Calendar of the Moon for July 11th

Calendar of the Moon

Holly Tree Month

Colors: Iron-grey, red, and dark green.
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of dark grey set many sprigs of holly, real or created, four red candles, a spear and a sword.
Offerings: Honor your inner warrior, including examining the areas where s/he overreacts.
Daily Meal: Red food. Meat of any kind.

Tinne Invocation

Call: Hail the month of the Holly King!
Response: Hail the King of the waning year!
Call: Hail, sharp leaves and sharper eye!
Response: Hail, white flowers that give way to blood-red berries!
Call: Hail the month of the starling’s flock!
Response: For the starlings move together as one!
Call: Like them, we defend what is dear to us!
Response: Like them, we do not let each other stand alone against opposition!
Call: Hail the color of cold iron!
Response: Hail the sword and the spear!
Call: For our sword is Reason….
Response: And our spear is the death of Illusion!
Call: Hail the color of cold iron!
Response: Hail the armor and the shield!
Call: For our armor is Hope….
Response: And our shield is Love.
Call: The Oak King gives way to the Holly King…
Response: For all things have a time of increase, and a time of decrease.
Call: For all things wax and wane.
Response: For all things rise and fall.
Call: This is the moment just beyond the year’s apex!
Response: This is the time of the beginning of the end!
Call: May we take courage with every passing morning!
Response: May courage fill us with every breath!

Chant:
Spear of truth, find me,
I open myself to you.
Chains of honor, bind me,
Bound, I am free to hold true.

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for July 10

Calendar of the Moon

Holly Tree Month

Colors: Iron-grey, red, and dark green.
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of dark grey set many sprigs of holly, real or created, four red candles, a spear and a sword.
Offerings: Honor your inner warrior, including examining the areas where s/he overreacts.
Daily Meal: Red food. Meat of any kind.

Tinne Invocation

Call: Hail the month of the Holly King!
Response: Hail the King of the waning year!
Call: Hail, sharp leaves and sharper eye!
Response: Hail, white flowers that give way to blood-red berries!
Call: Hail the month of the starling’s flock!
Response: For the starlings move together as one!
Call: Like them, we defend what is dear to us!
Response: Like them, we do not let each other stand alone against opposition!
Call: Hail the color of cold iron!
Response: Hail the sword and the spear!
Call: For our sword is Reason….
Response: And our spear is the death of Illusion!
Call: Hail the color of cold iron!
Response: Hail the armor and the shield!
Call: For our armor is Hope….
Response: And our shield is Love.
Call: The Oak King gives way to the Holly King…
Response: For all things have a time of increase, and a time of decrease.
Call: For all things wax and wane.
Response: For all things rise and fall.
Call: This is the moment just beyond the year’s apex!
Response: This is the time of the beginning of the end!
Call: May we take courage with every passing morning!
Response: May courage fill us with every breath!

Chant:
Spear of truth, find me,
I open myself to you.
Chains of honor, bind me,
Bound, I am free to hold true.

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for July 9th

Holly Tree Month

Colors: Iron-grey, red, and dark green.
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of dark grey set many sprigs of holly, real or created, four red candles, a spear and a sword.
Offerings: Honor your inner warrior, including examining the areas where s/he overreacts.
Daily Meal: Red food. Meat of any kind.

Tinne Invocation

Call: Hail the month of the Holly King!
Response: Hail the King of the waning year!
Call: Hail, sharp leaves and sharper eye!
Response: Hail, white flowers that give way to blood-red berries!
Call: Hail the month of the starling’s flock!
Response: For the starlings move together as one!
Call: Like them, we defend what is dear to us!
Response: Like them, we do not let each other stand alone against opposition!
Call: Hail the color of cold iron!
Response: Hail the sword and the spear!
Call: For our sword is Reason….
Response: And our spear is the death of Illusion!
Call: Hail the color of cold iron!
Response: Hail the armor and the shield!
Call: For our armor is Hope….
Response: And our shield is Love.
Call: The Oak King gives way to the Holly King…
Response: For all things have a time of increase, and a time of decrease.
Call: For all things wax and wane.
Response: For all things rise and fall.
Call: This is the moment just beyond the year’s apex!
Response: This is the time of the beginning of the end!
Call: May we take courage with every passing morning!
Response: May courage fill us with every breath!

Chant:
Spear of truth, find me,
I open myself to you.
Chains of honor, bind me,
Bound, I am free to hold true.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

The Wicca Book of Days for June 21 – Litha or MidSummer

The Wicca Book of Days for June 21st

Litha or MidSummer

 

The Summer Solstice occurs around now. It is celebrated by Wiccans at their Litha, or MidSummer Sabbat. The Horned God is at the height of his powers – the hours of daylight are longer than those of darkness, and His solar rays and heat are at their fieriest. Their child is growing in the Goddess’s womb, and the world basks in sunshine, while all around the natural evidence of their fruitful union is evident. Yet the Horned God’s strength will start to wane from now on, which is why the Oak King’s rule is said to give way to that of the Holly King at Litha.

 

Harvest Herbs

 

Herbs are particularly potent on the Summer Solstice, which is why Wiccans and Witches harvest them on this day (or night) for future use in potions and remedies. So if you have herbs in your garden, cut yourself a supply today.

A Warm Yule and Winter

A Warm Yule and Winter

 

by Barbara Hedgewitch

As we approach the shortest days of the year, our house is a snug haven from the cold rain and winds of autumn. The horses’ coats are thick and full in preparation for the cold days ahead. We watch the steady retreat of the Sun. Each day, it sets just a bit earlier and farther south over the distant hill.

We spend time preparing gifts for our loved ones: homemade soap in a variety of scents and colors brightly wrapped in baskets; felt “melted” snowmen from a pattern at the craft store. We bake and decorate holiday cookies and get messy making gingerbread houses out of graham crackers and lots of frosting. I gather fir boughs and wire them to a frame, then attach a bright plaid bow. Soon a sweetly scented wreath hangs cheerily on the front door.

My husband makes his annual trek up our tall ladder, standing precariously as he strings holiday lights all along the roofline. One year, he fell off the roof as he strung lights. Fortunately for him, a potted rosebush broke his fall. It wasn’t quite so fortunate for the rosebush or its pot. This year, I remember to send a little extra protective energy his way as he heads up with hands full of lights.

He takes the children down to the bottom of our property where the former owners planted a grove of evergreen trees. They choose a fine Douglas fir for our Yule tree and triumphantly drag it up the hill to the house. As they huff and puff from the strain, the curious horses follow them.

Inside the house, I’ve prepared a place for this lovely tree, and we spend the evening stringing lights and placing ornaments on it. The scent fills the house. We discuss every ornament, for they all have meaning and memories. Some are from my childhood, and some belonged to my grandparents. Each year, the children are given one new ornament each for their own collections. We have many stars on our tree!

Finally, the Sun halts its southward journey. It seems to stand still for a day or two. On the longest night, our family holds vigil and awaits the rebirth of the Sun. The Holly King arrives and leaves gifts under the tree and in our stockings. My husband and son reenact the Oak King/Holly King duel, with the Oak King triumphing at this turn of the Wheel. We bid good-bye to the ancient Holly King, ruler of the darkening days, and celebrate the birth of the Oak King who rules the brightening days.

A few days later, we’re able to mark the slight northward passage of the setting sun behind the hill. The growing days give us hope as we enter into the coldest and stormiest time of the year. We eagerly await Imbolc and our local BrighidFest, which marks the beginning of the end of winter.

I take my spinning wheel to the BrighidFest and demonstrate how to spin wool. I have a steady stream of people, men and women, eager to try their hand at spinning. Most of them get the knack of it enough to take home a length of lumpy yarn that they spun themselves. Truly a bit of real magick!

Imbolc is traditionally the time of year to make candles. This is something I’ve never done. I think it’s time for the children and I to try our hand at this new skill. I ponder the endless possibilities: the colors, the shapes and the scents. We have a huge collection of old crayons that can be used for color, and some glitter, and I can “frost” the candles by whipping some warmish paraffin with the hand mixer. Oh my, what fun we’re going to have!

I hope you have a warm and cozy winter, filled with much love and learning.

The Winter Solstice – Yule Lore

The Winter Solstice – Yule Lore

The date varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar. Yule is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice 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 in the fields, and crops and trees were “wassailed” with toasts of spiced cider. Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun. The boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not “die” thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes Nature Sprites would come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to visit tthe residents. Mistletoe was also hung as decoration. It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it.

The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder’s land, or given as a gift… it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.

A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side so it sets upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.

Many customs created around Yule are identified with Christmas today. If you decorate your home with a Yule tree, holly or candles, you are following some of these old traditions. The Yule log, (usually made from a piece of wood saved from the previous year) is burned in the fire to symbolize the Newborn Sun/Son.

Deities of Yule: All Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid’s flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda’s cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.

Symbolism of Yule:
Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.

Herbs of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

Foods of Yule:
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb’s wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).

Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.

Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule

Spellworkings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.

Deities of Yule:
Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.

 

–Adapted by Akasha Ap Emrys For all her friends and those of like mind–
Akasha, Herne and The Celtic Connection wicca.com.

A Warm Yule and Winter

A Warm Yule and Winter

by Barbara Hedgewitch

As we approach the shortest days of the year, our house is a snug haven from the cold rain and winds of autumn. The horses’ coats are thick and full in preparation for the cold days ahead. We watch the steady retreat of the Sun. Each day, it sets just a bit earlier and farther south over the distant hill.

We spend time preparing gifts for our loved ones: homemade soap in a variety of scents and colors brightly wrapped in baskets; felt “melted” snowmen from a pattern at the craft store. We bake and decorate holiday cookies and get messy making gingerbread houses out of graham crackers and lots of frosting. I gather fir boughs and wire them to a frame, then attach a bright plaid bow. Soon a sweetly scented wreath hangs cheerily on the front door.

My husband makes his annual trek up our tall ladder, standing precariously as he strings holiday lights all along the roofline. One year, he fell off the roof as he strung lights. Fortunately for him, a potted rosebush broke his fall. It wasn’t quite so fortunate for the rosebush or its pot. This year, I remember to send a little extra protective energy his way as he heads up with hands full of lights.

He takes the children down to the bottom of our property where the former owners planted a grove of evergreen trees. They choose a fine Douglas fir for our Yule tree and triumphantly drag it up the hill to the house. As they huff and puff from the strain, the curious horses follow them.

Inside the house, I’ve prepared a place for this lovely tree, and we spend the evening stringing lights and placing ornaments on it. The scent fills the house. We discuss every ornament, for they all have meaning and memories. Some are from my childhood, and some belonged to my grandparents. Each year, the children are given one new ornament each for their own collections. We have many stars on our tree!

Finally, the Sun halts its southward journey. It seems to stand still for a day or two. On the longest night, our family holds vigil and awaits the rebirth of the Sun. The Holly King arrives and leaves gifts under the tree and in our stockings. My husband and son reenact the Oak King/Holly King duel, with the Oak King triumphing at this turn of the Wheel. We bid good-bye to the ancient Holly King, ruler of the darkening days, and celebrate the birth of the Oak King who rules the brightening days.

A few days later, we’re able to mark the slight northward passage of the setting sun behind the hill. The growing days give us hope as we enter into the coldest and stormiest time of the year. We eagerly await Imbolc and our local BrighidFest, which marks the beginning of the end of winter.

I take my spinning wheel to the BrighidFest and demonstrate how to spin wool. I have a steady stream of people, men and women, eager to try their hand at spinning. Most of them get the knack of it enough to take home a length of lumpy yarn that they spun themselves. Truly a bit of real magick!

Imbolc is traditionally the time of year to make candles. This is something I’ve never done. I think it’s time for the children and I to try our hand at this new skill. I ponder the endless possibilities: the colors, the shapes and the scents. We have a huge collection of old crayons that can be used for color, and some glitter, and I can “frost” the candles by whipping some warmish paraffin with the hand mixer. Oh my, what fun we’re going to have!

I hope you have a warm and cozy winter, filled with much love and learning.