Lighted House Count – 85
The light this morning is different from the light of summer. Everywhere that the sunshine doesn’t hit directly has a blue tinge, as though a blue filter was added. The places where the sun shines are golden. The sky is the brightest blue! White puffy cloud are over the Coast Range and a few over the ocean and some low tatters of fog are still floating by. I could see my breath this morning. It was only 38F at the apartment, although the thermometer on the power company, the one that reads oddly when the sun is out, says that it’s 46F. We got 3/4 of an inch of rain before it quit last night. The stars were out for a little as we got home. The snow is really building up in the mountains. Little Meadows is reporting 33 inches. We’re getting a break in the rain today and into tomorrow, but another low is pushing through on Thursday.
I also had a pleasant surprise that WDW#2 (I’ve been working on #4) had most of the revised edition finished. It was in final draft form, so I did a little editing and that one will be release on Saturday, too!
Jay was in. He’s going to come by and volunteer for some experience, so I need to set things up for him. The only thing that I had yesterday was to de-bark some branches, but I have House Blessings to set up today.
The car folks are supposed to come get the van. Tempus has done everything he knows how to do, but it still won’t fire. He set that up yesterday and just headed over there to find out why they haven’t gotten it, yet.
Tempus is going shopping later. We’re out of a bunch of things and then he has the paper route. I’m going with him, so I’ll be at the shop really late tonight.
I have a bunch of SCA paperwork to do this morning and then get onto some of the herbal things that have been waiting. Well, gotta get to it!
Today’s Plant is Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum. Best known as “pie plant” or in strawberry and rhubarb jam this is a wonderful and nutritious stalk vegetable, that has been legally counted as a fruit, because of its uses. The roots have been used as a laxative for thousands of years, and the stalks, while strong-tasting when uncooked and with no sugar are delicious in sauces, pies, jellies, juice and so on, but the leaves are poisonous. It is very easy to grow since the roots will over-winter, even if the stalks die back and it’s one of the earliest vegetables to be harvestable. – Feminine, Venus Earth. – Wear a dried piece to help with stomach or gut pain and general protection. The pie served to a mate helps to maintain fidelity and is an aphrodisiac, especially when combined with strawberries.
If you ever wondered why Old Nick and St. Nick…. The bishop of Myra destroyed the temple of Artemis whose feast day was Dec. 6. He supposedly punched Arius in the face during the Council of Nicea**. Not the nicest guy… and quite a number of the Continental folklore of The Black Gentleman resembles the stories of this bishop. The Krampus, Cert or SwartPiet has taken on some of the punishment aspects of this guy. The orange in the toe of the stocking is the old Sun-symbol from the strenae, the green, gift-bearing branches of old Rome. Candy canes are the bishop’s crozier or shepherd’s crook.
**The “Arian Heresy” that Nicolas objected to is the contention that Jesus was created by God, not the same as God. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arian_heresy
The shop is closed on Tuesday/Wednesday. 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.
In late twilight, the Moon, Mars, and Venus form a long diagonal line in the south to southwest. Well below the Moon twinkles Fomalhaut.
Jupiter’s non-Red-Spot side, imaged by Christopher Go on November 27th,. 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.
Mars (magnitude +0.6, in Capricornus) still glows in the south-southwest at dusk, 20° or 25° upper left of Venus. In a telescope it’s a tiny orange blob only 6 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 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
Tu 6 High 5:27 AM 6.9 7:38 AM Rise 12:28 PM 33
~ 6 Low 11:19 AM 3.3 4:37 PM Set 11:50 PM
~ 6 High 4:42 PM 6.4
~ 6 Low 11:28 PM 1.0
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Things that happen in life affect your energy. You can’t stop things from happening, but you can somewhat influence and determine your response to what happens. Your actions throughout life continuously affect your chi (life energy). These impressions become perpetual conditioning factors on your personal flow of chi.
~ No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind. – Napoleon Hill
~ People who make no mistakes lack boldness and the spirit of adventure. They are the brakes on the wheels of progress. – Dale E. Turner
~ The only thing worthy of you is compassion – invincible, limitless, unconditional. Hatred will never let you face the beast in man. — Thich Nhat Hanh
~ The creator of the new composition in the arts is an outlaw until he is a classic. – Gertrude Stein, U.S. writer
My parents taught me that I could do anything I wanted and I have always believed it to be true.. – Pete Goss (1961-) British Sailor and Entrepreneur(from his book ‘Close to the Wind’. Goss successfully sailed around the world – alone.)
Celebrating the Winter Solstice
When I decided to walk a pagan path some years ago, I still enjoyed decorating for the season. Instead of celebrating Christmas, I began to celebrate Yule or the Winter Solstice.
The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year. In years past, when people were more in tune with the turn of the seasons, particularly in the Nordic countries, the Winter Solstice was a time of celebration that the days would once again become longer and the return of the warm season would come again.
In modern times, Yule has been attached to Christmas, which is a celebration of the birth of Jesus (except in the Southern Hemisphere where Christmas is in July and the winter solstice is in the winter, which I find to be rather odd). Finding decorations that did not have a Christmas theme became quite a challenge. It became a quest for me to find ornaments that reflected the spirit of the Yule season, not the religious celebration of Jesus’ birth.
I’ve searched the web to find those elusive Yule decorations and will attempt to explain the reasons behind some of the customs of the season.
A Symbolic Mythology
Paganism, including Wicca, is based on a symbolic mythology. The stories of the gods and goddesses from legends of old are aspects of the One Spirit, stories which humans developed to explain forces that to them were often unexplainable. The goddess giving birth to the Sun at Yule symbolizes the cycle of life, both in nature and in the lives of humans. As the earth repeats the process of death to rebirth and renewal, so do people pass through the seasons of life.
Joseph Campbell said, “Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artists of one kind or another.” He also stated, “Every myth is psychologically symbolic. Its narratives and images are to be read, therefore, not literally, but as metaphors.”
The symbols associated with the Winter Solstice/Yule are therefore important to our inner consciousness, to keep us in touch with our spiritual selves. At some deep level, as we gaze and think upon these tangible representations of older traditions, we re-connect with a world filled with mystery, wonder, and infinite possibilities.
Tradition of the Yule Log
There are many stories of the history of the Yule Log, depending on what culture is being discussed. We do know that in the Nordic countries, the people would drag in a big log to celebrate the Winter Solstice. The fire symbolized the return of the light as the wheel turned from darkness of winter to the light of spring. A piece of the unburned part of the previous year’s Yule log was used to kindle the new flame. It would then be allowed to burn or smolder for 12 days and was believed to bring prosperity and protection to the household.
Many pagans today continue this tradition and if they don’t have a fireplace, they may use a smaller log with holes to hold three candles.
Mistletoe was considered sacred by the Druids, particularly when found on oak trees. It was considered to be the soul of the tree. It was cut using a golden sickle and caught in a white cloth, as it could not touch the ground. They used it as a remedy for many diseases.
The custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from Scandinavian myth. The god Baldur, son of Frigga who was the goddess of Love, was killed by a spear of mistletoe. Frigga wept for her son and her tears turned to white berries on the mistletoe plant. Baldur is restored to life and Frigga, in her joy, decreed that the plant was sacred and a symbol of peace and love. Anyone who passed under it would receive a kiss.
There are many folklore beliefs surrounding holly. It has long been associated with midwinter because of its evergreen leaves. It was consider to provide strong protection; wearing a sprig of holly could protect one from mischievous fairy folk.
Bringing holly leaves into the home brings luck by allowing the friendly fairies a place to play. One should never cut a holly branch without asking the tree for permission, and then an already broken branch should be gently removed.
Holly is a symbol to remind us that even though the ground is barren at midwinter, the seasons turn and soon the earth will be green and fertile once again.
You Can Never Have Too Many Fairies
As a former fairy collector, I always said “you can never have too many fairies.” Of course that changed when we transitioned to living in an RV full time. But I still find fairies beautiful.
Why Put Antlers On a Tree?
Antlers can symbolize several things. If your animal totem is a deer or an elk, you might want to connect with its energy with an antler ornament.
Antlers are also symbolic of the Horned God, the Forest Lord (no it is not the devil, don’t worry). The Horned God is an archetype of nature and of the hunt and is the male consort of the Goddess. He gives of his energy so all may have life. The Horned God is reborn into this life at the Winter Solstice. It is difficult to describe all of his aspects in such a small space, so I shall let pagan author, Starhawk, describe him for me.
“For men, the Horned God is the image of inner power and potency that is more than merely sexual. He is the undivided Self, in which mind is not split from body, nor spirit from flesh. United, both can function at the peak of emotional and creative power….
The God embodies the power of feeling. His animal horns represent the truth of undisguised emotion, which seeks to please no master. He is untamed. But untamed feelings are very different from enacted violence. The God is the life force, the life cycle. He remains within the orbit of the Goddess; his power is always directed towards the service of life. (Starhawk, THE SPIRAL DANCE)
You can add decorations to your Yule tree as visualizations for dreams or goals you wish to manifest in the next year.
Prosperity can mean many different things; wealth, happiness or good fortune. A tree is prosperous when it is full of leaves, bearing fruit or providing shelter. The tree of prosperity reminds us that not only wealth is the path to prosperity. By finding our true happiness or helping others, we may grow and prosper.
Bring Back the Light
The Winter Solstice is all about bringing back the light to a darkened world. The sun, which appeared to ancient people as being dead, is reborn to return again to warm the earth. Pagans love to celebrate with lights, both indoors and out. My husband is the king of lights in this house, so I asked him to pick out what he would choose for a Yule tree.
He chose white lights because white is the combination of all the colors of light and appears often in nature. In symbolic terms, white embodies peace, tranquility, purification; truth, spirituality, and sincerity.
Bring Back the Light by Gypsy
This is a classic pagan Winter Solstice song and one of my favorites. Sing along if you like….here are a few of the words.
Bring back the Light
Light never ending
Through dark of night
this call we are sending
With all our might
Bring back the Light
Bring back the Light
Our hearts are open
On Solstice night
We are invoking
The Lord of Light
Bring back the Light
Many pagans feel a connection with their animal totems. One of mine is the wolf. Place a symbol on your Yule tree to help draw the energy of your personal animal totem.
Joulupukki and JulTomte, Who are they?
Because of my Finnish ancestry, I have become interested the the Finnish version of Santa, Joulupukki. The Joulupukki translated means “Yule Goat” The traditions have evolved over the years, as the Yule Goat used to be a ugly creature that scared children and demanded gifts. Today he resembles the American Santa Claus although he lives in Lapland and his reindeer don’t fly.
A tomte (or tontuu in Finnish) is a Scandinavian mythical creature, much like a brownie. He is said to be a small elderly man with a full beard and dressed as a farmer. The tomte was originally believed to be the soul of the original owner of the farm. He would take care of the farm and its animals, but could also be easily angered. Thus the custom of putting out a bowl of porridge for the tomte is a form of ancestral worship.
More Ideas for Yule Decorations
More ideas about trimming a pagan tree on the blog One Witch’s Way
“May all things Well and good Come to you and yours at this season of Yule.”
This is the greeting that my husband and I have been using to both greet and say farewell to folks. The word “welcome” comes from Old English wilcuma, meaning literally “well + come” (“May you have fared well in coming here!”).
I hope you have enjoyed looking at some alternative decorations for your Yule tree and learned more about their symbolism. I would also enjoy hearing about any other customs or traditions, or special ornaments you use on your tree. Please feel free to comment.
Silliness – More Vague Thoughts
If you want the world to beat a path to your door, just try to take a nap on a Saturday afternoon.
Measure wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.
When your dreams turn to dust, it’s time to vacuum.
Is your holier side your altar ego?
I need someone to refresh my memory. How many cars are allowed through an intersection after the light turns red? Is it three or five?
What’s dumber, expecting educators to be entertaining, or expecting entertainment to be educational?