Posts Tagged With: Santa Claus

Happy Birthday, Pisces! February 19 – March 19

Happy Birthday, Pisces!

Splish splash birthday bash! Celebrating the zodiac’s dreamy Fishes

Maria DeSimone  Maria DeSimone on the topics of pisces, birthdays, astrology

Are you ready to dream your most fantastic dream yet, Pisces? It’s your birthday and if there’s any sign who stores pixie dust in his or her soul … it’s you. When it’s your special day there is, indeed, a certain kind of magic in the air and you know how to tap into it like no one else. That’s because you’re a sign famous for being connected to everything that we cannot see, taste, touch, feel or smell, but know to be true in our hearts. It’s called faith, and you’ve got it in spades.

A whimsical birthday

Imagination is also one of your strengths. You’re probably quite talented in some type of creative pursuit and you’re also one of the most intuitive signs of the zodiac. In fact, you’re known as the psychic sponge. This is because you have a high degree of empathy — a capacity to literally feel someone else’s pain and suffering. You also have a deep yearning to help others heal from this pain. Your compassion runs deep. But don’t forget to take time for yourself on your special day. A few hours in solitude to meditate on your intentions for the year ahead will do wonders for your sense of well-being.

You can be so charitable that at times, you forget to draw healthy boundaries. Occasionally this can lead to others taking advantage of your kindness, mistaking it for weakness. But once you get a handle on this boundary situation, you’re typically the model for the rest of us when it comes to unconditional love. If a loved one forgets your birthday, you’re more likely than others to extend instant forgiveness. After all, this person has so much on their plate … you understand.

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A Little Humor for Your Day – Twas the night before crisis

Twas the night before crisis

Twas the night before crisis,
And all through the house,
Not a program was working,
Not even a browse.

Programmers were wrung out,
Too mindless to care,
Knowing chances of cutover
Hadn’t a prayer.

The users were nestled
All snug in their beds,
While visions of inquiries
Danced in their heads.

When out in the lobby
There arose such a clatter,
That I sprang from my tube
To see what was the matter.

And what to my wondering
Eyes should appear,
But a Super Programmer,
Oblivious to fear.

More rapid than eagles,
His programs they came
And he whistled and shouted
And called them by name.

On Update! On Add!
On Inquiry! On Delete!
On Batch Jobs! On Closing!
On Functions Complete!

His eyes were glazed over,
His fingers were lean,
From weekends and nights
Spent in front of a screen.

A wink of his eye,
And a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know
I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word,
But went straight to his work,
Turning specs into code,
Then he turned with a jerk.

And laying his fingers
Upon the ENTER key,
The system came up,
And worked perfectly!

The updates updated;
The deletes they deleted;
The inquiries inquired;
And the closing completed.

He tested each whistle,
He tested each bell,
With nary an abend,
And all had gone well.

The system was finished,
The tests were concluded,
The client’s last changes
Were even included!

And the client exclaimed,
With a snarl and a taunt,
“It’s just what I asked for,
But it’s not what I want!”

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Daily OM for January 31 – Your Comfort Zone

Your Comfort Zone
Create a Soft Place to Land

by Madisyn Taylor

Create a soft place to land in your home a refuge from the stress of the day.

Our day-to-day demands can quickly take their toll on our well-being if we are not vigilant about caring for ourselves as best we can. One way we can ensure that we have an opportunity to relax and recuperate each day is to create a soft place to land when we arrive home. This landing pad, whether it

is an entire room or merely a small corner of a larger area, can provide us with a safe and comforting refuge in which we can decompress and recover from the day’s stresses. There, we are enveloped in feelings of security that transcend other issues that may be unfolding in our homes. Our landing pads also act as way stations that enable us to shift our attention away from our outer-world concerns and back to our inner-world needs.

To create a soft place to land in your home, begin by scouting potential locations. Or perhaps your entire home is your landing pad in which case you may only need to declutter. Your habits can often provide you with insight into the perfect spot, as there may be an area of your home you gravitate to naturally when you are in need of comfort. Any space in which you find it easy to let go of stress and anxiety can become your landing pad. A basement or attic, spare room, or unused storage area, furnished with items that soothe you, can give you the privacy you need to unwind. If you appreciate the elements, you may find that spending time in a section of your garden or outdoor patio helps you release the day’s tensions. Preparing these spaces can be as easy as replacing clutter with a small selection of beautiful objects that put you in a relaxed frame of mind. Remember to consider noise and activity levels while choosing the site of your landing pad. If you know that ordinary human commotion will distract you from your purpose, look for a secluded spot.

The soft place to land that you create should inspire within you the mantra, “I can breath here. I can relax here. I know I am safe here. When you return to your home after braving worldly rigors, you will feel a subtle yet tranquil shift occur inside of you as you settle in to this most personal of retreats and feel centered once again.

Daily OM

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Your Ancient Symbol Card for January 2nd is The Crow

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

The Crow

The Crow is the trusted messenger that alerts its allies to both danger and opportunity. Although they may appear playful and too opportunistic to be trusted, Crows are in fact powerful and trustworthy. The Crow sees and hears all. When The Crow reports it is best to listen as their news is always important and presented accurately.

As a daily card, The Crow indicates that you will soon receive news that will either protect you from loss or lead you too opportunities doorstep. To fully realize the advantage the information will soon receive carries with it you will need to react to it quickly and with sureness.

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Your Ancient Symbol Card for Dec. 30th is Chance

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

Chance

The Chance card denotes a period in which taking risks may produce positive results. This doesn’t mean head off to a casino with your life’s savings! What is suggested is that you should make gains by taking a well calculated risk. For the power of Chance to be fully realized it is essential that you pick your risk carefully, move forward with conviction, and above all else don’t get greedy!

As a daily card, Chance implies you are currently in a place where taking a chance is likely to produce substantial rewards. In other words, take a few calculated steps out on the proverbial limb, but remember if you take it too far you are likely to lose all that you gain and possibly more.

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Let’s Take A Look At the Many Winter Customs Around The World

Winter Customs Around the World

By Patti Wigington, About.com

Winter Around the World:

Whether you observe Yule, Christmas, Sol Invictus, or Hogmanay, the winter season is typically a time of celebration around the world. Traditions vary widely from one country to the next, but one thing they all have in common is the observance of customs around the time of the winter solstice. Here are some ways that residents of different countries observe the season.

Australia:

Althought Australia is huge geographically, the population sits at under 20 million people. Many of them come from a blend of cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and celebration in December is often a mix of many different elements. Because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, December is part of the warm season. Residents still hhave Christmas trees, Father Christmas, Christmas Carols and gifts which are a familiar Christmas and gifts, as well as being visited by Father Christmas. Because it coincides with school holidays, it’s not uncommon for Australians to celebrate the season on vacation away from home.

China:

In China, only about two percent of the population observes Christmas as a religious holiday, although it is gaining in popularity as a commercial event. However, the main winter festival in China is New Year celebration that occurs at the end of January. Recently, it’s become known as the Spring Festival, and is a time of gift-giving and feasting. A key aspect of the Chinese New Year is , and painings and portraits are brought out and honored in the family’s home.

Denmark:

In Denmark, Christmas Eve dinner is a big cause for celebration. The most anticipated part of the meal is the traditional rice pudding, baked with a single almond inside. Whichever guest gets the almond in his pudding is guaranteed good luck for the coming year. Children leave out glasses of milk for the Juulnisse, which are elves that live in peoples’ homes, and for Julemanden, the Danish version of Santa Claus.

Finland:

The Finns have a tradition of resting and relaxing on Christmas Day. The night before, on Christmas Eve, is really the time of the big feast — and leftovers are consumed the next day. On December 26, the day of St. Stephen the Martyr, everyone goes out and visits friends and relatives, weather permitting. One fun custom is that of Glogg parties, which involve the drinking of Glogg, a mulled wine made from Madeira, and the eating of lots of baked treats.

Greece:

Christmas was typically not a huge holiday in Greece, as it is in North America. However, the recognition of St. Nicholas has always been important, because he was the patron saint of sailors, among other things. Hearth fires burn for several days between December 25 and January 6, and a sprig of basil is wrapped around a wooden cross to protect the home from the Killantzaroi, which are negative spirits that only appear during the twelve days after Christmas. Gifts are exchanged on January 1, which is St. Basil’s day.

India:

India’s Hindu population typically observes this time of year by placing clay oil lamps on the roof in honor of the return of the sun. The country’s Christians celebrate by decorating mango and banana trees, and adorning homes with red flowers, such as the poinsettia. Gifts are exchanged with family and friends, and baksheesh, or , is given to the poor and needy.

Italy:

In Italy, there is the legend of La Befana, a kind old witch who travels the earth giving gifts to children. It is said that the three Magi stopped on their way to Bethlehem and asked her for shelter for a night. She rejected them, but later realized she’d been quite rude. However, when she went to call them back, they had gone. Now she travels the world, searching, and delivering gifts to all the children.

Romania:

In Romania, people still observe an old fertility ritual which probably pre-dates Christianity. A woman bakes a confection called a turta, made of pastry dough and filled with melted sugar and honey. Before baking the cake, as the wife is kneading the dough, she follows her husband outdoors. The man goes from one barren tree to another, threatening to cut each down. Each time, the wife begs him to spare the tree, saying, “Oh no, I am sure this tree will be as heavy with fruit next spring as my fingers are with dough today.” The man relents, the wife bakes the turta, and the trees are spared for another year.

Scotland:

In Scotland, the big holiday is that of . On Hogmanay, which is observed on December 31, festivities typically spill over into the first couple of days of January. There’s a tradition known as “first-footing”, in which the first person to cross a home’s threshold brings the residents good luck for the coming year — as long as the guest is dark-haired and male. The tradition stems from back when a red- or blonde-haired stranger was probably an invading Norseman.

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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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Santa is a Pagan!

Santa is a Pagan!

Author:   Crowshadower   

As a Pagan, when Yule rolls around I find myself being asked a number of questions that revolve around, ‘If you don’t believe in Jesus, why do you celebrate his birthday?’ This leads to the long winded explanation of how Pagans celebrated Yule long before it was adopted by Christianity and that historical evidence points to the historic figure of Jesus being born anywhere between June and September and not December.

So what does Yule mean to me as a Pagan? My understanding of the midwinter festival has always been one of hope above all else and a celebration of the unifying nature of the human spirit. In the past, there would have been a lot less work to do in the depth of winter so people would have had more time on their hands to contemplate the world around them and family relationships beyond that of those who lived with them.

What better way to celebrate then than by bringing tribes together and have each bring foods they had prepared during the last harvest to share? Slights of the past year could be put aside to revel in the company of those who lighten one’s heart.

With the marking of Midwinter, it was also a time to rejoice in one’s own survival through the trials of the year that may have seen others die. Like so many Pagan festivals, the meaning has changed as we have become farther removed from nature. It is no longer necessary for us to preserve and store our own food to take us through the stark winter nights when food has become scarce. We no longer need fear stray animals or enemy tribes who have faired less well then ourselves raiding our towns and villages for precious winter reserves.

What should a modern Pagan do to celebrate? Well, I don’t think we need to go too far from the traditional Christmas: Bring in an evergreen tree to decorate. Adorn your home with holly and ivy as symbols of the life that still bears fruit through the sleeping winter.

Lights are also very important for they represent hope and its constant presence in our lives. They might also remind us of the first rays of Lugh as he is reborn to the waiting world (in Celtic legends Lugh was conceived by Dagda and the Morrighan in midwinter to be born in August). The whole spirit of Yule is the very essence of the Pagan spirit. No matter how hard or harsh life may become, there is always life to be found and hope to carry us through.

Not only are the trappings of Christmas rooted in Paganism, but many of the symbols that are displayed are also from roots more ancient than most Christians would care to admit. Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, may well predate the Saint Nicholas whom he is said to represent.  From my own point of view, he is startlingly close to the Dagda with his cauldron of life slung over one shoulder and his club/staff gripped in his other hand bringing to his people the gifts that would lighten their lives and give them strength to take on the harshness of winter.

Other Pagan traditions also have Father figures who provide for their tribes through times of hardship, either through the giving of physical gifts, or by the granting of supernatural talents to see them through. In Lapland, it is thought that a shaman in a fresh reindeer skin collects the snow on which reindeer who had ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms had urinated in order to share it around the village. The effect of this would be startling; people seeing bright lights and strange images that might bring them insights into the year to come.

This is just an example of why Yule and the Midwinter are seen as magical times. It is also thought to be the season in which we are the closest to the Otherworld and reality wears thinnest. There are many myths that speak of otherworldly beings helping out those troubled on journeys back to their families for the celebration of Yule. These tales range from those of faeries to fey dogs and werewolves and thus providing a hint that during this time, all of nature and supernature come together to aide each other.

For those of us who practice magic, it can also be a time to note how many people a type of magic they may be unaware of through out the rest of the year touches. Being someone who is not renowned for my own jollity through the rest of the year  — sometimes being accused of being dour — I will admit that I love Yule and everything that it stands for.

How can one not love the very essence of the human spirit being offered up in the shape of hope, faith and trust — not simply in deities, but in each other — things that we find too difficult during the rest of the year.

In a world in which mistrust and greed are growing by the day, and in which we are becoming more isolated from those around us through the use of technology rather then personal interaction, we cannot afford not to have a festival like Yule. We need a holiday wherein we can offer our hands to those around us and bring them a little closer to our hearts.

I would say this to you all: Offer your hand to a stranger over Yule.

Learn to know them. And that ‘stranger’ may even be someone you thought you already knew, like a parent, aunt or even a grand parent. Listen and talk with them and learn more about who they are beyond the roles they have played in your life. Too often, we take for granted those around us and never really notice how remarkable they are until they are gone. So spend some time with your family and your neighbors and treat them like the friends whom they may actually come to be.

And to all of the friends and kindred children of the Greenwood everywhere:

Eat Drink and Be Merry!

Fair Yule To One and All!

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