Lighted House Count – 593
Ancient Light’s Holiday Hours!
Open Christmas Eve from 10am to 7pm, Saturday 12/24
Closed Christmas Day, Sunday 12/25
Open Monday 12/26, Wednesday 12/28 and Thursday 12/29 from 11-5pm (Regular Hours)
Closed Friday, Saturday, Sunday 12/30-1/1
Back to regular hours on 1/2/17!
The sky is blue with a lot of cloud over the ocean. The light has that silvery quality of this time of year and there were beautiful frost-feathers on the windshield of the car. By the time Tempus got in they were melting. It’s only 38F and obviously was colder, earlier, but the sky is clear, the sun is shining and it’s just beautiful outside. We got 4/10’s of an inch of rain yesterday and 2/10 this morning, early, but that’s all gone. No wind, hardly even any down on the beach, but there’s still a Small Craft Advisory going and no rain in the forecast until Monday, later in the day!
Yesterday…ye gods I was sleepy! I fell asleep in the car on the way to the shop, but when I went to curl up I got about an 1/2 hour and the Tempus and a customer were loud enough that I woke. Tempus ran around for a bit, then went and got the new display table and did some shopping. I mostly spend the day trying to get all the things together for the evening and cleaning up.
We did have some customers in, but they were far enough between that I could be entertained by the seagulls and crows in the parking lot that were eating some leftover popcorn. Aradian stopped by for a visit and that meant that right up until I was supposed to be setting up for the Sabbat we were talking and catching up. That was great to see him. The Sabbat went well, even if Tempus and I didn’t get a chance to read through it ahead of time. We had a great group and sat around afterwards, visiting.
Today we opened at 10am and we’ve already had a number of people in, shopping. I’m still really cold, although the furnace is finally making a dent in the coolth. Herbs at 11am, we’re going to be working on comfrey. Sewing at 3pm. Happy Holidays!
I already have my Santa Tracker going, do you? 🙂 https://santatracker.google.com/#tracker
Today’s plant is the Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus. My kids used to call this “popcorn plant”, which is a name I’ve heard from others, too. The white berries are used as a food, a soap and for hand lotion. It doesn’t have any magickal uses that I know of, although the folk magicks for this bush amongst the Slavs say that it is “proper” as an offering to statues of the gods. Also it should have the properties of purification and healing, just going by the medicinal uses and the fact that it will re-grow from the root and is planted as riparian erosion control and around abandoned mines and other such places. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphoricarpos_albus
Today is a celebration of the Yule Log and the customs of this time of the year! Traditionally the Yule Log burns for the 12 days of Christmas, lighted tonight. Here’s more on the Yule Log. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule_log …and here is a page about the Yule Log TV program http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule_Log_%28TV_program%29 There are even links at the end to get you to the webcast!
Kolada – Studen (December) 24-31 – This is one of the most important pagan Slavic holidays. At the time of the Winter Solstice, we sing songs for Lada and of praise to Perun who are prisoner now under frost and snow. During these days we celebrate our Gods by drinking a toast to them and burning bonfires deep within the forest. We wend our way singing from house to house, bemasked and dancing as we go. Under the aegis of the New Year, we sacrifice a Goat:
Behind a large mountain
Beside a swift river
Within a dark forest,
Big bonfires are lit.
On benches around the fire,
These benches made of oak,
Men of reknown on these benches seated
Famous men, beautiful ladies
Sing Kolada’s songs.
The Old Man in the center, seated
Grinds his knife of iron;
Boiling hot, boiling
With the goat nearby…
The time of sacrifice for the goat. – (From an ancient song)
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. 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 at the Dark on 12/26 at 10:53am.
The waning Moon points the way to Saturn and Antares very low in the dawn.
This is the time of year when M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, passes your zenith soon after dark (if you live in the mid-northern latitudes. It goes precisely across your zenith if you live at latitude 41° north.) Binoculars show M31 just off the upraised knee of the Andromeda constellation’s stick figure; see the big evening constellation chart in the center of Sky & Telescope.
Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Pisces) and Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) are well up in the southern sky right after dark. Info and finder charts.
Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
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,
©2016 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of 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
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Sa 24 Low 2:32 AM 2.9 7:51 AM Rise 3:23 AM 24
~ 24 High 8:49 AM 7.8 4:42 PM Set 2:11 PM
~ 24 Low 3:54 PM 1.1
~ 24 High 10:05 PM 5.8
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
~ Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill
~ May your heart be an altar, from which the bright flame of unending thanksgiving ascends to Heaven.- St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, Embrace the World (via Danielle LaPorte, via T. thorn Coyle)
~ To dare is to have faith in yourself and your abilities, to let go of your inhibitions and doubts. Be glorious! – Kerr Cuhulain
~ The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart. – Proverbs 17:3, New International Version
The holly’s up, the house is all bright.
The tree is ready, the candles alight.
–Carl August Peter Cornelius (1824–74)
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: email@example.com