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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in yule

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

One of the things I love most about working with the Wheel of the Year is how precisely applicable it is to our own inner life. Certainly, the Festivals that lie around the Wheel are connected with the agricultural cycle. For our ancient forebears, to ignore such a cycle meant disaster on a very tangible level. Without supplies and stores to bring the Tribe through the winter months, starvation and death were a very real possibility. An enormous amount of focus and energy went into meeting the basic needs of food, shelter and safety. The eight Festivals, as we know them today, marked significant moments throughout the year addressing the movement from preparation to planting to harvest to rest. As is known by every Pagan, the ancient traditions of celebration have found their way into many contemporary ones. These traditions reflect the outer world – the things we do “out there” to connect us with the energy of the season. However, as said by renown comparative mythologist, Joseph Campbell “When your mind is trapped by the image out there so that you never make reference to yourself, you have misread the image”. We joyfully join in honouring the Festivals in our communities. This is significant and important for connecting us to others and feeling a part of a larger whole. The Festivals help us to be conscious of the world around us and to live in alignment with the land. But how can we draw upon these festivals to become more conscious of ourselves? How can we ‘pull the image within’?

Each Festival has its core archetypal energy. When one scans across the landscape of ancient Western culture, it is possible to see the correlations between gods and goddess, traditions and activities. All these give us clues as to what the synthesizing element is – what connects the varied names and traditions together into a cohesive pattern. Interestingly, when one identifies the archetype of each Festival, there is a direct correlation to traditional psychology which is reflected in family systems theory and childhood development. The Festivals offer us a doorway through which to explore inner alignment.

At this time of year, the anticipation of Yule is high. For many of us, there is a soft (and cold) blanket of snow upon the ground. The darkness sets in what feels like mid-afternoon. The desire to cocoon is strong – gentle firelight, a warm mug, perhaps a catchy book. The dark surrounds us and we seek that which brings comfort. We are not that far removed from the ancestors who would gather around a hearthfire to be regaled with lengthy, heart-stopping epic tales.

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For a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

 http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/13-Yule-2013-Day-13.mp3

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  • Oak
    Oak says #
    Will thank you very much Christopher! I got so very much out of these workings.More than I can even Express. It had been a very bu

For a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

 http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/12-Yule-2013-Day-12.mp3

Scorpio's key words are sex and death, as both are foundation stones in the mysteries, for both help swing open the gates between matter and spirit, allowing great connection, communion and passage. The spirit of Scorpio worked with in the Temple is the guardian who watches over that gate, who guards its passage, and guides those who are ready to pass through. 

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For a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/07-Yule-2013-Day-7.mp3b2ap3_thumbnail_188341_10150131097058281_6534911_n.jpg

Mercury is the ruler of Gemini and the Trickster, and all the Mercurial correspondences work when evoking the Trickster gods. Carnelian, Agate and multicolored or mottled stones are the minerals of Mercury. Scents such as lavender and storax are excellent to use in the form of incense and oils. The Lovers card, depicting the dual nature of Gemini, is the Tarot Trump associated with this sign. The Divine Twins can be siblings, but also the anima or animus, the compliment, of the other. 

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For a recording of this Vision working, please click here:

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/06-Yule-2013-Day-6.mp3

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Odin / Lugh as the Yule King by Shirl Sazynski A past December:

It's the season of mistletoe and holly, when bells are ring-jing-jing-a-ling and the year-round Northern outdoor signs that say, "Beware of Falling Ice" finally have meaning. The night is hushed in a way it only gets when there is a blanket of snow, on the eve before a holiday, when everything is closed. Snuggled in a hotel room in upstate New York, red and blue-foil snowflakes covering presents gleam out of the corner of my eye, while real ones slowly fall, dancing over the parking lot.

               It's almost midnight. Drowsy with hot cider, lying on my husband's chest and listening to his heartbeat, there's nowhere else I'd rather be…

               I feel, rather than hear, the Yule King's call at first: a pull like I'm standing in a river, and then his voice flows across my mind.

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For a recording of this meditation, please click here: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/03-Yule-2013-Day-3.mp3

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To be Guided through the journey, use this link to download the MP3: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/01-Yule-2013-Day-1.mp3

Though beyond and including all correspondences, the scent of Myrrh and dark stones such as jet, obsidian and garnet can help you connect with the Goddess. The last of the Tarot Trumps, the World or Universe card, gives us imagery to work with her.

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  • Johnny Allison
    Johnny Allison says #
    EkatvaMatriSadbhava Sanskrit for "Blessings of the Divine Mother" Most Beautifully Adorned with the Heavens !

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

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Most people today in America are familiar with the Twelve Days of Christmas carol, detailing twelve days of more and more elaborate gifts, much to the delight of modern retail to encourage us to shop more for the holiday. It is an English folk song and possibly there is a correlation between each of the twelve days, and the upcoming twelve months, but if there was any deeper insight, or folk custom coded into the song, it appears to be lost or garbled to us today. The overall concept of the song, if not the direct inspiration, is based upon the twelve days of Yule.

This Yuletide season went beyond a simple one or two day celebration, and lasted for twelve days and thirteen nights in the Germanic, Norse and English traditions, though at times it the season could have lasted a month or even two. In terms of magickal currents, we can even see the season starting as early as Hallow's, or our sabbat of Samhain. The familiar customs of Yule, such as evergreen trees, holly and mistletoe, were then absorbed and adapted into Christian celebrations when the birth of Christ was shifted to fit the holidays of a more Pagan calendar. Christian celebrations usually start with Christmas, and the twelfth night then being January 5th. Others in more Pagan traditions start counting at the Winter Solstice, of the eve of the Winter Solstice.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

 

What is bliss, Sarah Ban Breathnach asks in her extraordinary book Simple Abundance. For me, today, it is knowing my loved ones are warm and safe; seeing my youngest child's delight in last night's snowfall; my teenagers' glee in an unexpected snow day; and curling up on the couch to read with a cup of tea at hand and a fire crackling and popping in the fireplace. Outside there are no people: just leaves, squirrels, orioles, sparrows and the occasional stray cat hurrying to whatever under-porch shelter they can find. All is quiet here today, and the cozy rooms my children and I share bespeak a long-ago time.

 

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Winter Solstice: The Darkness Within

The winter solstice is fast upon us, even though technically the shortest night has already been upon us (for a brain-thumping explanation, see http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/the-astronomical-hijinks-of-the-shortest-day-of-the-year/282109/).  Thoughts turn inwards at this time of year, when in the darkness we are confronted with our shadow selves, should we choose to face them.  We have the opportunity to learn more of ourselves, and in doing so, better serve not only ourselves but the world.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Other Season of the Witch?

I'm currently getting into the Yule spirit by reading a new Llewellyn title. The book The Old Magic of Christmas by Linda Raedisch is a collection of Christmas traditions that many of us may not be familiar with. Creatures such as elves, gnomes, and werewolves roam the wintry landscape and leap off the pages. Goddesses and witches also make appearances, which has helped me to look at the Christmas season in a new light.

Yes, this book focuses on historical Christmas traditions, but Raedisch posits that many of these traditions and tales have their origin in Europe's pre-Christian past. I'm inclined to agree.  This book really does explore the "old magic" of the season. For instance, there is an interesting tension between the feminine aspect of death and birth in many of the folk customs that are described. Much like the traditional Halloween, there is the juxtaposition of the crone witch with the young woman who tries her hand at fortunetelling for fertility, luck, and husband-seeking.

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  • Jeanine Byers
    Jeanine Byers says #
    Love the idea of a Christmas witch!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Sassy Solstice Soirée

Winter Solstice is a perfect excuse to wind down for the year. It is happily emphasized since I am on Winter Break for school– hibernating more and going out less. For the last seven years and counting, I have held some sort of Winter Solstice gathering for friends and sometimes family. I have hosted sit-down traditional dinners and the more informal drinks and appetizers only fiesta. We have mulled spiced-wine together, played an old parlor game entitled, "The Minister's Cat," and lit candles. One of my favorite theme ideas was putting a spotlight on the sun: I served spicy Indian food for snacks and the soundtrack featured all songs mentioning the sun. There are a seemingly endless supply of these to choose from.

This year, I am taking some advice from an Indianapolis food blogger, featured in the current issue of Midwest Living. Her article, "Holiday Party Tips From Annie Marshall: Eat Drink and Be Merry," is a great approach to a more relaxed get-together. From hanging treats on an "edible cookie tree," to her insistence on serving a signature drink for the event that you can make a nice big batch of in advance, Marshall knows her stuff. Here is her recipe for Cranberry Margaritas:

Stir up a pitcher of these rosy margaritas for your next holiday bash. The Simple Syrup recipe makes enough syrup for 30 margaritas but is easily halved or quartered.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Season's Greetings from the Geekomancer's desk, everyone! 

Now, I know this season is not always holly-jolly for everyone, sometimes thanks to religious issues or philosophical differences, sometimes due to more practical or emotional concerns.  That's why I thought it might be helpful to show you how this pop culture witch celebrates the Winter Solstice, in hopes that it will assist you in finding new and innovative ways to deal with this, the most (expletive) time of the year.

As some of you may know, I am a former Grinch/Scrooge/whatever.  I used to have a very hard time with the holidays, and only by the grace of a very persistent friend with diabolical cookie powers am I able to now enjoy the Holiday Spirit without flinching.  That being said, I'm still a very non-standard pagan, and my witchcraft is unorthodox even to other witches.  So, it took me quite a while to find (really, build from semi-scratch) a way for me to relate to and celebrate the season.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Photo by Kelly Lee-Creel @flickr The origins of our holy day icons are significant, though it's easy to get ensnared in what symbols you "should" honor, what they're "supposed to mean," who gets to claim them, and understanding what they really mean to you. For that reason, in this exploration of seasonal totems I offer the entire Internet for you to peruse and learn about the symbols that have the most meaning to you at this time of year. My hope is that through sharing the seasonal totems that mean the most to me, that others are encouraged to cull out the holiday symbols that move them, connect with their power and bring them more deeply into personal holiday celebrations.

Totems, for most shamanists, are largely revered as soul animal kindred, though those who know me recall that I work extensively with plant and elemental spirits. Bear in mind as I explore the possibilities of holiday power allies that when I refer to totems I include animals, plants, minerals and elements. Generally speaking, totems are complex symbols that move us in some way. For me, the power of totems extends through several layers. I greet them as archetypes -- collective traits found through the particular species, as spirits of nature, as an energetic manifestation specifically visiting me, which some refer to as "Unverified Personal Gnosis" (UPG), and as creatures of the wild, drawing from study of the totem's behavior, habitat and anatomy.

Popular holiday totems today are mostly of Western European origin and influence, such as mistletoe, fir tree, reindeer, the Yule log, doves, geese, holly, ivy. More recent imports are the Mexican poinsettia and Middle Eastern persimmons and pomegranates. Most of my holidays totems happen to be among the fairly well-known; however, my reasons for including them may be a bit lesser common. Also, a couple of them aren't typical at all.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Did Odin inspire the Santa Claus legend?

I've been meaning to get back to the "Ask Me About Odin" questions, since I have a few of them saved up. I spent most of November writing a book (which I am now about 40,000 words into--probably about halfway through the first draft) at the same time as I was trying to keep my little Etsy business going. Sadly, this didn't leave a lot of time for blogging. Things are still crazy-busy around here (now, after really awesome sales throughout the month of November, I need to work on getting some inventory back in my shop again, plus I am taking two online courses--more about that in another post, perhaps). But this landed in my inbox this morning and I figured, why not write a little something seasonal today?

“I keep hearing from different sources that Odin is the inspiration for Santa Claus, but I hear the same thing about Thor too. Which, if either, is it?”

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Yule King Freyr

A Prayer to Ingvi

I.
Because I could not kiss your lips
I kissed my lover instead;
Because he never danced with me
I dance with you instead,
here on the far side of midnight
where sun hides
and moon cannot be jealous.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Summer Fever: Revelry and Retreat

I think I am a little ill.

I've noticed my ailment when I have been visiting the shops recently (the local shopping mall, for those playing in the U.S.A). Rather than sneer or glare at the usual proliferation of Christmas decorations that are decking the halls and the delicious treats (Pfeffernüsse! Get in me) that are sitting on shelves in early October and November, I've been smiling to myself. Smiling! Carols are playing over the speakers and I don't mind at all. In fact, I'm trilling the yuletide carols. Where did the Grinch go of Christmas past?

I've got the fever. Xmas fever!

Christmas is an awkward celebration whichever way you turn it when you live south of the equator. For starters, those snowglobes become a little irrelevant and more than a few items from traditional Christmas iconography is rendered obsolete in the Australian context. I'll allow my dear readers to connect the dots and refer you to some of my previous blogs about the Summer Solstice and how it collides with Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere. Most Aussies grin and bear it. We throw a few prawns in the barbie, sit in the 40°C heat and whinge a little and carry on with the commercial abomination of Western Christmas over-indulgence. Many of us, including me usually, absolutely hate it. It's crass, it's inconvenient, and it's often overrated. The expectations culminate in a hangover of overeating, exhaustion, and familial resentment.

This year, I'm really enjoying it, and I'm really looking forward to Christmas. I can't pin down exactly why. After a year of largely stepping away from the Wheel of the Year, I'm ready to launch myself straight back into it, and I'm ready for a little bit of anarchy while I'm at it.

This is going to take the form of indulging a 'flipped' Wheel but spreading it thick with a little applesauce that only a Discordian can bring. Some demons are coming to the party and I am going to embrace all environmental aspects of the season. This includes the natural environment: the Summer Solstice, and the fey energies that are embedded within. An acknowledgement of the polar opposition within the Winter Solstice, and the time of turning inward and contemplation that this time of year brings. We live on one planet and to dichotomise things is starting to serve me no longer, and I am beginining to look at things from a more global perspective. The cultural environment, too, will play a significant role: my black Christmas tree will receive a heap of trimmings this year that are going to be a little unexpected but a whole lot of fun. Beginning with Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

My plan is to both observe and celebrate the opportunity for revelry and retreat that this time of year brings for me. Sumsol celebrations will be held at my home with my coven, and I am really looking forward to some dastardly plans that will be enjoyed with much merriment, a lot of the colour red, and maybe a little bit of sun, sand and surf.

Wish me luck as I move on from my self diagnosis and jump into the treatment that holiday fever demands!

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Pike, Thanks for sharing!
4 Wands of Yew: The Four of Wands and Yule

Our open Yule ritual run by my coven never usually falls on Yule (December 21st this past year). We had ours on December 8th, and it was a beautiful ritual but I didn’t truly see/feel that until afterward. As a member of the ritual team, I had my “eye of the prize” of helping to lead a ritual that would be beautiful and potent for the attendees, which led to me not recognizing the beauty of the actual ritual during it. My natural tendency is to go into extreme planning and practical mode when being a helper bee.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

It is finally winter here. We have had little in the way of snow; actually, only frost on a few bitterly cold nights -- which I then had to get up extra early to scrap off my car. But then the sun would rise and the day would warm and I would forget about the fifteen minutes of lost sleep.

Not today, though. Today dawned cold and gray and foggy. Then the wind rose up and pushed the fog away, and even most of the clouds. But it stayed cold. Even without Christmas looming in a few days, weather like this still would have driven people into the book store in search of hot cider, hot chocolate, hot tea and (of course) a good book.

That "good book" is the subject of this column. Now, there are plenty of books about Christmas. Lots and lots and lots and lots of books about Christmas, geared towards every possible audience. There are even quite a few books about Hanukkah. But Heliogenna? Dies Natalis Solis Invictus? 'Ashuru Ari? Yule? Jul? Mothers' Night? Saturnalia? The Solstice itself? ... Um ....

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