Yesterday was our 600th post!
I’m actually up at 7am for once. It’s 36F and the eastern sky is stripes of grey-blue cloud and a sullen red. Pretty ominous-looking for what isn’t supposed to be a nasty-weather day! They are saying there’s a possibility of showers, though. …in just a few minutes it’s eased to pink and grey….
Blue sky, blue ocean, golden sands and bright sunshine added up to a glorious morning! I hated to go inside. It had been frosty earlier and it looks like we’ve a dry spell here for several more days.
I started in on inventory, double-checking entries and adding data, sorting the finished pieces, that kind of thing. I even had a sudden thought, dug in a box and came up with 4 pieces of inventory that I’ve been looking for. They disappeared in the move and I kept ignoring them as I went past, not thinking about them being stock and then ran across the entry and got intelligent for a couple of minutes. …so they’re back on the tables again! I took a few pieces that needed mending over to the beading table. I’m gradually whittling down the big tray up front. It’s been full of stock that we’ve found, mended headers or haven’t put away, yet. It’s gone from 3 feet high just about 1 foot. …and then it went to about 6 inches….
The sun was beautifully golden as it slipped behind the trees. There was hardly any pink in the sunset that I saw. The sky shaded from the gold of the sunset, through paler and paler yellows through white into the blue above.
We spent the evening with a friend and when we got home the stars were so bright and the sky so clear! Sirius was sparkling through all the colors of the spectrum and Jupiter shining high in the sky. Tempus and I got quite chilled just staring up at the glory of the heavens. …adn then this morning the Wild Hunt’s post has a marvelous quote about just that:
“No wonder the magi watched the skies. This is the time of year when all the heavenly bodies seem to dazzle with chilly brilliance in their indigo field of space. Here in the woodlands part of the country, the sky seems to open downward with the falling leaves. Not only does the dark come sooner, faster, longer, but small twinkling lights peep from beneath the highest branches of the woods behind my home. What wonders must have shown themselves in ancient times, centuries before anyone dreamed that a satellite camera might show the earth covered by an Indra’s net of human-made lights. Tonight from the orbiting space station, astronauts can see a grand conjunction of the Earth, Jupiter and Venus. The sun has just completed another annual analemma, a sort of ourobouran eternal dance through the sky.” – Holli Emore, on the wonders of the night sky. – See more at: http://wildhunt.org/2013/12/pagan-voices-vivianne-crowley-j-rhett-aultman-lilith-dorsey-and-more.html
Tempus is supposed to be at the shop today, hopefully trying to sort papers, since we’re coming up on the end-of-the-year paperwork and I’m supposed to be writing.
Today’s Plant is Evening primrose, Oenothera species, sometimes called Sundrop or Suncup in Oregon. The young roots can be eaten like a peppery-flavored vegetable and the shoots can be used in salad. It can be used in poultices for wound-healing and to ease bruises. (Sun…it’s drying) Clinical trials don’t support the traditional uses for treatment of PMS (particularly bloating and water retention) or cervical ripening in pregnancy, but one of the varieties has promise as a treatment for breast cancer. – Masculine, Sun, Fire – This herb is often called the King’s Cure-all, used by a ruler to cure scrofula. It has powers of healing, particularly for drying “wet” wounds or injuries. It can be used in sleep sachets, and for spells to cure (or cause) alcoholism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evening_primrose
1675 – Charles II tried to suppress the coffee-houses, since people gathered there to discuss a lot of politics and such. His Proclamation of Suppression was laughed away in just 12 days. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_house#Coffee_in_Europe
The shop opens at 11am! Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at email@example.com 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! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light, or call the shop.
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is a Waning Crescent moving into Hecate’s Brooch at 3:14pm. 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. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 1/1/ at 3:14am. Waning Crescent Moon – Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 12/27 at 3:14pm. Hecate’s Brooch – 3-5 days before New Moon – Best time for Releasing Rituals. It’s the last few days before the new moon, the time of Hecate’s Brooch. This is the time that if you’re going to throw something out, or sweep the floors, or take stuff to Good Will, do it! Rid yourself of negativity and work on the letting go process. Release the old, removing unwanted negative energies, addictions, or illness. Do physical and psychic cleansings. Good for wisdom & psychic ability. Goddess Aspect: Crone Associated God/desses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Baba Yaga, Ereshkigal, Thoth. Phase ends on 12/30 at 3:14pm.
Yes it’s cold out. That’s no reason to be cold or to shun the beauties of winter astronomy. Learn to be a toasty winter observer with Tony Flanders’ “Dress for Stargazing Success” in the December Sky & Telescope, page 66. http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/newtrack/st_201312/
The waning crescent Moon now passes Alpha Librae, Saturn, and Antares in the eastern dawn. In Saturday’s cold dawn, Alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) shines 1° to 3° lower left of the waning crescent Moon (for North America), with Saturn 5° farther onward, The Moon occults (covers) Alpha Librae for Hawaii (timetable).
Over the next five mornings, just before dawn, the moon will pass by two planets and a bright star. It will be between Mars and Spica on Dec. 26. Notice how the moon’s crescent shrinks over the five mornings, and how the stars and planets rise 4 minutes earlier each morning.
Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Pisces) is high in the south right after dark. Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) is moving lower in the southwest now after dark. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/Uranus-and-Neptune-in-2013-190064991.html
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree month of Beth/Birch Dec 24 – Jan 20, Beith – (BEH), birch
Runic half-month of Jera/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 Eihwaz/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
©2013 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 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.
Phagos – Beech Ogam letter correspondences to study this month
Letter: PH, IO
Meaning: New experiences and information coming
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual, Spirituality is how you connect to yourself and the world, mentally, emotionally and physically. We do not get spirituality through religion or philosophy. It is simply the essence of being human.
~ You’re the light that guides others. Your example should be their inspiration. – Kerr Cuhulain ~ Any technical problem can be overcome given enough time and money. – Lerman’s Law of Technology, Corollary: You are never given enough time or money.
~ The job that pays the most will be offered when there is no time to deliver the services. – Quile’s Consultation Law
~ I have a lantern. You steal my lantern. What, then, is your honour worth no more to you than the price of my lantern? – Epictetus
~ As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot. – John Lennon (1940-1980) English singer, songwriter
In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn’t cope with, and that terrible listlessness that starts to set in about 2:55, when you know you’ve taken all the baths that you can usefully take that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the newspaper you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o’clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul. – Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Yule Craft – Also good for New Year’s! – Making Luminarias – School for the Seasons
Every year I host a Winter Solstice party and every year I like to send my guests home with some small hand-made gift. Last year, I found the perfect gift item in an issue of Martha Stewart’s Living: luminarias made from tin cans. Although Martha featured this craft project in summer, I thought it was the perfect gift for Winter Solstice, with its symbolism of the returning light. It also resonated with the personal image I had been working with all year: of letting my light shine, instead of hiding it.
The great secret to making these little lanterns is simple. Fill empty tin cans with water and put them in the freezer until the water is frozen. Then you can use a hammer and nail to make designs in the sides. After making enough lanterns for all 40 guests at my party, I learned some handy tips.
The best cans to use are condensed milk cans. [anja note, or canned mushroom cans] They are the only cans I found in a year of collecting that don’t have corrugated sides. Although the corrugated sides aren’t noticeable when the lantern is in use, they aren’t as attractive when the lights are on since the corrugations obscure the design.
To make the designs, brace the tin can against a towel, set the point of the nail where you want the hole to appear, and hammer away. The ice tends to chip away from the rim so begin at the top and work your way down. But don’t go too far. The biggest design flaw of my lanterns is that the wax leaks out of the bottom holes as the candle burns down. I invited friends over to help me make the lanterns and I enjoyed watching them come up with creative designs. I started out with fairly repetitive patterns, like crosses, stars, flowers (one dot in the center surrounded by 5 other dots) and borders of staggered dots. But you can also make sun symbols (a circle around a dot), wave patterns, diagonal lines, vertical lines of varying lengths, or simply scatter random dots across the surface, like stars in space. I suppose you could write your name or the name of a friend. You can use a screwdriver and other wood-working tools to make more complicated patterns than simple nail holes, especially if you are using large cans. But be careful. The heavier force of the screwdriver crumpled the sides of the flimsy tin cans I was using.
Also be careful when inserting candles into the lanterns. The inside edges are very sharp. For the same reason, I would be cautious about giving these to small children. I own a beautiful decorative tin lantern made in Mexico. It is made from a sheet of tin which was pierced, while lying flat, then bent into a circle and fitted onto a base. In this version, the sharp edges are all on the outside, making it easier to insert and light a candle.
My house was beautiful last Winter Solstice, glowing with these little tin lanterns. There were many left, after the guests departed with the lanterns they chose, and they’ve been put to good use all year long. I light one on my desk when I’m doing my writing, to indicate my recognition of the sacred nature of my work. A few found a place on the bathroom counter and are lit for candlelight baths. A few more garnish the piano, and ornament my altar. I know there are more packed away in the Christmas box. I look forward to setting them out and seeing how the house is transformed by the flickering light, like the sparkle of hundreds of stars, of my Winter Solstice luminarias.
[Another Anja note – You can use tea lights in these and avoid the wax leak problem and you can also use glass votive holders]