The Sabbats

Good Monday Morning, My Dear Family & Friends!


The Childs’ Wonder

“Daddy”, she said, her eyes full of tears,
“will you talk to me and quiet my fears?
Those bad boys at school are spreading a lie
’bout the impossibility of reindeer that fly.
There’s no Santa Claus, they say with a grin there’s not one now and there has never been.
 
How can one man take all of those toys
to thousands of girls and boys?
But I told them Daddy, that they were not right,
that I would come home and find out tonight.
Mama said wait until you come home.
Please tell me now that I was not wrong.”
 
Her Daddy looked at her questioning face
and puffed his pipe while his frantic mind raced.
He had put this off as long as he could,
he had to think fast and it better be good.
Whispering a prayer, he began with a smile,
 
“Remember at circle how we learned to pray,
asking the Goddess to take care of us each day?
And you know how we say a prayer before each meal?
To this same Goddess whom we know to be real.
Though we never see her, we know she is there
watching her children with such loving care.”
 
“The Goddess started Yule a long time ago
when she gave us herself to love and to know.
A spirit of giving came with that gift,
and her generosity filled the whole earth.
Man had to name this spirit of giving
just as he names all things that are living.”
 
“The name Santa Claus came to someone’s mind
probably the best name of any to find.
There is, you can see, and I think quite clear
Truly a Santa who visits each year.
A spirit like the Goddess, whom we never see,
She enters the hearts of your mother and me.”
 
“Each year at Yule for one special night
we become him and make everything right.
But the REAL spirit of Yule is in you and in me
and I hope that you are old enough now to see
that as we believe and continue to give,
our friend Santa Claus will continue to live.”

~Author Unknown~

 

 

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Reindeer Folklore

Reindeer Folklore

Santa’s reindeer most probably evolved from Herne, the Celtic Horned God. Eight reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh, representative of the eight solar sabbats. In British lore, the stag is one of the five oldest and wisest animals in the world, embodying dignity, power and integrity. From their late Autumn dramatic rutting displays, stags represented strength, sexuality and fertility. As evidenced by multiple prehistoric excavations of stag antler ritual costumes, the wearing of stag antlers in folk dance recreated the sacred male shaman figure called Lord of the Wild Hunt, Cernunnos, or Herne the Hunter, among others–he who travels between worlds, escorting animal spirits to the afterlife and sparking wisdom and fertility in this world. Likewise, the stag’s branching antlers echo the growth of vegetation. In America, the stag represents male ideals: the ability to “walk one’s talk,” and powerfully, peacefully blend stewardship and care of the tribe with sexual and spiritual integrity.

In Northern European myth, the Mother Goddess lives in a cave, gives birth to the sun child, and can shape shift into a white hind, or doe. Therefore, the white hind was magical, to be protected and never hunted. In myth, graceful running women of the forest–who were actually magical white hinds–brought instant old age or death to hunters who chased them.

To the Celts, all deer were especially symbolic of nurturing, gentle and loving femaleness. White deer hide was used to make tribal women’s clothing. White deer called “faery cattle” were commonly believed to offer milk to fairies. In Britain amongst the Druids, some men experienced life-transforming epiphanies from spiritual visions or visitations by white hinds, balancing and healing their inner feminine energy. In Europe white hinds truly exist, and are many shades of warm white cream-colors, with pale lashes–otherworldly in their peaceful and modest behavior. To many Native American tribes, deer are models of the graceful and patient mother who exhibits unconditional love and healthy, integrated female energy.

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Let’s Look At The Folklore About Santa Claus

Folklore of Santa

Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year), and Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats). Julbock or Julbukk, the Yule goat, from Sweden and Norway, had his beginnings as carrier for the god Thor. Now he carries the Yule elf when he makes his rounds to deliver presents and receive his offering of porridge.

When Early Christians co-opted the Yule holiday, they replaced the ancient Holly King with religious figures like St. Nicholas, who was said to live in Myra (Turkey) in about 300 A.D. Born an only child of a wealthy family, he was orphaned at an early age when both parents died of the plague. He grew up in a monastery and at the age of 17 became one of the youngest priests ever. Many stories are told of his generosity as he gave his wealth away in the form of gifts to those in need, especially children. Legends tell of him either dropping bags of gold down chimneys or throwing the bags through the windows where they landed in the stockings hung from the fireplace to dry. Some years later Nicholas became a bishop–hence the bishop’s hat or miter, long flowing gown, white beard and red cape.

When the Reformation took place, the new Protestants no longer desired St. Nicholas as their gift-giver as he was too closely tied to the Catholic Church. Therefore, each country or region developed their own gift-giver. In France he was known as Pare Noel. In England he was Father Christmas (always depicted with sprigs of holly, ivy, or mistletoe). Germany knew him as Weihnachtsmann (Christmas man). When the communists took over in Russia and outlawed Christianity, the Russians began to call him Grandfather Frost, who wore blue instead of the traditional red. To the Dutch, he was Sinterklaas (which eventually was mispronounced in America and became Santa Claus). La Befana, a kindly witch, rides a broomstick down the chimney to deliver toys into the stockings of Italian children. These Santas were arrayed in every color of the rainbow–sometimes even in black. But they all had long white beards and carried gifts for the children.

All of these Santas, however, never stray far from his earliest beginnings as god of the waning year. As witches, we reclaim Santa’s Pagan heritage.

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NIGHT STALKING: STAR-WATCHING

NIGHT STALKING: STAR-WATCHING

by Stormy
This is the time of year when many interesting things happen. As we approach the Winter Solstice on December 21, the days are shorter, and the nights are longer and colder. The frosty nights make for some very interesting sky activity. More UFOs are reported at this time of year than at any other time.
The magnetic pole activity is increased around the Solstice, and there are some wonderful displays in the most northern regions. Sometimes these magnetic lights, known as the Aurora Borealis, are seen as they streak from pole to pole by those living further south.
These dark and frosty nights also enable us to see the Milky Way better. But to really see the stars well, you need to get away from the city, and visit the countryside where electric lights and streetlamps are rare. Go outside and look toward the most northern horizon. The Milky Way appears as a dense band lighting the sky with millions of stars, divided by a dark area with fewer stars. The Aborigines of Australia, refer to this dark area dividing the Milky Way as a river. Most of Europe and Western Asia say the Milky Way is spilt milk, or even rain. The Desna Indians of the Amazon called the Milky Way the ‘brain in the sky.’
There is a fascinating event that sometimes happens on the shortest day of the year if the moon is right! A year from now, on December 21, 1995, the moon will be new and it will be a very dark night. On December 22, 1995, the Winter Solstice, there will be the beginning of a thin waxing crescent moon which will not be seen at night. Either on the eve of or the day of the Solstice, go out at night between midnight and 2 a.m. to witness the sun bleeding over the North pole from the completely opposite side of this planet! The northern sky will appear rosy-red above the northern horizon.
I believe we’ll see this next year. I experienced this phenomenon on Winter Solstice, 1993, last year, and it was an awesome sight. I didn’t telephone anyone in the middle of the night to tell them about it, and I’m sure I have friends who were disappointed I didn’t wake them up from their warm beds to share the sight.
This year on the Winter Solstice, which is on December 21, the moon sets at 9:13 a.m. E.S.T. and rises at 8:03 p.m. E.S.T. This means the night will probably be too bright to see the bleed-over of the sun because the waning moon will be just six days past the full moon.
Keep an eye on the Big Dipper this year. Those in the north can see it fairly well. In the south it dropped below the northern horizon and is now rising back up, dipper first and handle last. If you can locate the Big Dipper (see previous issue, #11), you can locate the North Star, Polaris, and a star constellation known as Cassiopeia’s Chair (see diagram, this page). This time of year it changes from an ‘M’ in the fall, to an upside-down ‘B’ or Greek-looking ‘E’ in the winter, to a ‘W’ in the spring, and then a ‘B’ in the summer. Even in the most southern areas of the United States, Cassiopeia can be seen clearly throughout the entire year. In the fall, this queen sits high on her throne, only to get dumped off of it during the winter months. She certainly deserves it for what she did to her beautiful daughter, Andromeda! Cassiopeia is well-known for having chained her daughter to the rocks as a sacrifice to the ugly sea monster Cetus, which was actually a sea whale. Persus asks Andromeda to marry her and she will consent if he saves her from Cetus. Pegasus, Persus’s flying horse, saves Andromeda and she keeps her promise to Persus by marrying him.
Enjoy star-gazing this time of year. Watch for falling stars, and if you see a real UFO, keep your camera or camcorder handy!
Sources:
Krupp, E.C., Ph.D. Beyond the Blue Horizon, Myths and Legends of the Sun, Moon, Stars, and Planets. 1991. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.
Pearce, Q. L. Stargazer’s Guide to the Galaxy. 1991. Tom Doherty Assoc., Inc., New York, NY.
Pennick, Nigel. Practical Magic in the Northern Tradition. 1989. The Aquarian Press, Hammersmith, London, England.

Raymo, Chet. 365 Starry Nights. 1982. Simon and Schuster, New York, NY.

The Hazel Nut

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Winter Solstice Greetings

Winter Comments & Graphics
Winter Solstice Greetings

A blanket of snow glistens fluffy and white
Tucks us in, oh so cozy
for the long winter night

We’ll light one white candle
Let busy minds release
all the cares of the day
for a moment of peace

On this longest of nights
and shortest of days
Thank the Great Universe
for the sun’s growing rays

From our house to yours
Yuletide blessings we send
So gracious life’s cycle
No beginnings, no end

For those who aren’t here
we’ve a hole in our lives
But because we’re all one
Their spirit survives

Their breath in the wind
Their voices are heard
in the chirping of crickets
and the sweet singing bird
In the great scheme of things
We’re connected to all
If one of us stumbles
Another may fall

So gather your loved ones
Your friends and your foes
We’re all in this together
Yes, that’s how it goes

Mother Nature can teach us
She’ll show us what’s best
If we learn from life’s lessons
she’ll do the rest

So let’s light our candles
on Winter Solstice night
Celebrate kindred spirit
and be one with the light

(My treasured muse shot this one out in about 20 minutes when I sat down to write a sentiment for my Winter Solstice greeting cards. A Blessed Winter Solstice to all!)

Janet K. Rauch

PoemHunter.com

 

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Let’s Talk Witch – Pagan symbols for Yule Tree

Let’s Talk Witch – Pagan symbols for Yule Tree

Besides Holly berries and leaves, apples, winter birds, fairies,
lights, snowflakes, candles, stags, suns, moons, gingerbreadmen,
mistletoe, acorns, bayberry and cranberry garlands, wreaths, Father
Winters, Santas, and many more? Even the Christ child in the Nativity
set has a Pagan equivalent, although most neo-Pagans I know refuse to
decorate with anything reminding them of a Christian Nativity.

Quite literally, this holiday more than most was lifted from the old
Pagan European holiday, and there is very little that isn’t
appropriate to both Christian and neo-Pagan celebrations of it.

Mirrored Glass Globes to Amaterasu? Balls etched with Holly leaves, candles, wreaths and birds abound in the stores. If you start now, you
can have clove covered pomanders ready for the tree to assure a nice
spicy smell. Have fun, and take another look at the decorations in the
stores.

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Yule Chant for Women

Yule Chant for Women

 

The cauldron is placed in the south with an unlit candle in it and wreathed with
Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe. You will need a veil.

Say:
“I grow desirous of my Lord,
His seed stirs within me.
The time of light is upon us.”

Draw a veil over your head and circle deosil seven times, saying:

“Return, oh return!
God of the sun, god of the light, return!
When I see Thee not
My heart grieves for Thee
Return! Return! Return!”

Stand before the altar with arms upraised, saying:

“Queen of the moon, Queen of the sun
Queen of the heavens, Queen of the stars
Queen of the waters, Queen of the earth
Bring to us the child of promise
It is the great mother who gives birth to Him
It is the Lord of Life who is born again
Darkness and tears are set aside when the sun shall come up early!”

Take a candle from the altar and light the candle in the cauldron, saying:

“Golden sun of hill and mountain
illumine the land, illumine the world
illumine the seas, illumine the rivers
sorrows be laid, joy to the world!
Blessed be the great Goddess
Without beginning, without ending
Everlasting to eternity
Io Evo! He! Blessed Be!
Io Evo! He! Blessed Be!…”

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Yule Chant for Men

Yule Chant for Men

 

The cauldron is placed by the south candle with an unlit candle in it. Wreath
the cauldron with Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe.

Stand before the altar with arms upraised, say:

“Queen of the Moon, Queen of the Sun
Queen of the Heavens, Queen of the Stars
Queen of the Waters, Queen of the Earth
Bring to us the child of promise!
It is the great Mother who gives birth to Him
It is the Lord of Life who is born again
Darkness and tears are set aside when the sun shall come up early!”

Take a candle from the altar and light the candle in the cauldron, say:

“Golden Sun of hill and mountain
Illumine the Land, illumine the World
Illumine the Seas, illumine the Rivers
Sorrows be laid, joy to the World!
Blessed be the great Goddess
Without beginning, without ending
Everlasting to eternity
Io Evo! He! Blessed Be!
Io Evo! He! Blessed Be!…”

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