It’s gloomy out there, but rather quiet most of the time. We got 1/4 of an inch of rain after midnight last night. The weather that’s coming in, is due to start getting interesting soon… a couple of inches of rain and with wind, too. 51F, wind at 6mph, gusting to 16 and due to hit well into the 30’s tonight. AQI 17. The pressure is dropping. You can actually feel it if your ears are clogged. My right ear just popped.
Yesterday both of us had trouble getting started. Tempus got bread going by 1pm, when we had planned to start at 11… I made a new pincushion. They’re made like little gnomes, with a sand-filled body for the cushion. During the day I cranked out several.
Next was the chicken and stuffing. I almost never put stuffing in a chicken, but this one calls for it and for “quenelles” which are little egg-shaped sausage balls. By 6pm the quenelles were done, but the chicken had an hour to go. I was getting really tired and we nibbled on pickled things and bread, waiting for the chicken. I also got another bookmarker made and got a few more of the tassels done for those. Tempus was working on a njalbinden needle of bone.
We ate and cleaned up and didn’t close the shop until after 9pm. We hadn’t been terribly busy with customers, although a few people came in. …but once we closed I went in back and collapsed. Tempus fell asleep sitting bolt upright on the sofa with a computer in his lap, so it was late when we actually got to bed.
Today is back to Herbs. Tempus has some to hang. I have a few more headers to print and then I have a bunch to write for things we haven’t carried before.
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>
The shop opens at 11am. Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. Open Circle for Yule 12/21, 7pm. Holiday Hours – Open Late on 12/22 & 24 (Christmas Eve), Closed Christmas Day 12/25, Closed Saturday 12/29, Closing Early for New Year’s on 12/31 (probably by 4pm), And then we’ll be closed again on New Year’s Day! 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 12/22 at 9:49pm. Waxing Gibbous Moon – From seven to fourteen days after the new moon. For spells that need concentrated work over a ¼ moon cycle this is the best time for constructive workings. Aim to do the last working on the day of the Full moon, before the turn. Keywords for the Gibbous phase are: analyze, prepare, trust. It is the time in a cycle to process the results of the actions taken during the First Quarter. During this phase you are gathering information. Give up making judgments; it will only lead to worry. Your knowledge is incomplete. Laugh. Analyze and filter. LOOK WITHIN. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, but in the uncommitted phase, the Warriors – Associated God/desses: Dion, Dionysius, Venus, Thor. Phase ends at the Full on 12/21 at 9:49am.
The Summer Triangle is sinking lower in the west after dusk, and Altair is the first of its stars to go (for mid-northern observers). Start by spotting bright, zero-magnitude Vega in the northwest right after dark. The brightest star above Vega is Deneb. Altair, the Triangle’s third star, is farther to Vega’s left or lower left. How late into the evening, and into the advancing season, can you keep Altair in view?
A lone bright star now hangs low in the south during early evening. First-magnitude Fomalhaut — often called “the Solitary One” — belongs to the constellation Piscis Austrinus the Southern Fish. From mid-northern latitudes, it climbs 20° above the horizon at its best. How solitary is Fomalhaut? The nearest 1st-magnitude star to it, Achernar at the southern end of Eridanus the River, lies some 40° away. It doesn’t appear quite as isolated as normal this year, however, because Mars stands about 25° north of it.
Mars (magnitude +0.2, under the Great Square of Pegasus) still shines highest in the south at nightfall and sets by midnight. In a telescope it’s gibbous and quite small: 8½ arcseconds from pole to pole.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky Map for December
Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Celtic Tree Month of Ruis Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22 – (RWEESH)
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
©2018 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic tree month of Ruis/Elder, Nov 25 – Dec 22 – Ruis – (RWEESH) – 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).
Ruis – Elder Ogam letter correspondences
Month: Makeup days of the thirteenth Moon
Meaning: End of a cycle or problem.
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
M 17 Low 1:18 AM 2.1 7:47 AM Set 1:51 AM 62
~ 17 High 7:55 AM 7.4 4:38 PM Rise 1:49 PM
~ 17 Low 2:44 PM 2.0
~ 17 High 8:29 PM 5.6
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Thoughts are the bricks that make up your reality.
~ A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman. – Wallace Stevens
~ One returns from the realm of the Fae either dead, mad or a poet… – most recently quoted by T. Thorn Coyle
~ Be attentive to your intuitive inspiration and the ideas that it brings. – Dr. Reginald Cuffee, Phd.
~ We do not turn on the lights over the whole house when we are only using one floor. That would be a waste of light. Similarly we ought not to be using energy on all three stories of our organism when we are only actually using one of them. – Alfred Orage; ‘Economizing our Energy’
DANCING IN A WICCAN WONDERLAND – Alexander & Aarcher
Pagans sing, are you listenin’,
Altar’s set,candles glisten,
It’s a Magickal night, we’re having tonight,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland
In a Circle we can light a Yule Fire,
And await the rising of the Sun,
It’s the Great Wheel turning for the new year,
Loaded with abundance and great fun.
Blades held high, censer smoking,
God and Goddess, we’re invoking,
Through Elements Five, we celebrate life,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland,
Queen of Heaven, is in Her place,
Triple Goddess, now the Crone Face,
Above and Below, She’s the Goddess we know,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland
Now the God, is the Provider,
Supplying game for our Fire,
Above and Below, He’s the Horned One we Know,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland
Later on, by the fire,
Cone of Power, gettin’ higher
It’s a Magickal Night we’re having tonight,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland
Berchta comes to inspect your household at the Winter Solstice; she will poke into every corner of your farm and cott, thoroughly examine your barns for cleanliness and investigate if you have tended well to your livestock. She will carefully scrutinize the distaffs and spindles, the hanging herbs and the butter churns, the hooks and the kettles and check if your dining boards are scrubbed to whiteness.
Hearths must be swept clean for her inspection, doors and windows decorated with evergreens, holly and mistletoe, sweet food and fine drink made ready and hollowed cakes baked.
And she will leave gifts for children overnight… if they are good.
Berchta in Mythology
Her name is Berchta, and she was once the premier goddess of the German hearth, the Guardian of the household, and many more things besides.
Finding Berchta is like reading a crime mystery novel. We see her in the collections of the Brothers Grimm. Jacob Grimm records in Germanic Mythology accounts of the travelling goddess named Berchta or Holla. Now, Frau Holle is one of the names given in Germany to the wife of Wodan. As we move further north, Wodan becomes Odin and Holle is Frigg or Freya. Before that she was Erda, the earth, a word which is not of Indo European origin at all.
Berchta’s best known journey was during the twelve days following our Christmas when she traveled the countryside in her wagon bestowing gifts on those who had been hardworking and punishing those who had been lazy. Her entourage consisted of horned animals, elves, faeries and the ghosts of tiny children.
Christianity and Berchta
Christianity debased Berchta, and corrupted her into a scary old woman to frighten children and who was also associated with witches. Berchta was sometimes depicted with a long iron nose and one large goose foot. She is now the White Lady who steals softly into nurseries and rocks infants to sleep, but is the terror of all naughty children.
Christian missionaries declared that only those baptized could enter heaven, and in the world of humble folk the Goddess survived, Christianized in folklore as Bertha the Hag, the one who especially cherished the souls of unbaptized infants.
Throughout history we have celebrated the spirit and intention of the seasons in ritual and festival. We celebrated life’s renewal as the sun regenerated from winter’s cold darkness. We find a connection between the Winter Solstice and the goddess of the land in the Venerable Bede who calls Christmas Modranecht – Mother’s night. This and the appearance of the three Berchten during the twelve holy nights hints at that our ancestors did not only worship the reborn Solstice Sun at the time of the Winter Solstice, but also his mother, the Earth Mother, and that she appeared in three aspects.
In Bavaria, there still lingers the custom of three disguised women known as Berchten moving in procession through the village on the Feast of the Epiphany.
In Northern Europe the Yule log burned, keeping back the darkness and blessing the household with the promise that the sun would return again and with its light bring joy. This was the time when an altar of flat stone was made for Berchta on which burned a fire of evergreen boughs.
Berchta is the root word for the tree we call Birch and is related to words Birth, Begin and the Icelandic Birtu meaning Light. All of these words are related and all describe ‘the ‘bringing forth into the light’. And the light comes forth after the Winter Solstice.
Was Berchta the original Santa? Converting an ancient goddess into a sanitized nursery rhyme is nothing new, and today we know Berchta only as Mother Goose.
[Anja’s note – Maybe that last sentence will make more sense if I tell you that Berchta has an iron beak instead of a nose and mouth and goose feet. If you look carefully at 19th cent. pictures of her, the image has transferred to the modern nursery rhyme books.]