The Witches Digest for December 20 (Part 2)

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The Witches Digest for December 20

(Part 2)

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Holy Tidings for the Yule

 

Holy Yuletide has begun
The Mother night arrives

Time to celebrate the hunt
The bounty of the gods

Stoke the fires spread their warmth
Gods and Kinsman come to the mead hall

Raise a horn to the year that’s past
Celebrate the promise of rebirth

Serve the feast and savory mead
Serve ancestral spirits too

Hail the Odin All Father
Join us at this tide

Hail Thor friend of men
Join us for some mead

Hail Frigga The nurturing Mother
Who bears the promise of new birth

Hail the ancestors gone before
Join us from Valhalla this tide

Hail Kinsman honored guests
Join the feast and raise your horns

Boast we now of challenges met
The success we had this Year

Toast the year that now will come
And the challenges to face

Gods bestow blessings on our folk
Gods keep them safe from harm

To those whose time in Midgard ends
See them safe into Valhalla

Valkyries guide the slain to Valhalla
Let the honored dead feast in that hallowed hall

Aesir Vanir Ancestors and Kin
The feasting time now ends

Spread the furs around this hall
Sleep safe here this night

To all a blessed Yuletide
May the year new blessings bring

Hold the gods and Kinsman dear
In frith we will endure

 

—-Steve Sherill
Published on Odin’s Gifts

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Today is Wednesday, December 20th

 

Tuesday is dedicated to the powers of the planet Mars, personified in Ares, Tiwaz, Tiw, Tuisco and Tyr. Tuesday rules controlled power, energy and endurance.

Deity: Tiwaz

Zodiac Sign: Aries

Planet: Mars

Tree: Holly

Herb: Plantain

Stone: Agate

Animal: Crab

Element: Fire

Color: White

Number: 2

Rune: Tyr (T)

 

The Celtic Tree Month of Ruis (Elder) November 25 – December 22

Runic Half Month of Jara (December 13 – 27)

Goddess of the Month of Astraea (November 28th – December 25th)

 

Reference

The Pagan Book of Days
Nigel Pennick

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On December 20, We Honor the Greek Goddess Alcyone

Alcyone is the Kingfisher goddess. She nests every winter for two weeks, and while she does, the wild seas become calm and peaceful. Here is her story:

 

Once upon a time there was a princess of the winds, named Alcyone. And she was married to the prince of light, Ceyx. They were a passionate couple and their famed love was known throughout the lands. One day, after war broke out in the land, Ceyx felt the need to seek the Oracle’s help in restoring peace. So he set sail on a long voyage to the island of the Oracle. Alcyone waited everyday on the shores for his return. What she did not know was there was a terrible storm and the boat and crew were lost at sea. The Oracle saw this with her third eye and sent Alcyone a vision to let her know of the shipwreck.

 

Alcyone refused to believe Ceyx was dead and was determined to swim the sea to find him. Just as she was about to dive into the water, she turned into a beautiful bird, the mythical kingfisher Halcyon. She flew over the sea, calming the winds and waves in search of Ceyx. She found him adrift on some wreckage and when she landed, he too became a kingfisher. And together they flew over the sea for the rest of eternity.

 

The kingfisher became known as the symbol of the winter solstice. She brings the Halcyon Days, fourteen days of calm seas which allow for easy sailing. The bird was only seen during the summer and winter solstices and became associated with goddess of life and death. She appeared at the setting of the Pleiades and is known as the bird called by kings for a peaceful death.

 

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Tuesday is the first day of the week which is named after a god of the Angles and Saxons–Tiu, the God of War. The Angles and Saxons, like the Greeks and Romans, worshiped many gods, and though these gods were in a great number of ways similar to those of the Greeks and Romans, we also find very great differences. These differences are due to the fact that the Angles and Saxons lived in a very different kind of country, led a very different kind of life, and consequently had different ideas. Their chief enemies were frost and cold, and they imagined the freezing winds to be caused by frost-giants who lived in a land of ice and waged continual warfare with the gods who befriended man and protected him as far as they could against the frost-giants and all the suffering which they caused. The chief of these gods was Woden or Odin, the All-father, of whom we read in the following chapter, and next to him in importance came Thor, the God of Thunder, the bitterest enemy of the giants. The god after whom Tuesday is named was known as Tiu among the Angles and Saxons, and as Tyr among the Norsemen. He was the God of War, and corresponds to Mars among the Romans, whose name for this day was Dies Martis, the day of Mars. The French have kept the Roman name in the form mardi.

 

Tiu was a great fighter and knew no fear, and was naturally always called upon in time of battle. He was usually represented as having no right hand, owing to a misfortune which befell him in the following way. From his lofty throne Odin, the chief of the gods, one day saw in the land of the giants three terrible monsters, which grew so rapidly that he was filled with fear lest they should invade the home of the gods. Accordingly he determined to get rid of them before they became any stronger. One Hel, an enormous giantess, he flung into the Underworld, where, as the Goddess of Death, she ruled over the kingdom of the dead. Another, Iormungandr, a serpent, he cast into the sea, where it grew so huge that it encircled the whole earth. The third was Fenrir, a wolf, whom Odin brought to Asgard, the home of the gods, hoping that he might eventually tame him. Fenrir, however, grew stronger and fiercer each day, until the gods, of whom Tiu alone was brave enough to go near him, decided at last to bind him in such a way that he could do no harm. A very strong chain was obtained, and the gods suggested to Fenrir, who often boasted of his great strength, that he should allow himself to be bound with it in order to prove whether he was really as strong as he claimed to be. Fenrir agreed, and then by merely stretching himself easily brohe his bonds. Again the gods put him to the test with a still stronger chain, but as before he succeeded in breaking it. Seeing that no ordinary chain would be strong enough to bind Fenrir, the gods sent one of their servants to the home of the dwarfs, a race of little people who lived underground, and who were very clever workers in metal. They also possessed great powers of magic, as we shall see in a later story. At the bidding of the gods, the dwarfs made a silken rope out of the voice of fishes, a woman’s beard, the roots of a mountain, and the footsteps of a cat, which was so strong that no power could break it! A third time the gods challenged Fenrir to show his strength by allowing himself to be bound with this new cord, but Fenrir became suspicious, and at last consented only on condition that one of the gods should put his hand in his mouth, and hold it there as a pledge that the gods were not deceiving him. This condition greatly alarmed the gods, who began to fear that their trick was not going to succeed, but the bold war-god Tiu stepped forward and, without any hesitation, placed his right hand in the wolf’s mouth. The gods at once bound Fenrir with the magic cord made by the dwarfs, and, in spite of all his struggles, the wolf was unable to free himself. Great was the delight of the gods at their success, a delight shared by all but Tiu, who had little cause to be pleased with the result of the trick, for Fenrir, finding he was trapped, immediately bit off the hand of the god. Thus Tiu was deprived of his sword hand, but so clever was he that he wielded his sword equally well with his left hand, and still remained invincible in battle.

 

On one occasion Tiu and Thor, the God of Thunder, set out for the land of the giants to obtain an enormous kettle, which the gods required for a feast. They came at last to the home of a giant, Hymir, who possessed a kettle a mile deep and a mile wide, and were hospitably received by the giant’s wife. When she learned the errand on which they had come, she warned them that her husband was very fierce and hot-tempered, and advised them to hide themselves when Hymir returned, lest he should kill them with a glance. No sooner had the gods taken refuge behind some kettles, which were kept on a beam at the end of the hall, than Hymir came in. When he heard that visitors had called, he flashed his eyes round the hall so fiercely that, as his glance lighted on the gods’ hiding-place, the beam split in two, the kettles came crashing to the ground, and Tiu and Thor were discovered. Hymir, however, was persuaded by his wife to receive the gods kindly; he prepared a meal of three oxen in their honour, but was astonished and dismayed to see Thor eat two of them himself. The next day the gods gave the giant many proofs of their great strength and skill, and Hymir consented to give them the kettle they were seeking. Tiu at once tried to lift it but failed; then Thor, after a mighty struggle, raised it from the ground, and, as he gave the final pull, his feet broke through the floor of the giant’s house. As soon as the gods had departed, Thor carrying the kettle on his head, Hymir called his brothers together, and pursued after them. Thor, however, attacked them with his famous hammer, and killed them one by one. Tiu and Thor then continued their journey, and brought the huge kettle safely to their own land.

 

There are few stories told of Tiu, yet he held a high place among the gods, as the name Tuesday shows. He is most famous for his share in the binding of Fenrir, whereby was put off the dreaded Ragnarok, the day of the final battle between the gods and the giants.

 

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The First Yule

Author: Serenity Starbright Dilsworth (Owl)

 

Once upon a time … before your mother was born … and before her mother was born …and even before your mother’s mother was born …. when the world was new and the Earth and the Sun gave birth to the first beings …the very first people … the very first animals … and the very first plants.

 

It was the season of Spring, which celebrates new life, and the Sun shone warm and smiled down upon the world from his lofty perch in the sky while Earth took pride in all her newborns and nurtured them tenderly and with love. It was a time of great joy!

 

The Moon waxed and waned and traveled the night skies and Earth’s Children grew healthy and strong through the warm Summer season. They laughed and worked, played and danced and The Earth and Sun watched over them lovingly.

 

Then came the Autumn season …and the Earth began to sleep longer with every passing day. She grew so tired and was not able to feed her children any longer. She did not have enough strength to bring forth new life. High overhead … the Sun grew distant … and took longer and longer to return each morning. The nights grew longer and cold winds replaced the gentle breezes of the Summer.

 

Then …one very cold day …the Earth went to sleep. She laid her head down upon a pile of fallen leaves and nestled under a pure white blanket of snow. And she slept … and she slept … and she slept and nothing the Children could do would disturb her Winter slumber. The children called and called to her, but she did not wake up.

 

The children looked to the skies for advice and comfort from the Sun … but he was so distant that he could no longer be seen at all …and the children were frightened and sad … it was the Longest Night they had ever known.

 

The people wept and wondered what would happen to them now for it was bitterly cold and the bounty from Spring and Summer was depleting. They were afraid that they would starve and freeze with Father Sun so far away and Mother Earth sleeping.

 

They went to the Moon … sister to the Sun … with all their concerns and worries … entreating her to have the Sun return and Moon listened quietly.

 

The Moon gazed upon the children and advised them gently:” Do not fear little ones … go climb the tallest of trees and the highest of mountains … turn your voices to the sky and yule a mighty song to reach the Sun.”

 

The children had never heard of a yule or a song. (In the Ancient Tongue, to yule means to yell or yodel … to call out loudly in song.) And they asked Moon to explain what it is because they very much wanted to reach the Sun in hopes he could wake the Earth.

 

The Moon smiled gently. “Look deep within yourselves and find your magick …find that thing that makes you the special person you are … find the thing that brings you joy …take your dreams and your desires … your hopes and your love … and weave all of that together into sound.”

 

So the children climbed the tallest trees and the highest mountains and closed their eyes to find the magick within them …they brought forth their hopes, their dreams, their joys and their love and when they opened their mouths … their voices rang across the skies in a symphony or harmony and the Sun heard them …he turned and began his journey back … the better to hear this glorious sound.

 

The closer he came … the more his warmth spread across the Earth … and the Earth smiled in her sleep and dreamt of Spring… The Wheel turned and hope and joy spread amongst the children.

 

And that …dear children …is the story of the first Yule.

 

This is an old story that has been told and retold many times. It is one I used to tell at Winter Solstice in the coven I belonged to when I lived in New England. I put it into writing so that the story may be preserved and enjoyed by others and it is my hope that folks will tell the tale to their children who in turn will eventually tell it to their children.

 

Yule is a time of joy, of hope, of dreams and wishes. On the Longest Night, it is good to gather with those that we love and cherish and stand upon the Earth as she slumbers and call out to the Sun in mighty song to herald his return and the fulfillment of dreams and wishes.

 

Rowan Pendragon explains: The winter solstice occurs when the Earth is tilted on its axis farthest away from the sun. This means that when the northern half of the Earth is pointed away from the sun at winter solstice then the southern part of the Earth is going to be tilted closest to the sun. This is why when we are celebrating winter solstice in the northern hemispheres our Pagan friends “down under” are celebrating summer solstice. We often celebrate Yule and the solstice on either December 20th or 21st but the fact is the date varies each year since the holiday is based on an astronomical event; when the event occurs is when the holiday takes place.

 

When the winter solstice comes we experiences the longest night of the year and the shortest day of light. On the night of Yule we first honor the death of the God and the decline of the sun, something that has been slowly happening from the day after the summer solstice. After we make this honoring we then begin to work acts of sympathetic magick to encourage the sun’s return and to aid the Goddess in her long night of labor as she prepares to birth the Son, the Child of Light, the Young God.

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Footnotes:
Day 1 of Yule – Preparing for Yule 2011 by Rowan Pendragon
Day 7 of Yule – The Return of The Light by Rowan Pendragon

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The Witches Celebration of Yule

A Celebration of Light and Warmth (Holiday Series)

 

Yule is celebrated at the Midwinter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The word Yule comes from the Germanic “Jul” and means “Wheel.” At Yule we celebrate winter, and the rebirth of the Sun. At Samhain the Goddess followed the God into the Underworld and the Earth began its long winter slumber. As the Wheel turns to Yule, the Goddess is with child and gives birth to the tiny Oak King, God of the waxing Sun. The Old God or Holly King is defeated and returns to the Underworld to rest until Summer Solstice when he will again be reborn as Lord of the waning Sun.

 

At Yule we mourn the passing of the Old God who is the Lord of Winter. This ancient God has many names beside the Holly King, including Cernunnos, Odin, Harlequin, and of course Santa Claus. This God is portrayed as an old man, majestic and often jolly. Sometimes He is shown as a King in ermine trimmed robes, other times He is shown as a Jester and called the King of Fools. The Old God is the Lord of Death and of the Spirit World and magic. He is the God of the forest, of animals, and of the hunt. Often He is shown with antlers or horns.

 

Yule is also a celebration of the birth of the Sun King and nature’s renewal. We practice sympathetic magick by lighting fires or candles to encourage the sun to grow stronger. This is a time of new beginnings both physically and spiritually, the wheel of the year has made a complete circle. The darkest night of winter is a good time for self-examination and discovering the “seeds” of spiritual growth or hindrance which are lying dormant within us. The Winter Solstice is the turning point in the natural cycle of the year, this darkest night in all the year is followed by a day that will dawn just a little earlier!

 

Altar and ritual space decorations include evergreen wreaths and boughs, pine cones, red and green candles, pine scented incense and essential oils of myrrh and frankincense. Peppermint leaf and mistletoe are the herbs of Yule. The color scheme of white and gold and Solar images are also very appropriate.

 

Sacred Wicca

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Yule Traditions and Symbols

 

Frau Holle

Bells – ancient pagans would ring bells to drive away demons that surfaced during the cold dark winter.

 

Candles – burned to help melt winter’s chill and to encourage the sun to shine.

 

Peppermint leaf and tea – the coolness of peppermint symbolizes winter and the heat of peppermint symbolizes the Sun.

 

Elves – Alfaheimr the land of Elves was inhabited by spirits who created the Sun. Including Elves in Yule ritual encourages them to rejuvenate the Sun and make it shine again.

 

Evergreens – because evergreen trees remained green throughout the winter they were thought to have power over death and could defeat winter demons roaming the earth and urge the coming of the Sun.

 

Holly – the vibrant green leaves and bright red berries that appear during the winter symbolizes rebirth.

 

Lights – homes and holiday trees were decorated with candles to frighten away unwanted spirits and to encourage the Sun to shine.

 

Mistletoe – To the Druids the white berries symbolized semen of the Gods and was used to bring fertility and abundance. Hung over the doorway it protects from thunder, lightning and malicious evil.

The Norse Goddess Frigg loved Her son Baldur so much that She couldn’t bear the thought of any harm coming to Him. She made a pact with the four Elements that nothing in Their realms would do Him harm. Loki fashioned an arrow from mistletoe and the arrow killed Baldur. Frigg’s tears restored her Son to life, and She was so happy that She declared mistletoe a plant of luck, love and promise. To kiss under the mistletoe is to receive Frigg’s blessing.

 

Ornaments – Germanic people originally decorated their trees with fruit, candy, cookies and flowers to symbolize the abundance to come when the Sun begins to warm the Earth once again.

 

Plum Pudding – was prepared as a form of divination, rather than a dish to be eaten. As the pudding was prepared each family member stirred the pot and made a wish. Then a ring, a coin, a button and a thimble were added to the pot. The ring stood for marriage, the coin for wealth, the button and the thimble were symbols of the eternal bachelor or spinster. If one of these items turned up in your serving of pudding it foretold your personal status during the coming year.

 

Reindeer – May represent the stags that drew the chariot of the Norse Goddess Freya. Stags also represent the Celtic horned God Cernunnos.

 

Santa Claus – May have originated from legends of Odin the Lord of Winds who was capable of flying through the stormiest nights or with the Norse Sun-God Kris Kringle.

 

Sleigh – Freya spent the twelve days after Solstice being transported in a sleigh, giving gifts to the nice and misery offerings to the naughty.

 

Snowflake – the snowflake was formed from the tears that Demeter cried after Persephone’s descent into the Underworld. Snowflakes have 6 sides and six is the numerological number associated with love.

 

Tree – Saint Boniface, during the 8th century was trying to convert a group of Druids to Christianity. He could not convince them that the oak tree was neither sacred nor invincible, so he cut one down and when it fell it crushed everything in its path but a single evergreen sapling. Boniface declared it a miracle, and then proclaimed that the fir tree belonged to the Christ-child. After that they were brought into homes as holiday decorations.

 

Twelve Days of Christmas – Began with the ancient Egyptian Sun celebration and is thought that the twelve day celebration may have be designed to honor the zodiacal wheel.

Wassail – is the original name of an apple orchard fertility ritual and means hail or salute. Apple trees were saluted then sprinkled with a mixture of eggs, apples and wine, ale or cider. Consecrating the trees in this way ensured a good harvest for the coming year.

 

Wreath – the circular shape of a wreath symbolizes life everlasting, the never ending cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

 

Yule Log – to the Celts the Yule Log was symbolic of the Oak King and was adorned with evergreens symbolic of the Holly King.

 

Sacred Wicca

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Let’s Talk Witch – Christmas and Yule Customs

 

The “Let’s Talk Witch” is a little longer than most. I don’t know about most of you but when the mainstream Religious holidays roll around, I have to stop and shake my head. For our Religion to have been so hated, what in the hell would the rest of the religions did without us? I can see all the similarities between our Religion and their religions. But we didn’t come up with those practices or beliefs they stole from us, they did. We are nothing but Evil, we have never had a good idea even come in our head.

 

I know the older I get it makes me angry. I just want to climb to the highest mountain and scream, “TELL THE TRUTH WOULD YOU, YOU DAMN THIEVES!” Wouldn’t do any good but it would make me feel much better. I have leaders of other faiths write me and want to know, “why are so many people turning to Witchcraft?” Perhaps they are finally learning the truth and coming to the realization of what they have been really following for so many years.

 

The following article is one of my favorites. It drives this point home and then some, I hope you enjoy it.

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Christmas and Yule Customs

by Rick Hayward

 

Now that Christmas is fast approaching and the year has once more come full circle, most of us will soon be busy adorning the house with brightly coloured decorations, a Christmas tree and all the other paraphernalia that goes to create a festive atmosphere.

 

Holly and mistletoe will almost certainly be included in our decorations as evergreens have been used in the winter festivities from very ancient times and definitely long before Christianity appeared on the scene.

 

What Christians celebrate as the birthday of Christ is really something that was superimposed on to a much earlier pagan festival–that which celebrated the Winter Solstice or the time when the Sun reaches its lowest point south and is reborn at the beginning of a new cycle of seasons.

 

In Northern Europe and Scandinavia it was noted by the early Christian scholar, Bede, that the heathens began the year on December 25th which they called Mother’s Night in honour of the great Earth Mother. Their celebrations were held in order to ensure fertility and abundance during the coming year, and these included much feasting, burning of lamps, lighting of great fires (the Yule fires) and exchanges of gifts.

 

The Romans, too, held their great celebrations–Saturnalia– from December 17th to 25th and it was the latter date which they honoured as the birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The Saturnalia was characterised by much merry-making, sometimes going to riotous extremes, with masters and slaves temporarily exchanging roles. The use of evergreens to decorate the streets and houses was also very much in evidence at this great winter festival.

 

That we now celebrate the birth of Christ at the same time is largely due to the early Church Fathers who found it was much easier to win converts to the faith by making Christ’s birthday coincide with an already long established pagan festival. In fact, it wasn’t until the 4th century that Pope Julius I finally established the 25th as the official birthday of Christ; earlier Christians differed widely as to this date– some choosing September 29th, while others held that January 6th or March 29th were the correct dates.

 

As we have seen, the pagan element in Christmas lives on in the festival at the Winter Solstice. But these elements are also very much alive in our use of evergreens as decorations at this time of year.

 

Like most evergreens, the holly and mistletoe have long been held to symbolize eternal life, regeneration and rebirth.

 

Holly, with its bright red berries and dark spiky foliage, has been revered from ancient times as a symbol of life everlasting. It was associated with strength and masculinity and was considered useful in the treatment of various ailments which were seen to lower the vital spirits.

 

In old England, a decoction of holly leaves was considered a cure for worms; but most of all this prickly evergreen was looked upon as a luck bringer–particularly in rural areas where a bunch of holly hung in the cow shed or stable was thought to favour the animals if placed there on Christmas Eve. Many people used to take a piece of holly from the church decorations at Christmas as a charm against bad luck in the coming year. Holly was also considered a very protective tree which, if planted outside the house, was believed to avert lightning, fire and the evil spells of witches.

 

An old holly spell describes how to know one’s future spouse. At midnight on a Friday, nine holly leaves must be plucked and tied with nine knots in a three-cornered cloth. This is then placed under the pillow and, provided silence is observed from the time of plucking until dawn the next day, your future spouse will come to you in your dreams.

 

In certain areas of Wales, it was thought extremely unlucky to bring holly into the house before December 24th and if you did so there would be family quarrels and domestic upheavals. You would also be inviting disaster if you burned green holly or squashed the red berries.

 

Turning now to mistletoe, it seems that this is by far the most mystical of the plants associated with Christmas and has, from very ancient times, been treated as magical or sacred. It is often included in modern Christmas decorations simply for the fun of kissing beneath it and, though this seems to be a peculiarly English custom, it probably harks back to the mistletoe’s association with fertility.

 

The real reason why mistletoe is now associated with Christmas is very much a carry-over from ancient practices, when it was considered as somehow belonging to the gods. The Roman historian, Pliny, gives an early account of how the Druids would hold a very solemn ceremony at the Winter Solstice when the mistletoe had to be gathered, for the Druids looked upon this unusual plant, which has no roots in the earth, as being of divine origin or produced by lightning. Mistletoe which grew on the oak was considered especially potent in magical virtues, for it was the oak that the Druids held as sacred to the gods.

 

At the Winter Solstice, the Druids would lead a procession into the forest and, on finding the sacred plant growing on an oak, the chief priest, dressed all in white, would climb the tree and cut the mistletoe with a knife or sickle made of gold. The mistletoe was not allowed to touch the ground and was therefore caught in a white linen cloth

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On securing the sacred mistletoe, the Druids would then carry it to their temple where it would be laid beneath the altar stone for three days. Early on the fourth day, which would correspond to our Christmas Day, it was taken out, chopped into pieces and handed out among the worshippers. The berries were used by the priests to heal various diseases.

 

Mistletoe was considered something of a universal panacea, as can be gleaned from the ancient Celtic word for it–uile, which literally translated means ‘all-healer’. A widespread belief was that mistletoe could cure anything from headaches to epilepsy; and indeed modern research has shown that the drug guipsine which is used in the treatment of nervous illnesses and high blood pressure is contained in mistletoe.

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Until quite recently the rural folk of Sweden and Switzerland believed that the mistletoe could only be picked at certain times and in a special way if its full potency as healer and protector was to be secured. The Sun must be in Sagittarius (close to the Winter Solstice) and the Moon must be on the wane and, following ancient practices, the mistletoe must not be just picked but shot or knocked down and caught before reaching the ground.

 

Not only was mistletoe looked upon as a healer of all ills, but if hung around the house was believed to protect the home against fire and other hazards. As the mistletoe was supposed to have been produced by lightning, it had the power to protect the home against thunder bolts by a kind of sympathetic magic.

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Of great importance, however, was the power of mistletoe to protect against witchcraft and sorcery. This is evident in an old superstition which holds that a sprig of mistletoe placed beneath the pillow will avert nightmares (once considered to be the product of evil demons).

 

In the north of England, it used to be the practice of farmers to give mistletoe to the first cow that calved after New Year’s Day. This was believed to ensure health to the stock and a good milk yield throughout the year. Underlying this old belief is the fear of witches or mischievous fairy folk who could play havoc with dairy produce, so here mistletoe was used as a counter magic against such evil influences. In Sweden, too, a bunch of this magical plant hung from the living room ceiling or in the stable or cow-shed was thought to render trolls powerless to work mischief.

With such a tremendous array of myth, magic and folklore associated with it, reaching far back into the pagan past, it is understandable that even today this favourite Christmas plant is forbidden in many churches. Yet even the holly and the ivy, much celebrated in a popular carol of that title, were once revered as sacred and magical by our pre-Christian ancestors.

In view of what has been said, one could speculate that even if Christianity had never emerged it is more than likely that we would still be getting ready for the late-December festivities, putting up decorations, including holly and mistletoe, in order to celebrate the rebirth of the Sun, the great giver and sustainer of all earthly life.

 

Yule Oil

2 drops Cinnamon oil
2 drops Clove oil
1 drop Mandarin oil
1 drop Pine oil
2 drops Frankincense
2 drops Myrrh oil.

 

Yule Incense 1

3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Sandalwood
2 part Chamomile
1 part Ginger
1/2 part Sage
A few drops of Cinnamon oil

 

Yule Incense 2

3 parts frankincense
A few drops orange oil
A few drops juniper oil
1 part crushed juniper berries
½ part mistletoe

Method Blend together and burn on charcoal

 

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

Ritual:
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!

 

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Celebrating Legends, Folklore & Legends for December 19, 20 and 21st

Winter Solstice, Midwinter

The Solstice, taken from the Latin for “the Sun stands still,” is considered to be the true New Year—astronomically as well as spirituality. At this time, we see the simultaneous death and rebirth of the Sun-God, represented in the shortest day and longest night of the year. From this time forward, the Sun grows in strength and power as the hours of daylight increase.

Midwinter, or Winter Solstice, marked the end of the first half of the Celtic year. As with Samhain, which was the Roman festival of Pomona and the Christian All Souls grafted on to it, the Celtic Winter Solstice was subsequently confused with the Roman Saturnalia, and later the Christian Christmas. Mythologically, most of the Midwinter celebrations focused on the symbology of a new or younger God, overthrowing the older or Father God, which would then bring forth a new and more potent life to the people and the land.

Although the Solstice takes place on December 21, Midwinter(renamed Yule by the Anglo Saxons) covers several weeks on either side of the Solstice. In medieval times, Yule began around St. Nicholas’s Day and ran until Candlemas. Eventually, Yule was redefined to mean either the Nativity (December 25) or the 12 days of celebration beginning on this date. The word Christmas then replaced Yule in most English-speaking countries. However, the Danish preserved Yule as a way of maintaining their old style of festivities that incorporated several weeks of celebration.

In Wicca and modern Paganism, the Winter Solstice is the time of new beginnings, a time to reflect on the past and project for the future. Magickally, the Winter Solstice affords us a perfect time to formulate a plan of action, a goal we can work towards during the coming year.

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Grandma Got Run Over By A Broomstick
Author Unknown

 

Grandma got ran over by a broomstick
Walking home from our house Yule Eve.
Now you can say there’s no such thing as witch’s.
But as for me and grandpa, we believe.

 

She’d consumed too many spirits.
And we begged her not to go.
But she’d forgot her Belladonna,
So she sacheted out the door, we didn’t know.

 

When they found her the next morning
At the scene of the attack.
She had bristles on her forehead,
And incriminating brush marks on her back.

 

Grandma got ran over by a broomstick.
Walking home from our house Yule Eve..
You can say there’s no such thing as witch’s,
But as for me and grandpa, we believe.

 

Now we’re all so proud of grandpa.
He’s been taking it so well.
See him in there watching wrestling,
Drinking wine and dancing skyclad with cousin Nell.

 

It’s not Yule without grandma.
She’s the one with the big hat.
And we just can’t help but wonder,
Should we divvy up her Gifts, or simply send them back.

 

Grandma got ran over by a broomstick,
Walking home from our house Yule Eve..
You can say there’s no such thing as witch’s.
But as for me and grandpa, we believe.

 

Now the punch is on the table,
And the pumpkin, it’s so big.
And the black and silver candles
That would just have matched the hair in grandma’s wig.

 

I’ve warned all my friends and neighbors,
Better watch out for yourselves.
They should never give a license,
To a gal who flies a broomstick deosil.

 

Grandma got ran over by a broomstick,
Walking home from our house Yule Eve..
You can say there’s no such thing as witch’s,
But as for me and grandpa, we believe

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Have a very blessed and joyous Yule Eve.

The WOTC Staff

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Reminder for Online Yule Gathering

Yule gathering on Thursday, December 21st at 7:00 PM CT in Coven Life’s chat room. Circle starts promptly at 7:15 PM CT. Please do not enter chat room once circle has started as that will cause a disruption in the effectiveness of the circle.

For more information on how to enter the chat room and to read the ritual we will be doing please go to covenlife.co

We hope to see you tomorrow evening.

May you have a blessed and joy filled Yule with family and friends!

Blessed be dear ones,

Lady Beltane and the Coven Life staff

We humbly thank our sister and sponsor site WOTC for another wonderful working together!

The Winter Solstice – Yule Lore

Coven Life®

The date of this sabbat varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar.  The winter solstice is celebrated at this time in the northern hemisphere but it is now time to celebrate the summer solstice (Litha) in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences.

Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun’s “rebirth” was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.

Bonfires were lit…

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Litha History – Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Coven Life®

AN ANCIENT SOLAR CELEBRATION

Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way, shape or form. On this date – usually around June 21 or 22 (or December 21/22 in the southern hemisphere) – the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. It is the longest day of the year, and the point at which the sun seems to just hang there without moving – in fact, the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.” The travels of the sun were marked and recorded.

Stone circles such as Stonehengewere oriented to highlight the rising of the sun on the day of the summer solstice.

TRAVELING THE HEAVENS

Although few primary sources are available detailing the practices of the ancient Celts, some information can be found in the chronicles kept by early Christian …

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Welcome All Ye Witches To The Witches Digest for Wednesday, December 20

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 The Witches Digest for Wednesday, December 20

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The Sun & Moon Data for Wednesday, December 20

The Sun
Sun Direction: ↑ 132.22° SE
Sun Altitude: 12.18°
Sun Distance: 91.453 million mi
Next Solstice: Dec 21, 2017 10:27 am (Winter)
Sunrise Today: 7:03 am↑ 119° Southeast
Sunset Today: 4:40 pm↑ 241° Southwest
Length of Daylight: 9 hours, 36 minutes

The Moon
Moon Direction: ↑ 114.83° ESE
Moon Altitude: -0.05°
Moon Distance: 252141 mi
Next Full Moon: Jan 1, 20188:24 pm
Next New Moon: Jan 16, 20188:17 pm
Next Moonset: Today6:59 pm
Current Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent
Moon Illumination: 4.9%
Reference
timeanddate.com

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The Astrology for Tuesday, Demember 20

The Moon is in Capricorn until 9:29 PM, after which the Moon is in Aquarius.
The Moon is waxing and in its New phase.
The New Moon occurred on the 18th in the sign of Sagittarius, and the First Quarter Moon will occur on the 26th.
Mercury is retrograde in the sign of Sagittarius (Mercury is retrograde from December 3-22).
Saturn spends its first full day in Capricorn today (Saturn is in Capricorn from December 19, 2017, to March 1, 2020, and then from July 1, 2020, to December 17, 2020).

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Moon in Capricorn

The Moon is traveling through Capricorn today. Make a list of goals. Work overtime. Climb higher. Don’t sulk.

 

We become aware of the need for structure and planning ahead with a Capricorn Moon. We are instinctively aware of the limitations of time and motivated by a desire for success. Achievement and manifestation are more important to us now. We are resourceful and don’t want to waste time, energy, or resources. This can be a somewhat sober influence, but it can also be a productive time when we look reality in the eye.

 

The Moon in Capricorn generally favors the following activities: Long-term activities that yield slow but steady results, practical undertakings, career issues, making a business plan, practical investments.

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Overview of the Planets and the Stars for December 20

While a square between Venus and Chiron can point to blocks to intimacy and insecurities, a trine between Venus and Uranus also forms today and brings us out of our shells, encouraging our bolder, more innovative natures, socially speaking. We are most interested in all that is new, unusual, and out-of-the-ordinary with regards to romantic involvements, entertainment or pleasures, and financial undertakings. We may be experimenting, improvising, and trying on new ways of relating to others and expressing ourselves. We may be discovering alternative ways to make (or spend) money. We’re freer with our feelings, although a little detached, and we find beauty in the unfamiliar or uncommon.

 
The Moon is in responsible, intelligent Capricorn until 9:30 PM EST, and with the emotional Moon in this practical sign, we look for ways to make us feel more secure and in control. The Moon transits Aquarius from 9:30 PM forward, and we tend to move away from those things that are overly traditional or classic.

 
The Moon is void from 10:37 AM EST, with the Moon’s last aspect before changing signs (a square to Uranus), until the Moon enters Aquarius at 9:30 PM EST.

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The sky this week for December 20 to 24

The New Moon, the winter solstice, and a meteor shower should make your astronomical calendar this week.
By Richard Talcott

Wednesday, December 20

Mars stands out in the southeastern sky before dawn this week. The magnitude 1.6 Red Planet rises some four hours before the Sun and appears 25° high as twilight starts to paint the sky. It currently resides among the background stars of eastern Virgo, though it will cross into neighboring Libra later this week. Unfortunately, the view of Mars through a telescope proves disappointing — it spans only 5″ and shows no detail.

Thursday, December 21

Earth’s winter solstice occurs at 11:28 a.m. EST. At that moment, the Sun reaches its farthest point south in the sky. The solstice marks the official beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and today has fewer hours of sunlight (and thus more hours of darkness) than any other. From mid-northern latitudes, however, the earliest sunset occurred about two weeks ago and the latest sunrise won’t happen until early January.

Saturn passes behind the Sun from our perspective, a configuration astronomers call solar conjunction, at 4 p.m. EST. Needless to say, our star’s glare makes it impossible to see the planet. Saturn will return to view before dawn in January.

Friday, December 22

The Ursid meteor shower peaks before dawn today. The shower’s radiant — the point from which the meteors appear to originate — lies in the constellation Ursa Minor, near the top of the Little Dipper’s bowl. The radiant is visible in the north all night, but climbs higher as dawn approaches. With the Moon out of the sky, viewers under a clear, dark sky should be able to see an average of 10 Ursid meteors per hour

Saturday, December 23

Although Mercury passed between the Sun and Earth just 11 days ago, the innermost planet already has climbed into view during morning twilight. Mercury rises about 90 minutes before the Sun and appears 10° above the southeastern horizon 30 minutes before sunrise. The planet shines at magnitude 0.2, bright enough to see with the naked eye (although binoculars will help you pick it out of the twilight glow). When viewed through a telescope this morning, Mercury appears 8″ across and one-third lit.

Sunday, December 24

Head outside before dawn and you’ll find Jupiter blazing in the southeast to the lower left of Mars. The giant planet climbs 20° high by the time twilight commences. Jupiter shines at magnitude –1.8, which makes it the brightest point of light in the night sky, and resides among the much dimmer stars of the constellation Libra. A telescope reveals the planet’s 33″-diameter disk.

Reference

The Astronomy Magazine

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The Witches Current Moon Phase for Wednesday, December 20

Waxing Crescent
Illumination: 4%

he Moon today is in a Waxing Crescent Phase. A Waxing Crescent is the first Phase after the New Moon and is a great time to see the features of the moon’s surface. During this phase the Moon can be seen in the wester sky after the sun dips below the horizon at sunset. The moon is close to the sun in the sky and mostly dark except for the right edge of the moon which becomes brighter as the days get closer to the next phase which is a First Quarter with a 50% illumination.

PHASE DETAILS FOR – WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2017

Phase: Waxing Crescent
Illumination: 4%
Moon Age: 1.97 days
Moon Angle: 0.49
Moon Distance: 404,378.32 km
Sun Angle: 0.54
Sun Distance: 147,167,141.97 km

Reference

MoonGiant.com

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Moon Dairy

 

Sagittarius fluctuates between optimism and pessimism. The ebb and flow of inspiration and gloom could be quite dramatic at this new Moon. Its erratic energy is heightened by the flowing link with revolutionary Uranus in fiery Aries, and the ‘wisdom’ asteroid, Pallas – also in Aries. Wise women, female intellectuals, politicians, academics, sportswomen and female scientists could all feature prominently in the news at this time, and during the month ahead.

 

Sagittarius is a traveller – exploring far away lands, and pursuing higher education and knowledge in the spirit of adventure. Original thinking and discovery are favoured now, with clever Pallas – goddess of wisdom – aligned with inventive, eccentric Uranus. What are they cooking up in their dazzling laboratory? This planet pattern describes all manner of ‘light-bulb’ moments. If we clear the path, and gaze at the far horizons there’s no telling what surprising things we might see. Planets and points at around 26 degrees in your own natal horoscope will be switched on by this energetic new Moon. What do you dream of beginning? What’s your heart’s desire for 2018?

 

We’re approaching the Winter Solstice, when the mood begins to shift as Capricorn Sea Goats ride the waves. The atmosphere gradually becomes more serious, and there’ll be plenty of hints about the shape of things to come. The best trick will be to carry some warm Sagittarian joie de vivre and curiosity with us, and take the exciting possibilities of this new Moon forward into 2018.

 

‘Certain travellers give the impression that they keep moving because only then do they feel fully alive.’

Ella Maillart – writer, photographer, sportswoman and traveller (1903-1997)

 

Reference

Jane Lyle, Astrologer
The Astrology Room

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Cosmic Weather horoscope

 

Thursday 21st December:

Winter Solstice – Sun enters Capricorn

Human beings have celebrated the Winter Solstice for thousands of years. The Sun dies, the Sun is reborn – it’s just such a powerful moment for life here on Earth.

This year, the astrological Capricorn flavour is strong. The Sun, Saturn, and Pluto are in Capricorn, joined by Venus on Christmas Day to make a serious line-up in this, the most serious of signs. It’s a dynamic Solstice season, favouring realistic, rational plans and ambitions.

Yet Capricorn is also musical, has a quirky, often dry, sense of humour, and admires stylish glamour. The determined goat climbs, the fish-tailed part of Capricorn dips into the waters of wisdom and universal knowledge.

If you’re a December Capricorn, March Aries, June Cancerian, or September Libran this is a notable turning point time for you – now, and on into 2018.

Author

Jane Lyle, Astrologer
The Astrology Room

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Don’t forget we have set up a Go Fund Me Account for Lady A. So far we have raised $120. You will find the link below, give if you can or pass it on to everyone you know.

https://www.gofundme.com/the-kit-steels-campaign

From Yule to Imbolc

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Yule to Imbolc

Witches celebrate the winter solstice with the lesser sabbat of Yule (or Midwinter). This may be the year’s shortest day, but it heralds ever-lengthening hours of daylight as the sun grows in strength. For thee Horned God has been reborn as the Sun Child, or Child of Promise, so that while we may still be light-deprived and shivering in the depths of winter, there is now real hope of being bathed in sunshine and warmth once again.