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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
And so it is Yuletide

And so it is Yule. Unlike Christmas (end even unlike the Winter Solstice itself), Yule is not a single day, and its arrival is not determined by a single calendar date. It is a dark tide of energy that arises, generally on or around the Solstice, and Yule proper lasts for twelve nights, ending in Twelfth Night (which usually falls on or around Christmas Eve).

Its coming is not always predictable; one can plan for Yule and then feel the tide of energy arrive a day early, or a day late. In this modern era, most people are so harried by the commercialism of the Christmas season that they barely even notice when the tide comes in, if they notice at all. I own an online shop and my day job is in customer service, so I certainly am not immune to the hectic atmosphere that prevails. In the midst of the flurry of shopping and making, it can be difficult to feel the moment when the land whispers to you: “It is now.”

Our ancestors (in the Germanic countries) referred to Yule as Rauhnacht, the “rough nights” or “raw nights.” The Yuletide energy is not a gentle one; it is harsh, glaring, strident, echoing the energies of the Wild Hunt that rules this season. It actually meshes pretty well with the frantic shopping and feelings of desperation and often despair that surround Christmas. It can manifest in irritation and snappishness (tempers have been short in my household all week long), or in a surge of energy that one does not know how to channel. Many people respond to it by feeling the need to retreat from the world, to nest with books or movies—which is actually a wise choice. Traditionally, Yule was a time for gathering a home with families and friends—not just to celebrate the return of the sun, but because it was considered a dangerous time. The roads, the wildness, all of the in-between places were particularly dangerous; there was too much chance of encountering the Hunt, or even being taken by it. Only witches, seidhr folk, sorcerers, and other societal vagrants would choose to be out and about on these nights.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

   ‘Tis the season for some traditional drink recipes![1]

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Solstice at the stones and sacred wells- two ceremonies upon our ancient sacred land.

Solstice Blessings everyone! On the 21st, in the northern hemisphere, we celebrate the winter solstice, the shortest day when the Sun appears to 'stand still' while at its lowest  point in its yearly cycle. From then until the summer solstice in June the sun will shine for a little longer each day, in time bringing back the light and warmth.

In Britain this sacred time is said to be overseen by an ancient figure known as the Holly King- a counterpart to the Oak King who rules over the summer, both perhaps aspects of the Green Man, that mysterious divine figure which features in so many ancient Celtic tales. These beings have most evidence in the Middle Ages, but hark back to far older pagan traditions, reflecting both the importance of the oak to the druids, and the evergreen holly as its protective 'other face' during the winter months. The holly is said to have many magical powers, protecting from storms and ill wishes hence is presence as a decoration in the home over the darkest time of the year. It is also helpful as a Celtic 'power plant' in overcoming our own darker issues; pain, anger, jealousy, fear, grief, the darkness of the underworld within our own spirits. It achieves this by raising our life force, our kundalini, to give us the strength to overcome adversity within. The Holly King is a guide and guardian of this inner and underworld, known as Annwn in Celtic lore, which aligns energetically as well as psychologically with the mortal realm over the winter months, calling to us to seek stillness and sink into the cave, the great cauldron of the earth, to look within and seek rest and renewal...

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Usually I post my own stuff here, but an old friend, and very long time Pagan who wishes to be known to the outside as Priestess Aurora Borealis Medicine Turkey, has written a wonderful poem celebrating Mid-Winter Eve and I want to share it...

The Eve of Midwinter

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  • Sophie Goldstein
    Sophie Goldstein says #
    Couldn't have said it better myself! Sophia Goldenstone Langwitch Ilkley Moor, W. Yorkshire

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Winter-Sonnwendfeuer_in_Senden-Wullenstetten.jpgPer corroborated gnosis/doxa, the winter solstice in Vanaheim is Rasthuas Essonsaras (RAHSthoo-ahs es-son-SAH-rahs), or Lights of the Serpent (in Eshnesk, the language of the Eshnahai [the Vanir]), where the "fire within the earth" is given to begin awakening the land.  

On the night before the winter solstice, the King and the Lord of the Black "battle" with the King "winning" to gain control of the land again. As the men "battle", women enact the union of Star Mother with her reflection in the Void, exploding the Multiverse into being.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Sounds lovely. Happy Rasthuas Essonsaras to you!
Why Can't We Be Friends? The role of friendship in a coven

What is the role of friendship in a coven? What is a coven’s purpose? Must you be friends with the members of your coven for it to function properly?

A few months ago, we released a member of our coven and resolidified/unified our coven in preparation for the coming year, and to reassert our group mind without gaps or division in it. Things were brought up (things always are) when a member chooses to leave a magickal group, and this was no different. In it, it was said that this person was looking for friendship instead of a coven... that they didn’t want a coven in the first place. Which begs the question: is friendship/fellowship a requirement for coven life? MUST you be friends with your covenmates? Is this the role that the coven is supposed to take on?

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