Lighted House Count – 85
It’s raining, at times hard. Everyone else is talking about snow. One of my friends online said, “We have school today. Snow is coming down, but only wet pavement. Please pray for the teachers with thoroughly buzzed students!” 🙂 The sky is lumpy grey and the sun was trying to muscle through, but didn’t make it. It was down to 36 last night and it’s only 38F, now. We got 8/10’s of an inch of rain yesterday and almost 1/2 and inch so far since midnight!
My 101 student didn’t show up yesterday. Not sure why. When I realized it wasn’t likely I curled up and got a nap, because I was still sleepy. After I woke and had some coffee I got back to work on the bay leaves. By the time House Capuchin folks started showing up it was in totes instead of all over the floor and by the end of the day there was a basket of perfect leaves drying, a tote of imperfect ones that will mostly get crunched or ground and a tote of sticks that I’m stripping of bark. I also managed a little more work on pincushions. Tempus mostly was catching up on dishes.
Ken Gagne from 11/23/16 I’ve had tried and tried to get a pic of this pond that we see twice a day on our way to and from the shop, but never managed it. He did!
Today’s Plant is Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata (aka winter purslane, or Indian lettuce). It’s a plant native to our area, growing and blooming in our soggy spring and drying out and dying back in the summer. I’ve seen it re-bloom in the fall. It’s a leaf vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach. It’s really choice in salads and very high in vitamin C. It got the name because the Gold Rush miners ate it to prevent scurvy, since they really weren’t eating right. Like any lettuce or most of the salad greens it’s Feminine and Water, but as any high Vitamin C food, its planet correspondence is the Sun. – Sprinkling it inside the home brings happiness, so it’s good in floor washes or new home blessings. Carry it with you for luck and to protect from violence. Put it into sleep pillows or add to a dream catcher to keep away nightmares. I’ve actually slipped it between the mattress and sheets for this purpose. More here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miner%27s_lettuceMore on the genus here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claytonia
Mikulas Eve (MEE-coo-lahsh) is held the night before the Feast of St. Nicholas. In the Czech Republic, this is the equivalent of Halloween in the US. The Christmas Markets are up in every square, huge trees in front of hotels and municipal buildings and the shopping areas light up at night as bright as day. There are cookies and candies and candles in every shop window and greenery everywhere that it can be placed. On the night of December 5th, though, you will see small groups of children, about the same age as our trick-or-treat-ers, dressed up and going from door to door. Often “professionally” costumed groups show up in the hotels and markets for the tourists, but everywhere else, it’s whichever children decide to. One child is in a bishop’s robe, with a crook and miter and long white beard, usually of cotton wool. Another child is dressed all in white (called Andelicka, “Little Angel), sometimes with wings, but usually with a red sash and a wreath on her head, sometimes with lighted candles, who has a basket of dukati. A third child is dressed all in black or brown (the Sasak (SAH- shahk, the imp), is liberally smudged with soot and carries a sack, chains and either a whip or a bundle of switches. There are some other characters that occasionally show up, such as Death, the Turk, the Lost Knight, the Old Soldier, a violinist, the Miser, the Dancer, the Smart Little Maid (all characters from Czech folklore) but usually just the first three. They give goodies to small children, if “they’ve been good” and if the parents report that they have not been good, the Sasak will growl at them and threaten to pop them in his sack loaded with chains to drag them off to the “cold places”. One thing that struck me was that they collect money and goodies, not for themselves, (although they are often invited in for hot chocolate or cider and kolachki (pastries) but to pass on to other children, UNICEF, or to the food bank instead of the personal greed that our celebration gets into. More on other celebrations of this day here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas#Belgium.2C_the_Netherlands_and_the_Lower_Rhineland_.28Germany.29 plus the articles that follow on “German speaking countries” and “Central Europe”.
The shop opens at 11am! Winter Hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday, although we’re there a lot later most nights. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
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 12/13 at 4:06pm. Waxing Crescent phase – Keywords for the Crescent phase are: expansion, growth, struggle, opportunity. It is the time in a cycle that you gather the wisdom learned in the new phase and communicate your intention to move forward. Light a candle. Write or read an affirmation. LISTEN & ABSORB. Commit to your goal. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, energy and enthusiasm – Associated God/dess: Artemis & Apollo, Mayet/Djehuti, Freya/Frey. Phase ends at the Quarter on 12/7 at 1:03am.
At nightfall, look lower right of the Moon for Mars and much farther lower right from there for bright Venus. Meanwhile, well to the Moon’s lower left is Fomalhaut.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot side on November 30th. South is up. As Jupiter comes back into good telescopic view in the morning sky, it’s showing a huge white zone south of the brownish South Equatorial Belt, but nothing like that in the northern hemisphere. A very small telescope should be able to show the difference. Notice little orange Oval BA just to the Red Spot’s upper left (south preceding) side.
Uranus (magnitude 5.7, in Pisces) and Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) are high on the southern side of the sky just after dark. Info and finder charts.
Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Celtic Tree Month of Ruis/Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22
Runic half-month of Isa/ 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
©2016 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.
The common elder (Sambucus nigra L.) 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).
Secret of the Unhewn Stone, Dec 23 – (This is the blank day in this calendar, the one day of the year that is not ruled by a tree and its corresponding Ogham alphabet character. Its name denotes the quality of potential in all things.)
Graves (1966) makes a case for an additional “blank” ogham, “the unhewn dolmen arch”, which he assigns to the mistletoe, a plant for which there is abundant evidence of its ritual importance to the Celts. There are two common mistletoes in Europe, both of which live as parasites on trees. The common mistletoe (Viscum album L.) parasitizes many tree species, including oaks in the western part of its range. It forms white berries between Samhain and Yule. The yellow-berried mistletoe (Loranthus europaeus L.) does not extend to western Europe. It is found primarily on oaks. It is most likely the “golden bough”, being more common in the eastern Mediterranean than the common mistletoe. The common mistletoe has been cultivated in North American for the Yule trade, and there are several native mistletoes in the genus Phoradendron. Mistletoes are in the Mistletoe family (Viscaceae).
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
M 5 High 4:38 AM 6.8 7:37 AM Rise 11:55 AM 24
~ 5 Low 10:11 AM 3.5 4:37 PM Set 10:44 PM
~ 5 High 3:37 PM 6.8
~ 5 Low 10:36 PM 0.6
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – In the Name of the All-Mother: I will sow my seed and prepare for the crop that I expect.
~ Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn’t burn up any fossil fuel, doesn’t pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance. ~ Margaret Mead
~ The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied. – Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
~ He that would be superior to external influences must first become superior to his own passions. – Samuel Johnson
~ Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you? – Fanny Brice
A metaphysician is one who, when you remark that twice two makes four, demands to know what you mean by twice, what by two, what by makes, and what by four. For asking such questions metaphysicians are supported in oriental luxury in the universities, and respected as educated and intelligent men. – H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) US writer
The modern word Yule descends from the Germanic ‘Yula’, meaning ‘wheel’ of the year or sun. Yule occurs in the dead of winter, on the Winter Solstice (generally around December 21) when the world has reached its darkest time. And in the midst of this darkness springs hope, light, and flame. It is said that the darkest hour is just before dawn and the holiday of Yule acknowledges and counts on this as the world awaits the rebirth of the sun. Dates vary Yuletide, but it is generally thought to last about twelve days after the actual solstice.
Yule is the holiday dedicated to the birth of the Sun God, who is the son of the good who died the year before. The Christian holiday of Christmas is not much different. Both holidays celebrate the birth of God’s son and both holidays have many of the same customs. Of course, as with anything there are differences. For example, as written by the Anglo-Saxon chronicler Bede, the first night of the fest was entitled “Mothernights” and dedicated to Frigga and the disir (fore-mothers). This implies that the celebration of the goddess was every bit as important as the celebration of the return of the god. However, the similarities are so strong that Martin Luther and John Calvin both hated the celebration and spoke out strongly against it. The Purtians would not even acknowledge that the holiday existed and the celebration of Christmas was actually illegal in Boston at one time.
Amongst the those who follow the old Germanic ways, Yule is the most important holiday of the year. It is believed that this is the time when the deities are closest to Midgard (the middle world where humans live). The Germanic gods are referred to as the “Yule Beings,” and Odin himself is titled, “Jolnir,” or “Yule-One.” To the Germanic people, Yule is similar to the Celtic Samhain in that this was the time when their dead are free to pay visits and when magic beings such as Elves and trolls are thought to run free. These spirits and beings have to either be welcomed into the home or warded against as the householders see fit. If they are welcomed, they will be ritually driven from the house at the end of Yuletide to enforce the return of normalcy in the world. Yule is the time of year when the Wild Hunt of Wodan rides most fiercely and it is the border between years when the fates of men are set.
In Ancient Rome, the holiday of Saturnalia was celebrated in mid-winter. The day was dedicated to the god Saturn and featured street celebrations and feasting. Homes were decorated with greenery and strands of lights abound. Also popular was the exchange of small gifts thought to bring luck on the recipient. The remnants of these customs are still strong in the modern celebration of Christmas despite the lengths that the Church went to in attempting to make Christmas a solemn day.
To the Celtic peoples, Yule was the time when the Oak King defeated the Holly King. In the Celtic custom, the Holly King represents death and darkness while the Oak King stands for rebirth and life. Hence, with the Oak King returned to power light shall become prevalent and life return to the earth. It is a time of joy and hope. Yule is a holiday meant to uplift spirits weary from winter and a time to appreciate the wonders that will come with the spring.
There are many customs of Yuletide practiced by the Germans, the Celts, the Romans, and later much of the world under the guise of a Christian holiday.
One of the oldest customs is that of the Yule Log. A log of wood, usually Ash or Oak, is brought into the house. Carvings are placed on it to bring protection and luck to the house and every family member is allowed to make a wish upon it. The log is then placed on the hearth where it is to burn for no less than twelve hours and preferably until dawn. It’s ashes and rekindling pieces are saved to place about the house or to be made into pendants for protection though out the year. This custom seems to date back to through the Roman Saturnalia and possibly even to ancient Egypt. This was well before the spread of Christianity although Christians have claimed that Martin Luther or Saint Benefice started the custom.
The most obvious custom of Yule to remain as a Christmas tradition is the Yule or Christmas tree. It was a Germanic custom that spread into most of Europe well before Christianity. A pine or fir tree would be decorated with candles and tokens. Presents where sometimes left under the trees to be anonymously received buy those indicated. Originally, these trees where left outside, but after the spread of Christianity began many moved their trees indoors to avoid notice. A candle lit and ribboned wreath was sometimes used as a smaller reminder of the season.
Plants of the Yule season are traditionally the evergreen, holy, ivy, and mistletoe. The mistletoe was seen by the Celtic Druids to be magical aphrodisiac (I stress the magic since mistletoe is lethal to ingest) and a symbol of fertility. It should thus be obvious that any maiden standing beneath a sprig of mistletoe would be expecting more than to be kissed.
However, such albeitly pleasant activities as these fertility rituals where not the focus of the ancient Yule celebrations. It was a time of magic and ritual, but also of games and riddles. Divinations were cast for the coming Spring both through ritual means and through good-natured taunting and wagering. Caroling was popular and the carolers expected rewards, usually in the form of alcohol, from the houses they visited. Alcohol was important as there was much drinking at these celebrations the amount of which was rivaled only by how much people tried to eat. The most traditional solid forming was wild boar (the hunting of which was often a ritual in itself) and the most popular of liquids mulled wines and the wassail cup, whose name comes from an Anglo-Saxon term meaning “Be whole or hale.” ]
Another Germanic tradition was that of the Yule-oath. A hallowed bear, which was considered the emblem of Freya and Frey, was brought forth into the hall and oaths where sworn upon it. This custom is still alive in Sweden although it has begun to loose popularity in this century. The oaths sworn on the bear were considered even stronger in binding than those sworn at other times of the year due to the proximity of the deities. Particularly binding oaths would also be sworn on a horn or cup while drinking at the Yule feast. It is thought that this custom is very likely to be the forefather of the New Year’s Resolution practiced in the modern world.
Yule is a time for hope, joy, and celebration. And like Christmas it has become a time of caring and gift. It is a time to forget differences and come together in peace.
May the deity/concept of your choice bless you this Yule.
Christmas, December 25
Few people on Earth do not know the story of the infant born in a stable one night in Bethlehem. We have all heard of the angels who cried out to shepherds to announce his birth. We have heard of the wise men who came bearing gifts. And we all know who this child grew up to be.
Whether we accept this as historical fact or view it as a myth or fiction, the holiday that commemorates this birth effects all of those who live in the Western world. It is impossible to completely escape the Christmas songs, the lights, the goofy seasonal clothing, the greeting cards, the shopping crazes, the street side Santas, and the television specials without moving out into the middle of the woods and not having any human contact from mid-November to January.
Christmas wasn’t always _the_ holiday of the year and it really hasn’t had an easy time of it. Christmas has had many hurdles to overcome to be such a prevalent holiday and I’m not just talking about Scrooge and the Grinch. Martin Luther openly condemned the holiday for it’s pagan connections and traditions, many of which dated back to ancient Egypt . (For more information read my Yule essay.) John Calvin viewed the holiday to be a sacrilege and the Puritans of New England completely refused to acknowledge that the Christmas holiday existed. However at some points in time, they must have changed there minds about this because the British Parliament under Oliver Cromwell acknowledged it so far as to prohibit it by law in 1654 as did another Puritan government in Boston.
Of course, the first problem that Christmas had was that no one was quite certain when they were supposed to be celebrating it. Tradition held that Jesus had been born on the twenty-fifth, but nobody knew of which month. Sometime in the 200 or 300’s, Rome decided to name the month to be December. This was presumably to coincide with the Roman Mithraic celebrations and with the Germanic and Celtic Yule since at the time no pretense seems to have been made that it was the historical birth date. The Eastern branch of the Church rejected this date because Biblical evidence goes against this date. Why, they asked, would shepherds be tending their flocks by night in the dead of winter? Why tend them by night at all unless it where the lambing season, which would be in the spring?
Of course, since Rome was the center of Christianity, the December date eventually grew in prominence. In 529, Emperor Justinian named Christmas to be a civic holiday. Work and public business not associated with the celebration of the holiday (i.e. cooks, bakers, entertainers, etc.) was strictly forbidden. (Which implies that policing forces where also exempt.) 563 brought a decree from the Council of Braga that fasting on Christmas was prohibited and in 567 the Council of Tours elected the twelve days from December 25th to Epiphany to be sacred. Hence, in the Middle Ages, Christmas was not one day to take off work and spend with your family, but twelve days of celebration. This is, of course, where we get the song, “Twelve Days of Christmas,” from. In some areas of the world, it is still proper to erect your Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and leave it up until a week after New Years for this very reason. In older times, the Twelfth Night brought great festivities and it is certainly a pity that the tradition was lost.
In modern days, Christmas has deviated from being a religious holiday into taking up the aspects of a secular one. A secular holiday open to all faiths (or lack thereof) celebrating good will, charity, and the spirit of giving. And of course, the spirit of shopping and demanding, but all things have their negatives. Hallmark tells us that people have been sending Christmas cards since 1843 and it is now expected that everyone do it. A popular cartoon clearly states, “Today we learned the true meaning of Christmas…. Presents!” and if one fails to produce a gift for Aunt Whosit, whom one never really liked much anyway, the family will completely understand why she gets in such a snit. We sandwich ourselves in the midst of gigantic shopping mobs while the mall speakers declare that now is a time of peace on Earth. Perhaps one day people will look back on us and say, “In the twentieth century, people held great festivals of shopping sprees, uniting together in joyous celebration of gift hunting.” I for am hoping that instead they will say something like, “For some reason, the people of the twentieth century developed the materialistic side of Christmas to the point that it drove most of them into holiday breakdowns. Shortly after the turn of the century it was realized that this was ridiculous and that the negativity was canceling the good will the holiday was meant to promote. So gradually people turned from this materialism and returned to the original goals of peace, harmony, good will, and happiness.” But, then I’ve never been much of a realist.
At any rate,