Daily Archives: June 30, 2012

 
 

December, the Twelfth Month of the year of our Goddess, 2014

YuleBlessings

The Light Has Been Reborn

(Tune:  “Good Christian Men Rejoice”)

The Light has been reborn
Upon this happy morn.
Sing O sing in jubilee.
Oh, oh, Io Io Evohee!
Sing O sing glad tidings.
The round of life is new begun:
Mother – Father – Daughter.
Mother – Father – Son.

—-words by William Baldwin

christmas-divider2December – Oak Moon

December is the twelfth month of the year, its name derived from the Latin for “ten,” as it was the tenth month of the Roman calendar. Its astrological sign is Sagittarius, the archer (November 23 – December 23), a mutable fire sign ruled by Jupiter. Winter owns the land now. Snow covers the land and ice silence the streams. Still, this is a month of joy and renewal. Holiday lights litter, and kitchens fill with spice fragrance from holiday season sweets and pastries. Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas are the holidays of December. At Yule, we celebrate the return of the Sun God and burn the Yule log to honor the strengthening Sun. As we decorate the Yule tree, we honor the evergreen as a symbol of eternal life. The decorations we use on the Yule tree are rich with symbolism. The lights represent stars, fruit shaped ornaments represent fertility and the star atop the tree is a symbol of the divine spirit. December’s Full Moon, the first of the winter season, is known as the Cold moon. It is a white distant Moon that shimmers above the frozen landscape. Acknowledge her by lighting a single white candle in the window. As the wheel of the year makes its final turn, we arrive at New Year’s Eve, a time to honor our pass and think of the future. The endless rhythm of the seasons continues.

christmas-divider2Oak Moon

THE OAK MOON is the thirteenth esbat. It is one of the most magical full moons because it doesn’t occur every year. This high moon draws upon the power of the mighty oak. A tree of tremendous magical power, everything that grows on an oak is sacred. As the “Forest King” of endurance, and the tree of the Norse God Frey, oak is the primary wood of the sacred fire of the Goddess, associated with fertility, ancestry, and love. Its fruit, the acorn, is a symbol of the Goddess. Faeries, elves, and lovers meet and dance under the oaks and the sacred mistletoe graces the mighty tree. This thirteenth moon is a time to generate strength, endurance, success, and protection. It represents the completion of a cycle.

— Wiccan Spell A Night: Spells, Charms, And Potions For The Whole Year

Sirona Knight

christmas-divider2DECEMBER CORRESPONDENCES

NATURE SPIRITS: Snow faeries, storm faeries, winter tree faeries

HERBS: holly, English Ivy, fir, mistletoe

COLORS: Blood red, white and black

FLOWERS: holly, poinsettia, christmas cactus

SCENTS: Violet, patchouli, rose geranium, frankincense, myrrh, lilac

STONES: serpentine, jacinth, peridot

TREES: Fir, pine and holly

ANIMALS: mouse, deer, horse and bear

BIRDS: rook, snowy owl, and robin

DEITIES: Hathor, Hecate, Neith, Athene, Minerva, Ixchel, Osiris, Norns, Fates

POWER/ADVICE: To endure, to be reborn, Earth tides turning, Darkness, a time to reach out to friends and family and those in need.

christmas-divider2Symbols for the Month of December

December’s Sign of the Zodiac
Sagittarius:  November 22  – December 21
Capricorn:  December 22 – January 19

December Birthstone
Blue Topaz or Turquoise (modern)
Zircon, Turquoise, or Lapis Lazuli (traditional)

November Birth Flower
December’s Birth Flower is the Narcissus.
The Narcissus stands for self-love.

Characteristics of Sagittarius
Great sense of humor, idealistic, generous.

christmas-divider2December’s Month Long Observations

  • World AIDS Day (December 1)
  • International Day of People with Disability (December 3)
  • The Residential Golf Tournament (December 6)
  • Pearl Harbor Day in the United States (December 7)
  • Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. (December 8)
  • In the Ásatrú religion, Egil Skallagrimsson’s Day (December 9) is a day of remembrance for the Viking hero.
  • Nobel Prizes awarded (December 10) on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
  • Human Rights Day (December 10)
  • Saint Lucy (December 13)
  • Honolulu Marathon is held on second Sunday in December.
  • Monkey Day (December 14)
  • Bill of Rights Day (United States). (December 15)
  • Hannukah (December 20 in 2011)
  • First day of winter (December 21)
  • Solstice (called the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) occurs on dates varying from December 20 to December 22 (in UTC). See also Yule
  • HumanLight (Humanist holiday), (December 23)
  • Christmas Eve (December 24)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Boxing Day (December 26)
  • Day of Goodwill (December 26)
  • Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1)
  • Philippines – Rizal Day (December 30)
  • New Year’s Eve (December 31)
  • Yule (December 20 to December 31)

christmas-divider2History of Yule

A Festival of Light:
Many cultures have winter festivals that are in fact celebrations of light. In addition to Christmas, there’s Hanukkah with its brightly lit menorahs, Kwanzaa candles, and any number of other holidays. The Pagan holiday called Yule takes place on the day of the winter solstice, around December 21 in the northern hemisphere (below the equator, the winter solstice falls around June 21). On that day (or close to it), an amazing thing happens in the sky. The earth’s axis tilts away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere, and the sun reaches at its greatest distance from the equatorial plane. As a festival of the Sun, the most important part of any Yule celebration is light — candles, bonfires, and more.
Origins of Yule:
In the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice has been celebrated for millenia. The Norse peoples viewed it as a time for much feasting, merrymaking, and, if the Icelandic sagas are to be believed, a time of sacrifice as well. Traditional customs such as the Yule log, the decorated tree, and wassailing can all be traced back to Norse origins.
Celtic Celebrations of Winter:
The Celts of the British Isles celebrated midwinter as well. Although little is known about the specifics of what they did, many traditions persist. According to the writings of Pliny the Elder, this is the time of year in which Druid priests sacrificed a white bull and gathered mistletoe in celebration.
Roman Saturnalia:
Few cultures knew how to party like the Romans. Saturnalia was a festival of general merrymaking and debauchery held around the time of the winter solstice. This week-long party was held in honor of the god Saturn, and involved sacrifices, gift-giving, special privileges for slaves, and a lot of feasting. Although this holiday was partly about giving presents, more importantly, it was to honor an agricultural god.
Welcoming the Sun Through the Ages:
Four thousand years ago, the Ancient Egyptians took the time to celebrate the daily rebirth of Ra, the god of the Sun. As their culture flourished and spread throughout Mesopotamia, other civilizations decided to get in on the sun-welcoming action. They found that things went really well… until the weather got cooler, and crops began to die. Each year, this cycle of birth, death and rebirth took place, and they began to realize that every year after a period of cold and darkness, the Sun did indeed return.
Winter festivals were also common in Greece and Rome, as well as in the British Isles. When a new religion called Christianity popped up, the new hierarchy had trouble converting the Pagans, and as such, folks didn’t want to give up their old holidays. Christian churches were built on old Pagan worship sites, and Pagan symbols were incorporated into the symbolism of Christianity. Within a few centuries, the Christians had everyone worshipping a new holiday celebrated on December 25.
In some traditions of Wicca and Paganism, the Yule celebration comes from the Celtic legend of the battle between the young Oak King and the Holly King. The Oak King, representing the light of the new year, tries each year to usurp the old Holly King, who is the symbol of darkness. Re-enactment of the battle is popular in some Wiccan rituals.

—-By Patti Wigington

Article found & owned by About.com

christmas-divider2How to Make a Yule Log

A Time-Honored Tradition

As the Wheel of the Year turns once more, the days get shorter, the skies become gray, and it seems as though the sun is dying. In this time of darkness, we pause on the Solstice (usually around December 21st, although not always on the same date) and realize that something wonderful is happening.
On Yule, the sun stops its decline into the south. For a few days, it seems as though it’s rising in exactly the same place… and then the amazing, the wonderful, the miraculous happens. The light begins to return.
The sun begins its journey back to the north, and once again we are reminded that we have something worth celebrating. In families of all different spiritual paths, the return of the light is celebrated, with Menorahs, Kwanzaa candles, bonfires, and brightly lit Christmas trees. On Yule, many Pagan and Wiccan families celebrate the return of the sun by adding light into their homes. One of our family’s favorite traditions – and one that children can do easily – is to make a Yule log for a family-sized celebration.
A holiday celebration that began in Norway, on the night of the winter solstice it was common to hoist a giant log onto the hearth to celebrate the return of the sun each year. The Norsemen believed that the sun was a giant wheel of fire which rolled away from the earth, and then began rolling back again on the winter solstice.
As Christianity spread through Europe, the tradition became part of Christmas Eve festivities. The father or master of the house would sprinkle the log with libations of mead, oil or salt. Once the log was burned in the hearth, the ashes were scattered about the house to protect the family within from hostile spirits.

Gathering the Symbols of the Season

Because each type of wood is associated with various magickal and spiritual properties, logs from different types of trees might be burned to get a variety of effects. Aspen is the wood of choice for spiritual understanding, while the mighty oak is symbolic of strength and wisdom. A family hoping for a year of prosperity might burn a log of pine, while a couple hoping to be blessed with fertility would drag a bough of birch to their hearth.
In our house, we usually make our Yule log out of pine, but you can make yours of any type of wood you choose. You can select one based on its magickal properties, or you can just use whatever’s handy.

To make a basic Yule log, you will need the following:
A log about 14 – 18” long
Pinecones
Dried berries, such as cranberries
Cuttings of mistletoe, holly, pine needles, and ivy
Feathers and cinnamon sticks
Some festive ribbon – use paper or cloth ribbon, not the synthetic or wire-lined type
A hot glue gun
All of these – except for the ribbon and the hot glue gun — are things you and your children can gather outside. You might wish to start collecting them earlier in the year, and saving them. Encourage your children to only pick up items they find on the ground, and not to take any cuttings from live plants.
Putting it All Together

Begin by wrapping the log loosely with the ribbon. Leave enough space that you can insert your branches, cuttings and feathers under the ribbon. In our house, we place five feathers on our Yule log – one for each member of the family. Once you’ve gotten your branches and cuttings in place, begin gluing on the pinecones, cinnamon sticks and berries. Add as much or as little as you like. Remember to keep the hot glue gun away from small children.
Once you’ve decorated your Yule log, the question arises of what to do with it. For starters, use it as a centerpiece for your holiday table. A Yule log looks lovely on a table surrounded by candles and holiday greenery.
Another way to use your Yule log is to burn it as our ancestors did so many centuries ago. In our family, before we burn our log we each write down a wish on a piece of paper, and then insert it into the ribbons. It’s our wish for the upcoming year, and we keep it to ourselves in hopes that it will come true.
If you have a fireplace, you can certainly burn your Yule log in it, but we prefer to do ours outside. We have a fire pit in the back yard, and on the night of the winter solstice, we gather out there with blankets, mittens, and mugs full of warm drinks as we burn our log. While we watch the flames consume it, we discuss how thankful we are for the good things that have come our way this year, and how we hope for abundance, good health, and happiness in the next.

—-By Patti Wigington

Article found & owned by About.com

 christmas-divider2Holding a Family Yule Log Ceremony

If your family enjoys ritual, you can welcome back the sun at Yule with this simple winter ceremony. The first thing you’ll need is a Yule Log. If you make it a week or two in advance, you can enjoy it as a centerpiece prior to burning it in the ceremony. You’ll also need a fire, so if you can do this ritual outside, that’s even better. As the Yule Log burns, all members of the family should surround it, forming a circle.
If you normally cast a circle, do so at this time.
This first section is for the adults – if there is more than one grownup, they can take turns saying the lines, or say them together:
The Wheel has turned once more, and
the earth has gone to sleep.
The leaves are gone, the crops have returned to the ground.
On this darkest of nights, we celebrate the light.
Tomorrow, the sun will return,
its journey continuing as it always does.
Welcome back, warmth.
Welcome back, light.
Welcome back, life.
The entire group now moves deosil – clockwise, or sunwise – around the fire. When each member has returned to his or her original position, it is time for the children to add their part. This section can be divided amongst the children, so that each gets a chance to speak.
Shadows go away, darkness is no more,
as the light of the sun comes back to us.
Warm the earth.
Warm the ground.
Warm the sky.
Warm our hearts.
Welcome back, sun.
Finally, each member of the group should take a moment to tell the others one thing that they are thankful for about their family – things like “I am happy that Mom cooks us such wonderful food,” or “I’m proud of Alex because he helps people who need it.”
When everyone has had a chance to speak, walk sunwise once more around the fire, and end the rite. If possible, save a bit of this year’s Yule log to add to the fire for next year’s ceremony.

—-By Patti Wigington

Article found & owned by About.com

christmas-divider2 Silent Night

(Tune:  “Silent Night”)

Silent night, Solstice Night
All is calm, all is bright
Nature slumbers in forest and glen
Till in Springtime She wakens again
Sleeping spirits grow strong!
Sleeping spirits grow strong!
Silent night, Solstice night
Silver moon shining bright
Snowfall blankets the slumbering Earth
Yule fires welcome the Sun’s rebirth
Hark, the Light is reborn!
Hark, the Light is reborn!
Silent night, Solstice night
Quiet rest till the Light
Turning ever the rolling Wheel
Brings the Winter to comfort and heal
Rest your spirit in peace!
Rest your spirit in peace!

 —-Ellen Reed

christmas-divider2yule candle

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Categories: Articles, Esbats, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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