Yule/Winter Solstice Ritual (around Dec.21)
You will need:
Set-up your altar, place the ice in the cauldron and the incense anywhere.
Perform a meditation.
Cast your circle.
Hold your hands up in the air saying:
“GREAT WINTER I WELCOME YOU,GODDESS OF NGHT.”
Place your hands in the cauldron and move them around in the ice while saying:
“I WELCOME YOUR MIGHT,YOUR COLD.”
Light the incense. Take aa sip from the chalice. Take the athame and point it toward the west while saying:
“GREAT WINTER I CALL YOU,COME FORTH,I WELCOME YOU.”
Close your eyes and visualize the winter in all her fury. At this point you may end this ritual,or continue with a spell.
“SO MOTE IT BE”
Close your circle.
Safe Travel Spell
Author: Rowan Moonstone
2 white candles anointed with sandalwood oil.
1 purple candle anointed with sandalwood oil.
Photo or personal articles of the person the spell is for
A “Personality ” candle (color appropriate to the recipient of the spell)
Altar should be arranged as below:
O (white candle) O (Personality candle) O (purple candle)
O (white candle) Photos or personal object O (incense)
Light white candles
Light personality candle
Light purple candle
Repeat the following invocation:
“Hail Mother of the World!
Ananna, Isis, Astarte, Selene, Holy Sin (pronounced Sheen).
See me, look upon me
See me, look upon me
See me, look upon me
Protect me and my people tonight.
Send your white light around me.
Send your protective light around ______________
That they may be protected
As they travel and as they dream.
Send only good and lucid energies their way.
You can either let the candles burn out by themselves, or snuff them
in reverse order and let them burn a little each night if the person
will be on an extended trip. On the last night let them burn down on
their own. NEVER blow our or pinch out the candles. This destroys
Holiday Relaxation Spell
Take some time today to de-stress:
Fill a bowl with water and a floating candle. Light the candle and gaze into the flame. Gaze for awhile into the candle flame and let your mind go blank. Feel your stress pouring into the water and feel your body relax as the stress leaves it. Imagine the bowl is a deep well and is drinking in whatever it is in your life that is causing unease, discomfort or stress. Breathe deeply. Sprinkle dried basil over the water, and then chant softly before the candle flame:
I am calm.
I am at peace with my surroundings.
I am whole and well.
By the powers of earth, air, fire, and water, I am free.
Sit before the bowl for several more moments. Let the candle burn till it burns out. Pour the water onto the ground and feel your stress and anxiety going with it. Tell yourself that the earth has taken your stress away. Give thanks.
Winter Ritual Bath
During the Winter Solstice/Christmas Season we often place too much emphasis on celebrating and sharing this joyous holiday. It is often helpful amongst all the stress to attune to a quiet, internal spirituality. To begin to do so, prepare a ritual bath with oils of rosemary, pine and orange. Add a touch of patchouli for grounding. Light gold and green candles and immerse yourself in the watery solitude to refresh your weary holiday spirit. Meditate on the Winter Goddess and her lesson of stillness. Find the cool and clean space she offers, free of clutter and activity. It is the season for centering and grounding and for defining who we really are. After the bath, take your journal and write down your goals by candlelight. Contemplate the coming re-birth and identify which direction you wish to channel your energies and focus your intentions.
-This bath was adapted by one written by Karri Allrich
Winter Prosperity Spell
Gather your supplies:
A piece of ribbon from Yule in your favorite color at least 12 inches long.
A green candle
A bit of Myrrh oil
Rub a few drops of Myrrh oil into the candle and light it.
Tie nine knots in the ribbon while reciting this rhyme:
“By the count of one, this spell’s begun,
By the count of two, prosperity’s due,
By the count of three, I’ll have no more need,
By the count of four, abundance galor,
By the count of five, this spell’s alive,
By the count of six, prosperity’s fixed,
By the count of seven, blessings given,
By the count of eight, I seal my fate,
By the count of nine, praise the Goddess divine!”
Pass the tied ribbon through the smoke from the candle three times. Put the ribbon in a safe place for the next year looking and meditating on it if you need extra strength throughout the year. As the next year commences, burn the old ribbon and empower a new one!
Yule Log Charge
It is best that every owner charge his or her own Yule Log. It is through your own energies that the results you desire will be achieved. Do you truly believe in the power of your log? If the answer is yes, then the answers and gifts you request from it will be honored. Here is a simple Charging Ritual to help you get the most from your log.
Gather your supplies:
Chalice (or glass) of water
A white candle in a holder
A small amount of salt
A white cloth
Incense of any kind in a holder
A quiet place to perform the ritual
Lay white cloth over the table. Place candle, water and incense in the center of the cloth. Light the candle and the incense.
Darken the room.
Close your eyes and meditate on the log and what you want it to achieve until you have fully cleared your mind of all other influences and are focused on the desired result.
Take a pinch of salt between your thumb and forefinger and sprinkle it into the water while saying:
“Earth and Water bond this log to me,
May it protect me/us throughout the year
And channel my desires,
Sprinkle this “empowered” water onto your log. Pass the incense and candle over the log to purify it while again saying:
“Fire bond this log to me,
May it protect me/us throughout the year
And channel my desires,
Place your hand on the log. Close your eyes. Meditate to feel the powerful, protective internal energy of your body flowing down your arm and into your hand.
Envision yourself burning the log and its strength protecting you as you go about your life. Invoke the god or goddess you feel most personally attuned with by saying:
“(God/Goddess Name) bond this log to me,
May it protect me/us from harm
And channel my desires,
Feel the log begin to surge with your power and envision a white or yellow light glowing about you.
Sit like this until you feel the energy winding down, you will know when the charging it complete.
Place the log in your fireplace or pit. If it was charged with certain people in mind, make sure they are there as you burn the log and meditate and enjoy their company!
Winter Solstice Spell
Perform on the night of Winter Solstice
Gather your supplies:
Small Amount of Holly berry Oil
Small Amount of Mistletoe Herb
Clean, small piece of white paper (parchment if you have it)
Write a single word in red ink that represents what quality in yourself you would like to enhance with the dawning of the Yule Sun. Sprinkle the Mistletoe Herb into the center of the paper. Add three drops of the Holly berry Oil on top of the Mistletoe. Twist the paper closed with the Mistletoe and Holly berry Oil inside.
Light the red candle. From the flame of the candle, light the paper package on fire.
As it burns envision your wish fulfilled.
The spell is done.
by Mike Nichols
Our Christian friends are often quite surprised at how enthusiastically we Pagans celebrate the ‘Christmas’ season. Even though we prefer to use the word “Yule”, and our celebrations may peak a few days before the twenty-fifth, we nonetheless follow many of the traditional customs of the season: decorated trees, caroling, presents, Yule logs, and mistletoe. We might even go so far as putting up a ‘Nativity set’, though for us the three central characters are likely to be interpreted as Mother Nature, Father Time, and the baby Sun God. None of this will come as a surprise to anyone who knows the true history of the holiday, of course.
In fact, if truth be known, the holiday of Christmas has always been more Pagan than Christian, with its associations of Nordic divination, Celtic fertility rites, and Roman Mithraism. That is why John Calvin and other leaders of the Reformation abhorred it, why the Puritans refused to acknowledge it, much less celebrate it (to them, no day of the year could be more holy than the Sabbath), and why it was even made illegal in Boston! The holiday was already too closely associated with the birth of older Pagan Gods and heroes. And many of them (like Oedipus, Theseus, Hercules, Perseus, Jason, Dionysus, Apollo, Mithra, Horus, and even Arthur) possessed a narrative of birth, death, and resurrection that was uncomfortably close to that of Jesus. And to make matters worse, many of them predated the Christian Savior.
Ultimately, of course, the holiday is rooted deeply in the cycle of the year. It is the winter solstice that is being celebrated, seedtime of the year, the longest night and shortest day. It is the birthday of the new Sun King, the Son of God—by whatever name you choose to call him. On this darkest of nights, the Goddess becomes the Great Mother and once again gives birth. And it makes perfect poetic sense that on the longest night of the winter, “the dark night of our souls”, there springs the new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, the Light of the World, the Coel Coeth.
That is why Pagans have as much right to claim this holiday as Christians. Perhaps even more so, since the Christians were rather late in laying claim to it, and tried more than once to reject it. There had been a tradition in the West that Mary bore the child Jesus on the twenty-fifth day, but no one could seem to decide on the month. Finally, in 320 C.E., the Catholic fathers in Rome decided to make it December, in an effort to co-opt the Mithraic celebration of the Romans, the Yule festival of the Saxons, and the midwinter revels of the Celts.
There was never much pretense that the date they finally chose was historically accurate. Shepherds just don’t “tend their flocks by night” in the high pastures in the dead of winter! But if one wishes to use the New Testament as historical evidence, this reference may point to sometime in the spring as the time of Jesus’ birth. This is because the lambing season occurs in the spring and that is the only time when shepherds are likely to “watch their flocks by night” — to make sure the lambing goes well. Knowing this, the Eastern half of the church continued to reject December 25, preferring a “movable date” fixed by their astrologers according to the moon.
Thus, despite its shaky start (for over three centuries, no one knew when Jesus was supposed to have been born!), December 25 finally began to catch on. By 529, it was a civic holiday, and all work or public business (except that of cooks, bakers, or any that contributed to the delight of the holiday) was prohibited by the Emperor Justinian. In 563, the Council of Braga forbade fasting on Christmas Day, and four years later the Council of Tours proclaimed the twelve days from December 25 to Epiphany as a sacred, festive season. This last point is perhaps the hardest to impress upon the modern reader, who is lucky to get a single day off work. Christmas, in the Middle Ages, was not a single day, but rather a period of twelve days, from December 25 to January 6. The Twelve Days of Christmas, in fact. It is certainly lamentable that the modern world has abandoned this approach, along with the popular Twelfth Night celebrations.
Of course, the Christian version of the holiday spread to many countries no faster than Christianity itself, which means that “Christmas” wasn’t celebrated in Ireland until the late fifth century; in England, Switzerland, and Austria until the seventh; in Germany until the eighth; and in the Slavic lands until the ninth and tenth. Not that these countries lacked their own midwinter celebrations. Long before the world had heard of Jesus, Pagans had been observing the season by bringing in the Yule log, wishing on it, and lighting it from the remains of last year’s log. Riddles were posed and answered, magic and rituals were practiced, wild boars were sacrificed and consumed along with large quantities of liquor, corn dollies were carried from house to house while caroling, fertility rites were practiced (girls standing under a sprig of mistletoe were subject to a bit more than a kiss), and divinations were cast for the coming spring. Many of these Pagan customs, in an appropriately watered-down form, have entered the mainstream of Christian celebration, though most celebrants do not realize (or do not mention it, if they do) their origins.
For modern Witches, Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon yula, meaning “wheel” of the year) is usually celebrated on the actual winter solstice, which may vary by a few days, though it usually occurs on or around December 21. It is a Lesser Sabbat or Low Holiday in the modern Pagan calendar, one of the four quarter days of the year, but a very important one. Pagan customs are still enthusiastically followed. Once, the Yule log had been the center of the celebration. It was lighted on the eve of the solstice (it should light on the first try) and must be kept burning for twelve hours, for good luck. It should be made of ash. Later, the Yule log was replaced by the Yule tree but, instead of burning it, lighted candles were placed on it. In Christianity, Protestants might claim that Martin Luther invented the custom, and Catholics might grant St. Boniface the honor, but the custom can demonstrably be traced back through the Roman Saturnalia all the way to ancient Egypt. Needless to say, such a tree should be cut down rather than purchased, and should be disposed of by burning, the proper way to dispatch any sacred object.
Along with the evergreen, the holly and the ivy and the mistletoe were important plants of the season, all symbolizing fertility and everlasting life. Mistletoe was especially venerated by the Celtic Druids, who cut it with a golden sickle on the sixth night of the moon, and believed it to be an aphrodisiac. (Magically—not medicinally! It’s highly toxic!) But aphrodisiacs must have been the smallest part of the Yuletide menu in ancient times, as contemporary reports indicate that the tables fairly creaked under the strain of every type of good food. And drink! The most popular of which was the “wassail cup”, deriving its name from the Anglo-Saxon term waes hael (be whole or hale).
Medieval Christmas folklore seems endless: that animals will all kneel down as the Holy Night arrives, that bees hum the 100th psalm on Christmas Eve, that a windy Christmas will bring good luck, that a person born on Christmas Day can see the Little People, that a cricket on the hearth brings good luck, that if one opens all the doors of the house at midnight all the evil spirits will depart, that you will have one lucky month for each Christmas pudding you sample, that the tree must be taken down by Twelfth Night or bad luck is sure to follow, that “if Christmas on a Sunday be, a windy winter we shall see”, that “hours of sun on Christmas Day, so many frosts in the month of May”, that one can use the Twelve Days of Christmas to predict the weather for each of the twelve months of the coming year, and so on.
Remembering that most Christmas customs are ultimately based upon older Pagan customs, it only remains for modern Pagans to reclaim their lost traditions. In doing so, we can share many common customs with our Christian friends, albeit with a slightly different interpretation. And, thus, we all share in the beauty of this most magical of seasons, when the Mother Goddess once again gives birth to the baby Sun God and sets the wheel in motion again. To conclude with a long-overdue paraphrase, “Goddess bless us, every one!” >/p>
Permission is given to re-publish this document only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others.
This notice represents an exception to the copyright notice found in the Acorn Guild Press edition of The Witches’ Sabbats and applies only to the text as given above.
Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Mike Nichols.
Star Trek Guide to Neo-Paganism
Gene Roddenberry went to his grave, telling stories that, although they supposedly happened light years away, were relevant to our every day lives. From the beginning, he claimed that the characters and races on Star Trek were parallels for people here on Earth. Little did anyone know that the characters were actually taking on traits of Neo-Pagan sects across the country! Was Gene Pagan? Who knows, but sit back and enjoy this little trip, where no Pagan has gone before…
Wiccans – The United Federation of Planets
The Federation means well. They let just about everybody into their little social club, so long as they agree to play nice. They don’t talk about rules much, but keep referring to one Prime Directive that all other laws are based on. That said, they frequently violate that rule when the need suits them. Often heard speaking in various UK accents, even though they’re not from the islands (Et tu, Jean-Luc?)
Asatruar – Klingons
Obsessed with honor and combat. Have no qualms with eating meat and eat it with obvious relish. Insist they did everything first (“But Hamlet is so much better in the original Klingon.”) And who wants Klingon opera, when you can have Wagner’s Die Neibelung?
Ceremonialists – Vulcans
Have you ever heard someone say, “Excuse, I was reading this and wanted to tell you: “anal retentive” has a hyphen in it.”? Everything is very orderly in their universe. No room for untidy things like emotions and the like.
Druids – Bajorans
(with special guests: the Tuatha de Dannan as The Prophets)
You cannot separate the Bajorans from their faith. Religion permeates the very air they breathe. Although this should be a unifying force on their devastated environment, they are constantly fighting with one another. Like many other races, they are subject to charismatic leaders.
New Agers – Betazoids
Profoundly psychic when you don’t want them to be; dense as a rock (crystal) when you actually need some help. Spend an awful lot of time talking about “vibes” and are perpetually concerned with how others feel. If they weren’t so damn cute, you’d just want to smack them. You only see the women of this race.
Numerologists/Kabbalahists – Binars
Numbers are everything, don’t you know. Can loudly pronounce a given number (93!) and have people laugh at it like it was a punch line. Draws all sorts of really interesting links between things based on the numerological significance. Socially uncouth. The only difference between the Binars and numerologists is that Binars have mates that understand them.
Setians/Satanists – The Skin of Evil
(the oil slick that killed Tasha Yar)
A long time ago, a race decided to sluff off all their evil, mean and nasty emotions. They physically excreted these emotions into a big pile of black ooze. The race bailed off the planet, leaving the ooze which, over time, became sentient… sort of, and delights in causing fear and pain in others.
Dianics – The Women of Angel 1
Imagine a planet where women are in charge! It is a wonderful, peaceful place. Everyone gets along all the time and no one ever goes hungry. Yeah, right. Behind the facade of perfect love and perfect trust and gyno-unity, there is an iron fist in that velvet glove. And, surprise, surprise, the gynarchy is subject to the same power struggles and in-fighting that the rest of us are.
KayOs MagicKians – The Children of Tama
(Damok & Jilad on the ocean)
I know I’m speaking English, and I know that they are speaking English. However, sometimes, you just can’t seem to understand what these souls are trying to tell you. Although they have something valid and wonderful to share with the Federation, what they have to say is mired in a language that excludes more than it includes. Fnord.
Llewellyn Publications – the Borg
Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated. Your history and beliefs will become part of the Borg Collective, where they will be watered down and spread out evenly between everyone in our race. Lower your shields and hand over your money; resistance is futile.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2015 December 10
Explanation: Venus now appears as Earth’s brilliant morning star, standing in a line-up of planets above the southeastern horizon before dawn. For most, the silvery celestial beacon rose predawn in a close pairing with an old crescent Moon on Monday, December 7. But also widely seen from locations in North and Central America, the lunar crescent actually occulted or passed in front of Venus during Monday’s daylight hours. This time series follows the daytime approach of Moon and morning star in clear blue skies from Phoenix, Arizona. The progression of nine sharp telescopic snapshots, made between 9:30am and 9:35am local time, runs from lower left to upper right, when Venus winked out behind the bright lunar limb.
The Wisdom of Buddha
Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.