Ancient Light will be closed over New Year’s Weekend. (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) We’ll return to regular hours on 1/2/17! Depending on WiFi signal there may be no newsletters from now until later on Sunday.
Minus Tide at 7:33 PM of -0.5 feet.
The sky is that soft blue that I love so, with streaks of high cloud. Bits of fog are still rising off the foothills and the are some more solid bits, but nothing that’s being serious about any precipitation until tomorrow night.
Yesterday was pretty busy. We had customers in, one of whom bailed out the door when he realized it’s a witch shop. The rest had some fun prowling through, even if things were a mess. Tempus got the work table cleaned up just in time for when Jay got there and he and I worked on comfrey, getting the leaves out to dry and the roots cut up before they turned into concrete. We’ve only processed 1/2 the stuff, so the rest will have to wait until Monday.
When Tempus took Jay home he worked up in storage for several hours then came back and got a nibble before he headed out for the papers. I pretty much just worked steadily on packing stuff, except during Sewing. I got my pear pattern done, finally, and a sample made.
Tempus picked me up around 3:30 and we finished the paper route together and got home around 6am. We’re down here at the shop getting the day started. We still have to get stuff into the car and then head for Grants Pass. I’m teaching all day tomorrow and then we’ll be back on Sunday, no clue what time, but if it’s during regular hours.
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.
Feast day of St Egwin of Worcester – Egwin was a bishop who died at Evesham, England, in about 717; the story of his life bears some resemblance to that of St Adhelm. He was possibly a member of Mercian royal house, and thus a relative of King Ethelred. Appointed Bishop of Worcester in about 692, he founded a monastery at Evesham. This came about when the Virgin Mary was seen first by a herdsman, Eof, or Eoves (who was shown where to site a monastery), and then by Egwin himself in a meadow by the Avon River. The place name Evesham derives from the herdsman’s name. (It has been suggested by Peter Eaves that it might be that the name Eoves actually was a signifier of the man’s occupation as a swineherd – in Old English, eofor meant ‘boar’.)
Before setting out for Rome to defend himself again false accusations of strictness, he locked his feet in chains and threw the key into the River Avon. In Rome he went straight to the market and bought a salmon caught in the River Tiber. Miraculously, the key was in the belly of the fish. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egwin_of_Evesham and here: http://saints.sqpn.com/sainte94.htm
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
New Moon – The beginning of a new cycle. Keywords for the New phase are: beginning, birth, emergence, projection, clarity. It is the time in a cycle that you are stimulated to take a new action. During this phase the new cycle is being seeded by your vision, inner and outer. Engage in physical activity. Spend time alone. VISUALIZE your goals for the 29.6-day cycle ahead. The new moon is for starting new ventures, new beginnings. Also love and romance, health or job hunting. God/dess aspect: Infancy, the Cosmic Egg, Eyes-Wide-Open – Associated God/dess: Inanna who was Ereshkigal. Phase ends on 12/30 at 10:53am. 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 1/12, at 3:35 AM. Diana’s Bow – On the 3rd day after the new moon you can (weather permitting) see the tiny crescent in the sky, the New Moon holding the Old Moon in her arms. Begin on your goals for the next month. A good time for job interviews or starting a project. Take a concrete step! God/dess aspect: Daughter/Son/Innocence – Associated God/dess: Vesta, Horus. Phase ends on 1/2 at 10:53am.
Can you spot the fingernail-thin crescent Moon in twilight? It’s less than two days old as seen after sunset from North America. Look low in the southwest 30 to 50 minutes after the Sun goes down. The Moon is located about 30° (three fists at arm’s length) to the lower right of shiny Venus.
A similar distance to the Moon’s upper right sparkles Altair.
Saturn is deep in the glow of sunrise.
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 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
F 30 High 1:30 AM 7.0 7:52 AM Rise 8:39 AM 0
~ 30 Low 6:50 AM 3.2 4:46 PM Set 6:33 PM
~ 30 High 12:33 PM 8.3
~ 30 Low 7:33 PM -0.5
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – I listen to my Inner Voice.
~ But I can tell – let truth be told – That love will change in growing old; Though day by day is nought to see, So delicate his motions be. – Robert Bridges (1844-1930) English writer
~ We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. – Anais Nin
~ When April winds Grew soft, the maple burst into a flush Of scarlet flowers. The tulip tree, high up, Opened in airs of June her multiple OF golden chalices to humming birds And silken-wing’d insects of the sky. – William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) US poet and newspaper editor
~ Any assumption about the action of a plant that relies solely on the basis of the action of a constituent should be resisted. It should always be recalled that the action of the whole plant is more than the action of its parts. – Simon Mills
Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society. – Founding Father George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792
Imbolc Magick – Midwinter Feast of Light: Reviving the Magical Foods of Imbolc – JANUARY 20, 2016 / DANIELLE PROHOM OLSON – http://gathervictoria.com/2016/01/20/midwinter-feast-of-light-reviving-the-magical-foods-of-imbolc/
Gather’s Midwinter Celebration, 2014
I love the ancient feast days of the pagan calendar. Celebrating the turn of the “great wheel of the year” through the solstices, equinoxes and cross quarter days, these “holy days” are the origin of most of our modern holidays. And no matter what ancestral culture you descend from, it’s a pretty safe bet that most of your beloved holiday foods were once “holy foods”, ritually prepared and consumed to bring fertility, good harvest and prosperity to the land.
Which is why Jennifer and I are once again busy in the kitchen. We’re preparing to celebrate one the oldest and most magical holy days of the ancient calendar- the upcoming Midwinter Festival of Light. Falling at the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox, it can be dated as far back as the Neolithic when megalithic chambers marked the light of the rising sun on this day.
Celebrated across Ireland, Britain and Scotland and Old Europe, it was known to the Celts as Imbolc, who welcomed the onset of spring in the form of their goddess Brigid (Brigit, Brighid, Bride, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd) who was known as the maiden of the sun. She revived the landscape from its winter slumber so that the agricultural year could begin. And in a time when winter cupboards began to run thin, the first appearance of her swelling buds and green shoots, were a promise of the return of the season of plenty.
I’m fascinated that Brigid is one of the few goddesses whose worship survived the onset of Christianity (although she was absorbed as St. Brigid and the religious festival of Candlemas). Many of her rites and food rituals are still observed today. This is likely due to the fact that the long arm of the invading Romans never managed to colonize Ireland.
Brigid as depicted in a traditional Bridey Doll
All forms of light, heat and illumination were sacred to Brigid so it’s no wonder that Imbolc was marked with bonfires, blazing hearths, lit candles and a feast of sacred foods symbolizing the power of the sun. This was a high time for magic, for ritually burning off and releasing the old year and nourishing the new.
Today we might say these ancient people were practicing a kind of “sympathetic magic”, the belief that through intention, in harmony with the seasonal powers of nature, they could create an energy of blessing for themselves, their families and their community. And their ceremonial rituals of preparing and offering food were no exception.
This was a time when the ewes began to birth, lactating the “new milk” or “Oilmec” which was sacred to the Celts. During Imbolc it was customary to offer this milk to Brigid by pouring it onto the earth to assist the return of fertility to the land. And it was also made into special cheese and baked into breads, cakes, and pies, along with other magical ingredients associated with the sun (such as egg yolks and honey) for the Imbolc feast.
Another centrepiece of Imbolc food was butter because (according to this wonderful compendium of Imbolc folklore and history) the churning of butter with a dash (a staff or plunger) was necessary for the fertilization of the brídeóg (a doll or effigy of Brigid) so central to Imbolc fertility customs. (See more on the Bridey Doll here)
Another important food ritual was the making of the Bonnach Bride or Bannock of Bride (an oatcake made with fruits and nuts). On the eve of St Brìde’s day it was customary for mothers to give out gifts of bannocks, along with cheese or butter to the girls who visited each house with the Brìde’s doll. The Bonnach Bride was also eaten in the fields so that a piece could be thrown over the shoulder to honour Brigid and nourish the land.
Pancakes were eaten because, round and golden, they resembled the sun. This promised an abundant harvest of wheat and saving the last pancake in the cupboard ensured there would be enough flour to last out the year. Wishes were made while flipping a pancake in the air and trinkets were also placed into pancake batter as a way to divine one’s future prospects for the forthcoming year.
Brigid was believed to be a teacher of ‘herbcraft” and so many plants and flowers sacred to her, such as sage, heather, violets, rosemary and blackberry were often featured in Imbolc foods. Each came with their own magical purpose, rosemary and sage for example, brought their powers of purification and cleansing, so ritually important at this time of new beginnings.
These are only a few of the foods and culinary traditions of Imbolc passed down to us through folklore – ones that we’ll be reviving once again at our own Midwinter celebration. As per tradition, we’ll craft Brigid crosses or sun wheels (which are hung on the door to invite Brigid’s blessings into our home) weave floral fertility crowns, and light an altar of burning candles in her honour.
Then we’ll be serving up some Imbolc magic in dishes like sheep cheese, braided breads, herb and honey butters, and creamy tarts and savoury pies. There might even be a pancake “cake”so that we can enjoy a little old fashioned divination!
We’ll also add a touch of the wild by featuring the new fresh greens and herbs that appear in early spring. Wild garlic has been used as an herb with fish and to flavour soups, stews, potato dishes and in salads since the days of the Celts. Similarly wild mustards and winter cress was consumed in the UK in spring pottages and stews. And of course dandelion greens (a plant sacred to Brigid) have been eaten since ancient times.
So please join us as we celebrate some old world food magic at the Midwinter Feast of Lights. We’ll raise a toast to the bride of new beginnings and partake in some of the magical foods of spring.