Merry Yule

Merry Meet All,

It is now Christmas eve day. The big day is almost here. I am going to take the next few days off but I wish you all a memorable Yule. I hop Santa is good to you. Tonight I am off to do some baking at my mother’s house. So enjoy Yule and the magic of the season.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Thou shalt suffer a Witch to live

Merry Meet All,

This post shall focus on a slightly different note. As you may know, from past posts, I am writing my second novel. It is a ghost story and the main character is a Witch. I am in a lot of emotional turmoil lately. It is not the ghost that people are concerned about it is the fact that my character is a Witch.

Well this may be emotional, so if some of you have a problem with that, you can stop reading here. For you braver souls, read on. Well excuse me. Yeah so my mc is a Witch. I can’t believe the way I have been treated. It shows that there is still plenty of change to be made. I can’t believe people. They have either liked it that she was a Witch or stopped talking to me altogether or told me that I was wrong to cast a main character as a Witch. I feel as though I should apologize. Well. I refuse. I feel true empathy for my main character and I will soldier on.

I know now how Rowling felt or any other author brave enough to stray from the much-beaten path. Even my family members gave me heat about it. Some of them have stopped talking to me. Wow. We have come a long way and thought the worse was behind us only to discover the worst is ahead of us. Well march on, dear soldiers. I am proud of who I am. If some want to flag their ignorance, and berate me for my choice of how I tell my story, let them. Even if they stay silent in not responding to my well sent emails, then it still hurts. People have a right to how they feel. But shouldn’t I have rights? Right to peace of mind and freedom to tell my story how I want to without being afraid of being ostracized? I am still editing it and actually I confess to feeling like crap. I am on the precipice of a cliff and don’t know if I should turn back or leap. Is it worth the pain, the hate, the experience of being ostracized? Why the hate? What have we done to deserve it?

I refuse to apologize for who I am and for my beliefs and my novel. How else do we remain as individuals? Must we wear the same clothing, believe the same things, become a culture of conformity. We are all diverse and different and multiculture for a reason. I do not know why though I wish we could all learn to learn from each other and live with each other. But hopefully, in future generations, we shall.

We Witches have a right to be proud. My older brother said I couldn’t cast a main character as a Witch because readers won’t be able to relate to her. Well let’s see that leaves out Harry Potter, Hermoine Granger, and Minerva McGonnagall. They were Witches, weren’t they? What about Kelley Armstrong? I eventually concluded that he lived under a rock and has not troubled to try to see the light. I won’t take him seriously. Well I refuse to trouble myself to change my story to please the moronic muggles. That is what leads to moronic muggle-minded mindless fiction. Some of the best authors are the ones who were brave enough to hold true to their beliefs and their story. Witches walk between the worlds, an act that requires the utmost bravery. I can’t please everyone.

As a final note to my rant, has anyone besides me noticed that Witches are treated as evil in movies lately? I noticed it in Red Riding Hood, Brave, Lord of the Rings, and some others. I am deliberately boycotting the upcoming Hansel and Gretel movie. They act as Witch-Hunters. I will not be going to that movie.

I am not Korean or Hispanic. But you don’t see me telling someone to be Canadian or they will go to Hell. I tolerate much yet I am tolerated little in turn. Change is ugly and gory. But I hope one day there will be more understanding. I will stand with my shoulders out and my head held high. I attended the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia with no witch hat- but I did wear my cloak, a glittery blue dress I made myself, a circlet, top, and boots. I felt medieval and I looked medieval and it was great. Dare to be different. Dare to stand out. People will stare, so why not make it worth their while?

Blessings,
Lady Spiderwitch )0(
Merry Yule!!!

The Crone of Winter Solstice on Eternal Haunted Summer

Merry Meet All,

Yay!! The world didn’t end. The world was not going to end. It was the end of the Mayan calendar. I remember thinking this morning as I struggled to get out of bed, about the end of the world and the Mayan calendar. I am relieved everything is okay.

So to celebrate, I am proud to share a link with you. My essay on The Crone of Winter Solstice is published on the Ezine Eternal Haunted Summer website. Here is the link:
http://eternalhauntedsummer.com/issues/wintersolstice-2012/the-crone-of-winter-solstice/

So enjoy reading my contribution to Eternal Haunted Summer and have a merry solstice!!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Winter Solstice

Merry Meet All,

Winter Solstice begins tomorrow. I hope you have all been preparing for the big day. You can read the earlier posts for inspiration on how to celebrate Solstice.

People are talking about December 21 being the end of the world. I highly doubt it. If it were true, things would be a lot worse right now.

So cast off the worry of tomorrow being the end of the world- not so- and celebrate Solstice with all your heart. Life will continue on as it always has.

I saw the movie The Hobbit the other night. I was mesmerized by the magic of Middle Earth. I was carried away into the magic of it. I want to see The Hobbit again, for sure. I think Peter Jackson did a beautiful job of The Hobbit. I have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I will reread those magickal, awe-inspiring tales again and again.

Merry Solstice to you all!!
Blessings,
Lady Spiderwitch

Yule Sabbat Simmering Potpourri

Merry Meet All,

Yule Sabbat Simmering Potpourri is a wonderful gift idea for friends and family!

YULE SABBAT SIMMERING POTPOURRI

To make Yule Sabbat simmering potpourri, you will need the following:

A clean dry Mason jar
spoon
ribbon
gemstone
pinecones
cinnamon stick
scissors
jar labels
pretty list of ingredients paper
dried orange rind (dried in oven and ground in blender or mortar and pestle)
mugwort
frankincense + myrrh (I ground the resin in a mortar and pestle)
juniper berries
mint
cinnamon
clove
laurel leaves
rosemary
pine needles
jar lids
tissue paper
brown paper bag

Mix the above ingredients in your mortar and pestle. Grind them with intent. When you are satisfied with the scent, put the ingredients in a jar, and close the jar with a silver lid. Silver makes the jar look beautiful. Empower and bless a green gemstone and go on a walk or look around your house for some nature findings such as acorns, pinecones, holly, mistletoe, or ivy for the gift. If you find any, add them to the jar. Put the jar on your altar and meditate with the jar in your hands. When your hands grow warm, you have blessed and charmed the jar. Tie a festive ribbon around the jar and tuck in a pine bough and stick with natural or artificial berries. Trim the ribbon and tie it in a bow. Now the jar is ready to be given as a gift to friends or family. Put the jar in a brown paper bag, cover with festive tissue paper, and seal the bag. Give as a gift to your loved ones for Yule!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Yule Crafts- Pipecleaner Pentacles, Cookies, and Yule Logs

Merry Meet All,

A light dusting of snow covers the ground outside. When I was younger, the snow would be up to my waist. I know we will get snow in January.

Are you like me? Do you save special yule decorations and hang them on your tree year after year? I do. I have some that are quite special to me. Make a pipecleaner pentacle to hang on your yule tree.

PIPECLEANER PENTACLE

Bend the first stem into a circle, and then overlap the ends by an inch, and twist them closed.

Take the second stem, and make three arms of the star inside the circle. Twist the stems around as you make the points. This will keep it from sliding apart and ruining the efforts.

Take the last stem to create the final two arms of the pentacle. Use the remaining length of the stem to twist into a loop to hang your pentacle.

MAKE YOUR OWN YULE LOG

To make a Yule log, you need the following:

A log that is about14-16″ long
Pinecones
Dried berries,
Cuttings of mistletoe, holly, pine needles, and ivy
feathers and/ or cinnamon sticks
Red or green ribbon
A hot glue gun

Now wrap the log with the ribbon. Once you have done that, you can begin gluing the other items onto the Yule log. Glue on the cinnamon sticks, berries, and ivy. Then once you have decorated your log, decide what to do with it. It may make a lovely centerpiece and you can burn it in your fireplace or in a fire pit outside.

Well I hope you find other great crafts to make this Yule, and that you enjoy the Yule season with your friends and family. Merry Yule!!

PENTAGRAM COOKIES

I recently ordered a pentacle cookie stamp for Yule baking. You can try pressing a pentacle or other Yule symbol into your holiday baking. You will transfer the energy into whatever you are cooking! Pentacles represent earth energy and that corresponds with the earth energy. As you eat the cookies, you take that energy into you.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Christmas vs. Yule having Christmas dinner with a Muggle Family

Merry Meet All,

Yule is almost here! Yule is eight days away. I have been preparing here for the big day. I decorated my apartment with what I aleady own and am making Yule incense. I dried orange peel in the oven. Every time I open the container, it smells great. I also checked my candle supply. It’s a good thing that mini candles and tealights are affordable. I received my pentagram cookie stamp in the owl mail this week. I am all set to do some holiday baking too. I sent Christmas cards to my favorite people and near and dear.

I also have to think about possibly spending Christmas with my non pagan family. I am not looking forward to it. I stand out like a sore thumb. I have already been attacked by them for my religious views and lifestyle. I do not feel like experiencing that again. I would almost prefer to spend the day alone. My older brother wants nothing to do with me because of what I am and yet my family accuses me of being judgemental.

So I have to decide what to do. Some family members will be upset if I don’t show up, but if I do, I am walking into the proverbial starved lion’s den. So I think that I wil make it clear ahead of time that I do not want to be gobbled up by the lion or fed to its cubs. It does not make sense to me that I should spend time with people who hate me the rest of the year and paste smiles on our faces. Pass the gravy with the kitchen knife, please?

I am sure there are many other pagans experiencing the same thing or feeling nervous about attending Christmas dinner. Well remember to stay calm, avoid drinking too much alchohol, and to try not to argue with (closeminded) family members. Alcohol makes you say things you may regret. Remind yourself that you are visiting and thank the Goddess that you do not need to live with these muggles. You do eventually get to go back home to your sage and salt and altar. There, you can let out your frustrations till next Yule.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Winter Solstice Ritual

Merry Meet All,

Nine more days till Winter Solstice! Are you all excited? I am. We have learned much of the ancient traditions and rituals performed by the ancient Druids, Norse, and Celts. Now it is time for how to bring those traditions to the modern day. Much of the lore and traditions is still done to this day. Here is a ritual you can try to honor the Winter Solstice.

DECORATING THE ALTAR

Clean your altar and put a fresh altar cloth on it. Use a cool color for an altar cloth to reflect the cool colors of winter, such as white, silver, deep blue. Use green and red candles and evergreen boughs. Place pinecones on your altar too. Use silver and gold colors.

SYMBOLS OF WINTER

Yule is a Sabbat about the returning of the sun. Use a solar symbol on the altar. Gold discs, yellow or gold candles can represent the sun. Add sprigs of holly, ivy, pinecones, a Yule log, reindeer, and other fertility symbols.

WELCOME BACK THE SUN RITUAL

Prepare a feast prior to the ritual. Cornbread, buttered rum, cranberry dressing, stew, and shortbread cookies would be appropriate. Put candles on your table or altar. Do not light the candles yet. Face all the candles and say:

The wheel of the year has turned,
the nights grow cold and long.
Tonight, the darkness is in retreat,
light glows over the earth again.
As the wheel continues to spin,
the sun returns to us once more.

Light the sun candle, and say:

Even in the darkest hours,
in the longest nights,
the spark of life flickers ever brightly.
The spark glows on Winter Solstice eve,
and the darkness retreats again.

Beginning with the candles closest to the sun candle, light each one and work your way outward. As you light each candle, say:

As the wheel turns, light returns.

Repeat this until all the candles are burning bright. Say:

The light of the sun shines now,
shadows wane, light returns.

Pause to consider what the return of the sun means to you. Enjoy the feast and celebrate with eggnog or other refreshments. Bask in the glow of your candles and extinguish the candles from the outside of your altar towards the center. Leave the sun candle for last.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Yule Log Ritual

Merry Meet All,

Yesterday I was out on a walk on the nature trail. I had wanted a yule log and the first day when I didn’t see anything that would be suitable, I gave up. Yesterday I was on my walk and I saw a log on the ground. Perfect, I thought. I picked it up and took it home. It is sitting in my garden, waiting.

However, I don’t have a fire pit or a fireplace. So I will have to figure out something. That is the tradition. People burn a yule log on Winter Solstice. It is a Scandinavian tradition. That’s great, because I am part Scandinavian, and I have been enjoying learning more of my family background and the ancient traditions.

Join with family and friends for the Yule log burning ritual. Enjoy food and wine and make an offering to the deities. Yule logs bring good luck, so keep a piece of the wood for next year’s Yule log burning ritual. Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning wheel, when the wheel of the year is about to rise again.

ANCIENT YULE TRADITIONS

The tradition began in Scandinavia and predates Christianity by thousands of years. They celebrated the Feasts of the Dead and honored Odin, the god of intoxicating drink and ecstasy, and the god of Death. Their customs varied from region to region. They left offerings after their feasts to appease the Yuletide ghosts. The origins of the Yule log were traced back to the Midwinter festivals when the Norsemen indulged in the revelry of feasting and watching the fire leap around the burning Yule log in the home hearths.

Winter Solstice symbolized the return of the light. The days grew longer and the sun began its return. The Scandinavian lasted for twelve days. That was how the tradition began of the twelve days of Christmas. Some Christmas traditions are steeped in ancient Yule traditions. At Midwinter, the Vikings honored their Asa Gods with much religious rituals and feasting. They sacrificed animals such as boars to Frey, the God of fertility, to ensure a growing season in the coming year. The meat was cooked and enjoyed at the feast.

The first night of Yule, which is celebrated for twelve days, is called The Mothernight, and is when Frigga and the Disir, are honored. The Mothernight is the rebirth of the world from darkness. A vigil is held from dusk to dawn. At Yule, the gods and goddesses are close to Midgard. Their deities were known as ‘Yule-Beings’. Odin is called Jolnir, the “Yule-One” and is where Santa Claus originates from.

They burned a huge sunwheel, which was lit on fire and rolled down a hill to encourage the sun to return. This may be the origin of the Christmas wreath. Another Viking tradition was the decorating of evergreen trees with food and clothing, statues of their beloved deities, and runes to entice the tree spirits to return in the spring. They believed the Mistletoe could resurrect the dead. This belief is based on a legend about the resurrection of Baldur, God of Light and Goodness, who was killed by a mistletoe arrow. Frigga cried for Baldur and her tears turned the red berries white.

I hope you enjoy reading about the origins of many traditions we celebrate today. I hope I do find a way to burn my Yule log. I would be proud to partake in an ancient tradition that was honored by the ancient Vikings and their gods and goddesses.

Blessed be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Mistletoe Magick

Merry Meet All,

MISTLETOE

Mistletoe, holly, ivy, and pine are the mainstay of the Yule tradition. Today we will look at what is so magickal about mistletoe. The Druids valued mistletoe. They harvested mistletoe from oak trees with golden sickles. They collected it under a waxing moon phase, and then fed to their livestock to ensure fertility. They sacrificed white bulls to appease the gods and if their prayers were heard, then prosperity would be showered down upon the villages.

The Druids loved oak and mistletoe. They held rituals, such as on “the sixth day of the moon,” the plant is cut with great ceremony using a sickle-bladed knife.” (Pliny.) Mistletoe is a parasite and grows high on trees, especially on oak trees.

“For they believe that whatever grows on these trees is sent from heaven, and is a sign that the tree has been chosen by the gods themselves. The mistletoe is rarely to be met with; but when it is found, they gather it with great solemnity ceremony. This they do above all on the sixth day of the moon, from whence they date the beginnings of their months, of their years, and of their thirty years cycle, because by the sixth day the moon has plenty of vigor and has not run half its course.

After due preparations have been made for a sacrifice and a feast under the tree, they hail it as the universal healer and bring to the spot two white bulls, whose horns have never been bound before. A priest clad in a white robe climbs the tree and with a golden sickle cuts the mistletoe, which is caught in a white cloth. Then they sacrifice the victims, praying that the gods will make their gifts propitious to those to whom they have given it.” (Pliny)

Ivy was also considered one of the strongest trees, because it could strangle an oak. Ivy was counted among the sacred evergreens and associated with the Otherworld.

The Norse have an ancient tradition in connection with mistletoe. The traditional custom was that if you were out in the woods, and you found yourself standing under the mistletoe, you both had to lay down arms until the following day. The ancient Scandinavian custom led to the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. The tradition went hand-in-hand with a Norse myth, the myth of Baldur.

THE MYTH OF BALDUR
Baldur’s mother was the Norse goddess, Frigga. When he was born, Frigga made each and every animal and inaminate object promise not to harm Baldur. But she overlooked the mistletoe. Loki, the ever mischievous god that he was, tricked one of the other gods into killing Baldur with a spear made from mistletoe. Hermes had to travel to Hel and back to resurrect Baldur. Every last living thing had to weep for Baldur. Only a giantess did not weep for Baldur. His ressurection was ruined.

A variation of the story from the Prose Edda. After the death of Baldur, it was decided that thenceforth mistletoe would bring love into the world rather than death, and any two people passing under mistletoe would exchange a kiss in honor of Baldur. Others say that the tears that Frigga shed for the slain Baldur became the mistletoe berries.

Mistletoe is considered an aphrodisiac and fertility herb. Mistletoe was regarded with awe by ancient peoples. Mistletoe remained green in the winter and the trees which it fed on did not.

Now you know the origins of the traditions of mistletoe. Tomorrow we will look at more yule traditions.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch