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Merry Yule/Winter Solstice 2015 and Recipes!…….

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Where I’m sitting right now!

Merry Meet my friends…I’m sitting by the fire on this the longest night of the year, in my pj’s with a glass of mulled wine at hand.  My daughter and I are watching “A Christmas Story” and I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t written my post yet for Yule!  I’m so sorry, but better late than never 🙂  I really did want to share some recipes with you that will come in handy the next 10 days or so.

It’s pouring rain, gloomy and windy here and we are on another week of unseasonable temperatures! Record highs in the mid 60’s are expected!  I so wish it was snow and not rain!  I ran my last couple of errands to do today and I have about 10 packages to wrap and I’m officially all ready for the holidays….. except for a trip to the grocery early tomorrow morning. I’m hoping I can avoid some of the crowds doing that.  I’m looking forward to a more quiet Christmas as my family gatherings will be over the weekend rather than the eve or the day of.  So reading and relaxing is high on my agenda lol.  And yes, those who know me, know that I do gather with my family for Christmas.  It’s not a religious holiday for me at all, but it is for many of my family members that I love, so I celebrate with them, but in my own way.  As a family time together, celebrating with gifts and food and love and joy!

Tonight, I will do some altar work, use my hearth fire to burn that which I wish for, and those things I wish to let go, and I will make time to honor my favored Goddess Hekate.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll be up early, toasting the rising of the Sun (whether I can actually see  him/her or not) and make my offerings to Mother Earth.  The day will be spent partially with family, and then quiet and introspective tomorrow evening. The fire is burning merrily. The house is smudged and candles are lit. I have bayberry, frankincense, pine, orange, clove and cinnamon scents going with the help of incense, candles and a simmering potpourri.  Our feast, which we’ll have tomorrow night, will just be soup, salad and bread. Simple and good.

Foods for Yule are traditionally:  Nuts, apples, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pears, ginger tea, roasted turkey, fruitcake,  cookies, eggnog, mulled wine, and pork dishes.  But there are other foods as well associated with the season such as gingerbread, ham, cranberries, pomegranates, mince pies, and frankly, whatever else your family tradition is!  What are your foods that your family just MUST have on the table for your Yule/Christmas/New Year’s feast?  Well, I’ll share a couple of recipes here with you that my family loves, as I have in past postings.  I see through my blog stats that MANY of you are checking out all my previous posts for Yule/Solstice and I so appreciate that.  Thank you!  Hope you like these too!

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Red and Green Pear Salad

1/3 cup walnut pieces
3 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz mixed baby greens
2 pears, such as Bartlett, cored and sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 oz  blue cheese, crumbled

Toast walnut pieces your favorite way. Pour onto a plate to cool and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth.
Add the greens, pears, pomegranate seeds and walnuts to the bowl with the dressing and toss gently to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates, garnish with the cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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Merry Yule Fruitcake Bars

*even if you hate fruitcake..try these!

3/4 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped candied pineapple
1-3/4 cups red and green candied cherries, halved
2 cups pitted dates, halved

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and walnuts; mix well. Spread evenly into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with pineapple, cherries and dates; press lightly into dough.
Bake at 325° for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Yield: 8 dozen.

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Solstice Mulled Wine

2 (750 ml) bottles of dry white wine
2 oranges, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup brandy (optional)
1/2 cup honey or sugar
16 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise

Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer (not a boil..it will boil the alcohol right out of it!) over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes.

Yum!  Sounds warm and cozy doesn’t it?!

I hope you give these a try over the holidays.  Don’t forget, you can do a search in the box over there ——> under Yule or Winter Solstice to find more from previous years.

Remember that tonight and tomorrow night if you wish, is all about the longest night of the year and knowing that the Sun returns and the days will lengthen once again.  Think about what our ancestors were thinking on this night.  They were hoping they had enough food put away for the long, hard Winter.  Winter was hard, no doubt!  Isolation, hard work, chopping wood for warmth, and making sure that their livestock survived the long, cold, dark season..along with themselves, had to be a scary time for them.  We are so blessed these days. But for tonight, perhaps pretend what it was like to be them.  Light a fire and keep it stoked.  Light candles all over the house. Turn off the tv, get off the electronics (which I will do as soon as I’m done with this writing 🙂 and perhaps just sit quietly and think, ponder, remember, cherish or make new memories.  What do you wish for yourself and your loved ones in the coming months? What do you need to let go of to be happy and content in your life.  Are there relationships to repair or depart from?  Is there a project you want to take on over the Winter?  Do you have a huge stack of books you’ve been dying to read?  (I do! )  Well, now you will have the time…most likely.

Blessed  Yule/Winter Solstice my dear friends.  May Winter be kind to you, may Goddess bless you with all the good things in Life, and I thank you so much for your friendship and interest in reading my little blog and letting me know you enjoy it.  I so much appreciate it!

I share this poem most every Solstice time because I love it so much.  This year is no different! Enjoy!

The Shortest Day

by Susan Cooper

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!!

 

Love and Blessings, Autumn

 

 

 

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Blessed Winter Solstice……..

Brightly burns the Yule log tonight
Magic dances in firelight
Hold my hand and join the song
Raise the Sun King bright and strong
Dark is giving way to light
As brightly burns the Yule log tonight!

by my friend

Saffron Celtic Moon

 

Merry Meet my friends.  Whew…I have been so so busy..as I’m sure you all have been.  I’m taking a few minutes to write  a quick post and to post some pictures.  The Winter Solstice is upon us!  Here, it is warm and very rainy. Not Winter weather at all!  But be that as it may, I can FEEL that the Solstice is here…the darkness prevails, Mother Earth is dormant, the animals are still collecting, scurrying, hurrying to prepare for the long Winter.  Cut wood is being delivered, the stores are busy with people shopping for their festivities the next few days, the malls and restaurants are swamped, traffic is terrible LOL.   But…..tonight..the longest night of the year….leads to a Sunrise in the morning..the Sun God is reborn…and the days wills start getting longer again. 

As I said before, the Winter Solstice for me is the peace I find in myself.  Taking the time to reflect, to renew, to rest..to be quiet with myself.  With all the hustle and bustle going on around me….quiet is what will be happening here, both tomorrow morning watching the Sunrise with my coffee, and tomorrow night..in ritual.  That is what the Solstice is all about!  Welcoming the Sun God, knowing Spring will come again though Winter is upon us, and spending time on myself.

Tomorrow, I will have my family here.  We’re going to have a luncheon, exchange a small gift, and burn the Yule log.  We make wishes on the Yule log by writing them down on a piece of paper, and burning it with the Yule log and greens.  It will be laid back and fun.  Tomorrow night, I’ll be at my altar. 

So speaking of altar….here is some pics of mine this year.

The pics and what I put on my altar probably speaks for itself.  The beautiful stag in my God representative.  The oranges represent the Sun…of course cloves are perfect this time of year.  The greens are pine, spruce, holly, lavender and rosemary..all from my own yard.  The pinecones are from my yard too.  I used gold to represent the Sun in the stars and candles, of course red and green had to be there too.  My Yule log and rosemary tree have a cardinal on them..my favorite Winter bird!  I’m pretty happy with the results and can’t wait to work at it tomorrow night.  Oh of course, wine and some cake..oatmeal I think, will be enjoyed as well 🙂 

So, spend some time by a fire with family, spend some time reflecting on the last year and on yourself, and welcome the Sun God during the Sunrise in the morning. May your Solstice be most Blessed with Love, Joy, Peace and Prosperity.  I thank you all for reading my blog and for being my friend.  I am most Blessed this Solstice Night!

Yule Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Holiday, Mother Earth, Photography, Poem, Seasons, Uncategorized, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

Yule Altar…………..

Merry Meet my friends!  Yule is just two sleeps away and I am so excited.  This year is even more magickal with the Long Night’s Full Moon, the lunar eclipse and a meteor shower thrown in for good measure!  The energy, beauty and magick will be amazing!  Today I got my altar all ready to go and I’m really happy with it. 

I chose a black altar cloth as it is the longest night and all the gold, red, green and white decorations look fabulous against it.  My Yule log is the centerpiece of course.  This is not one I will burn but one I made specifically for my alter.  Its is a small white birch log with white pine greens and holly from my own yard.  Pinecones, cinnamon sticks, gold star tinsel and a big red bow finish it off.  The red candle is for the Holly King, the green candle for the Oak King, and the gold candle for the Return of the Sun King.  I anointed it with Yule oil a lovely witch sister made for me.  (Thanks Mossy) 

Also on my altar is my cauldron to burn my loose Winter’s Solstice incense.  I have scattered gold glittery stars, pine cones, a beautiful stag statue, orange pomanders, a cardinal, a rosemary tree, the elemental reps, and my working tools.  A beautiful silver chalice to hold mulled wine and later I will add my “cakes” to enjoy during my ritual.  There is also crystals of Garnet, tiger’s eye, Aventurine..red & green of course… and a picture of the Oak King and Holly King I printed out from the internet.  and of course lots of candles!!

I have so much fun setting up my altars and put alot of time and thought into them.  When I sit down to work at it I want it to have all the magick I can muster from the “things” on it, and to feel that the elements are working with me, in sync, to accomplish whatever spell or ritual I am performing.  I always bless and consecrate it as well.  Whether your altar is a whole room, a shelf on the wall, a dresser or table you set up then put away, or you take it all outside, setting it up for each Sabbat is a ritual in itself.  Put your own magick and your intention into each item you place on it.  Take pics and save them in your BOS to remember in the future what you did in the past.  Or you can start a blog and talk about it there..LOL.

As I don’t think I will be back on my blog between now and Tuesday I want to wish all my friends in the Southern Hemisphere a very Blessed Litha..may your Summer Solstice bring you Love and Light!…and I wish all the rest of you a very Blessed Yule.  May the long night be full of love, magick, time with loved ones, may your candles burn brightly, and may your heart be filled knowing that the Sun returns again! 🙂  Thank you all for sharing this season with me!

Much Love Light and Blessings, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Full Moons, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas