering and all the mystical creatures of Earth would see her gift of magick.

But Alicia shivered with fear — what was this wheel and how can she stop this magick and changing? She liked things just as they were and didn’t want anything to change at all. She didn’t want to go to a gathering where so many would be. She didn’t know what this gift was that she was to give. What if she got lost and no one could find her? Or maybe the others would see her. Maybe they would not like her or make fun of her or laugh at her being so small.

Her greatest fear was that maybe she had no magick. She had not seen it. She couldn’t fly like her mom and dad; she kept falling on her elbows. She couldn’t make things like flowers or snowflakes like her mom and dad; all she ended up with some ice that melted. She couldn’t even make light with her wand. How would her parents feel when they found out, what would she do?

Even as frightened as Alicia was of going into the “outside, ” she was more frightened of what others might think of her. She didn’t want to disappoint her mom and dad, so she decided it would be best if she hid. She would go into the “outside;” no one would look for her there. She would not go very far. Just far enough away where she could hide until the gathering was over, and then the change would not happen.

Alicia’s mom was roasting acorns for the great gathering’s feast and her dad was busy polishing up his ice wand. Alicia knew no one would see her leave, or think she would go into the “outside” alone, since she never had before.

With her wand in a small bag tied to her waist, Alicia carefully opened the door of her house and stepped into the “outside.” She closed the door quickly and quietly so her mom and dad would not hear it creak. Then, she turned to see what was here in this “outdoors.” It was white everywhere. She walked along for a little while when all of a sudden “crunch” she sunk into the snow up to her wing tips. It took a bit of work but she wriggled her way up and out of the snow. Now she was really cold and she could see it was getting darker. The bright bluish color of the sky was now turning a purple hue with streaks of red and yellow.

She wasn’t sure, but if night was coming she had to hide quickly. If she could fly just to the edge of the forest she would find a place to stay until the gathering was over and then she could go home again. Then it would be safe because nothing would change. That is what she wanted.

Alicia was frighten and getting colder, but she had made up her mind. She had to do this, or everything she knew was going to change forever. She shook herself off and looked toward the forest edge. With all her will and might she jumped up and began flying forward. Then back a little, then up, then down, then around in some circles and then slower and then faster and then it happened. Bang! She flew right into a tree branch hanging low weighted heavy by the snow.

Alicia did not know what exactly had happened as she rubbed her head, but when she rose up again out of the snow it had gotten very dark. She could see tiny lights twinkling above her now. She looked around trying to figure out what direction to go. By now the gathering must be over and she could go home. Everything would stay the same. But which way was home?

Alicia couldn’t see where to go, so she didn’t want to try to fly. What if she hit another tree, it was dark now and she couldn’t make anything out, plus her head still hurt from before. She had to be very careful deciding what way to go now.

All of a sudden, she heard someone calling her. “Alicia, Alicia.” She felt her body begin to shake so hard that the tiny ice cycles that had formed on the tips of her wings, tinkled like little bells. As she turned around to look behind her, she saw a woman lying on a big pile of fur blankets. She was not a fairy, but she was beautiful, dressed in a green, red and white gown. Hundreds of earthen creatures stood all around her, many Alicia had never seen before, but none were scared or frightened at all. Although Alicia didn’t understand it, she wasn’t frightened either.

There seemed to peace about this woman, it was something calming. “Alicia, I have been waiting for you. I need your help.” the Lady said.
“Waiting for me?” Alicia asked.
“Yes, Alicia, ” she said. “Its dark now and we need your light to light the way, so that we can see what lies before us.”
“My light?” Alicia asked, remembering she had not been able to make her wand light before.
“It’s your magick Alicia, your magick that will call the light from within me.” the Lady said.
Alicia slowly began to walk toward the woman. That’s when she saw that this quiet lady was going to have a baby, and she was going to have it any moment.

All the fears and worries Alicia carried with her were beginning to melt away, just like the ice on her wing tips. As she looked into the meadow green eyes of this lady she wanted more than anything else in her small life to make a light for her.

Alicia, still trembling, took her wand from its little bag, and raised it up. With every magickal hope she had ever had, she put her energy into lighting her wand.

The lady smiled gently at her and in that instance there was a great flash of light, which came from the tip of that tiny wand. It was a brilliant luminous light, which filled every corner of the night.

As Alicia held her wand high she looked over to see that now the lady was holding in her arms a baby; a wonderful little baby boy. Suddenly, she understood it all, everything her mom and dad had been telling her.

This was the magick; this was her special gift. Alicia, the tiniest of all fairies, she was the one who carried the spark, the spark which released the light of the world and the turning of the wheel of life.

In her tiny being she had carried that magick, the magick to unlock the power of love and understanding for the world to share. Standing in that brilliant light, Alicia understood who the Lady was and the importance of this baby. She was a part of the rebirth of the Light. This baby was the Light again reborn of the Goddess. The beautiful Lady was the Goddess of life, and Alicia was that spark of magick which survives all time and through which we find boundless possibilities.

Soon the edge of the forest was filled with earthen creatures and spirits from all over the mystical world. Alicia’s mom and dad watched their fairy child as she beamed with joy. The Lady holding her baby boy blessed all those who shared in this time of magick as the feast was served and great happiness was shared by all.

Alicia didn’t even notice that she was floating on the air. She was no longer weighted down by all her silly worries or fears. She knew that even though she was tiny she had the power to light the world. Now she understood, magick is all around you if you only believe, and trust in yourself.

So each year as you light a candle to call the light, remember the tiniest fairy, for it only takes one tiny spark to give light unto the whole world.

Blessed be our Lady the Mother of Light.

Lady Abigail
High Priestess Ravensgrove Coven
Copyright: Copyright © 11012005

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Once Upon A Yule: Celebrating the Sabbat and Honoring Heritage Through Storytelling

Once Upon A Yule: Celebrating the Sabbat and Honoring Heritage Through Storytelling

Author: Araignée

December is a very busy time for my household. Besides my anniversary, my birthday, and Christmas (yes we do celebrate it with our families but let’s save that can of worms for another essay) , there is the Winter Solstice, known to many Pagans and Witches as Yule. It is the Pagan holy night of rebirth, marking the return of light and the sun.

With the time for death and letting go behind us (All Hallows’ Eve) , this is the time to come out of the darkness a little bit and reemerge from the ashes of what was, not completely different but in many ways, changed. So every year, with this in mind, I try to make sure that our Midwinter celebration honors this aspect of the eternal life cycle with a night of great storytelling.

Storytelling is not an uncommon Yuletide tradition but I do believe it to be an undervalued one. A lot of people think that it’s just sitting around telling stories. But there are real differences between simply giving a blow-by-blow account of an event and illustrating the idiosyncratic (yet, often overlooked) details that make life truly interesting. There is a difference between monotonous relaying and deliberate channeling of the power of spoken word.

I am always looking for ways to incorporate pieces of my heritage into my ritual and practice as a Pagan and a Witch. So, during the weeks leading up to my very first Winter Solstice celebration with my companion, *Jewel*, I delved into the art of storytelling in the African-American tradition. And let me tell you it was no easy task.

It didn’t occur to me just how much creativity, improvisation, and passion this style (and any style, really) of storytelling would demand of me. It’s an art. A true craft. And just like any other craft, it takes time to master. So, needless to say by the time the Sabbat arrived I’d nowhere near reached the caliber of the seasoned Black storytellers I was learning from. I didn’t dare make a fool of myself in front of my family and kin by even trying to tell stories that year.

However, I continued to listen and watch the Black storytellers do their thing. And at some point, it occurred to me that the storytellers’ skills might not just be a matter of the “what” and “how” of our oral heritage but the “why”. Why did our ancestors tell stories? Why did they choose to tell the stories they told? And why do we continue to tell these stories?

I began studying African-American folklore on my own. And the more I read the more I understood about the nature of common characters, motifs, dialect, and structure of these tales within the context of my culture and history. Of course, this has everything to do with the collective memory of my people (as, I soon learned, is the case with folklore in ALL cultures) . As Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés explains in Women Who Run With the Wolves, “the nurture for telling stories comes from the might and endowments of my people who have gone before me” (18) . These stories together are a reflection of the past experiences of my people, our relationships with each other, the wider community, and ourselves. They are also an echoing of the present, and I can’t help but feel, a revelatory view of the future as well. Somehow there is a stream of truth running through these tales so constant that it renders the illusions of time and space irrelevant, giving it that cyclic, regenerative quality and energy in which we rejoice at Midwinter.

It wasn’t long before I gained exposure to the storytelling styles of folktales, legends, fairy tales, and fables from other cultures. Native American, German, Russian, Chinese. Anyone familiar with them will tell you that the art of storytelling and/or tale-weaving within those cultures is a complex but beautiful craft as well. And like in the African-American tradition, it’s a craft that rests not just on the principle of “what we do” and “how we do it” but “why we do it”. We do it to honor our past first and foremost (because that is what we stand on, the groundwork our ancestors have already laid, the effort they put in to keep our heritage alive) but our present, and our future too, both individually and as a people.

So, my “wolf pack” and I will continue our tradition of storytelling this Winter Solstice. No, I have not reached the level of “master storyteller” yet but I get better and better every year. I now know that the point is not to strive to be perfect at it but to never lose sight of why I’m doing it.

Each year, I choose a few stories. Some stories that may speak to my own or other’s personal experience, some that might resonate with our experience as a family, and still some that might reflect our experience as a culture, a group, a nation, even a global community. I may even put my own modern spin on the story, adding a few pertinent details here and there to really “make it stick”. But regardless, I tell the story so that, as the Wheel turns and the cycles of life on earth start all over again, we don’t forget where we’ve been, we recognize where we are, and we don’t lose sight of where we’re going. And I invite my Pagan friends of other backgrounds to come and share as well. Mutual appreciation for each other’s stories is a huge part of strengthening our bonds. It encourages us all to move beyond merely “tolerating” each other’s differences and instead, welcome them.

I really encourage other Pagans and Witches who also want to honor their heritage to do the same. There is no better time to share and exchange cultural narratives than at Midwinter/Yule.

At the end of my favorite movie, Eve’s Bayou, the narrator, after having shared the story of her childhood, makes a statement which I think has to be ingrained in the mind and heart of any good storyteller. “Memory is the selection of images; some illusive, others printed indelibly on the brain. Each image is like a thread. Each thread woven together to make a tapestry of intricate texture. And the tapestry tells a story. And the story is our past”.



Footnotes:
Sources:

Eve’s Bayou. Dir. Kasi Lemmons. Perf. Jurnee Smollett, Meagan Good, Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, Diahann Carroll, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Roger Guenveur Smith. Trimark Pictures. 1997. Film.

Estés, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola. Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995. Print.

 

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Winter

Winter
 
Like anything else, if one is prepared to meet winter rather than cower at the thought, it is an excellent
time to be happy and alive. When we are warm on the inside and we have no excessive fears, we can lean
into the wind and pace ourselves to breathe the cold air and taste the snow without absorbing it. We were
created to take domination over these things and it is time we proved it. But as long as there is one other
person who is not warm, who does not see beauty, we can’t be too comfortable not immune to winter.
 
‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
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Yule: Fertility and Ghosts

Yule: Fertility and Ghosts

At the winter solstice, Scandinavians worshipped Frey, god of fertility; further south, the Angli celebrated

December 24 as New Year’s Eve, called Modranecht (mother night), a vigil also connected with fertility rites.

In general, the traditional Yule (from the Norse Iul, meaning wheel) was a feast devoted to fertility and the

ancestors, which passed on to Christmas fecund and ghostly traditions. The Christmas roast pig is kissing cousin
to julgalti, the pig offered to Frey for fertility in the coming year, according to Funk and Wagnall’s. Hence the apple

in its mouth. Similarly, Yule was a time to charm grain and fruit to grow thick. Traditional Scots kept the

Corn Maiden from harvest till Yule and then distributed her to the cattle, according to the Farrars. The Germans

scattered the ashes of the Yule log on the fields for fertility, or kept its last charred pieces to bind in the last

sheaf of the coming harvest. The French retained apiece of Yule log through the year to protect the house

against fire and lightning, to ensure bountiful crops and the easy birth of calves. The solstice was also a weather

predictor, according to Funk and Wagnall’s. In more recent tradition, a white Christmas is said to mean a prosperous
New Year, while a green, cloudy or hot Christmas fills the churchyard.

 

Yule is a time for spirits. European tradition, transferred to the Christian holiday, held that each house should

be clean and prepared for Christmas before the household went to church, so the spirits could inspect it.

Spirits likewise stayed for Christmas dinner. In Sweden, householders set a special table for them. European

folk beliefs say that someone who sits under a pine tree on Christmas Eve can hear the sound of angels —

but death will soon follow. Death also awaits one who hears farm animals converse in the barn that night.

A person born on Christmas can see spirits. Dreams on the Northern Modranecht were believed to foretell
the coming year, according to Nigel Pennick in The Pagan Book of Days.

 

 

 Excerpted From Reclaiming the Winter Solstice by Melanie Fire Salamander

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Daily Aromatherapy Tip ~ Lavender-Orange Refresher Spray

 

Daily Aromatherapy Tip ~ Lavender-Orange Refresher Spray

This floral-fruity mist is a great way to refresh tired senses on plane trips, long car rides or anytime

you need a fragrant boost; Add 9 drops of lavender and 7 drops of orange essential oil to 1 2/3
ounces of distilled water. Place in a spray bottle or atomizer. Shake the bottle vigorously, then close

your eyes and lightly mist your face or personal space.

Brought to you by AromaThyme.com

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Today’s Affirmation for December 20

I skillfully direct my energies into the things that will make most difference.

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Goddess Of The Day: SEPHIRA

Goddess Of The Day: SEPHIRA
Hanukkah (Jewish)
 
Themes: Miracles; Victory, Success; Overcoming
Symbol: Light
 
About Sephira: This ancient Cabalistic goddess embodies divine light – the active, energetic power that flows
through the Universe in all directions. Thus, it is no coincidence that the ten spheres on the Tree of Life are
called Sephirah, for this goddess guides our way and path with her radiance.
 
To Do Today: This festival commemorates the rebellion of the Jews against the Syrians, in which a miracle took
place. A small bottle of oil stayed lit for eight days, keeping the temple consecrated until more oil could be brought.
Since Sephira is the light of miracles, today’s a good time to focus on seemingly impossible goals or situations that
you may have set aside or left behind in discouragement. Revisit those dreams; reconsider the logistics of those
circumstances. If there is a better way to approach things, Sephira will illuminate that path or options for you in
your meditations. Make sure to turn on light sources today, and open curtains to let natural light into your home.
Symbolically, this welcomes Sephira’s active power into your spiritual life and quest. Also consider following with
Jewish tradition and giving coins to friends or family. These tokens draw financial security. Or, eat potato pancakes
for providence.
 
 
By Patricia Telesco
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Today Is Tuesday, December 20

Today Is Tuesday

 
  • Tuesday, the day of Mars, also Tiwaz and Tiw (for whom it was named)
  • Today’s Magick ~ A day of spellwork based on justified wrath, money, enemies, courage, energy, while wearing red and using iron or amethyst. Wear white for peace, purity, spirituality, higher self, The Goddess. Wear a ruby, star sapphire, or emerald. Use topaz for amulets.
  • Today’s Moon Magick ~ Waxing Moon: (from the new moon to the full) ~ From seven to fourteen days after the new moon. The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or health. The Waxing Moon is the ideal time for magic to draw things towards you.
  • Goddess Month of Astrea – runs from 11/28 – 12/25
  • Moon Phase: Waxing Moon
  • Color: White
  • Moon Sign: Taurus
  • Moon enters Gemini 8:43 AM
  • Incense: Gardenia
  • Day of Ancient Briton
  • Saturnalia begins
  • Feast of the Fairy Godmothers (Fairy)
  • International Shareware Day
  • Oman Independence Day
  • National Maple Syrup Day
  • Bhutan National Day
  • Pan American Aviation Day
  • Wright Brothers Day
  • Acatl Day – Aztec
  • St. Lazarus’ Day (patron of housewives, lepers, sextons)
  • Sow Day – In Orkney, a sow was killed on this day. The pig has long been a significant animal at this time of year, a symbol of abundance, especially in the north (see Christmas Eve, Dec 23, and New Years Eve, Dec 31).
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