Tag Archives: Christmas

Winter Solstice/Yule Recipes 2011……

Merry Meet friends!  I can’t believe that the Solstice is just a few days away and Christmas right behind!  I’m not as ready as I’d like to be.  Some shopping yet to do, grocery and gifts, and lots of wrapping to do!  But my cards are done, most of the shopping is done, menu is planned, some cookies have been baked and I’ll hopefully get my altar done this weekend.  I need to pick up a couple more things for it.  I have been pretty under the weather for too many weeks, and that is slowing me down quite a bit :(.  While I’m relaxing tonight, I thought I’d post some recipes that we love to have for our holiday dinner..no matter which one you celebrate!  Our weather here has been so so…pretty gloomy, quite a bit of rain, and quite warm..or really cold.  I’d love to see some snow.  We have had a night or two of flurries but nothing sticking yet.  I’m so anxious to see a good amount of snow on the ground! 

 I’m sitting by the fire tonight,   having a glass of wine, and dealing with some emotions from a sad day.  One of my sisters…a Witch sister..suffered the loss of her dear husband yesterday.  My heart is broken for her… as are the hearts of All of her circle of friends.  We are sad for her, worried for her and want so badly to be there for her.  Such a helpless feeling when there is distance between our homes.  But there is no distance between our hearts and our love for her..and we are sending her love, comfort and strength to help her through this very sad, difficult time.  Blessed Be Cheryl. I love you. 

So, to move on with the recipes.  I’ll start with my Winter Solstice altar recipes…I especially love these!  Many of my favorite scents are during this time of year.  Pine, Cedar, Orange, Cinnamon, Clove….yummy!  I’ll be making these up soon to enjoy at my altar!

Winter Solstice Oil Blend

 4 drops Pine

 2 dropsOrange

 2 drops Cedar

 2 drops Juniper

 2-3 lumps finely ground Frankincense

This is really a wonderful blend.  Add a piece of clove or cinnamon stick or allspice berry to really spice it up.  It smells so so good!  I just want to take a bath in it!! LOL

 

Winter’s Night Yule Incense

2 parts Juniper berries

2 parts mugwort

1 part cedar

1 part pine resin

1 part evergreen leaves

1 part chopped sweetgrass

½ part rosemary

1/2 part ground cinnamon

I have altered this recipe a bit.  It called for Laurel leaves which in my area are not to be found.  And I just had to add the cinnamon..it’s a must 🙂  You can also add allspice, anise stars (which I love!) and cloves again.  Just grind everything really well..and it will burn great and smell like gingerbread on a holiday tree! 🙂 

 

Ok..on to the good stuff for your Santa belly!

Rum Spiced Egg Nog

 4 cups milk

5 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups light rum

4 cups light cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.

Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving

*The “cooked” eggs make this a safer dish from the raw eggs version.  Also…if you like…use 1/2 light rum and 1/2 spiced rum for an even better treat!

 

Spiced Wassail

 2 quarts apple cider

1 1/2 cups orange juice

3/4 cup pineapple juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)

1 dash ground cinnamon

1 dash ground cloves

Directions

In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks. Serve hot in mugs.

(makes 10 cups)

Sugar and Spice Nuts

 3 egg whites

2 tablespoons water

3 cups walnut halves

2 cups pecan halves

1 cup whole unblanched almonds

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and water until frothy. Add nuts; stir gently to coat. Combine the remaining ingredients. Add to nut mixture and stir gently to coat. Spread into two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool. Store in an airtight container.

 

Cranberry Meatballs

*A family favorite..we make them often and often double the batch!

Meatballs:

2 lbs ground beef

1 cup crushed corn flakes

1/3 cup dried parsley

2 eggs

2 TB soy sauce

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/3 cup catsup

2 TB dried minced onion

Mix all ingredients well and form into meatballs..cocktail sized.  Place on a jelly roll pan or 2- 9″ x 13″ baking dishes. 

Sauce:

1 – 16oz can cranberry jelly roll

1- 12oz bottle chili sauce

2 TB brown sugar

1 TB lemon juice

Blend together.  Pour over meatballs.  Bake at 350* for 30 mins. 

* I then put these in a warm slow cooker for serving. 

 

Reuben Spread

*Another family favorite!

16ozs shredded swiss cheese

16ozs shredded cheddar cheese

28oz jar Saurkraut, drained

8ozs chopped corned beef (I use Buddig)

1 1/2 cups Hellmans mayo

Mix all ingredients well.  Place in a greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish.  Bake @350* for 45mins to an hour til brown & bubbly.  Serve on rye on pumpernickel party rounds and put out a dish of Thousand Island Dressing 🙂  *This will get inhaled…I promise!!  Great warmed up the next day ..if you have any leftover 🙂

 

 

 

This ham recipe beats the honey hams you go buy!

Tangy Honey Glazed Ham

1 (10 pound) fully-cooked, bone-in ham

1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup pineapple juice

1/3 cup honey

1/3 large orange, juiced and zested

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place ham in a roasting pan.

In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, pineapple juice, honey, orange juice, orange zest, Dijon mustard, and ground cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Bake ham in preheated oven uncovered for 2 hours. Remove ham from oven, and brush with glaze. Bake for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, brushing ham with glaze every 10 minutes.

 

Cheesy Potato Casserole

*So easy and So good!

1 bag frozen shredded hash browns (slightly thawed so they will spread)

1/2 pint whipping cream

1 stick butter

2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.  Layer potatoes then cheese, then potatoes and cheese again.

In a small saucepan, melt butter into whipping cream, stirring so it won’t burn and mix well.  Pour over potatoes and cheese layers.

Bake at 350* for 45 mins or until cheese is melted and browning a bit. 

 

 

Apple Gingerbread Cobbler

14 oz package Gingerbread cake mix, divided

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup butter, softened & divided

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2- 21oz cans apple pie filling

Mix together 2 cups gingerbread mix and water until smooth; set aside.  Stir together remaining gingerbread mix and brown sugar.  Cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture is crumbly.  Stir in pecans and set aside.

Combine pie filling and remaining 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan; cook, stirring often, for 5 mins over med heat.  Spoon apple mixture evenly into a greased 11″ x 17″ baking pan.  Spoon gingerbread mix over apples, then sprinkle with pecan crumb mix.

Bake at 375* for 30-35 mins.  Serve warm with ice cream!  Yummy!!

 

Be sure to add lots of fresh veggies and fruits or a salad to round out all the rich, spicy foods.  Finish off with a delicious coffee with Baileys!! 

You won’t find that all of these recipes contain something from the list of correspondences for Yule.  But many of these, as I said, are family favorites I wanted to share.  At my house, we split up the dishes..everybody brings something..so it’s a lot less work for me and I have more time to enjoy the day! 

One thing to remember when you are so busy cooking….is to take the time to put lots of intention into your cooking.  Put love, joy, abundance, harmony, peace and goodwill into your dishes.  Throw in your favorite spices to add the magickal elements you can draw from them.  Put on holiday music or your favorite holiday movies.  Dance, sing, talk with family, have a glass of wine or eggnog.  Keep it simple and you will enjoy it too.  Your family will love your efforts and everyone will enjoy the good food!  Happy Cooking!!

 

“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

 

 

Blessed Yuletide Season, Autumn

Sources:  My recipes, some from the internet.  Pictures from the internet.

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Filed under Family, Holiday, Loose incense recipe, Oil Blend Recipe, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

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

Joy and Love is the Reason……

Merry Meet my friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones.  I know I did.  We had a small group this year as some of my family was scattered in all directions, but those of us who were here had a very wonderful day.  Watching my granddaughter Lily open her birthday presents for her 3rd birthday was highest on my list of memories that day. Such a blessing is that little girl 🙂 

Since then, I have been in full Yule mode! 🙂  Shopping and decorating and sending off cards and spending time having fun with the family.  I feel behind so far but taking the time to enjoy the season so I’m having fun either way.  My house should be fully decked out by tomorrow night, shopping is more then half done, cards will be going by the weekend and wrapping and baking will commence soon after.  We have even had our first snow tuesday night and it was beautiful.  It didnt’t stay around for long but I’m quite sure, living in Ohio as I do, there is much more to come..and soon!  I have had fireside, Bailey’s in my glass night, and watching holiday movies nights, and lunch out with family and shopping days…I just love this time of year!

Along with the joy of the Season, comes again the Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays wars.  *sigh*.  I just felt the need to put in my two cents worth as I see many who feel like me…. and then there are those people who are apparantly completely offended if the “right” words aren’t spoken to them during this time of year. 

As you all know by now, I am a Witch..a Pagan.  I celebrate Yule, the Winter Solstice. It is a very joyful and meaningful Sabbat for me and I celebrate it fully!    I also celebrate Christmas  *gasp* LOL.    I grew up celebrating Christmas and some of my family members are Christians.  I celebrate the day with them.  For me, it’s not  a celebration of the birth of the Christian Jesus Christ, It’s a family holiday…..it’s about Santa, presents, good food, fun, family, love and joy. Just like many Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Pagan families do..we celebrate both!  Now I know that to some Pagans, this is an unpopular decision, and yet I have many many facebook Witch and Pagan friends who do the same. Unless you are born into a family who is all of one faith, it would be disrespectful, in my opinion, not to share in the day with those I love, who celebrate Christmas. 

When I see all the comments about “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”  or “Don’t take Christ out of Christmas”….well, one I agree with and one I sure don’t.  I agree that Christ is the reason for Christmas..after all, Christmas IS a Christian holiday, the birth of Jesus to the Christians.   However, Jesus is NOT the reason for the Season in my mind.  The “season”  is not just a day…the Season is much more..for some people it denotes the period of time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  For others, it may be just the December holidays.  For still others, it might be the whole Wintertime..after all, many “holidays” are celebrated well into January.  The birth of Jesus, (Which we should all know by now, was NOT in December)  is not the reason for ANY of the other holidays but Christmas…right??  For me, the Solstice, the turning of the Wheel of the Year, the re-birth of the Sun God, the longest night of the year is the reason for Yule and my celebration of the “season”.  Hannukah, Kwaanza, and other faiths have their own reason for the season as well.  The season is not just about the Christian holiday, Christmas.

Having said all that, I think the argument over what to say or what you want to hear is just absurd. For me, if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Blessed Yule, or Happy Holidays…I look at it as well wishes for a joyful holiday, joyful season, or joyful day.  Merry Christmas is not a slap in the face to my beliefs.  It is what the OTHER person believes so that is what they say.  Why don’t we all quit being so selfish and just take the sentiment in the way it was meant to be taken? They are wishing you well!!  You can choose to respond as you want too…of course.  There is nothing wrong with saying something different back to them…for instance “Merry Christmas to you and Blessed Yule to me”….or say what you prefer to say…in a nice way..not in a correcting manner. Most likely they will smile and still wish you well.  and keep in mind..if you are being helped by someone in customer service..they HAVE to say whatever the store policy is….don’t get nasty with them for saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas or vice versa.  I have seen this happen and it just gets my Irish up! LOL. I have also seen a Christian get very nasty when told Happy Holidays..and it actually scared me it was so nasty!  Same with other faiths folks who don’t think about anyone but themselves this time of year.  My fear is that some day nobody will be giving a seasonal greeting to anyone out of fear of saying the wrong thing and receiving an earful!  How sad would that be?  😦 

I’m not telling anyone what to do..just saying what I think is the right thing to do.  I try to be gracious, accept whatever greeting comes my way and move on.  I believe if I react kindly, the Goddess will appreciate that I was kind. The Pagan community is growing in leaps and bounds and Blessed Yule is on the lips of many!  Take comfort in that if anything 🙂 Look at Joy and Love as the Reason for the Season..for I believe no matter what you celebrate …those are two good reasons we can all agree on and embrace in unison!

I don’t know if I have Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Athiest readers here..but I know I have a lot of beautiful Witches and Pagans..many I call friends.  I know many of you feel as I do, and some of you may not.  I honor your choices either way.  And by the way,  I do feel the irritation too when someone puts Jesus and Christmas down my throat when it’s unwanted.  That is a whole different thing and I would deal with that much differently..after all, I am a Witch! Hehehe 🙂

Soon I will be posting my Yule recipes, altar pics and some favorite Yule books I love.  So I’ll be back soon!  Please feel free to leave comments…whether you agree or disagree…I love a good discussion!

Blessings and Light, Autumn

 

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Filed under Discussion, Family, Holiday, My Writing, Seasons, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

Season of Yule 2011 Begins…….

Merry Meet friends!  I would imagine many of you..like me..are very busy this weekend.  Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I’m in the midst of planning the meal, cleaning house,  grocery shopping, cooking and baking….all while having the first flu bug I’ve had in 5 years! But I love this time of year so I’m plugging along  🙂 Thanksgiving is just a simple traditional meal with my family and extended family.  Easy and laid back and I give Thanks for the blessings in my life.  This year, it also happens to be my granddaugther, Lily’s 3rd birthday, so we’ll be celebrating that as well!  Happy Birthday Lily darlin!!

 

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,

for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:

 it is the time for home.”

 ~Edith Sitwell

 I love Winter and after a beautiful Autumn, I’m ready for it to be here.  I love everything about this time of year.  The hustle and bustle of busy stores and restaurants.  The music piped in the stores and thru the radio and blaring in my home.  I love the first snowfall and anticipate it coming every year.  Sweaters, coats, scarves and mitten…so colorful and cheerful to see.  The shops all decked out in lights and greens and trees! It’s cooking and baking goodies to give as gifts and to stock the cookie jar.   Making plans with family and friends for Yule parties or  lunches out or seeing a movie together.   Shopping for gifts I know my loved ones want or need and doing my best to make it a beautiful time of year for those I love the most. I feel alot of joy this time of year!

The Winter Solstice though, to me,  is a whole different thing.  Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year,  is about quiet, peace, introspection.  It’s time with family.  It’s a nice dinner with lots of candlelight throughout the house.  It’s about lighting the Yule log and watching it burn.  I spend time contemplating the last year and what I’d like to change in my life in the next year. It’s spiced wine under the Moon and if I’m lucky it’s softly snowing. It’s spending time at my altar in solitude.  My altar will be bright with candlelight and greens and I’ll welcome the coming of the Sun God because though there is still a long winter ahead of us, we know the warmth of the Sun will return.  Yule, the Winter Solstice….is pure magick!

Picture this….The first snows have fallen and cover the earth. The nights are dark, the air is cold and sharp, trees are bare, smoke is pouring out of chimneys, the windows in our homes spill light from our warm, candlelit rooms onto the cold, snowy ground outside.  Our  homes are decorated with twinkling lights and fragrant greens and candles everywhere. A tree covered in glass globes and beloved ornaments stands in the corner. Perhaps cider or wine is warming on the stove. You may be sitting in your easy chair, soft wooly socks on your feet, a blanket thrown over you, a fire burning in your fireplace, a good book on your lap. soft music playing or a favorite christmas movie playing. It’s the Winter Solstice Night. *sigh*  🙂

Yule Correspondences

*Element– Earth

*Threshold– Dawn

*Symbolism– Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, TheWinter Solstice, introspection,  death of the Holly King (Winter), reign of the Oak King (summer), night of the greatest lunar imbalance, death & rebirth of the Sun God, shortest day of the year.

*Symbols/Tools/Decorations– Yule log, evergreen boughs and wreaths, holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, bayberry candles, lights, gifts, candles, clove studded fruit, wassail, Christmas cactus.

*Herbs– Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense, holly, laurel ,mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, cedar, moss, bay, ginger, juniper, myrrh, pinecones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon.

*Incense/Oils– Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, hollyberry

*Colors– Red, green, gold, white, silver,

*Stones/Crystals– Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds, cat’s eye

*Customs/Activities– Caroling, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging presents, kissing under the mistletoe, feasting, wassailing, burning candles, ringing bells, honoring Father Yule, family and friend bonding, generosity.

*Foods– Nuts, apples, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pears, ginger tea, roasted turkey, fruitcake, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine, pork dishes.

*Gods– Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, the Oak King, The Green Man, Jesus,

*Goddesses– Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaia, Diana, The Great Mother, Mary

*Spellworking/Rituals– Peace, harmony, love, happiness, personal renewal, meditation, honoring family and friends, Festival of light.

The above correspondences will be a help to you for decorating your home, setting up your altar, and for ideas on how to celebrate Yule.  I was raised celebrating Christmas and raised my children the same way…though it was secular..not religious for us.  It was about Santa, presents, family fun…. christmas cards, movies, music. It was secrets, and wrapping, and sneaking peeks, The Night Before Christmas, Rudolf and Frosty. It was shopping, and caroling (yes, caroling), cookie baking, laying under the lit tree in the dark, looking at the beauty of the lights and shiny ornaments.  It was time with grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles.   To this day we celebrate Christmas with our extended family.  But celebrating Yule, in this house, has enriched our lives with so much more. It is truly a beautiful, magickal time and I really look forward to it.  So as you are curled up in your jammies in your favorite chair, perhaps internet shopping or making lists or watching a holiday movie….start thinking about how you can honor this Sabbat..in a different way then the typical “Christmas” day you may have celebrated as a child. If you have always celebrated Yule..I truly envy you for being raised in such a wonderful magickal way! I wish I had been.

My family likes to do a one! gift exchange that night…something witchy for our cupboard…to make the night even more fun!  Smudge sticks, incense, crystal or stones, essential oils, dried herbs and even a piece of jewelry are favorites to give and receive 🙂  We also like to think of the birds and critters who are holing up for Winter…put out nuts, fruits, birdseed…keep a water supply for them.  We love to do up an outdoor tree with bird seed “ornaments” and cereal “garlands” and watch all the activity it brings 🙂 We make a Yule log centerpiece for our altars.  A piece of white birch, 3 holes drilled to hold a red, green and gold candle, then decorated with holly, greens, star tinsil, berries, ribbon..whatever you like.  Mine is always on my altar throughout the Season. Other ways to celebrate….. Burn bayberry candles for prosperity, or write wishes on bay leaves and throw them into the fire. Bake cookies or bread using cinnamon, a traditional spice representing the Sun. Make a wreath to symbolize the Wheel of the Year, and decorate it with pinecones to represent the God and fruit to represent the Goddess. Spray pinecones with “snow” or glitter, attach a red or green or gold ribbon and hang it on your tree.  Don’t forget the mistletoe, holly and ivy…traditional greens for the Solstice.  Lots and lots of candles are a must!  Burn your dried herbs from your garden in your fireplace to scent the room.  Anyway you can bring nature into your home..do it 🙂 

This is a Winter Sunrise from my porch last Winter!

There is one other thing I love to do for the solstice, on the morning after the longest night of the year, I like to either stay up or get up and watch the sunrise and toast the returning Sun King with spiced cider or a good hot cup of coffee! Welcome Him back and enjoy the feel of the cold morning Air! 

I’ll be back soon with recipes, altar pics and any thoughts I feel like writing about 🙂  During this busy time, take the time to BREATHE!  Don’t get overwhelmed so much that you don’t enjoy this holiday season yourself.  Take care of yourself first so you can care for your loved ones.  Enlist help when needed and always remember to connect with Mother Earth..She will give you energy renewed everytime. Oh and I’ll be back in a few days with a Thanksgiving greeting too! 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

Sources- My BOS, one pic is mine..the rest from the internet, my words 🙂

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Filed under Correspondence, Family, God, Goddess, Granddaughter, Holiday, Mother Earth, Photography, Seasons, Sunrise/Sunset, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

The Spirit of Christmas……

Merry Meet friends!  I hope that  all of you here in  the USA and those who celebrate it;  had a blessed Thanksgiving day.  I had those in the family who were in town or didn’t have to go to the In-laws this year, to my house.  My mom and I split the menu….the traditional meal as we have made for years..and that everyone expects! 🙂  The food was great..some drama from my momma as alway…then lots of time to relax, doze, read, crochet and read and of course eat some turkey sandwiches when the notion hits! 

Now my thoughts turn to Yule/Christmas.  Other than Samhain, probably my favorite Sabbat!  Before I go on any further, let me explain that I celebrate the Winter Solstice AND Christmas..but Christmas is a secular holiday to me that I grew up loving and celebrating with my christian parents. Therefore, because the book is about Christmas Day..I’ll be referring to that day. 

    I love Winter! ( yes I know some people will be groaning right now!)  I love all it entails.  Sitting by the fire, nesting, going outside and feeling the cold air whip across my face and take my breath away, wearing cozy sweaters, knitted scarves, hats & mittens, hot chocolate, warm spiced wine, feeding the winter birds and having time to read, crochet, relax, bake, cook hot meals…I just love it!  Today I watched “A Christmas Carol”…my all time favorite book and movie…all versions..ever!  Today happened to be the musical version..which I happen to think is excellent.  Has Kelsey Grammar as Scrooge and many other great stars.  My favorite version..for the record..is probably George C. Scott…he was a most excellent Scrooge!

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”……..Scrooge…Charles Dickens

I am sure many of you will recognize this quote.  I am a huge lover of Charles Dickens and I think he writes beautifully and from the heart and his words are still ringing true all these years later.  He was indeed teaching a lesson in this Novella.  What is the lesson?  I would imagine most people would say the same thing…”goodwill towards men”.   I see it as more than that.  My understanding is that Dickens was appalled at the poverty he saw around him, and that the middle and upper class were doing nothing to help them at all.  His Scrooge talks about the work houses and the programs set up by the government to aid the impoverished…but it was nowhere near enough.  He wrote this book to open the eyes of those who were not “seeing” what needed to be done.  For people to open their hearts and their wallets to help the less fortunate and it would make them happier and more blessed in their own life. 

As a pagan witch, I believe that God/Goddess, the Universe, the Creator, whatever you believe in…  put us here to learn lessons..with the ultimate goal being LOVE.  Our goal in life should be to discover that..LOVE.  And to love means to care for our “fellow man”.  To me, “goodwill towards Men” means just that.  We should love our family and friends as I’m sure we do.  But we should also love those we don’t know, help those who need it, love and care for Mother Earth and the creatures who inhabit Her…  No judgement, no greed, no setting standards for others in our own minds, equality for all, acceptance of all religions, courtesy, kindness….Love.  To me, Dickens hit the nail on the head so to speak…he saw a vision of how the world should be.  More of us could learn from Scrooge’s Christmas Eve night.

  Scrooge was not an evil man..he was afraid.  His father did time in debtors prison..causing him to have to slave in a work house at 11 years old.  He never wanted to do that again..but he lost track of his self, his soul..so focused was he on never being poor.  Until he learned what dying a lonely old man would truly be like..did he become a truly rich man.  Hoarding his money, working long hours, never enjoying the money he had;  even for himself.  He didn’t have a relationship with anyone except his business partner, Marley.  He lived a very “poor” life in every way…because of his fear.

There are many positive wonderful characters in this book.  Old Fizziwig, who gave a huge party,  sparing no expense,  to show his gratitude to his employees.  There is the clerk, Bob Cratchit, so lowly in Scrooge’s eyes, but greatly loved by his large poverty stricken family, especially Tiny Tim.  Then there is Fred,  Scrooge’s endearing nephew.  He was the epitome of a good man who’s life was abundant in family, friends, love , joy, and blessings.  He showed love at every turn.  All he wanted from Uncle Scrooge was for him to come to Christmas Day dinner.  He came every year and requested it every year.  He never gave up on him.  and when Scrooge had his life altered…he welcomed him with open arms..holding no grudge for all the years of rejection.  Though he was not a rich man…he was rich in every other way. 

I don’t know about you..but I want to be like Fred….I want to be rich in friends.  I want to be rich in experiences.  I want to be rich in appreciation for the blessings that come to my life.  This is the lesson that Scrooge learned..luckily while he could have some time to truly appreciate it. Look into your own Past, Present, and even into your Future.  Have you done well by others?  Can you do better?  A Christmas Carol will always mean a lot to me…and I will try to keep Christmas in my heart all year long.  and as Tiny Tim says……God Bless Us Every One!!

Blessed Be, Autumn

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Filed under Books I'm reading, Crochet/Knit, Discussion, My Favorite Things, Quote, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas