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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Wassail

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

                                       

The Online Wassail

(Tune: Malpas Wassail)

 

O Harvest is over, and Yuletide's come in:

turn on your computer and let us begin

our online wassail, wassail, wassail.

And joy come to our online wassail!

 

The year's been a dark one, we have to admit:

we're tired and fed up, and we're feeling like shit

for our online wassail, wassail, wassail.

And joy come to our online wassail!

 

This stupid pandemic has been a real bitch;

our old plans for Yule have all taken a slitch.

Hence, our online wassail, wassail, wassail.

And joy come to our online wassail!

 

But a new day is dawning: we've kicked the foul rump

of that gibbering idiot, President Trump

off our online wassail, wassail, wassail.

And joy come to our online wassail!

 

So, socially distanced, come join in the fun

of singing our hopes for the year that's to come,

with our online wassail, wassail, wassail.

And joy come to our online wassail!

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you! I recited this as part of my full moon ritual tonight it felt right and fun.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

                                        Sweet or tart, cherries are the bomb | Health Beat | Spectrum Health

I don't own a cherry tree myself, but I've got the next best thing: picking rights on a neighborhood tree.

(“Hi, I'm the guy that's been stealing your cherries,” I said when I finally met the couple that “own” the tree. They laughed. “You're the third person that's told us that,” they said. “Take all you want.”)

This year I harvested about two gallons of cherries. Some became jam; most went into the freezer to be baked into pies in the deep pit of Winter when you're starting to think that Summertime is just a dream, and eating the fruit of July becomes an act of sympathetic magic.

Meanwhile, there's the cherry vodka.

As a neutral spirit, vodka absorbs flavors beautifully. The color, the fragrance, the flavor on the tongue: cherry vodka is Essence of Cherry, Summertime in a glass.

As we do every Yule, this year the Mother Berhta Guerrilla Wassailers will once again be making our annual rounds to do some socially-distanced, doorstep wassailing to deserving households. This year, as one does, we'll be wassailing the cherry tree as well.

We'll gather around the Tree and sing to it, thanking it and asking for more of the same next year.

We'll pour a libation of cherry vodka from the tree's own cherries.

Then we'll toast the tree in its own vodka.

(In the Old Ways, this is what passes for religion. What's not to like?)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
On the Sanctity of Drinking Bowls

When you pour out sacred drink, what do you pour it into?

If you're Wiccan, probably a chalice.

If you're heathen, probably a horn.

Now, I've got nothing against horns. (Some of my best friends wear them.) Nor, for that matter, chalices, although it's a matter of history that they derive their current stemmed shape from Christian liturgical necessity: not that there's anything wrong with that.

But when it comes to sacred drinking, as for me, I like to stick with ancestral precedent. Make mine a drinking bowl, please.

Drinking bowls tend to be smaller than bowls that you eat from, but that's the main difference, really. Whether richly carved or elegantly plain, drinking bowls read as “archaic,” ancestral, dating from a time when one single, undifferentiated vessel served all functions. It's interesting to note that while “bowl” is an indigenously Germanic word, “cup” was originally a Latin import.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Bad Luck Wassail

One guy had a heart attack.

A house burned down.

Some bad neighbors got evicted.

Really: don't make us sing the Bad Luck Wassail.

Through the long nights of December, the wassailers bear joy and blessing. (“Wassail” means: “Be hale!”) Out of the dark we come, singing the Sun's rebirth. It's a traveling party. People set out a Yule board, fill our glasses. We sing together, laugh, tell stories, and before we leave, we sing a song of blessing on the house for the year to come.

Do you have any bad neighbors? we ask before we go.

Mostly the answer, thankfully, is No. But if it's not, well...there's always the Bad Luck Wassail.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    I'll sing this one with you. I may not know the words, but I'll find some that fit.
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Oh how.funny!!!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Death or Glory Wassail

As if the Yuletide weren't already dangerous enough, here come the Thug Wassailers.

Forthwith, yet another comedic masterpiece by the Grand Master of satirical British faux-ksong, Sid Kipper, here heard in redoubtable performance by Blanche Rowen and Mike Gulst.

Shell out and you won't be harmed.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Wassailing the Trees

One of the things that strikes me about pagan holidays is the way that they're all implicated in one another. Yule doesn't just sit enshrined in its own golden halo at the end of the year, touching nothing else. As both the end and the beginning of the solar year—and indeed, the whole of the coming year in microcosm—it reaches back to the previous growing season and harvest, and forward to the coming ones. They say that the Yule you keep affects the year ahead. That's why it's so important to eat rich and ample food during all Thirteen Days. The Devil promised a would-be witch in hunger-stricken 17th century Lowland Scotland, “Thou shalt eat every day as [well as] if it were Yule.”

A few years back a neighbor popped in for some reason or other during the Yuledays. “Beautiful tree,” she remarked. “Not the least bit Christmas-y.”

Well, no. It's covered with blown-glass fruits and vegetables. Every ornament's a prayer.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Carol: Gentles in This Hall

 Gentles in this hall,

give ye heed to what we say:

tidings from the East

we bring to you this day.

Last modified on

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