Daily Stuff 12-22-18 A Christmas Carol

Hi, folks!

Featured photo by Ken Gagne. Minus Tide at 6:31 PM of -1.4 feet. Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. 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!

It’s kinda gloomy again, and my workshop people are already here! So, I gotta make this quick. 45F, wind at 7, AQI 38. We’re due some more rain this afternoon.

Yesterday whipped past again. Tempus was out the door as soon as we were open and gone for several hours on his errands. Ruth came in while he was out. She’s moving south, since more of her practice is in Florence and Coos Bay.

When Tempus got back he sat on the sofa and fell asleep. I had gotten some herb headers done, and some pictures sorted, but other than that I mostly was dinking around. Around 5pm we both got going on getting ready for the Sabbat.

We were mostly done when folks started coming in. It was a small group, but a really nice, low-key ritual. After we were done Tempus and I got some cleaning up done and a little supper.

Today we have Herbs at 11 and Sewing at 3pm and we’re staying open late tonight for shopping.

A photo by Ken Gagne from 12/22/15. This is the eagle he calls, “Talon”.

motif Saint Nick Yule

A Google Maps Santa Tracker!!!! …and it’s fun to play with. I got totally distracted from drawing for awhile….  http://www.google.com/santatracker/ There are a bunch of games and silly things to dink with.

Today’s Plant is the Strawberry. We have two wild varieties out here, Wood’s Strawberry, Fragaria vesca, the Coastal Strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis, and of course the Garden Strawberry, 220px-FragariachileonsisFragaria ×ananassa220px-Illustration_Fragaria_vesca0which is a hybrid. It is a favorite flavor of many people and easy to reproduce in the lab. The leaves of vesca have been used to make a tea to help with diarrhea and the whole plant is used as an anti-depressant, from flowers to leaves to fruit. – Feminine, Venus, Water, Freya (and many other deities) – Carry the leaves for luck, use them in love spells and sachets, sleep on them to dream of your love. Pregnant women should carry a sachet of the leaves during the last few months of pregnancy to ease labor. The berries themselves are simply an aphrodisiac, often combined with chocolate for this purpose. Yum! Wood’s Strawberry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria_vesca and Coastal Strawberry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria_chiloensis Garden Strawberry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_strawberry

170px-Scrooges_third_visitor-John_Leech,1843Scrooge, Marley, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas yet to come, Tiny Tim, “Bah, humbug!” and “God bless us, every one!” are all from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, first published on December 19, 1843. It was part of the revival of older Christmas customs in Britain and has never gone out of print. Incidentally, it finally got Dickens out of debt, when he was desperate and was written in the course of just a few days. It has been adapted to dramatic readings, stage versions and silent,
“talkie” and more modern cinema releases, one of which I love because it has Patrick Stewart as Scrooge! It’s the only one that I know of that gets the wind-up of Scrooge’s rusty laughter right. He really *does* sound like he’s dying for a moment or 3!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol

The shop opens at 11am. Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. 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 ancientlight@peak.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. Full Moon The day of, the day before, and day after the true Full Moon. “And better it be when the moon is full!”! Prime time for rituals for prophecy, for spells to come to fruition, infusing health and wholeness, etc. A good time for invoking deity. FRUITION Manifesting goals, nurturing, passion, healing, strength, power. Workings on this day are for protection, divination. “extra power”, job hunting, healing serious conditions Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. God/dess Aspect: Mother/Abundance/Kingship – – Associated God/desses: Danu, Cerridwen, Gaia, Aphrodite, Isis, Jupiter, Amon-Ra. Phase ends on at 12/24 at 9:49am. 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 1/5 at 5:28.

On Friday evening the 21st, look for Aldebaran to the upper right of the Moon as the stars come out.

The Moon, near perigee, is between the feet of the Castor figure and the dim Club of Orion. Farther to the left or lower left of the Moon are brighter Castor and Pollux. Farther right or lower right of the Moon is Orion, with his belt almost vertical. The full Moon of December rides higher across the sky in the middle of the night than it does in any other month (for Northern Hemisphere skywatchers), “giving luster of midday to objects below.”

The Full Moon – Observers will have plenty of time to view December 22’s Full Moon because it climbs higher and remains visible longer than any other Full Moon of the year. – Miguel Claro

Full Moon officially arrives at 12:49 p.m. EST, but our satellite looks completely illuminated all night. You can find it rising in the east just after sunset and peaking in the south shortly after midnight local time. It dips low in the west by the time morning twilight begins. As the Full Moon closest to the winter solstice, it climbs higher in the sky than any other Full Moon during the year. It lies among the background stars of western Gemini tonight, near the feet of the Twins.
Algol should be at minimum brightness for a couple of hours centered on 11:36 p.m. EST. Algol takes several additional hours to fade and to rebrighten.
Mercury (magnitude –0.4) and brighter Jupiter (mag. –1.8) are together low in the dawn this week. Look for them above the southeast horizon, about 25° lower left of Venus, 45 minutes or so before sunrise. Jupiter and Mercury appear closest together (about 1° apart) on the mornings of December 21st and 22nd. Each morning after that Jupiter climbs farther to the upper right and Mercury sinks lower.

Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky Map for December
Goddess Month of
Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree Month of Secret of the Unhewn Stone, Dec 23 
Celtic Tree Month of Beth/Birch, Dec 24 – Jan 20

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

Sun in Capricorn
Moon in Gemini enters Cancer at 8:28am
Juno (12/23), and Uranus (1/6/19) Retrograde
Color: Blue
Planting 12-22-23

©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
Color: Red
Class: Shrub
Letter: R
Meaning: End of a cycle or problem.

to study this month – Straif – Blackthorn Ogam letter correspondences
Month: None
Color: Purple
Class: Chieftain
Letter: SS, Z, ST
Meaning: Resentment; Confusion; Refusing to see the truth

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).

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

Beth – Birch – Ogam letter correspondences
Month: November
Color: White
Class: Peasant
Letter: B
Meaning: New Beginnings; Changes; Purification.

Phagos – Beech Ogam letter correspondences to study this month
Month: None
Color: Orange-brown
Class: Chieftain
Letter: PH, IO
Meaning: New experiences and information coming


Tides for Alsea Bay

Day        High      Tide  Height   Sunrise    Moon  Time      % Moon
~            /Low      Time    Feet     Sunset                                    Visible
Sa  22     High  12:14 AM     7.1   7:50 AM     Set  7:37 AM      98
~    22      Low   5:31 AM     2.9   4:40 PM    Rise  5:03 PM
~    22     High  11:25 AM     9.4
~    22      Low   6:31 PM    -1.4


Affirmation/Thought for the Day – I work for enjoyment and satisfaction – not just to earn a living. I use my mind and thoughts to enhance my life.


Journal Prompt – Describe – Describe the first time you ever danced with someone.



~   I like a man who attempts the impossible. – J.P. Morgan
~   What is now proved was once only imagined. – William Blake (1757-1827) English Poet
~   I could never divide myself from any man upon the difference of an opinion, or be angry with his judgement for not agreeing with me in that, from which perhaps within a few days I should dissent myself. – Thomas Browne, English writer born on October 19, 1605; from Religio Medici (1642), Pt. I, Sec. 6
~   The campaign to make poverty history—a central moral challenge of our age—cannot remain a task for the few, it must become a calling for the many. On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I urge everyone to join this struggle. Together, we can make real and sufficient progress towards the end of poverty. – Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General; from his message to be delivered on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, October 17, 2006


Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tis the season to be jolly
Fa la la la la la la la la
Don we now our gay apparel
Fa la la la la la la la la
Troll the ancient Yuletide carols
Fa la la la la la la la la

See the blazing Yule before us
Fa la la la la la la la la
Strike the harp and join the chorus
Fa la la la la la la la la
Follow me in merry measure
Fa la la la la la la la la
While I tell of Yuletide treasure
Fa la la la la la la la la

Fast away the old year passes
Fa la la la la la la la la
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses
Fa la la la la la la la la
Sing we joyous all together
Fa la la la la la la la la
Heedless of the wind and weather
Fa la la la la la la la la


Yule Magick –  Thursday, December 6, 2012 – Merry Christmas to a Pagan: Like ‘Happy Fourth of July’ to a Russian

I, Marcus, was walking down the Appian Way one day just outside of Rome. The date? Just prior to midwinter. The year? Oh, about 1009 A.U.C. (For you barbarians out there, this stands for anno urbis conditae – we in the empire count our years from the founding of our great city.)

Like many of my countrymen, I was preparing to celebrate the Saturnalia, a weeklong feast in homage to Saturn, the father of our great god Jupiter. My children were particularly looking forward to the school holiday, and I had procured a few gifts for them, as is the tradition. Myself? I was more eager to gamble a bit, as the ban on such wagers is lifted during the holiday.

On my journey, I came upon a man I did not recognize. I greeted him with the customary, “Io, Saturnalia!” but he grew indignant with me and said he would not be sacrificing to Saturn this season. No, he would not be sacrificing at all, but rather he would be paying homage to the birth of his savior, whom he called Chrestus.

“So,” I joked with him, “you have taken the Saturn out of Saturnalia?”

But he just scoffed at me and went on his way. I could not help but think to myself that it was his loss. This Chrestus of his seemed like something of a killjoy.


Fast forward to the year 2764 A.U.C. – today, that is. The annual debate over how to greet someone on the streets is in full swing once again, except now, the shoe is on the other foot (which makes foot-in-mouth syndrome a little more painful).

The followers of Chrestus are in the majority these days, and very few people celebrate the Saturnalia anymore. The only consolation for the poor, neglected Saturn is that his image – that of an aged man with a flowing white beard – lives on in the form of a jolly old “elf” by the name of Santa. Quite a comedown for the father of Jupiter, but I suppose it’s better than nothing. At least he still has a day and a planet named after him.

Instead of joking about taking the Saturn out of Saturnalia, however, many Christians are grousing about others taking the Christ out of Christmas, as their holy day has come to be called. Some of them have even compiled a Naughty or Nice list of retailers who who don’t (naughty) and do (nice) make liberal use of the term “Christmas” in their advertising and store displays. It’s hard to overlook the irony that the very phrase “naughty or nice” is associated not with Christ but with Saturn … er … Santa.

It’s also hard not to chuckle at the vehemence with which Protestants defend the term Christmas. If you do take the Christ out of Christmas, what’s left? Mass, that’s what. And Mass is a ritual that is exclusively Catholic. Its central feature is the Eucharist, which involves partaking of a wafer and wine that Catholics believe literally become the body and blood of Christ. Protestants generally don’t believe this (they view the ceremony in symbolic, rather than literal terms). And the Catholic Church discourages other Christians from taking part in the rite.

U.S. bishops have issued the following guidelines for receiving the Eucharist: “Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Communion.”

So Christmas – at least by that name – isn’t a Protestant holiday at all. It’s a Catholic one. It seems just a bit peculiar that Protestants, who have fought wars with Catholics over other seemingly trivial issues, should so readily accept – and so eagerly defend – a Catholic holy day! Shouldn’t they call it “Christbirth” or some such?

The fact is, whether the name “Christ” or the word “Mass” is included in the name of the holiday doesn’t really matter. Christians in other parts of the world get by just fine without referring to either Christ or the Mass at this particular season. For those who converse in Spanish, the typical greeting is “feliz Navidad,” and the French wish one another a “joyeux Noel.” The name of Christ isn’t mentioned in either saying. In fact, noel comes from the Latin root natalis, which meant simply “birthday.” Navidad, meanwhile, is related to the word “nativity,” meaning “birth” – and stems from a related Latin root.

Whose birth? In modern parlance, the word nativity has come to be intimately identified with the birth of Christ. In the third century, however, a typical Roman using the word natalis at this time of year might have assumed you were talking about the god Mithra, who was also said to have been born on Dec. 25. Or perhaps Sol Invictus, the “invincible sun,” which was at its weakest during the winter solstice and from that point forward began to grow stronger – or be reborn.

Enter Old Man Winter, who was known to the Romans as our friend Saturn and to the Greeks before them as Cronos – or “Father Time.” Cronos was the father of Zeus, and his name literally meant “time.”* It’s preserved at the root of our modern words chronology and chronicles. To us, he’s Santa Claus. Each year he gives way to the Baby New Year, who bears a remarkable similarity to Christ. That’s why Santa and Christ belong together. It would be unseemly to greet a new solar year without saying a proper goodbye to the old.

But just how should we do so?

Different people celebrate this season in different ways. It all depends on one’s perspective. And that’s exactly the point – yes, I’m finally getting to it – of this article. Those who insist that “Merry Christmas” is the only proper greeting for this holiday wouldn’t have enjoyed being on the other end of the stick back when the Saturnalia was all the rage. I’d wager they wouldn’t have been particularly comfortable with all the “Io, Saturnalia!” greetings going around. In the same way, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists and others might not care too much about being wished a merry Christmas.

This is especially true for Jews and many Pagans, both of whom celebrate their own sacred days – Hanukkah and Yule, respectively – at this time of year.

The idea behind more general salutations such as “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings” is respect. It’s an admission that, hey, I don’t know what holiday you happen to celebrate, but whatever it is, I hope it’s a good one! How can someone complain about that? If you know someone else is a Pagan, wishing that person a merry Christmas can be an insult – it’s a refusal to honor and recognize that person’s right to celebrate the season as he/she pleases. The same goes for a Jew who wishes a Christian a happy Hanukkah.

If you think about it, it’s absurd. It’s like an American wishing everyone in Beijing a happy Fourth of July. It’s like telling someone who doesn’t like football to “enjoy the Super Bowl!” Or buying a litter box for someone who doesn’t own a cat. Such salutations are superfluous at best, insulting at worst. So why should we think wishing a Jew “Merry Christmas” is any different?

When it comes right down to it, shouldn’t our wishes be determined by the other person’s tradition? Should we go around saying “Io, Saturnalia!” to Christians or “Happy Hanukkah” to Buddhists? Or wouldn’t it be better to honor the traditions of others, just as we’d like them to honor ours? When it comes down to it, that’s pretty much what the Golden Rule is all about. And that’s something at least Christians should be able to live with.

* Editor’s note: Cronos is traditionally depicted as carrying a scythe or sickle, much like the grim reaper. In Greek mythology, this referred to the fact that he had castrated his father in order to claim the throne of the gods. This probably explains why Santa carries around a bag of toys rather than a sickle. The moral of the story: Children shouldn’t play with sharp objects.

* Editor’s note II: Originally published in 2011.


Silliness – Christmas Cat


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