Featured photo by Jessica Smith-Carlock. Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. Closing Early for New Year’s on 12/31 (probably by 4pm), And then we’ll be closed again on New Year’s Day, plus our annual vacation from 7-17 January.
Eventually Tempus headed for Newport and I got a nap. When I got up I started on my sewing, but then had to get online to make a plea for a pattern piece and got started talking to Amor. Around 2 I got back to sewing, mostly cutting out. …and then I couldn’t find one of the pattern pieces and nearly panicked! It was there. I just had to find it. Tempus got in at 6:30.
Here’s hoping you have a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!
Today’s Plant is Coltsfoot, Petasites frigidus var. palmatus. One of the best cough remedies out there, this is often smoked to help cases of chronic bronchitis and asthma. It is also made into cough syrups often combined with horehound. This is another plant where the medicinal and magickal uses seem to go together. Feminine, Venus, water– Add to love sachets and use in spell of peace and tranquility. The leaves, when smoked, can cause visions, and aid with breathing problems. .More here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petasites_frigidus
What is Silvester? It’s the New Year’s celebration in Central Europe! Silvester celebrations http://www.thelocal.de/society/20111231-16425.html#.UN3uwazheSq More on Pope Sylvester:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Sylvester_I A bit about it more on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvester
Part of the reason that I’ve heard of this is that Babicka and Dedi (my grandparents) used to talk about the “SIEVE-est-er” which was a costume party held by the Czech community in Baltimore in late January. At various times the “uncles” (Dedi’s brothers and cousins) came up with some impressive outfits, including a clock that worked, a “rooster” that ran around laying eggs, a house on chicken legs and a two-person horse. This one was the big hit because they made balls of newspaper painted brown and the horse, after running around the dance floor, swishing its tail, backed up to the most pompous woman in the room and dropped them out the hind end of the horse into her lap!
The shop opens at 11am. Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. We’ll be closed again on New Year’s Day, plus our annual vacation from 7-17 January. 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 1/5 at 5:28. Waning Crescent Moon –Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 1/1 at 5:28am.
By dawn on New Year’s morning, the Moon hangs upper right of Venus, with Jupiter and then Mercury farther to their lower left.
As the old year winds down to a precious few hours and winter tightens its grip on the Northern Hemisphere, one of the most familiar constellations takes center stage. Orion the Hunter appears conspicuous in the eastern sky as twilight fades and grows even more prominent after darkness settles in. The star group climbs highest in the south around 11 p.m. local time, when it stands about halfway to the zenith from mid-northern latitudes.
Midnight stars. After the cheering and noisemaking when 2019 arrives, step outside into the silent dark. Sirius shines high in the south, as high as you’ll ever see it from your latitude. Upper right of it stands Orion. Upper left of Sirius shines Procyon. Below Sirius and a bit left, you’ll find the triangle of Adhara, Wezen, and Aludra (right to left), the hindquarters and tail of Canis Major. Lower left from there are the Milky Way mysteries of Puppis, now exposed and awaiting your exploration with binoculars and sky charts.
Mars (magnitude +0.4, in Pisces) shines highest in the south in late twilight and sets by 11 or so. In a telescope it’s gibbous and quite small, about 7½ arcseconds from pole to pole. It continues to put on a nice show in late December. Look for the Red Planet halfway to the zenith in the southern sky as darkness falls. The world shines at magnitude 0.4 against the much dimmer stars of Aquarius the Water-bearer. A telescope reveals a disk that spans 8″ and should show a few subtle surface features during moments of good seeing.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky Map for December
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky Map for January
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree Month of Beth/Birch, Dec 24 – Jan 20
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
©2018 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
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
M 31 Low 1:21 AM 2.0 7:52 AM Rise 2:28 AM 35
~ 31 High 7:51 AM 8.2 4:47 PM Set 1:35 PM
~ 31 Low 2:49 PM 1.1
~ 31 High 8:51 PM 5.9
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – One does not learn by speaking.
~ Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors. – Jonas Salk (1914-1995) US microbiologist
~ Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility. – Elizabeth Stanton (1815-1902) US reformer
~ At this point in the internal voyage, the Shaman knows that he is far, far into the underground vaults of Chapel Perilous and that the way back to the robot-reality of the domesticated hive is not going to be easy.- Robert Anton Wilson; The Cosmic Trigger
~ Since I came here I have learned that Chester A. Arthur is one man and the President of the United States is another. – Chester Allen Arthur (1830-1886) US President (21st), VP (20th)
My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
And wait to feel the old year go. – Robert W. Service (1874–1958)
My feet’s cauld, my shoon’s thin,
Gie ‘s my cakes, and let me rin! – Traditional Scottish children’s soliciting rhyme
If New Year’s Eve night and wind blow south,
It betokeneth warmth and growth;
If west, much fish in the sea;
If north, much cold and storms there will be.
If east, the trees will bear much fruit;
If north-east, flee it, man and brute. – Traditional Scottish weather prediction rhyme
Of all sounds of all bells, most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the old year. I never hear it without a gathering up of my mind to a concentration of all the images that have been diffused over the past twelvemonth; all that I have done or suffered , performed or neglected, in that regretted time. – Charles Lamb, English poet
Ring out the old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lusts of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old;
Ring in the thousand years of peace. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, English poet
Play a thin tune
on a paper horn.
Old is dying.
New is born.
over the floor.
Sweep an old year
Out the door.
Blow up a wish
in a bright balloon.
To a midnight moon.
Play a loud tune
on a paper horn.
Old is dying.
New is born. – Myra Cohn Livingston
New Year’s Eve
In many parts of the world the New Year is greeted with a lot of noise, sometimes made by church bells. Originally this was to frighten away evil spirits which might try to sneak into the New Year and try to spoil it. People in the Northern Hemisphere sometimes lit bonfires for the same reason.
New Year is celebrated at different times according to various calendars, eg Jewish, Chinese, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu.
In Denmark the New Year is brought in with even more noise than in most countries. Young people go around pounding on their friends’ front doors. To raise the New Year spirit even more, they throw shards of pottery, collected throughout the previous year, against the sides of houses. And we thought we had it loud!
On New Year’s Eve [St Basil’s Eve] children sing kalanda, from door to door; traditionally, they carry an apple, an orange,a paper ship, a paper star and a green rod cut from a cornel-tree. They tap the family members on the back with the rod for luck. The householders give them treats. On New Year’s day this continues, sometimes with customary acts such as stoking the fire and sprinkling wheat in the yard.
New Year’s Resolutions
We have records from 4,000 years ago in Babylon of resolutions, as part of their New Year festivities. Often these were made publicly. To make good any outstanding debts and return anything borrowed were the most common.
Today to lose weight and give up smoking are the most common, followed by – making good any outstanding debts and returning borrowed goods.
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all had the tradition of parading the first babies born in the year. In the 14th century the custom of showing a baby with a banner of the New Year around it began, in Germany.
School for the Seasons – December 31 New Year’s Eve
If New Year’s eve night wind blows South,
It betokeneth warmth and growth;
If West, much milk and fish in the sea,
If North, much cold and storms there will be;
If East, the trees will bear much fruit;
If North-east, flee it, man and brute.
Out with the old and in with the new. Before midnight, sweep and clean your house and take out all the trash because you don’t want to sweep tomorrow (you will sweep the good luck away) or take anything out of the house (you only want to bring new things in to insure abundance during the coming year). Be sure you finish any work you have in hand for a task carried over will never prosper.
Everything you do on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is freighted with significance. The American custom of spending the night with the one you love and kissing them at midnight insures that the relationship will flourish during the coming year. In Vienna, the pig is the symbol of good luck. Pigs are let loose in restaurants and everyone tries to touch it as it runs by for luck. In private homes, a marzipan pig, with a gold piece in its mouth, is suspended from a ribbon and touched instead. In Sarasota Springs, New York, it’s a peppermint pig that brings good luck and good health for the coming year. The pig is cracked with a hammer after a holiday meal and shared among the guests.
In Italy, I’ve been told, you have to watch out for falling objects on New Year’s Eve, as people shove their old sofas, chairs and even refrigerators out of the windows of their apartments on New Year’s Eve. In Greece, it’s customary to throw a pomegranate wrapped in silver foil on the threshold, to spread the seeds of good luck for an abundant year.
The first person to cross your threshold after midnight brings luck into the house. In medieval Britain, the best possible first-footer was a tall dark-haired handsome man, who brought gifts of whisky, bread, a piece of coal or firewood and a silver coin. He entered in silence and no one spoke to him until he put the coal on the fire, poured a glass for the head of the house and wished everyone a Happy New Year. If this concept doesn’t work for you, figure out what would and make sure it happens.
One popular method of divination, used to determine your future in the new year, is to prick a newly-laid egg at the smaller end with a pin, and let three drops of the egg white fall into a bowl of water. Interpret the designs it makes to get a glimpse of what will happen to you in the new year. Another traditional method of divination is to open a Bible at midnight and interpret the passage beneath your finger.
Kightly, Charles, The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, Thames & Hudson 1987
Spicer, Dorothy Gladys, The Book of Festivals, The Womans Press 1937
Storace, Patricia, Dinner with Persephone, Pantheon 1996
December 31 St Silvester’s Eve
Austrians consider this a rauchnacht or smoke-night when all rooms and animals must be purified with the smoke of incense and holy water, a purification ritual.
In The Winter Solstice, Matthews describes another Austrian custom, involving a masked figure called the Sylvester (from the Latin sylvan, meaning “from the woods”), a sort of Green Man who hides in the corner at inns throughout Austria and leaps out when a young man or woman passes to give them a kiss. The Sylvester wears a wreath of mistletoe, perhaps an emblem of fertility which he bestows with the kisses. When midnight comes, he is driven out of the room as a representative of the old year. – Matthews, John, The Winter Solstice, Quest 1998
December 31 Réveillon/Yemaya
Yemaya-Olokun, the Mother of the Sea, is honored on New Year’s Eve in Brazil. Cariocas (natives of Rio de Janeiro) go down to the beaches to celebrate. The biggest show occurs at Copacabana Beach where over 1.5 million people crammed into two miles of beach to dance to Brazilian superstars and watch 60 tons of fireworks explode at the end of 2001.
According to McCabe, the color of underwear you wear on the first day of the new year establishes your fortune for the year. Pink brings love, yellow, prosperity; and white, peace and happiness. Tucking a fresh bay leaf in your wallet guarantees a miracle. And at midnight, people either eat 12 grapes, one for each month of the year, while making 12 wishes, or jump seven waves.
The color for outer clothing is white. Everyone goes to the ocean, where they carry out various rituals, for instance, throwing flowers (preferably gladioli and roses) into the waves, launching little wooden boats, releasing white doves, and arranging little altars in the sand in honor of Yemaya, who likes candles, fruit, fish, rice and items associated with personal adornment: mirrors, combs, perfumes and powder.
Alma Guillermoprieto, the author of Samba, asked an older woman how she should pray and the woman suggested she say something like this:
Yemanja, our Mother, please make [this year] a better year than [last year]. Not that [last year] was a bad year; don’t get me wrong; I received many benefits, many good things happened to me and I’m not complaining. But now, thinking over everything that’s happened, I would like to ask you for something from the bottom of my heart: please bring me twice the amount of good things and take away half the number of bad. [p. 123]
Luisah Teish provides suggestions for a beautiful Yemaya ritual in her book Carnival of the Spirit, along with good ideas for a New Year’s ritual.
Guillermoprieto, Alma, Samba, Vintage 1990
McCabe, Connie, “Rhythm of the Night,” Gourmet, December 2002
Teish, Luisah, Carnival of the Spirit: Seasonal Celebrations and Rites of Passage, Harper San Francisco 1994
December 31 Vesta
This day is set aside for honoring the Roman goddess of the hearth (see Hertha, December 21). As Hestia, the Greek goddess of the hearth, she was credited with the art of building houses (since every home was built around the sacred central fire).
Robert Graves speculates that the archaic white aniconic image of the Great Goddess found throughout the Eastern Mediterranean represents a heap of glowing charcoal, kept alive by a covering of white ash. It was tended by the woman of the house and was the center of family life and clan gatherings. He also mentions the Pythoness who induced trance by burning hemp, laurel and barley over an oil lamp in an enclosed space, and suggests that burning the same herbs over hot ashes would be just as effective for producing visions because of their narcotic fumes.
Graves, Robert, The Greek Myths, Penguin 1955
John Wesley introduced the December 31 service among the Methodists; other denominations took it up.
All over the world, people love to make a noise on the last midnight of the year. Church bells ring out in England (fitted with muffles until midnight, then allowed their full voice), and in Thailand the temple bells peal at midnight as people call out Kwam Suk Pee Mai (Happy New Year!).
An old Icelandic custom has it that if the pantry window is left open on New Year’s Eve, the pantry drift (a frost which is fine-grained and sweet to the taste), will come in and, when gathered and saved in a pot marked with a cross, will bring prosperity to the home. Icelanders used to believe that elves moved house on this night, and could be coerced into giving treasure to those who intercepted them at crossroads.
The People of Nigeria allowed their Ndok ceremony, held biennially in December, to merge with Western New Year customs, as Ndok was a rite of renewal. Only the men engage in Ndok, which sees, as everywhere on New Year’s Eve, much noisy, rowdy behaviour and, as in Iceland, people meeting at crossroads which are believed to be places of assembly for spirits.
In Russia, Grandfather Frost (D’yed Moroz), who looks suspiciously like Santa Claus, and his assistant the Snow Maiden (Snegourka), will pay a New Year’s visit to children, bringing with them gifts. In Greece, however, children will have left out sweets, cakes and drink for St Basil, another Santa-like character, for it is his feast day. They’ll even put a log in the fireplace so he can step easily down the chimney. In Armenia on December 31, goodies are lowered down the chimney on a rope.
New Year’s revelling, however, has been most shaped by the otherwise generally sensible Scots, who really know how to kick up their heels to say “good riddance!” to the Old year and “welcome!” to the new. The singing of Auld Lang Syne, is, of course as Scotch as whisky, and was recorded from the oral tradition by the Scottish national poet, Robbie Burns. Now, all over the world, people mouth the words like football players pretending the national anthem before a game. Despite its difficult words, it is one of the world’s best known songs.
The Scots call this season the “daft days” or Hogmanay, a word which might derive from practically anything if you listen to the experts, such as the Greek for ‘holy month’ and the French for ‘man is born’.
While some New Year’s customs go back to ancient Europe and even the Middle East – we know, for example, that 4,000 years ago the Babylonians made New Year’s resolutions – the Scots put their stamp on it, for they always thought it was a bigger deal than Christmas. They have yet to convince the rest of the world, however, to indulge in the Hogmanay sport of ‘first-footing’, in which it is thought to be good luck if the first person over one’s threshold in the New Year comes in the front door, is male, without eye trouble, not splay- or flat-footed, fair haired, carrying a lump of coal and a bottle of Scotch, and leaves by the back door. (In 1966, 19-year-old first-footer Alex Cleghorn was walking on Govan Rd, Glasgow with his two brothers, when suddenly he disappeared and was not seen again. Daft days indeed!) According to one source, “It was traditional for men to dress in animal skins ,wear horns or antlers, and smoke sticks called Hogmanays to ward off evil spirits.” Over on the Greek island of Carpathos it is a white dog they have to rush inside at the stroke of midnight.
Australians, with their keen sense of culture and modernity, tend not to bother with the lumps of coal, white dogs, elves and crossroads, tending instead to get blithering drunk (like the wassailers of old England, the door-to-door drinkers whose name came from the cry Wass hael!, which approximates to Cheers!) and to pretend to have an ab-fab time. A few, however, will see the New Year in at Watch Night services in churches, a custom started by the abstemious John Wesley.
Silliness – The Priest and the Bum
A drunk that smelled like a brewery got on a subway one day. He sat down next to a priest. The drunk’s shirt was stained, his face was full of bright red lipstick, and he had a half empty bottle of wine sticking out of his pocket.
He opened he opened his newspaper and started reading. A couple of minutes later he asked the priest, “Father what causes arthritis”?
“Mister, it’s caused by loose living, being with cheap wicked women, too much alcohol and contempt for your fellow man.”
“Geez, I’ll be darned,” uttered the drunk and returned to reading his paper.
The priest, thinking about what he said turned to the man and apologized.
“I’m sorry son, I didn’t mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?”
“I don’t, father. I was just reading in the paper that the Pope has arthritis.. ”