I’m watching one of the siskins on the feeder. Now that I can finally tell them from sparrows I’m wondering why I didn’t see that before? Here’s an article about them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Siskin
There are regular sparrows and chickadees, as well as what I think was a goldfinch a minute ago, and they get chased off by the jays pretty regularly, but come right back.
I had a good, restful day yesterday, except for one part mid-afternoon. We got up late. Tempus made an awesome brunch of stuffed omelet & sausage and we sat around, opening presents and talking. We listened to the Paul Winter Consort Solstice concert on KLCC and then Tempus and I started in on the kitchen. I got a batch of cookies made and a “logged” the rest of the dough so that I could freeze it, then started in on sweet potatoes and stuffing. I add all kinds of things to my stuffing. This time it was hazelnuts, water chestnuts, celery and onion.
After a frustrated bit of time where everything went sideways on us, we realized we were going to be having a ham dinner and not turkey, unless we wanted to eat at midnight. I’ll do the turkey today. <sigh> I *did* want giblet gravy…. I’ll try to make some today, even if it makes Tempus turn pale to contemplate. I got the sweet/sour cabbage set up and the ham, next.
We had blintzes with cranberry sauce late in the afternoon as it was starting to get dark and then bundled up to go out looking at holiday light displays. We drove all through Old Town and up 34 out past Tidewater and back. Lots of light displays, even the little trailers in the fishing camps on 34 had some!
When we got back our dinner went into the oven. Around 7:30, we got the rest of the veg cooked and then sat down to eat. We pulled crackers and ate until we were stuffed and went to bed early after listening to the rest of the holiday programs on KLCC.
I’m moving very stiffly this morning. I guess it was too much time bending over things in the kitchen, but that’s not going to stop me getting out there today. I’m going to go start the turkey in a few minutes. Robyne probably won’t get any turkey, but I’m going to make him a batch of handpies to take with him on the bus.
Today and tomorrow we’ll have pictures of the new tapestries/bedspreads. The first pic is Tempus putting one up. You can see the gold star and the signs on the post off to the left (…that bits of show in the rest of the pix.) We didn’t have anywhere with enough room without moving everything out of the ritual space!
This is the first one an amazing Celtic Knot/Zoomorphic light cotton in black on brown. (I’ll put up the pic of the pink one tomorrow!) The other picture for today is a “horse parade” in red/green/yellow & black on a loosely-woven cream-colored cotton.
Boxing Day is mostly a British tradition where gifts are given to tradesmen and people in the “service jobs”. It’s also a huge shopping day, like our Black Friday. When I was a kid, this was the day that we sent cards and tips to folks like the milkman and Grandma’s hairdresser. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_Day
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is Waxing Gibbous moving to Full. Waxing Moon Magick – The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or healthy, protection, divination. Any working that needs extra power, such as help finding a new job or healings for serious conditions, can be done now. Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 12/28 at 2:21am. Waxing Gibbous Moon – From seven to fourteen days after the new moon. For spells that need concentrated work over a ¼ moon cycle this is the best time for constructive workings. Aim to do the last working on the day of the Full moon, before the turn. Phase ends at the Full on 12/26 at 2:21pm. Full Moon Magick: From fourteen to seventeen-and-a-half days after the new moon. “And better it be when the moon is full!”! Prime time for rituals for prophecy, for spells to come to fruition, infusing health and wholeness, etc. A good time for invoking deity.
Saturn (magnitude +0.7, in Libra) rises in the east-southeast around 3 a.m. local time. By the beginning of dawn it’s fairly high in the southeast, far upper right of Venus. That’s the best time to get your telescope on it. Saturn’s rings are now tilted 19° to our line of sight, the widest open they’ve been in seven years.
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree Month of Beth Birch Dec 24 – Jan 20
Runic half-month of Jara 12/13-12/27 – Jara signifies the completion of natural cycles, such as fruition, and has a more transcendent meaning of mystic marriage of Earth and Cosmos. *Ø* Wilson’s Almanac free daily ezine | Book of Days | December 13
Runic half-month of Eoh 12/28-1/11 Represents the dead, and the yew tree, sacred to Winter shamanism. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books,
©2012 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Beth Birch Dec 24 – Jan 20 Beith – (BEH), birch – The silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is the most common tree birch in much of Europe. It grows up to 30 m (100 feet) high, but is more often found in spreading clumps on sandy soils. It is one of the first trees to colonize an area after a mature forest is cut; this is probably a large part of its symbolic connection with new beginnings. It is cultivated in North America, often under the name of weeping birch. The three trees in my front yard form root sprouts that would take over the bed where they are planted if I didn’t cut them back. The common birch (B. pubescens Ehrh.) is almost as widespread as the silver birch, but grows primarily on acid or peaty soils. It can reach 20 m (65 feet) in height. Birches are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae). Curtis Clark
Beth – Birch – Ogam letter correspondences –
Meaning: New Beginnings; Changes; Purification.
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
W 26 Low 4:46 AM 3.6 7:52 AM Set 6:19 AM 94
~ 26 High 10:35 AM 8.2 4:43 PM Rise 3:42 PM
~ 26 Low 5:45 PM -0.2
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Mastery energizes my actions. I am empowered by the Truth of Spirit.
~ Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you. – Hafiz
~ Everyone lives by selling something. – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish novelist, poet
~ Everyone who got to where they are had to begin where they were. – Richard Paul Evans
~ Fears are nothing more than a state of mind. – Napoleon Hill
What You Realize When Cancer Comes by Larry Smith, from A River Remains. © WordTech Editions. Reprinted with permission.
What You Realize When Cancer Comes
You will not live forever—No
you will not, for a ceiling of clouds
hovers in the sky.
You are not as brave
as you once thought.
Sounds of death
echo in your chest.
You feel the bite of pain,
the taste of it running
Following the telling to friends
comes a silence of
felt goodbyes. You come to know
the welling of tears.
Your children are stronger
than you thought and
closer to your skin.
The beauty of animals
birds on telephone lines,
dogs who look into your eyes,
all bring you peace.
You want no more confusion
than what already rises
in your head and heart.
You watch television less,
will never read all those books,
much less the ones
Songs can move you now, so that
you want to hold onto the words
like the hands of children.
Your own hands look good to you.
old and familiar
You read your lover’s skin
like a road map
All touch is precious now.
There are echoes
in the words thrown
When they take your picture now
you wet your lips, swallow once
and truly smile.
Talk of your lost parents
pulls you out, and
brings you home again.
You are in a river
flowing in and through you.
Take a breath. Reach out your arms.
You can survive.
A river is flowing
flowing in and through you.
Take a breath. Reach out your arms.
Magick – Yule – The Calendar of the Twelve Days of Christmas
Christmas Eve – Several weeks before the start of the holiday was always a period of fasting and preparation behind the scenes. Many traditions keep their houses undecorated until Christmas Eve. Some only have a big supper after midnight on Christmas Eve when the house is revealed in all its magic and glory.
And start your Christmas later: don’t decorate until December 24. Then let the Twelve Days unfold as their own season; after its over, its really over for another year. Christmas should not begin at Labor Day.
Here is a good book for Christmas Eve; it is one of the most wonderful and profound books in the English language. The story has been adapted and abused for many years, but this is the original tale. Its not always pretty, its a roller coaster ride of emotions, from bright light to deep dark and its not like any movie version you’ve ever seen—its the story of amazing grace, the man who was lost and found his way again
Print it out to read when you have time: and read it aloud! The power of the words is like magic.
FIRST DAY–December 25–the Partridge in a Pear Tree– Christmas Day
For the duration of the Twelve Days it was always the custom to keep the house scrubbed and tidy: you never know what visitors might come knocking on your door. It might be an angel—it might be the holy family looking for shelter or three kings. Keep the cupboard filled with food and sweets, and cheerful drink on hand; its bad luck to turn anybody away.
The weather is often bad at this time of year: The Twelve Days became a time to look for dark forces loose in the outdoors—dangerous weather, ghostly hunters, mischievous fairies. People scurried through the dim and dark countryside looking for the next warm fire.
These Twelve Days are a journey through the darkest part of the year, moving from hope to hope, leaving despair behind with stops on Christmas and New Year, moving always toward the bright revelations of Twelfth Night.
SECOND DAY–December 26–Two Turtledoves—
…is St. Stephen’s Day: he was the first Christian martyr. In Ireland, children parade around with a toy bird on an evergreen branch singing the ‘Wren Song,’ and begging for pennies and food. The Wren traditions are so ancient and mysterious that they may have been performed since prehistoric times.
Second Day is also Boxing Day in the British Commonwealth: this is the day when boxes of food, gifts or money are given to people who work for you—gardeners, rubbish collectors, postal workers, and to those in need. Boxing Day is a good day to go see a panto, or a special movie.
THIRD DAY—December 27–Three French Hens—
… is St. John the Evangelist Day: the story is that St. John was once given a cup of poisoned wine, but he made the sign of the cross over it before he drank, and was saved: have a cup of warm spiced wine, tonight.
FOURTH DAY–December 28–Four Calling Birds—
…is Holy Innocent’s Day or Childermas: this is the day when mad King Herod heard that the coming King of the Jews had been born, so he sent his men out to slay all boys under two years of age.
In folk tradition, its the day when all the youngest boys in a household are treated with special honors and are allowed to playfully beat and tease the adults with decorated evergreens until they get candy and gifts.
At church, they would elect a boy to be a bishop for the day and he would have a good time commanding the deacons and vergers and canons, ordering feasts and revelry.
Supposedly a traditional food is Childermas Pudding: some kind of fresh white snow, shaved ice, vanilla pudding or ice cream (to represent the pure innocence of childhood) is served with a spoonful of red raspberry or strawberry syrup or cordial to represent the blood of the innocent martyrs. Well, probably tastes good anyway.
FIFTH DAY–December 29–Five Gold Rings—
…is St. Thomas a Becket, who was martyred at Canterbury Cathedral in England by four men sent by the King who was once Becket’s best friend.
SIXTH DAY–December 30–Six Geese a Laying
In the dark midwinter, when the sunlight fades early and fast and the wind brings cold and damp for so many hours of dark, its no wonder people found reasons to stay indoors, telling stories—these were called Winter’s tales, often full of fantastic characters and magic told around the crackling fire.
Outside—who knows what lurked in the shadows of midwinter? Some saw black dogs, or wolves: others were chased by fairies; Herne the Wild Hunter was seen thundering through the forest with his pack of dogs and hunters. What travelers would survive these nights to knock on your door? Surely anybody who came knocking must be a special visitor!
This is the Sixth Day of Christmas: its your day. Volunteer at a community event, if you can: in these dark and uncertain days of midwinter, you never know who needs you—or whom you might need.
Dispel the gloom! Go to a panto— Address:http://www.btinternet.com/~nigel.ellacott/illustrations.html
SEVENTH DAY– December 31–Seven Swans a Swimming—
…is New Year’s Eve: called St. Basil’s Eve, is good for telling fortunes for the coming year.
Young women put gingerbread men under their pillows so they they might dream about their future husbands
EIGHTH DAY–is New Year’s Day–Eight Maids a Milking—
St. Basil’s Day—also is the day when the Jewish baby Jesus would have been formally circumcised. In Scottish tradition this is Hogmanay, once a bigger celebration than Christmas which was a strictly religious holiday to the conservative Scots.
The first Monday after New Year is called ‘Handsel Monday’—its the day you give token gifts to friends and family to assure prosperity and good luck in the new year.
In the old Christian tradition, this was the Feast of Fools: somebody would be elected to play the Bishop for a day, and the church went riot with all kinds of crazy pranks and jokes on the churchmen—the church put a stop to that hundreds of years ago, but if you want, this was the day for it.
NINTH DAY–January 2–Nine Ladies Dancing—
…your day! Take a long walk with all of your family. Go ice skating.
The Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Days are a time of renewal; just as the earth is sleeping under its mantle of cold, ready to wake up in a few months when the sun comes around, we can do the same. The busy period of Christmas and New Year are past and you can now relax and plan the coming year. These three days are a separate season unto themselves in the Twelve Days: they are the darkest, quietest part of this twelve day journey, a time away from time.
January Second is also the Feast of St. Macarius, patron of confectioners and chefs! Pastries, candy and a feast of delicious food are required.
TENTH DAY–January 3–Ten Lords a Leaping—
The Feast of St. Genevieve, patroness of the City of Paris, of secretaries, actors and lawyers. Send a special greeting to any secretaries, actors or lawyers you know.
ELEVENTH DAY–January 4–Eleven Drummers Drumming—
your day! Just take a nap by the fire.
TWELFTH NIGHT–January 5–Twelve Pipers Piping—
…the Vigil for the Epiphany begins at sunset. Also Edward the Confessor’s Day. This is called Three Kings Day or Little Christmas Eve, or Wasail Eve and in the old days was the festive celebration of the holiday (Christmas Eve being mostly a solemn religious observance). The night shines with brilliant stars against a deep blue sky: diamonds, silver, sapphires, cobalt.
This is a night of magical revelations: a night of unexpected discoveries and surprises. Nothing is as it first appears. A beggar might be a great king! Masquerades are popular on this night, and good natured practical jokes. All secrets are hidden in fun, only to be revealed at the last moment.
Our holiday fruitcake used to have a holiday all its own: thats Twelfth Night. The cake is full of precious spices and expensive fruits which symbolise the gifts brought to the manger: gold, frankincense and myrrh. The candied fruits are like precious jewels in a richly decorated golden gift box made of fine cake.
On this night you have a special feast with a big fruit cake served at the end: the cake had a hard dried bean baked in it along with other small silver trinkets—but whoever got the bean was made the King of the party: this may be the origin of the term ‘bean feast’ which means any kind of elaborate dinner.
Twelfth Night is also for Apple Howling, the time when you go out to serenade your apple trees for a good harvest, and drum on pots and pans or fire unloaded guns to frighten the evil spirits; pour apple cider around their roots in a toast and put piece of your Twelfth Cake in the branches for good luck. “Stand fast root!” you bellow at the tree a midnight “Bear well, top! Pray God send a howling good crop!”
In many countries you exchange your gifts on this night.
[THIRTEENTH DAY] January 6th–The Feast of the Epiphany:
…this is when the Magi arrived at Bethlehem revealing that Messiah had been born. The sun rises, all his glory revealed.
You’ve survived the twelve day journey through the deepest darkest part of every year! This day is like the new dawn after a long dark night: it marks the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas. in the old days the first Monday following Twelfth Night was Plough Monday when farmers went back to the fields after a twelve day rest (an occasion for morris dancing and cadging pennies and drinks from the neighbors by itself)
You can have a good time burning your Christmas greens in a bonfire, and putting away the decorations. After Twelfth Night it should all be completely over and gone from the landscape in all but memory—that’s the beauty and the magic: its only here for a short while and you have to enjoy it before its gone. Who knows if it will be back?
BUT MAKE YOUR OWN FUN!
These are old ideas and ancient traditions, but find some significance in your own holidays you can apply to the Twelve Days: foods, feasts, games, songs, community service. When Chanukah falls within the Twelve Days, why not include it?
Make a Twelve Days Calendar with special windows that open: or a Twelve Days Box that has secret compartments of candies or gifts for each of the days. There is plenty of room for your own special touches, even if you just take the time to slow down and rest. Its your time.
Share your ideas, and I can add them to this calendar for everybody to see:
+60 Californians put on sweaters.
+50 Miami residents turn on the heat.
+45 Vermont residents go to outdoor concert.
+40 You can see your breath.
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
Minnesotans go swimming.
+35 Italian cars don’t start.
+32 Water freezes.
+30 You plan your vacation in Australia.
+25 Ohio water freezes.
Californians weep pitiably.
Minnesotans eat ice cream.
Canadians go swimming.
+20 Politicians begin to talk about the homeless.
New York City water freezes.
Miami residents plan vacation further south.
+15 French cars don’t start.
Cat insists on sleeping with you.
+10 You need jumper cables to get the car going.
+5 American cars don’t start.
0 Alaskans put on T-shirts.
-10 German cars don’t start.
Eyes freeze shut when you blink.
-15 You can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo.
Arkansans stick tongues on metal objects.
Miami residents cease to exist.
-20 Cat insists on sleeping in pajamas with you.
Politicians actually do something about the homeless.
Minnesotans shovel snow off roof.
Japanese cars don’t start.
-25 Too cold to think.
You need jumper cables to get the driver going.
-30 You plan a two week hot bath.
Swedish cars don’t start.
-40 Californians disappear.
Minnesotans button top button.
Canadians put on sweater.
Your cat helps you plan your trip south.
-50 Congressional hot air freezes.
Alaskans close the bathroom window.
-80 Hell freezes over.
Polar bears move south.
Green Bay Packer fans order hot cocoa at the game.
-90 Lawyers put their hands in their own pockets.
-100 Canadian buildings turn off air conditioning.
Lighted House Count – Total on 12/24 was 326, added 174 last night!!!
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>