Tag Archives: Books

Winter Solstice/Yule/Christmas books I love…….

Greetings!  I can’t believe how fast this month is flying by!  I have been so busy preparing for Yule and Christmas that I haven’t had time to write her as quickly as I would have liked to after my last post.  However, I’m about done shopping, most of my Holiday cards are mailed, and I’m ready to start wrapping soon.  It has been softly flurrying here today, quite cold and the Full Moon is peeking thru clouds..looks like it might clear up yet tonight.  Blessed Full Moon to you all by the way!!   I have lit a fire, my healing candles are going, incense burning..my feet are up and I just drank a very delicious eggnog milkshake my hubby brought home for me from Steak and Shake…so so good!  A wonderful way to spend a Full Moon evening.  Later, I’ll go out and spend some time with the Goddess, cleanse a few things, and I’m hoping to catch some Full Moon snow water in a jar.  The Yule Full Moon is to me, a very powerful Full Moon, and I intend to take in that energy to help me get thru this busy and sometimes stressful time of year! 

So, I have several books about Yule, Winter Solstice, pagan customs etc that I just love and I refer to them often.  So let’s get started doing a bit of show and tell……

 

The Winter Solstice….The Sacred Traditions of Christmas  by John Matthews. 

Despite the word Christmas in the title, this book is about the Winter Solstice, how Christmas came about, and the history and lore surrounding the whole Season. Each chapter provides cross-cultural connections to the ideas, customs, and icons of Christmas.  The book starts out discussing Solstice celebrations and lore across the world where the celebration of the Return of the Sun takes place from Egypt, to Rome, to Europe and America.  Saturnalia, the Mummers, the Morris Dancers are all talked about.  At the end of each chapter, there are suggestions for faith-free activities you can do to celebrate the Season..or you can incorporate your faith as you wish.

  The Child of Wonder chapter talks about the different gods across the ages..such as Apollo, Mabon, Osiris, Mithras and yes, Jesus. It talks about the Wise Men and the Star and the Nativity.   The Green Bough chapter discusses the symbolism of the tree, the evergreens, holly, ivy, mistletoe and of course the Yule Log. In Old Sir Christmas we are introduced the the “Santa’s from around the world.  The Solstice Animals …tough chapter for an animal lover…it’s about the slaughter of animals and the rituals about it…for food for the long Winter. I love the activity at the end of this chapter though..how to make soul cakes.   Lastly, the 12 Days of Christmas ….I especially love this chapter. This is not about the carol we all know, but about the true 12 days..from Dec 24 night to January 6th.  There is Snow day, Boxing day, The Feast of Fools day, Bringing in the Boar day and others.  Each day has an activity or ritual you can do to honor the day.  I have incorporated some of them into my own celebration. 

Thruout this book, there is beautiful artwork, drawings, photos….poetry, quotes, recipes and rituals.  I just love this beautiful book.  I suggest you will love it too!!

Pagan Christmas…The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide….by Christian Ratsch and Claudia Muller-Ebeling. 

 This book is a beautiful book..about the Ethnobotany (the study of plants) of the Season. It’s about the traditional uses and symbolism of the Yule Season plants…like the fir tree, mistletoe, holly, ivy, evergreens, laurel, yew…even tobacco and mushrooms!   There is info galore on the plants themselves, photos, how and why they are used in ritual, for decorating..ways to use them such as making incense, decorating your home etc.  There are stories from Befana to the Wise Men, From St. Nicholas to Woten.  I especially love all the incense recipes as I love making my own.  Another great book you will learn so much from!

Yule…A Celebration of Light & Warmth…by Dorothy Morrison. 

I love this book and Dorothy Morrison 🙂  This book is chock full of everything about the Solstice.  It has holiday lore from around the world, history, crafts, and  recipes. She explains the traditions behind the symbols of the Season, such as the tree, bells, evergreens, reindeer, gingerbread and lights amongst others.

She talks about the superstitions, and omens that surround the holiday in different countries.  She has some rituals and simple charms you can do as you get ready to celebrate.  A chapter on decking the halls, with craft projects to do.  My favorite..a tree blessing right before you decorate the tree.  There is ideas for parties and gift giving…how to’s included. 

There is a chapter on her personal celebration and a great chapter on things you can do to celebrate every day of the month of December. The final chapter is about is tips on cleaning up AFTER the holidays…what to do with your popcorn strings, how to store your decorations etc.   Also, I love her poetry and there is poetry she has written and  poetry others have written thruout the book. This book is a real keeper!!

The Wheel of the Year..Living the Magical Life…by Pauline Campanelli

This book takes you on a month-by-month journey of the Wheel of the Year and how it is celebrated by Pagans and the Campinellis’ themselves.  Every chapter starts out with a beautiful description of the month and what is going on in nature etc during that month.   December..the Yule month of course…has in it … The Magic of Mistletoe; The Ritual Burning of the Yule Log; Magical Uses of Ashes from the Yule Fire; A Ritual for Cutting Sacred Fir; The Pagan Symbolism of Santa Claus. It talks about wreaths, birds, ornaments and the Oak Moon.  There is a Bayberry Candle Charm, a Yule log ritual, and a cutting the tree ritual.  It ends with some info on New Years Eve and Father Time! 

This book has something for every month and it is one of my all time favorite books..If you don’t have it..it’s a must for your witchy library!!

Sabbats..A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways….Edain McCoy

Edain’s book is awesome as well.  Again, each chapter is about a Sabbat..starting with Samhain and going thru Mabon.  For Yule, she discusses the history and customs and how some of the customs have been preserved in various cultures.  The discusses the fight between the Oak King and the Holly King, the Celts and Druids use of evergreens, the symbolism of the wreath and tree, and again, of course, the burning of the Yule log.  There are recipes for sugar and gingerbread cookies, rituals, some craft ideas and how to make an edible Yule log ..yummy!  There is a nice pathworking meditation that I really love!  There are some correspondences, foods for Yule and a bit about how old christmas carols often have pagan symbology in them.

I love this book …again, a must have! 

Ok…those are my main books….some honorable mentions…..

Wicca in the Kitchen by Scott Cunningham.  ….for recipes for Yule

Witch in the Kitchen by Cait Johnson…again for recipes, a meditation, and a ritual or two…very nice! 

Moon Magick by DJ Conway….Lovely book..a chapter on the Cold Moon, recipes, crafts and a Winter Solstice ritual. 

So these are some of my favorites.  My wishlist would be for more children’s book about Yule and more for us grown- ups too 🙂  Whether you celebrate the Solstice or Christmas..there is something in these books to help you to celebrate it in a beautiful, meaningful way.  The Season is rich in tradition, lore and history..a most beautiful time of year.

If you have a favorite book not listed here..I’d sure like to know about it!  Please write me here and let me know!

My next blog post ..soon..will be recipes.  I’m gonna start gathering them this weekend!  and I’m actually going to be baking this weekend with my daughters and granddaughter.  ah….another beautiful memory in the making!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Books I'm reading, History, Holiday, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Seasons, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

The End of an Era?………..

Merry Meet!  Today is Sun Day…my favorite day of the week.  It marks the end of the week for me, a time to relax, rest, and spend time with family.  Today it is extremely HOT and HUMID, So…. we headed out to a cool dark theater to see the final Harry Potter movie.  The Deathly Hallows Part 2!

The movie was Awesome!…really well done.  I jumped, I cheered, I cried.  But what I did most was marvel at the fact that I have followed JK Rowling’s vision since my youngest daughter was the same age as Harry, Ron & Hermoine were in the first book..11 years old.  I first heard about the Harry Potter books while watching a Rosie O’Donnell show.  She was raving about the books, how wonderful they were, how imaginative and she had JK on her show.  Now,  my girls already  loved books and loved to read series books.  I believe that the first book had been out for a bit and the 2nd book had just come out at this time.  The very next day I went out and found them on a table in the kid’s section…they were just paperback at the time.  I bought the first two books and brought them home.  Sara read them and was hooked!  She then gave them to her sister to read …and she loved them too.  Then the 3rd came out…and so forth.  At that point, I decided to read them myself and was hooked as well.  Oh how I wish I had the creativity to have thought of someone like Harry Potter and the world he lives in….to me the books were pure magick!  We all have our own set now too! LOL

*CORRECTION! LOL  My youngest, Kate, reminded me that it was she who read them first…and I remembered then that she had to really talk her sister into reading them…Sara had no interest in reading them at first.  LOL   But of course, once she read them, she loved them too.  Sorry Kate! hahah! 🙂

We attended midnight Book release parties at Barnes & Noble after that, dressing up in our Gryffindor gear and round glasses like Harry’s. Of course we waited with bated breath as the first movie came out…and were NOT disappointed at seeing the characters and the story come to life on the big screen!  The characters looked as they were described in the books, the quidditch field was pure magick, Hogworts was a dream come true…..for me even the soundtrack was perfect.  The wait between books and movies seemed too too long.  A fond memory of mine is the day the 7th book came out, my whole family would be arriving in Hilton Head for a week’s vacation.  As soon as we realized that, I found the Barnes & Noble there and pre- ordered 5 books!  One for myself, my two daughers, my son in law, and a friend who was with us.  Before we even arrived at our beach condo..we stopped and picked up our prized books.  What a fun time it was…we all spent the week reading our books by the pool or on the beach.  Some of us finishing faster then others…teasing each other about what we had read that they hadn’t yet…sometimes caught with tears in our eyes or letting out a loud gasp…which would result in “Don’t tell me..I’m not there yet”!!!  LOL  I will always remember that trip because of that book!

Having read the books multiple times, I’m reminded of how these wonderful books spurred on the love of reading again for a whole generation of children.  Whether they were old enough to read it themselves, or have them read to them….they brought families together in the common love of the books.  Never had such a phenomena been seen…at least not in my lifetime.  The movies of course enhanced the experience.  In a time where kids are glued to the TV or playing  games on the Wii and Playstation, how wonderful it was to see them reading again.  My grandmother was a 2nd grade teacher for over 50 years..I give her full credit for giving me my love of reading…She would have been thrilled to have seen children reading with great joy again.  For my kids, the love of reading  has continued..for me too.  My granddaughter Lily, who is 2 1/2..already loves books too..she will sit for an hour and bring multiple books to be read to her…and will often finish the sentence for us…I just love seeing that!!

Now that my girls are grown, I look forward to the day that Harry, Ron and Hermoine and all the lovely characters are introduced to my grandchildren.  Is the last book and last movie the end of an era?   Well, I don’t think so….I think that they will continue to give great joy to young minds (and their parents) for ages to come.  I am quite sure that there are many more books out there.. some yet to be written..that will bring joy to children and aid them in their love of reading ….but I truly believe that it will take something really special to equal what the Harry Potter books did.  Do you still remember the books you loved as a child?  Did you pass that love to your children and grandchildren?  I still have the books my children owned and even some of the books that I owned as a child.  There is no end to a good story….it just continues for generations..as long as we see to it that they do. 

So THANK YOU JK Rowling and Harry Potter for your wonderful world of imagination.  A whole generation has loved and enjoyed it…… and many more in the future will as well.  Pure magick!

“A blessed companion is a book, – a book that, fitly chosen, is a lifelong friend,… a book that, at a touch, pours its heart into our own.” ~Douglas Jerrold

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Daughters, Discussion, Family, Grandchildren, Movies, My Favorite Things, Quote

On a snowy day….

I’m sitting here watching the snow fall softly and gently but in great amounts!  We’ve gotten about 4 inches so far with the possibility of another 5 inches or so.  Tomorrow it will be very windy with drifting snow.  It is Mother Nature in all her glory!  Perhaps this is the last blast of Winter before Spring rears her lovely head.  I love days like this when I don’t have to go out..I can sit by the fire, drink my coffee, listen to good music, read, knit or work on projects around the house.  I’m going to make it a blessed day.

My sister Teagan has come early today..brought by her hubby in his 4 wheel drive.  You see, my oldest daughter was injured in a terrible car accident 21 years ago at the age of 6.  She is paralyzed and breathes with the help of a ventilator so she required some nursing care.  My sister and my other daughter also help me take care of her.  When the weather is bad, I can’t count on the nurses to get here, so Teagan came to help me.  She’ll be here at least today and tomorrow and is spending the night “just in case”!  Thank Goddess I have her to help.  We enjoy our days together working on our Book of Shadows, knitting, reading etc. 

I have done a Storm protection spell to try to keep the storm from doing any damage or the power going out!  I really hate when the power goes out.  With my daughter relying on a machine to breathe we need power.  She has batteries that keep her running for about 12 hours but then we must be able to charge her back up again.  Two years ago we spent 9 days in a hotel because of a huge power outage…not that much fun!

Today I’m going to start working on the Correspondences for the days of the week.  I’m getting the info from Ellen Dugan’s  book “Book of Witchery”.   The information is amazing and so helpful…it will be nice to know how specifically I can make each day magickal..from what color I wear, what incense I burn, what I do at my altar, crystals, candles etc etc.  I love it!  Practicing my Path everyday helps me to feel centered and connected to Goddess and God.  Makes me very happy.

I love music..all kinds…and my Ipod is one of my favorite possessions.  Today we are listening to celtic music.. I especially love Secret Garden, Loreena McKennitt and Enya.  Celtic Woman is also wonderful.. I highly recommend them to you.  Beautiful voices, beautiful meaningful songs.  Perfect for a day like today.

Well, stay warm and stay safe bloggers.  If you visit me, live a comment..would love to know about you too and how you found me.

Blesses Be, Autumn

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Filed under Daughters, Music, Winter