Sun is ducking in and out of clouds and we have *far* more wind this morning than when we were under the wind watch! It’s running steadily in the high teens and gusting up to 30 at the moment. It’s already the forecast high of 57F. The trees are waving around and the hanging planters are dancing.
I went back to bed yesterday after getting the newsletter out and Tempus let me sleep until 9:30. That meant I didn’t wear out as quickly during the day as I usually would. We started with discussing several issues that needed to be decided about inventory and displays and such and then settled in to work. He had a bunch of chores and then spent the rest of the day getting the big tree lighted. I worked on the biscornu, some writing, some inventory and headers, finally leaving the shop around 9pm. Several friends were in and two of our boys called to chat.
Today I’m thinking that I might want to stay home to work here without distractions. Tempus has stuff to do at the shop, but I really need to write. I couldn’t do that during the day, yesterday. …Ok, we talked about it. He’s going to tend the shop and I’m going to write. That’s luxury!
Today’s ornament pictures are the sole representative pictures of sets of similar ornaments. The first is a ribbon angel. I have quite a number of these all around 3 inches high with bead heads. They’re quite light-weight and come in a variety of ribbon patterns, hair color and wings. I’m going to try to get some more pix now that the big tree is up.
I like this last design. Some of them I’ve made from scraps, but these pix are from the original batch that a friend made and I bought years ago for the shop.
Sun enters Ophiuchus, the missing sign of the Zodiac – (Nov 30 – Dec 17) – Ophiuchus is one of the 88 constellations, and was also one of the 48 listed by Ptolemy. Of the 13 zodiacal constellations (constellations that contain the Sun during the course of the year), Ophiuchus is the only one which is not counted as an astrological sign. More info here: http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/book/nov30.html (search haggis and giggle and then keep reading) and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophiuchus
The shop opens at 11am. Fall hours are 11am-6pm Thursday through Monday. If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open!
Love & Light,
This looks like a cool Yule Log tutorial! http://www.greenkitchen.com/blog/2008/12/cool-yule-holiday-tutorial.html
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is Waning Gibbous. Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Tide change is on 12/13 at 12:42am. Waning Gibbous Moon – Best time for draining the energy behind illness, habits or addictions. Magicks of this sort, started now, should be ended before the phase change to the New Moon. Phase ends at the Quarter on 12/6 at 7:31am.
The waning Moon rises less than an hour after the end of twilight. Once it’s up, look right of it, by a bit more than a fist-width at arm’s length, for orange-red Betelgeuse sparkling in Orion’s shoulder.
Mars (magnitude +1.2, in Sagittarius) remains low in the southwest in evening twilight. In a telescope it’s just a tiny blob 4.4 arcseconds in diameter.
Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Celtic Tree Month of Ruis Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22
Runic half-month of Is November 28-12 Literally, ‘ice’: a static period. The time of waiting before birth. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992, 1992
©2012 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Ruis Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22 – Ruis – (RWEESH), elder – Celtic tree month of Ruis (Elder) commences (Nov 25 – Dec 22) – Like other Iron Age Europeans, the Celts were a polytheistic people prior to their conversion to (Celtic) Christianity. The Celts divided the year into 13 lunar cycles (months or moons). These were linked to specific sacred trees which gave each moon its name. Today commences the Celtic tree month of Elder.
Elder or Elderberry (Sambucus) is a genus of fast-growing shrubs or small trees in the family Caprifoliaceae. They bear bunches of small white or cream coloured flowers in the Spring, that are followed by bunches of small red, bluish or black berries. The berries are a very valuable food resource for many birds.
Common North American species include American Elder, Sambucus canadensis, in the east, and Blueberry Elder, Sambucus glauca, in the west; both have blue-black berries.
The common European species is the Common or Black Elder, Sambucus nigra, with black berries. This is a shrub growing to 10 m (33 feet) in damp clearings, along the edge of woods, and especially near habitations. Elders are grown for their blackish berries, which are used for preserves and wine. The leaf scars have the shape of a crescent moon. Elder branches have a broad spongy pith in their centers, much like the marrow of long bones, and an elder branch stripped of its bark is very bone-like. The red elder (S. racemosa L.) is a similar plant at higher elevations; it grows to 5 m (15 feet). Red elder extends its native range to northern North America, and it is cultivated along with other native species, but common elders are seldom seen in cultivation. Elders are in the Honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae).
Ruis – Elder Ogam letter correspondences
Month: Makeup days of the thirteenth Moon
Meaning: End of a cycle or problem.
to study this month Straif – Blackthorn Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: SS, Z, ST
Meaning: Resentment; Confusion; Refusing to see the truth
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
F 30 High 1:46 AM 6.8 7:32 AM Set 9:08 AM 98
~ 30 Low 7:02 AM 3.4 4:38 PM Rise 6:39 PM
~ 30 High 12:42 PM 8.1
~ 30 Low 7:47 PM -0.4
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – If we are what we eat, then I’m easy, fast and cheap. 🙂
Journal Prompt – Favorites – What is your favorite sport? Write the reasons for your choice. (If you don’t have a favorite sport, decide what sport you would like to play well when you get older, or younger, as the case may be. Then list the reasons for your choice.)
~ It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes. – Sally Field
~ Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays. Clutch it and it darts away. – Dorothy Parker
~ Man is ignorant and blind, and he wants to remain ignorant and blind, because to come inwards looks like entering a chaos. And it is so; inside you have created a chaos. You have to encounter it and go through it. Courage is needed – courage to be oneself, and courage to move inwards. I have not come across a greater courage than that – the courage to be meditative. – Osho
~ Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. – Tim Ferris
I wave my hands like leaves, I whirl dancing like the moon;
My turning may seem earthly, but it is purer, far purer,
Than the turning of all the spheres of heaven.
You go on talking if you want; I’ll pray to God for your soul,
When wild and drunk I bow down to Him each morning. – Jalal-ud-Din Rumi (Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi)
Magick – Yule – Celebrating Advent (School for the Seaons)
The period of Advent, which means “to come,” is the period of waiting for the birth of Christ at Christmas, or for the birth of the sun at Winter Solstice. It is a period of anticipation, of looking forward.
The main quality of Advent is waiting. If it were a tarot card, it would be the Seven of Pentacles. At this time we are unable to do anything but wait through the growing darkness until we can celebrate the return of the Light. Most Advent customs have to do with marking time: lighting one candle on the Advent wreath each week, opening another door on the Advent calendar. These markers show us in a concrete way how much time has passed and how much time is left before the event we so joyously anticipate.
For many years I’ve been celebrating Advent with friends, using suggestions fromThe Advent Sunwheel by Helen Farias. We gather around the Advent wreath about the time dark falls on Sunday. We spend a few minutes creating a circle, then light the candles. As with Hanukkah candles, only one candle is lit the first Sunday. Two are lit the second Sunday, three the third and four on the fourth Sunday. I light the central candle on Winter Solstice.
After lighting the candles, we take turns reading aloud from one of the wonderful stores Helen includes in her book, all adapted versions of Scandinavian folk tales appropriate for the winter season. I love Helen’s stories but actually any stories would do. Helen and her husband James used to read Saki stories in the wee hours of their fabled winter solstice party. You could read classic fairy tales, like “The Snow Queen.” Or tell stories. At one Advent ceremony, Helen and her husband James read two Chester-and-Faithfull stories (stories I had written the previous Christmas about the antics of my dog and cat). Winter is an important time for story-telling and this coming together to share stories around the flickering fires of the candles recreates the community of the tribe gathering around the campfire.
After the story, we sing carols together. If you don’t want to sing Christian carols, there are many old carols, like Deck the Halls, the Boar’s Head Carol and the Carol of the Bells, which contain no Christian imagery. The Revels, an organization that puts on beautiful performances of old folk music and dances has several tapes of Christmas music that provide other alternatives.
Then it’s time for feasting. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the baking. I love traditional cookie recipes and Yule drinks like eggnog, spiced cider and ginger brandy.
I have several friends who have made Advent calendars. Because I’ve seen firsthand the amount of time this takes I’ve preferred to buy mine in stores. There is something very magical about opening all those little doors and windows, even though I am often disappointed with the insipidity of the images. Isn’t the mystery concealed almost always better than the thing revealed?
One of my friends, Carolee, made an Advent calendar that was like a collage. She found a beautiful landscape picture and then planned where she would place the openings. She then found the pictures that would appear in the openings (mostly birds, as I remember — she is an avid birder) and pasted them onto a backing sheet, which was carefully marked so she could get the right alignment of the images. Then she pasted the front picture to the back and created the doors with an X-acto knife.
Another friend created an Advent calendar out of felt. The top half has a felt Christmas tree and the bottom half, numbered pockets, each containing a different charm The charms are removed on the appropriate days and pinned to the Christmas tree.
Creating a Creche
The creation of a Nativity scene is another common way to mark the passing of time at this darkest point of winter. When I was growing up, we would set up the stable fairly early on in the Christmas season, and then add the various ceramic figures that appeared on the scene one by one, culminating in the placement of the Baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning. Carol Field says that some Roman creches fill half a living room; new pieces are added over years and they are set in specific landscapes, with representations of hills and trees, like elaborate train sets.
Even if you do not find the Christian imagery compatible with your spirituality, you can still create nativity scenes, honoring the birth of the sun. You might create a shrine to the sun containing mirrors (long a sun symbol), a bowl of water, spiral designs and items that sparkle and reflect. Since many of these are the same symbols that appear on my Christmas tree, I can also imagine placing the ornaments on the tree one day at a time.
Gertrud Mueller Nelson writes about the creche figures she inherited from her mother in To Dance With God. Her mother made them while recovering from a serious illness out of bits of wire and pieces of cloth, and carved their hands and faces out of wood. Each figure, which could be moved and posed in many different ways, was thus imbued with her loving attention as well as tradition. My mother’s nativity scene was a gift, given a few figures at a time, from my Aunt Jo and Uncle Bob who bought unfinished clay figurines and painted them in brilliant colors. Today we have even easier ways to create figurines with different types of modeling clay. For subject matter, we can look to myths of miraculous mothers and births like those of Aeon (the son of Kore, born on January 6th) or Isis shown suckling Horus (the sun god) or the images of the Three Mothers (pictured in carvings all over Celtic France and Britain).
The Thirteen Cookies
My friend Helen Farias once told me that it is traditional to make 13 different kinds of cookies for Christmas, and though I have never found her source for this bit of folklore, it makes intuitive sense to me. It also serves as a convenient way of dividing up the time before Christmas. I figure if I make three different batches of cookies each week during Advent, and an extra batch the last week, I’ll have thirteen different kinds of cookies to serve at my Winter Solstice party. If there are any leftovers, I can box them up and give them as Christmas presents. The first year I made about four different kinds, the next year I worked my way up to six, so I still have a long way to go to achieve my goal but I’m working on it.
I’ve created a book, called http://www.schooloftheseasons.com/store.html#thirteen containing recipes and folklore for thirteen traditional Christmas desserts and a plan for making them during Advent to coincide with the appropriate holidays. You can purchase it in our http://www.schooloftheseasons.com/store.html#thirteen
Farias, Helen, The Advent Sunwheel, Juno’s Peacock Press (out of print).
Field, Carol, Celebrating Italy, William Morrow 1990
Fitzgerald, Waverly, Midwinter, Priestess of Swords Press 1995
Fitzgerald, Waverly, “Time to Celebrate,” SageWoman, http://www.sagewoman.com
Nelson, Gertrud Mueller, To Dance with God: Family Ritual and Community Celebration, Paulist Press 1986
Lighted House Count – Total on 11/26 was 16 and then 18 on 11/27 , 19 on11/28 and 11/29 added 7, so total is 26
Ok, this is a “silly” that we started when my kids were small…. just count how many houses have lights or lighted displays as you go about! Businesses don’t count, but doorways that are decorated and have a porch light on, do! …and certainly lighted trees in a window. <grin>