The Wheel Turns to Yule 2013……..

Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles. 

imagesCAHWQBRT~Author Unknown

Merry Meet my friends.  I am very late to writing a Yule blog I’m afraid.  Just like all of you, Life is a bit busy right now and time seems to escape me some days.  Winter has settled in early here in Ohio. Right now, there is about 8-9 inches of snow on the ground and we will be in the single digits tonight with a negative wind chill factor!!   But I LOVE Winter!  I love the beauty of the snow, the quiet of the nights, the starry skies, the scent of woodsmoke, and seeing your breath on the Air.  Despite this busy time of year, I find time most every evening to be quiet by the fire, light candles, rest and reflect on the dark months ahead.

Yule is on Dec. 21 this year and it’ll be a quiet celebration as always here at my house.  A nice meal, some time outside, some time at my altar and some time by the fire.  My greens have been brought in just today and adorn bowls and my mantle.  Yule..the Winter Solstice…the longest night of the year.  I find it a beautiful Sabbat…a time in all the hustle and bustle of the holiday celebrations..to focus on what Yule means to us Pagans and Witches.  It marks going into Winter..into the dark time of the year. Mother Earth is at rest and I try to do the same for the Winter months.  It’s a quieter time of year (after the holidays of course!).  Time to read, relax, perhaps work on a project I’ve put off, crafts, organize my home, write etc.  Whatever it is you like to do when you are forced to be inside more.  Now I know that of course life is still going on…work, responsibilities, cooking and cleaning etc…yes…but there is more time at home, more hours of dark to spend nesting and finding time to rest.  Even getting some extra sleep!

I am in search of the perfect Yule log from our woodpile. I’ll dress it with greens and herbs..bless it and burn it!  One of my favorite things to do for Yule is to write down a list of my wishes, hopes, and dreams for the next year. Also, to write down those things I want to let go of…to get out of my life.  After doing the list, I burn it with the Yule log..and know that my wishes go out with Air..by Fire and Earth.

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This year, in our new home, we have a darling little spruce tree we planted over the summer.  My husband put lights on it and it makes a magickal little Yule tree.  This weekend, I’ll be making outdoor ornaments for the tree,  I use yarn or raffia to string cereal and dried fruits.  I use bagel halves, cover them in peanut butter and dip them in birdseed..and even apples and orange cups can be put out there.  My grandkids love this project too!  and of course the birds and squirrels love it too 🙂  Makes me feel good to help our feathered and furry friends over the cold Winter.

Thought I’d post a couple of favorite recipes of mine for this time of year!

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Autumn’s Shortbread Cookies

1 lb butter, softened …salted or unsalted doesn’t really matter

1 cup sugar

4 cups all purpose flour

These are a huge hit at my house and so simple!

Cream butter and sugar until creamy.  Add 2 cups at a time of the flour and blend.  If the dough is a bit dry, add a tablespoon of water.  Spread dough into a jelly roll pan with your hands ….spread it even.  Prick the dough every so often with a fork.

Bake at 350* for about 25 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cut immediately into squares….then let it cool in the pan.  Enjoy!

*For Yule, I like to sprinkle with green or red sugar crystals before baking!

Gingerbread Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 egg

1 1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup molasses

3 TB vegetable oil

Sift together first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat egg & milk until well blended.  Stir in molasses and oil.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring til moistened.  Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle.  Cook until bubby on top, flip and cook til golden brown.

Great with Lemon Sauce!!

1/2 cup sugar

1 TB cornstarch

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup water

2 TB butter

1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 Tb lemon juice

Stir together sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg in a small saucepan.  Add water and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

Cook and stir an additional 2 mins

Remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until butter is melted

Serve warm over gingerbread pancakes or waffles, or cake!

Hope you enjoy these!  For more recipes and Yule info and correspondence etc..be sure to type in Yule or Winter Solstice in the search box on the right side of this blog. There are many past years of postings!

For now I leave you all with the hopes that you are finding time to BREATHE, RELAX, and be QUIET now and then during this busy time of year.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic hustle and bustle….but pause now and then and remember what the Season is really all about.  The Solstice..the longest night…..the passing of the Holly King and the Re-birth of the Oak King…and Mother Earth frozen and slumbering.  But it means that already the days will grow longer and the Sun will strengthen and warm, and Earth will begin to stir!  Blessed Be!

   “So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!”
–   Susan Cooper,
The Shortest Day

Blessings and Love,  Autumn

Wreath picture from the internet..unknown source.  Other two pictures are my own.

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15 Comments

Filed under God, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, Our Yard, Photography, Poem, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Woods, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

15 responses to “The Wheel Turns to Yule 2013……..

  1. Willowmoon

    Merry Meet! I love this time of year also. To me is just seems so clean & crisp. I am always excited to read your post. Blessed be to all & have a very wonderful Christmas

    • Merry Meet Willowmoon! Thank you so much for reading my blog and I feel the same way about this time of year ..especially when there is lots of snow! 🙂 Many Blessings for a happy Yuletide Season to you and yours! Autumn

  2. chefette13

    Hi Autumn
    You’ve been a busy bee this holiday season. I really love the shortbread cookie recipe and will need to try them out on my next day off. I really enjoy reading your blog and hearing what you have planned for the holidays. We’ve been a whirlwind of activity at work with holiday functions for the president of the university. Never a dull moment! At home I’ve gotten my holiday baking completed…6 types of cookies, 6 types of breads, fudge, peanut butter balls and pies including a family tradition a French Canadian meat pie (tourtiere). Solstice morning I plan on having neighbors in for brunch after my simple solitary ritual at the playground at the crack of dawn to welcome back the sun. I live in the city so the playground picnic table is what I have to work with lol I know it doesn’t show AT ALL that I really love this time of year lol. Now if you would be a darling and send me some of your snow all would be perfect. 🙂 Autumn I wish you and your family the most wonderful holiday season a very blessed Yule and a very happy New Year!!
    June in VA

    • Hello June! I so love hearing from you! Wow, you have been a very busy Elf in the kitchen! I have done some baking as well including my shortbread cookies, brownies, nut breads and I started a sourdough starter for bread as well! How lovely for you to have a brunch for your neighbors! Would love to know what you’re making 🙂 Much love and many Blessings to you and yours as well dear June. Autumn

      • chefette13

        I celebrate Yule the way I used to celebrate Christmas many many years ago… so it’s a full blown menu. lol Turkey and all the trimmings (mashed pots, sweet pot casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, smothered green beans and corn) spinach lasagna with meat sauce on the side for those who are vegetarian, Hungarian goulash with egg noodles, French meat pie, breakfast items include onion and cheese quiche (again for those who don’t partake in meat) sausage, bacon, biscuits and pepper gravy, hash browns (ok confession time…they are really tater tots) A variety of desserts including your shortbread cookies and a cake I’ve come up with this year…it’s a layer of devils food and a layer of banana cake all held together with peanut butter icing…I made one as a trial run and the guys at work approved so much there were only crumbs left lol. I’m also using your lemon sauce to serve with my grandmother’s recipe for (warm) gingerbread, I never thought of lemon with it before!! Last night, following your suggestion of stringing things for the wild life (I live in the city but I do have some wild life in the area, squirrels, rabbits, tons of different birds and even deer) I did plain popcorn and cranberry stings, and apple slices dipped in PB and birdseed… I can already see it’s been nibbled on. I don’t have trees but I do have azalea bushes. 🙂 As you can see I don’t have any holiday spirit LOL no snow yet just rain but I still hold out hope. Friday will be my last day of work for four weeks!! Yippee! I would love to have you as a neighbor you always have such wonderful ideas!! 🙂 Ok I’ve taken way too much of your time this morning. Enjoy the weekend! Blessings always June

      • June..I just adore you! What a wonderful post! I’m sorry I’m slow to respond but I did read it! You know how it gets at this time of Year. Your meal sounds amazing…my lemon sauce will be amazing with gingerbread cake too (its good on pound cake too 🙂 and I love you fed the birds! I hope you’ve had some snow and hope you’re enjoying your time off! I’m sure it’s flying by much too fast! Hope you had a wonderful Yule and I wish the a very Happy and Prosperous New Year my friend! Hugs and Love!

    • Oh and June, I’ll do my best to send snow!! We have more last night and thru today! LOL

  3. Good Morning! It is a busy time of the year for sure. I love your pictures, recipes. I will also be making a list of goals for the coming year and what I need to let go. I love reading your blog, it just comes to life.
    Your tree is so cute! I love it! I love that you feed the birds and squirrels. There is a couple of rabbits that I have seen lately and I think I am going to take some carrots out to them. We have seen them a lot this year.
    Have a great and Blessed Yule Autumn! Much love and hugs to you!

    • Hello Jenn! Thank you so much dear friend for taking the time to read my blog and for being my friend! I believe we may have a little rabbit living under our shed in the backyard. I’ve been setting out some lettuce leaves and carrot shavings etc. I’m so happy we have become friends Jenn…love ya much! Blessed Yule to you and yours! Autumn

  4. Good morning and many blessings, It is cold over here, too, but that is fine. One of the reasons we moved to this part of the country was the fact that it has four seasons. We were tired of only two seasons……wet and wetter.
    I make a list of the things I want to leave behind and burn them in my cauldron and then wash them away. Since my husband is a sailor, washing them away seems somehow appropriate.
    Have a lovely Yule and enjoy the peace and tranquility.
    Kathi

    • Hi Kathi! Many Blessings to you my friend as well! I don’t think I could live where there weren’t seasons…I seem to need that in my Life as well! Yes! Washing them away is good too…Water is also a powerful way of getting rid of that which is no longer wanted as well! Blessed Yule to you and yours!
      Autumn

  5. chefette13

    PS…..I made your shortbread cookies, sprinkled them with red and green sanding sugar and brought them in to work and they were a huge hit!!

    • Hi June! That is so great! They get inhaled here at my house and when I give it out as gifts or take to parties etc too. So glad you tried them! Love hearing from you always. Blessed Yule my friend!! Hugs!

  6. Debra Nehring

    So nice to read your blog, dear Autumn! I just love the idea of making a tree designated with edibles for the birds and squirrels. We have some feeders out, but this is a fun way to incorporate Yule blessings and perhaps do this with my ine daughter who will be arriving just before Yule, and is very open to such things. Blessings to you and yours now and in the new year!

    • Hello dear Debra..sorry I’m a bit slow responding to this…I know you had a wonderful visit with your family for Yule and know you are planning a New Year’s much like mine..quiet 🙂 Much love to you my Sister…I’m blessed by our friendship and send you all positive wishes for 2014!!
      Autumn

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