‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for December 5th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Henry David Thoreau, whose love for simplicity often took him into solitude, also wrote of the sensitive side of human nature. “The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling.”

How easy is it to destroy the only approach to our true selves. And how often communications are broken down by the brutal force of “getting to the point” and speaking “frankly.”

The only time an agreement has been reached by the frankly route is when two people already believe in the same thing. And it is a most infrequent occasion when two people can meet head-on and believe the other honest because that person is direct and wordy.

More often, there must be some thought given to the sensitivity of the other person. First, that person is a human being with human dignity; feelings and thoughts, strong likes and dislikes. And it is a considerate person who has the sensitive perception and insight into the heart of another, and because of that thoughtfulness can be more honest and direct and progress by it.

Nevertheless, if one has to be constantly on the outlook to keep from offending a friend, then that person is not really a friend. It isn’t difficult to be a friend to someone who is endearing to everyone. Indeed it is a pleasure to be counted among the person’s friends. But it is another thing altogether to be a friend to someone who finds little friendship anywhere.

Other people seldom see us as we are. In fact, who we truly are is lost somewhere among our daily contacts. We react differently to nearly every person we meet. Their personality DNA ours may blend beautifully or they may clash horribly. And we can rather tell where the faith lies when we balance out the blends and the clashes. Are we easy to be friends with, or are we merely acquaintances and nothing more?

If people have to dodge around so many issues in order to keep us sweet, we need to hear some truth about ourselves. If we can’t do it, it may have to come from a friend. Then, we must remember the words of Thomas a’ Becket, “Better are the blows of a friend than the kisses of an enemy.”

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet:

 

http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 5

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 5

“I’ve had a long regard for generational things: pottery, cultural things, participation in dancing, extended family. Only in that way does culture survive; only in that way is culture active.

–Tessie Naranjo, SANTA CLARA PUEBLO

Culture teaches us how to live and it ensures that knowledge about life is handed down from generation to generation. Culture gives us the feeling of belonging. It helps us raise our family in a good way. It teaches us how to treat one another. Culture sets boundaries for societies. We need to develop our culture. If we have left our culture, then we need to come back to it. Culture leads us back to the Great Spirit. Sometimes in our lives, we leave what we know works and experiment with something else. Then we get into trouble. So we need to come back home. Indian people are lucky to have a culture to return to.

Creator, thank you for the culture. Let me live it today.

December 5 – Daily Feast

December 5 – Daily Feast

The Cherokee calls this month U Ski’YA – the Snow Month. A dusting of snow softens the rustling leaves and defines the edges of rocks and trees that are hidden in heavy foliage in other seasons. This is the quiet time, the sharp edge of winter adjusting the land unto itself. The woods would be gray if it were not for the blue mist that hangs like soft gauze drapery through every glen and cleft in the hills. Evergreens thrive in soft leaf-matted ravines, and cottonwoods stand stark against the dark woods. When the winds lay down in late evening the horizon clears to show vivid colors and every window is gilded gold until the sun disappears and the blue hour comes. It is as quiet as when the earth was created – and then an owl calls.

~ I stand here upon this great plain with the broad sunlight pouring down upon it. We shall be brothers and friends for all our lives. ~

RED CLOUD – OGLALA SIOUX

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

The Daily Motivator for December 5th – Enormous advantage

Enormous advantage

Your life is what you choose to make it. It cannot be any other way.

Other people may give you things, experiences, attention and knowledge. Yet  it is up to you to make meaning out of it all.

What happens is significant because of what you do about it. The value of  what you own is based on the value that you choose to give it.

Instead of seeking to gain an advantage, realize that you already have an  enormous advantage. It is your unique life, coupled with your ability to make  choices and to act on them.

There is no use in worrying about what has happened, or living in fear of  what might yet happen. There is everything to be gained by choosing to live each  moment with positive purpose.

You have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to choose how you envision  and live your life. Take the opportunity, now and always, to make it a joyous  and fruitful manifestation of the very best possibilities.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Dealing With Stress at Yule-How to Have a Low-Stress Holiday

Dealing With Stress at Yule

-How to Have a Low-Stress Holiday

By , About.com Guide

It should be the happiest time of year, right? After all, the Yule season is when we celebrate the return of the sun, and the days start to get a little brighter. The mundane world is observing Christmas and Hanukah, gifts are being given all over the place — it should be a season of great joy. Yet for many people, late fall and early winter are a time when frustrations begin to build, and anxiety (and often depression) set in. Between getting together with family, preparing big meals, shopping for gifts, decorating the house, and spending money on others, for many people Yule can be a time of overwhelming stress. Here are a few tips on reducing your stress levels during the Yule season.

Set your limits.

Are you in charge of the community coat drive, the local toy roundup, and getting your entire PTO’s fundraiser up and running? Step back! Be willing to say “No” when someone asks you to commit more time and energy than you have to give. We all want to help others at this time of year, but if you take on more than you really are capable of, you’ll become resentful and angry – and that’s no way to spend the Yule season. Learning to say “No” might be the best gift you can give yourself this year.

Enlist help.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the eighteen boxes of Yule décor in your basement? Fine — put the kids to work. If you don’t have kids — or if yours are too young to decorate — put on a pot of wassail and invite a few friends over for a decorating party. It will take the stress out of the situation if you’re surrounded by people whose company you enjoy. Likewise, if you’re hosting a holiday dinner, ask others to show up early to set the table or to bring part of the meal as a side dish. I’ve learned that if I plan ahead, and just ask, I can usually get someone else to commit to taking care of cleanup afterwards!

Don’t overspend.

One of the biggest holiday stress-outs is the knowledge that you’ll be paying off Yule until June. Don’t let this happen. Make a budget, and stick to it. For more on how to do this, read about How to Have a Budget Friendly Yule. Also remember, you don’t have to go crazy with the gifts. Do you want to teach your children about the value of the holiday season, or that whoever gets more stuff wins? In many families, parents have learned to limit the number of gifts each person gets — in mine, each kid gets one really big gift, and then three smaller gifts such as a DVD, a pair of cute winter pajamas, and a game to play or a book to read.

Set boundaries.

A lot of people stress out over family relationships during the holidays. If you’re one of those people, you need to decide ahead of time how you’re going to deal with family members who aggravate you. Got a non-Pagan family member who just won’t leave you alone? Brush up on coping strategies at Surivivng the Holidays with Your Non-Pagan Family.

Decompress.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed in the middle of the season, and you know you still have things that need to get done, take a break. Turn off the phone, shut the door, and go have some Me Time. Take a one-hour power nap, enjoy a bubble bath with some nice scented candles, invite a friend out for a quick coffee date. Set aside a few minutes each day to meditate and get yourself grounded. You’ll appreciate it in the long run.

Recognize burnout.

A big problem many people seem to have is they just fail to realize they’re burning themselves out. Stress creeps up on us, and then we tend to justify it by saying, “Well, it’s the holidays.” Learn to recognize the signs of burnout, and react accordingly. Some signs include:

  • Depleted levels of physical energy
  • Lowered immune system, feeling run-down or ill
  • Lack of interest in things that you normally enjoy
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Negative, pessimistic outlook
  • Anger directed at people who don’t deserve it, like kids and sales clerks

If you start seeing these behaviors in yourself, it’s time to take a step back and recognize that you’re stressing out. Now that you’ve discovered the problem, take time to fix it, so that you and the people around you can have a happy and healthy Yule season.

How to Make a Yule Log

How to Make a Yule Log

By , About.com Guide

 

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.

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.

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.

 

About.com Guide

 

About.com: 12 Days of Yule Devotionals (Day 5)

About.com

 

Day 5: A Prayer for the Beginning of Winter                              
Patti Wigington
From Patti Wigington, your Guide to Paganism /Wicca                                                                           
Take a moment to honor the changes of the season — even if it’s cold and windy! Despite the fact that it’s dark and gloomy, this is a necessary part of the ongoing cycle of life, death and rebirth. As you meditate upon this devotional, consider the benefits to the long, cold nights to come.
 

A Prayer for the Beginning of Winter                            

In early winter, we can see the skies becoming overcast, and smell fresh snow in the air. Take a few minutes to think about the fact that even if the skies are cold and dark, it’s only temporary.


See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way

for the darkness soon to come.

See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way,

for the world to go cold and lifeless.

See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way

for the longest night of the year.

See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way

for the sun to one day return, bringing with it light.

 

Additional Reading                            

With the darker weeks of the year, people often find themselves stressed out and even depressed, despite the fact that Yule should be a time of joy. Learn how to recognize the signs of holiday burnout, and find out how you can prevent it from getting the best of you! Dealing with Stress at Yule
 

Tomorrow: Sunset Prayer                            

                                        This email is written by:                                                                      Patti Wigington                                                          Paganism / Wicca Guide                                        

About.com: 12 Days of Yule Devotionals (Day 4)

About.com

 

Day 4: Counting Your Blessings
Patti Wigington
From Patti Wigington, your Guide to Paganism /Wicca                                                                           
Feeling thankful for what you have? You should – it’s important that we count our blessings each and every day! Cultivate an attitude of gratitude during this season of giving and sharing. Take a moment to meditate upon the fortunes you have — and not just the material goods.
 

Counting Your Blessings – A Prayer of Thanks                            

Yule should be a time of joy and happiness, but for many people it can be stressful. This is a season to take a moment and be thankful for the blessings you have, and to take a moment to remember those less fortunate.


I am grateful for that which I have.

I am not sorrowful for that which I do not.

I have more than others, less than some,

but regardless, I am blessed with what is mine.

 

Additional Reading                            

If you have a set of Pagan Prayer Beads, or a Witch’s Ladder, you can use these to enumerate your blessings, much as a Catholic would say a rosary. Count off each bead or knot, and consider the things you are thankful for, like so:
First, I am thankful for my health. Second, I am thankful for my family. Third, I am thankful for my warm home. Fourth, I am thankful for the abundance in my life….

Tomorrow: A Prayer for the Beginning of Winter                            

                                        This email is written by:                                                                      Patti Wigington                                                          Paganism / Wicca Guide                                        

About.com: 12 Days of Yule Devotionals (Day 3)

About.com

 

Day 3: A Prayer to the Winter Goddess                              
Patti Wigington
From Patti Wigington, your Guide to Paganism /Wicca                                                                           
Take a moment to embrace the chilly, icy weather of winter as Yule approaches. As you meditate on this devotional, take a moment to reflect upon the positive aspects of this dark season.

A Prayer to the Winter Goddess                            

Despite the fact that some people hate cold weather, it does have its advantages. After all, a good cold day gives us an opportunity to cuddle up indoors with the people we love the most.

 

O! Mighty goddess, in silvery ice,

watching over us as we sleep,

a layer of shining white,

covering the earth each night,

frost on the world and in the soul,

we thank you for visiting us.

Because of you, we seek warmth

in the comfort of our homes and hearths.

 

Additional Reading                            

Yule is the time of the Winter Solstice, and for some Wiccans, it’s a time to say goodbye to the old, and welcome the new. As the sun returns to the earth, life begins once more — it’s a time to bid the Crone farewell, and invite the Maiden back into our lives. Celebrate the divine with a Goddess Rite for Solitaries or for Groups.
 

Tomorrow: Counting Your Blessings                            

                                        This email is written by:                                                                      Patti Wigington                                                          Paganism / Wicca Guide                                        

About.com: 12 Days of Yule Devotionals (Day 2)

About.com
Day 2: A Sunrise Prayer for Yule                              
Patti Wigington
From Patti Wigington, your Guide to Paganism /Wicca                                                                           
Need a prayer for sunrise on Yule? Here’s one that celebrates the return of the sun at the winter solstice!
A Sunrise Prayer for Yule                            

Yule is the time when the sun begins its long journey back to earth. Take a moment today to reflect on the warnth of the sun, and how fortunate we are to see it begin its return.


The sun returns! The light returns!

The earth begins to warm once more!

The time of darkness has passed,

and a path of light begins the new day.

Welcome, welcome, the heat of the sun,

blessing us all with its rays.

Additional Reading                            

After you’ve watched the sun rise on the morning of Yule, spend some time with family, and share a bountiful breakfast together with one of these Sunshine Skillets.
Tomorrow: A Prayer to the Winter Goddess                            

                                        This email is written by:                                                                      Patti Wigington                                                          Paganism / Wicca Guide                                        

About.com: 12 Days of Yule Devotionals (Day 1)

About.com
Day 1: A Prayer to the Earth at Yule                              
Patti Wigington
From Patti Wigington, your Guide to Paganism /Wicca                                                                           
Welcome to the 12 Days of Yule Devotionals! We’ll begin today by taking a moment to honor the earth at the time of the Winter Solstice.
A Prayer to the Earth at Yule                            

Just because the earth is cold doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on down there in the soil. Think about what lies dormant in your own life right now, and consider what may bloom a few months from now.

 

Cold and dark, this time of year, the earth lies dormant, awaiting the return of the sun, and with it, life. Far beneath the frozen surface, a heartbeat waits, until the moment is right, to spring.

Additional Reading                            

Cultures around the world have celebrated the winter solstice for eons, and each has its own unique set of traditions. Take a moment today to get to learn about some of the customs of winter.
Tomorrow: A Sunrise Prayer for Yule                            

                                        This email is written by:                                                                      Patti Wigington                                                          Paganism / Wicca Guide                                        

Technical Difficulty Today

WordPress was so kind to put us in a new image up loader. Well the up loader has a mind of its own. It does not want to upload today’s cartoon. Instead I am going ahead and posting the Yule lessons. I got to thinking about what I said earlier.  And had a change of mind, it would be much more nicer and simpler if the Yule courses were in one place. That is what I am getting ready to do now. Again, I hope you find them useful and also enjoy them.

Lady A

 

Daily Feng Shui Tip for December 5th – ‘Bathtub Party Day’ & ‘Repeal Day’

Is it a coincidence that ‘Bathtub Party Day’ and ‘Repeal Day’ both fall on the same date? And even though I’ll drink to the latter, I’m going to stick with the former for today’s tip. This next bath, taken from ancient Taoist Feng Shui texts, will help to wash digestive difficulties right down the drain. Add ten drops of sandalwood essential oil to your bath water. Place three tablespoons of soybeans, two tablespoons of fennel seeds and one tablespoon of rice into a net and suspend that in the bathwater. Reclining in the tub, close your eyes and gently massage the slightly tender spots directly beneath your shoulder blades. Also massage the heels of your feet. Twenty minutes of this healing bath and you’ll feel good as new — or even better!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com