Lighted House Count – 499
Minus Tide at 9:17 PM of -0.8 feet.
32F, frost and ice all over. The sky is mostly white and grey with a little blue on the other side of the bay and a little gold to the south. We’re not due any precipitation today and this ought to be the coldest of the snap, thank goodness! …and sun is straining to come through the clouds, it looks like.
Yesterday started very hazy from tiredness…. That was only a little over 3 hours of sleep! Jay came in fairly early and was packing herbs along with grinding eggshells for fertilizer. Jesse came by to pick me up and we ran up to the house for a bit. He’s going to go in and snag a bunch of the plants at the house while we still can. I’ve been feeling badly, because my “babies” were just going to be left.
Tempus was picking up and bagging the cedar for more drying. It sat for 3 days with a fan, getting stirred, so it should dry out the rest of the way pretty well. Jay and I re-set the Mab’s display and he learned about making eggshell fertilizer (and what plants like it…) and then went back to bag and header. Eventually he and Tempus headed up to the house to harvest the comfrey and dig the blueberry plant.
I stayed at the shop and finished a biscornu for a display sample and then get to working on the scissor bobs again. I spent awhile cleaning out some bottles and sorting some pieces that need scrubbed, then sanded and a few are going to actually need to be finished before use. Tempus got back at 5:30 and we scrabbled things together to go home to sleep.
Today we’re in a few minutes early and actually have the furnace going, because it’s *chilly* in here! There’s ice all over, but it’s above freezing, so that will change pretty soon. Herbs at 11am and Sewing at 3pm.
A photo by Ken Gagne from 12/6/16 of “Mattie”.
Today’s Plant is Skunk Cabbage, Lysichitum americanum. This is one of the signs of spring here on the coast, where every drainage ditch or marshy field has it’s glow of brilliant yellow and bright, deep green. It is a famine food with a spicy or peppery taste, but contains calcium oxalate, which can upset the insides and even cause death if you get too much. Bears eat it after hibernation to get their intestines working again. It is used to cure sores and swellings, particularly after winter, when starvation conditions make these things immensely worse. However the typical use of the local peoples of this herb was to line baskets with the huge leaves to keep things from bruising or dropping through and to wrap around foods when baked under a fire, where it imparts a distinctive taste to the crust. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia references Eastern Skunk Cabbage, which is a different plant with a red flower, but the magicks are the same, Symplocarpus foetidus – Feminine, Saturn, Water – Carry when you have legal troubles, or keep in the drawer with the filed papers. Wrap in a bay leaf on a Sunday to draw good fortune. More here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysichitum_americanum and on Eastern Skunk Cabbage here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symplocarpus_foetidus
“Io, Saturnalia” is a cry that would have been heard around the Roman Empire at this time. The days wrapped around the Winter Solstice were a time for feasting and fun, gambling and flipping societal roles on their heads, masters and servants changing places just to be silly. The custom of cookies, oranges, nuts, sweets and small toys hung on evergreen branches (called strenae) was part of this, too. More here: http://wildhunt.org/2012/12/io-saturnalia-2.html and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia Btw, “Io!” is pronounced like the modern “Yo!” “Gangsta” culture’s been around that long? <grin>
“Meanwhile the head of the slave household, whose responsibility it was to offer sacrifice to the Penates, to manage the provisions and to direct the activities of the domestic servants, came to tell his master that the household had feasted according to the annual ritual custom. For at this festival, in houses that keep to proper religious usage, they first of all honor the slaves with a dinner prepared as if for the master; and only afterwards is the table set again for the head of the household. So, then, the chief slave came in to announce the time of dinner and to summon the masters to the table.” —Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.24.22–23
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
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 12/28 at 10:53pm. 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. – Associated God/dess: Hera/Hero, Cybele, Zeus the Conqueror, Mars/Martius, Anansi, Prometheus. Phase ends at the Quarter on 12/20 at 5:56pm.
The Venus-Mars-Fomalhaut triangle continues to shrink in the twilight. . .
The little Pleiades cluster shines high in the southeast after dinnertime, no bigger than your fingertip at arm’s length. How many Pleiads can you count with your unaided eye? Take your time and keep looking. Most people can count 6. With sharp eyesight, a good dark sky, and a steady gaze, you may be able to make out 8 or 9.
The waning gibbous Moon is nicely up in the east after about 10 p.m. The Moon at this phase looks weird to many of us, because we’re usually not out late enough to see it in a dark sky. Look about 7° lower left of it tonight for Regulus in Leo, a very early harbinger of the coming spring.
Mercury is fading and disappearing from evening view. Early in the week, you can still try for it in twilight about 26° to the lower right of Venus.
Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Celtic Tree Month of Ruis/Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22
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
©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
Sa 17 High 3:05 AM 7.7 7:47 AM Set 10:41 AM 89
~ 17 Low 8:40 AM 2.7 4:38 PM Rise 9:16 PM
~ 17 High 2:23 PM 8.4
~ 17 Low 9:17 PM -0.8
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Don’t ask for an easier life; ask to be a stronger person.
~ I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different. – Kurt Vonnegut
~ You may not be able to single handedly blow away the “smoke” people often create to obscure the truth, but you can light the way through the murk for people who have eyes to see. – Kerr Cuhulain
~ America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation. – Dr. Lawrence J. Peter (1919-1990) US pop psychologist, writer
~ Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. – Napoleon Bonaparte
No postmortems, please.
The world is immortal.
The world renews itself.
What about poems and songs —
Do they perish?
Maybe they only
Maybe they go underground
To gather some other
Knowledge and come back
In another form:
New words, a new melody,
The same beloved,
Singing the same song. – Gregory Orr – (Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved)
Winter Solstice tidbit
Yule, the Winter Solstice by Gordon Ireland
Yule, pronounced “you all”, or jol is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Yule, in Old Norse means, Wheel. As the Wheel of the Year is significant in pagan culture, it is important to note that Yule means wheel. Which, if having read the previous article, Samhain, in the 99, October issue of The Seeker, it was noted that Samhain, may not have been the Celtic New Year, but rather Yule. Yule, starting with the birth of God, and a celebration of beginning of longer days, makes sense as the beginning of the New Year.
Yule, of all the Sabbats, is the one that causes the most confusion among those who follow the pagan path. Specifically those who are new to the path and are breaking away from their Christian faith and way of life. Yule, is, has, and always will be a pagan holiday. With that said, I guess I need to further elaborate. Yule has many pagan elements and more pagan history in its foundation and pagan rites than Christian ones. Yule has been celebrated since the beginning of time in the Northern Hemisphere. Many of the cultures located in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate Yule, all with a common theme, the birth of a God. Most of these Gods are associated with the Sun or with death and re-birth. Yule, like Christmas, celebrates the birth of God. Several pagan Gods, have Yule as their birth date: Ra, Cronos, Lugh, Mirthra, and Odin. This list is my no means complete, but does give you a general idea, that more than one God has celebrated his birthday during Yule. However, the Roman God Mithra plays a most important role in the preservation of Yule, and it’s other name, Christmas.
Approximately in the year 312, Constantine, Emperor of Rome, declared Rome Christian. This, however, was not done because Constantine was Christian, he was not baptized until 337, it was more do to the fact that Rome was declining, and Constantine saw in Christian religion what Rome lacked: moral fortitude and the ability to self organize. To attempt to persuade his fellow pagan Romans, he choose Mithra’s birthday (Yule) to be the same as Jesus’, and from there just let human nature take its course. It didn’t hurt that after many hard fought battles, of which he won, had all armor and shields painted with Christian symbols, and that he told the populace that the Christian God granted Rome these Victories. In Rome, whoever controlled the Army controlled Rome.
This raises the question of confusion again. Did the Christians steal Yule, or did they preserve it? It is important to understand that while historical facts and data are important, they are not necessary to enjoy the Sabbat. If one believes that Yule is a celebration of the coming of light, warmth, and the birth of (insert god of your choice) that whether we call it Christmas, Yule or the Winter Solstice is unimportant. Yule is the one Sabbat that allows us to celebrate with other faiths without compromising our own.
There are many pagan/pre-Christian customs that are still part of the Christmas celebration. The giving of gifts was first founded in Rome to celebrate Saturn’s Festival. The use of jingle balls is an Old Norse custom to drive away the evil spirits, in a time and place where night was longer than day. Mistole is an old Celtic custom and is commonly part of every household during Yule. The wreath, a complete circle representing the Wheel of the year, is also still a custom.
This brings us to the Yule tree. The tree of choice is the Fir, Evergreen or Pine. The reason these particular trees where probably use is because they where the only trees considered to be still alive, eternal. According to McCoy, these trees where sacred among the Druids, as they were the trees that didn’t die. The Druids would decorate the trees with images that represented their wants and desires for the coming year.
It should be noted that while Yule is considered a primarily Christian Holiday, it does not do anyone any good declaring its theft. Rather we should be thankful that they have done such a great job of preserving it for us, and relish the fact that you know, and understand, why they decorate the tree, give gifts, and use bells. It might make Yule at the homestead easier on those families of mixed religion philosophies. So when someone wishes you a “Merry Christmas”, don’t tell them I am not a Christian but rather say, “Merry Yule to you also”, and know that Jesus wasn’t a bad guy, but rather in a very elite group of Gods, who all celebrate their Birthday on Yule.
A Yule ritual of course would involve a Yule log. As stated earlier, Yule logs are best made of Pine, Fir or Evergreen. The custom of lighting a Yule log is the classic representation of the birth of a God from the fire of the Mother.
Tools Needed: Boline, Chalk, Myrrh oil, Sea Salt, Wine, One candle-green, and Wood matches.
First, one needs to say a prayer of thanks to the spirit of the tree before cutting it down. (It is always best if you can cut down your own tree if possible.) After you cut down the tree, cut approximately 1-2 feet for the log. From the bottom, leave the rest intact to decorate.
Depending upon which ritual tools you have, you can either take a piece of chalk, and draw the symbol of the sun on the log. Or take you Boline and carve a representation of the sun.
Place the log in your fire place or burning pit. Open a circle around it, calling the four corners:
South (fire) rub the oil onto the carved sun figure, saying: “The Wheel has turned full circle, we call you back to warm us.”
West, (water) pour the wine on the log, saying: “You, who have died, are now reborn.”
North (earth) sprinkling salt over the log, saying: “Since time began we celebrated the birth of God. The darkest of nights gives birth to the new sun.”
East (air) taking the wood match, light the fire, saying: “I light this fire in honor of all. Thank you God for the light you will bring us. Thank you mother for the warmth of you son. Live within us.”
“So mote it be!”
Close circle. This ceremony can be conducted using candles, either by themselves of by placing the candles on top of the Yule log. Though the latter can be a fire hazard and the usual precautions should be taken.
EASY YULE LOG
1 Package commercial cake mix, preferably chocolate
2 cans (24 oz.) pre-made frosting in a dark brown color
Several tubes of cake decoration frosting in green, red and white
Preheat over to 300 F. Grease and line a jellyroll pan with waxed paper. Mix the cake according to package instructions and pour a thin layer-no more than 1/4 inch thick-into the prepared jelly roll pan. Bake the cake until just underdone. If you can’t tell by looking then use the knife test. When the knife emerges not quite clean from the center or the cake, and when a light touch does not bounce back easily, it need to come out. Check the cake a 7 minutes and then every 2 minutes after that. Do NOT over-bake or the dough will be dry and hard to work with. Remove the cake from the over and let it cool slightly. The remove the cake from the pan by lifting out the wax paper. With the dark frosting, coat the top of the cake with toothpicks and let it cook for about 5 more minutes. Cool the cake for 30 minutes, and then frost it with the dark brown icing. Next, take the tubes of colored cake decorating frosting and make holly and mistletoe over the top. You can also use artificial greenery until it is time to eat the cake.
To finish, take a toothpick and etch lines into the frosting to resemble tree back. (McCoy, page 70)
SPICED FRUIT NOG
12 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups apricot nectar
2 cups half-and half
1 (12-ounce) can evaporate
2 teaspoon rum flavoring
Grated orange rind (optional)
Combine egg yolks, sugar, and spices in top of a double broiler. Place over simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, until mixture reaches 165. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Combine yolk mixture, egg whites, apricot nectar, half-and half, evaporated mile, and rum flavoring: beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Pour chilled not into serving cups and sprinkle with orange rind, if desired. Yield: 2 quarts
LEG OF LAMB
1 Leg of Lamb
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons flour
Put the leg of lamb on a grid in a roasting pan and pour (2 pints) of water into the pan. You can also put the Leg of Lamb in a roasting bag without a liquid. Place into oven. Heat over to 150-175 de. C (280-325 de. F) And roast for one hour for each kilo (2 lb.) of weight. Baste occasionally with the stock from the roasting pan. For the last half-hour of cooking switch on the grill, (US broiler) and grill the Leg of Lamb on both sides. If you use a roasting bag, remove it from the bag for the last half-hour and grill in the same way.
Strain the stock into a casserole and skim off the fat. Thicken the sauce with flour, or your favorite thickening, season and color with gravy browning. Add the cream and remove from the heat. Serve with your choice of vegetables and caramel potatoes.
Bord, Janet & Colin, Earth Rites, Fertility Practices in Pre-Industrial Britain, Granada, London, 1982.
Buckland, Raymond, Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN 1997
Carr-Gomm, Philip The Elements of the Druid Tradition Element Books, Rockport, MA 1998
Cunningham, Scott, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN 1998
Danaher, Kevin, The Year in Ireland, The Mercier Press, Cork, 1972.
Henes, Donna, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles & Celebrations, A Pedigree Book. NY, NY 1996
Hole, Christina, Witchcraft in England, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa NJ, 1977.
Holleston, T.W., Celtic Mythology: History, Legends and Deities, NewCastle Publishing, Van Nuys, CA 1997
MacCana, Proinsias, Celtic Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd., London, 1970.
MacCulloch, J.A. Religion of the Ancient Celts, Folcroft Library Editions, London, 1977.
Matthews, John, The Druid Source Book: Complied and Edited by John Matthews, A Blanford Book, London, England, 1997
Matthews, John and Caitlin Matthews, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom, Element Books Rockport, MA 1994
McCoy, Edain, The Sabbats: A New Approach to living the Old Ways, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN 1998
Nichols, Ross, The Book of Druidry, Harper-Collins, London, England 1992 Powell, T.G.E. The Celts, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1980.
Ravenwolf, Silver, To Ride a Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN 1997
Sharkey, John, Celtic Mysteries, the Ancient Religion, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1979.
Squire, Charles, Celtic Myth, Legend, Poetry, and Romance, Newcastle Publishing Co., Van Nuys, CA, 1975.
Starhawk, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient religion of the Great Goddess, Harper Collins Publishers, SanFrancisco, CA 1989
Stewart, R.J. Celtic Myths, Celtic Legends, Blanford Books, London, England, 1997
Williamson, John, The Oak King, The Holly King, and the Unicorn, Harper & Row, New York, 1986.
Wood-Martin, W.G., Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland, Kennikat Press, Port Washington, NY, 1902.
Article by Gordon Ireland
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Earth Spirit Emporium: Books & Stuff
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“The Holly and the Ivy”: a Re-Heathenized Traditional Yuletide Carol[credits]
Note: this song, in its Christianized form, was sung at the Lexington Unitarian Universalist Church in December 1999. The following comments were printed on the songsheet: “In early times, when reference was made in song or verse to ‘holly’ or ‘ivy,’ the meaning was symbolic: holly stood for the male, ivy for the female.” This commentary, plus the reference to the Sun and deer, made it clear to me that the song should be Re-Heathenized as a Frey and Freya song appropriate for the Winter Solstice. Please see my article on the Rune Elhaz linked from “Rune-of-the-Month Club” on my main page for more information. If anyone knows of other verses, please e-mail them to me. Those interested in publishing or recording it, please contact me. Thanks!
“The Holly and the Ivy, when they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood, the Holly bears the crown:
The rising of the sun and the running of the deer,
The toasting of Njordh’s Children, the Boar’s Head on the plate.”
Further notes: Njordh is the father of Frey and Freya, both of whom ride a golden boar. The line replaced in the Re-Heathenization process was the last one, which in the Christian version went: “The playing of the merry organ, sweet singing in the choir.” Personally, while I have nothing against organs and choirs; I’d much prefer the “Lord” and “Lady” (the meanings of “Frey” and “Freya”) and the Boar’s Head!