The sky is as blank and grey as my mind feels and my head is all goopy. I just fell asleep at my desk *again*, and I’m the one who actually slept last night. Tempus is making coffee. 49F and windy at times. The wind is at 6 in town, but running at 15-17mph on the beaches and gusting to more than that. It looks like the rain is mostly over for the day and we may get another break over Wednesday/Thursday again.
Yesterday was long, but had just three things in it. One was checking in and shelving a bunch of books, mostly astrology and healing. The 2ne was the “flurry” when we had a bunch of customers in plus a couple who needed a reading. Tempus had run into Newport for his check, so they waited around for him to get back while I was waiting on other customers.
The third thing was class in the evening. We were on the “What is Magick” section, but only 1/2 of them were there. It still went really well and when Tempus got the call that the papers were coming out, we closed up and headed out.
He had a fairly quick run last night. I read for a bit, then went to sleep, but woke in the middle of the night again, so did a little pattern drawing before I went back to sleep. He got in around 6:30 and crashed and then we slept later than we had planned this morning.
…but we’re here and open and coffee is on its way, so it’ll be a good day!
Shop Small this year, if you can. Places like Ancient Light and other Mom and Pop’s, single artists and family farms can really use your business and the proceeds circle back into your own community!
A mandala for the season.
Today’s Plant is Stinging Nettle, Urtica Dioica, otherwise known as, “Ouch!!!!” Grab a handful of this plant and you will know it. There are lots of hollow “hairs” on this plant that act like tiny hypodermics, injecting histamine, among other stinging chemicals. There’s even a name for a type of allergic reaction called, “nettlerash”, that picked up the word from the characteristic pattern of itchy bumps. This plant has been used for food, medicine, fabric and magic for millennia. It is used as a pot herb and is one of the vegetables with the highest protein content. If you soak it in water or cook it the stings go away. In medicine it has been used to treat arthritis, dandruff and lack of milk in a nursing mother. The fibers are suitable for making fabric and a related species has been used for over 6000 years to make a silky-looking textile called ramie, even though the processing takes a lot of effort. They are even used to make beer and cordials! – Masculine, Mars, Fire, Thor – Exorcism – for getting rid of nasty-minded Fae, plant nettles around your garden and barn. Protection – nettles in a pocket will keep a person safe from lightning and bestow courage. Nettles kept in a room will protect anyone inside. Lust – Nettles are reputed to enhance fertility in men and nettle tea is an aphrodisiac. Healing – fever can be dispelled by plucking a nettle up by its roots while reciting the names of the sick person and family. …and shirts made of fabric spun and woven from nettles feature as a girl’s quest tale in the Twelve Wild Swans.
Windmill Blessing Day, Holland – “Many millers would bless their windmills by throwing a handful of flour into the wind as an offering to the mischievous windmill spirits.” I’ve *never* run into this festival anywhere except for Wilson’s Almanac, and the link he gives as a source is long since dead, but it’s a cool idea!
The shop is open 11-7pm Thursday through Monday, although we’re there a lot later most nights. Holiday Hours. We will be closing early on 12/24 and 12/31 and closed 12/25 and 1/1. 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 12/2 at 1:21pm. 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 11/26 at 9:03am.
The bowl of the Little Dipper >>> is descending the northern sky in the evening at this time of year, left or lower left of <<< Polaris. By about 11 p.m. now, it hangs straight down below Polaris.
Mercury and Saturn (magnitudes –0.4 and +0.5, respectively) are very low in the sunset afterglow — Mercury especially. Scan for them with binoculars in the southwest, no more than 20 or 30 minutes after sunset if you want a chance of catching Mercury.
Goddess Month of Cailleach/Samhain runs from 10/31 – 11/27
Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Celtic tree month of Ruis/Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22
Runic half month of Naudhiz/ Nyd /Nauthiz – November 13- 27 – Need-fire – Time to prepare for winter. Consciousness is the Necessity. “That which does not destroy me makes me stronger.” – Nietzsche 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
©2017 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic tree month of 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).
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Sa 25 High 5:28 AM 6.4 7:26 AM Rise 12:41 PM 31
~ 25 Low 11:03 AM 3.7 4:41 PM Set 11:11 PM
~ 25 High 4:20 PM 6.3
~ 25 Low 11:23 PM 1.1
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Treat each day as a new journey.
~ We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.- Omar Bradley
~ Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character. – Albert Einstein
~ What matters is not the idea a man holds, but the depth at which he holds it. – Ezra Pound
~ What you see as a loss can become a journey towards sacred discovery. – SanDanYi
Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. – Anonymous (often attributed to Leonardo da Vinci)
The period of Advent, which means “to come,” is the period of waiting for the birth of Christ at Christmas, or for the birth of the sun at Winter Solstice. It is a period of anticipation, of looking forward.
The main quality of Advent is waiting. If it were a tarot card, it would be the Seven of Pentacles. At this time we are unable to do anything but wait through the growing darkness until we can celebrate the return of the Light. Most Advent customs have to do with marking time: lighting one candle on the Advent wreath each week, opening another door on the Advent calendar. These markers show us in a concrete way how much time has passed and how much time is left before the event we so joyously anticipate.
For many years I’ve been celebrating Advent with friends, using suggestions from The Advent Sunwheel by Helen Farias. We gather around the Advent wreath about the time dark falls on Sunday. We spend a few minutes creating a circle, then light the candles. As with Hanukkah candles, only one candle is lit the first Sunday. Two are lit the second Sunday, three the third and four on the fourth Sunday. I light the central candle on Winter Solstice.
After lighting the candles, we take turns reading aloud from one of the wonderful stores Helen includes in her book, all adapted versions of Scandinavian folk tales appropriate for the winter season. I love Helen’s stories but actually any stories would do. Helen and her husband James used to read Saki stories in the wee hours of their fabled winter solstice party. You could read classic fairy tales, like “The Snow Queen.” Or tell stories. At one Advent ceremony, Helen and her husband James read two Chester-and-Faithfull stories (stories I had written the previous Christmas about the antics of my dog and cat). Winter is an important time for story-telling and this coming together to share stories around the flickering fires of the candles recreates the community of the tribe gathering around the campfire.
After the story, we sing carols together. If you don’t want to sing Christian carols, there are many old carols, like Deck the Halls, the Boar’s Head Carol and the Carol of the Bells, which contain no Christian imagery. The Revels, an organization that puts on beautiful performances of old folk music and dances has several tapes of Christmas music that provide other alternatives.
Then it’s time for feasting. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the baking. I love traditional cookie recipes and Yule drinks like eggnog, spiced cider and ginger brandy.
I have several friends who have made Advent calendars. Because I’ve seen firsthand the amount of time this takes I’ve preferred to buy mine in stores. There is something very magical about opening all those little doors and windows, even though I am often disappointed with the insipidity of the images. Isn’t the mystery concealed almost always better than the thing revealed?
One of my friends, Carolee, made an Advent calendar that was like a collage. She found a beautiful landscape picture and then planned where she would place the openings. She then found the pictures that would appear in the openings (mostly birds, as I remember — she is an avid birder) and pasted them onto a backing sheet, which was carefully marked so she could get the right alignment of the images. Then she pasted the front picture to the back and created the doors with an X-acto knife.
Another friend created an Advent calendar out of felt. The top half has a felt Christmas tree and the bottom half, numbered pockets, each containing a different charm The charms are removed on the appropriate days and pinned to the Christmas tree.
Creating a Creche
The creation of a Nativity scene is another common way to mark the passing of time at this darkest point of winter. When I was growing up, we would set up the stable fairly early on in the Christmas season, and then add the various ceramic figures that appeared on the scene one by one, culminating in the placement of the Baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning. Carol Field says that some Roman creches fill half a living room; new pieces are added over years and they are set in specific landscapes, with representations of hills and trees, like elaborate train sets.
Even if you do not find the Christian imagery compatible with your spirituality, you can still create nativity scenes, honoring the birth of the sun. You might create a shrine to the sun containing mirrors (long a sun symbol), a bowl of water, spiral designs and items that sparkle and reflect. Since many of these are the same symbols that appear on my Christmas tree, I can also imagine placing the ornaments on the tree one day at a time.
Gertrud Mueller Nelson writes about the creche figures she inherited from her mother in To Dance With God. Her mother made them while recovering from a serious illness out of bits of wire and pieces of cloth, and carved their hands and faces out of wood. Each figure, which could be moved and posed in many different ways, was thus imbued with her loving attention as well as tradition. My mother’s nativity scene was a gift, given a few figures at a time, from my Aunt Jo and Uncle Bob who bought unfinished clay figurines and painted them in brilliant colors. Today we have even easier ways to create figurines with different types of modeling clay. For subject matter, we can look to myths of miraculous mothers and births like those of Aeon (the son of Kore, born on January 6th) or Isis shown suckling Horus (the sun god) or the images of the Three Mothers (pictured in carvings all over Celtic France and Britain).
The Thirteen Cookies
My friend Helen Farias once told me that it is traditional to make 13 different kinds of cookies for Christmas, and though I have never found her source for this bit of folklore, it makes intuitive sense to me. It also serves as a convenient way of dividing up the time before Christmas. I figure if I make three different batches of cookies each week during Advent, and an extra batch the last week, I’ll have thirteen different kinds of cookies to serve at my Winter Solstice party. If there are any leftovers, I can box them up and give them as Christmas presents. The first year I made about four different kinds, the next year I worked my way up to six, so I still have a long way to go to achieve my goal but I’m working on it.
I’ve created a book, called Thirteen Christmas Cookies, containing recipes and folklore for thirteen traditional Christmas desserts and a plan for making them during Advent to coincide with the appropriate holidays. You can purchase it in our Store.
Farias, Helen, The Advent Sunwheel, Juno’s Peacock Press (out of print).
Field, Carol, Celebrating Italy, William Morrow 1990
Fitzgerald, Waverly, Midwinter, Priestess of Swords Press 1995
Fitzgerald, Waverly, “Time to Celebrate,” SageWoman, http://www.sagewoman.com
Nelson, Gertrud Mueller, To Dance with God: Family Ritual and Community Celebration, Paulist Press 1986
Silliness – Coffee
Late one night I stopped at one of those 24-hour gas station mini-marts to get myself a fresh-brewed cup of coffee. When I picked up the pot, I could not help noticing that the brew was as black as asphalt and just about as thick.
“How old is the coffee you have here?” I asked the woman who was standing behind the store counter.
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve only been working here two weeks.”