It poured overnight, but now it’s down to damp pavement and puddles. 50F, wind at 3mph and gusting, AQI33, UV1. It should be dry for the next couple of days, then a couple of days of showers, then some decent rain again over the tail end of the week.
Yesterday was long and slow after Herbs. I think we had 7 shoppers in all day and just one sale. Pretty sad for Small Business Saturday… Tempus and I switched places at around 4, since by the I was in need of a nap and he was just waking up.
For this month!
Sage, Salvia Officinalis, sometimes called true sage, or culinary sage, is a plant that has been used in cookery, magick and medicine for many thousands of years. It is one of the ingredients in Four Thieves Vinegar. The blossoms make a delicious tea. – Masculine, Jupiter, Air – In purple cloth, brings wisdom. Worn in an amulet sewn into a horn shape protects against the evil eye. Used as a wash, or sniffed, enhances youthful mindset and appearance. Eat sage in May for long life. Carry to promote wisdom. Write a wish on a sage leaf and sleep on it. If you dream of it, it will happen, else bury the leaf in the ground. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_officinalis
Today is the Feast of Poseidon, the god of the Ocean, Horses and Earthquakes. I often call the white spray that flies in sheets off the surf in the rain, “the Manes of Poseidon’s Horses”. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poseidon
The shop opens at 11am today. Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at email@example.com 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 12/11 at 9:12pm 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 12/3 at 10:58pm.
Two faint fuzzies naked-eye: Before the evening Moon gets any brighter (it’s now a thick crescent in Capricornus), take a naked-eye try for the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Perseus Double Cluster. They’re both cataloged as 4th magnitude and are only 22° apart. They’re very high toward the northeast right after dark: to the upper right of Cassiopeia and closer to Cassiopeia’s lower right, respectively. They’re plotted on the all-sky constellation map in the center of the November and December Sky & Telescopes.
The variable star Algol in Perseus appears faintest at 1:29 a.m. EST tomorrow morning, when it shines at magnitude 3.4. If you start watching it immediately after darkness falls, you can see it dim from its peak brightness (magnitude 2.1) to minimum and then rise back to maximum all in a single night. This eclipsing binary star runs through a cycle from minimum to maximum and back every 2.87 days, but the drop from peak brightness and subsequent rise lasts only about 10 hours. Algol appears in the northeastern sky after sunset and passes nearly overhead around 10 p.m. local time. Algol can guide you to one of the finest binocular star clusters in the late autumn sky. Just after darkness falls, target the variable star through binoculars and place it at the bottom of your field of view. At the top of the field, you should see a hazy patch of light roughly the size of the Full Moon. This is M34, a collection of roughly 100 suns near Perseus’ border with Andromeda. Through 10×50 binoculars, M34’s brightest stars appear to twinkle against the unresolved glow of the cluster’s fainter members.
Mercury, a fine magnitude –0.6 all week, is having its best dawn apparition of 2019! Spot it low in the east-southeast as much as an hour before sunrise. The earlier in the week, the higher it will be. Look for it very far below Arcturus (and perhaps a little to the right depending on your latitude). Mercury is closer to the lower left of fainter Mars and Spica, as shown above.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky map for November –https://www.almanac.com/content/sky-map-november-2019
Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Celtic Tree Month of Ruis/Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22
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
©2019 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
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).
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Su 1 High 4:12 AM 6.8 7:32 AM Rise 12:01 PM 18
~ 1 Low 9:32 AM 3.6 4:38 PM Set 9:37 PM
~ 1 High 3:03 PM 7.4
~ 1 Low 10:12 PM 0.2
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Allowing your creativity to grow, fosters my link with the Divine.
~ Most people never run far enough on their first wind, to find out if they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you. – William James
~ Love is missing someone whenever you’re apart, But somehow feeling warm inside because you’re close in heart. – Kay Knudsen
~ To know / To dare / To Will / To Keep Silence – Eliphas Levi (Rules of the Magus)
~ We want more people doing Creator’s work. Living in this vast world where everything is progress talking money we need to understand the spirit of Grandmother Earth, she is a provider. A source of life not a resource.” -Chief Arvol Looking Horse
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
“We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December. – Oliver Herford (1863–1935)
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