The wheel of the year turns once more to bring us to Yule and the shortest day, the name of which comes from the Norse ‘Jul’, meaning wheel. After this day, the Sun starts its journey once again and begins to grow until it reaches its highest point at Midsummer. Civilisation has celebrated this time as far back as is possible to know, and it has always been a time of feasting and merriment, as it was seen as a time of hope. The Sun gives us much needed light and warmth to survive and this was now seen to be returning once more.
I like to think todays festive holiday is best celebrated spending quality time with those we love, as this is a time for caring and sharing. In days gone by, small hand-made or baked gifts were exchanged as a symbol of luck, but nowadays, everything is too over-commercialized.
My extended family celebrate with a meal together on Yule and a get-together on Christmas day, exchanging small gifts and consuming fabulous food and excellent wines and beer…no extending credit cards here; it just brings misery in January when the statement arrives!! It is more about quality time together playing stupid games and having a laugh with our extended family than being about piles of expensive ‘stuff’. The festive time was always over a few days, so don’t feel guilty about being really busy at Yule but enjoying Christmas Day! It is now seen in our multi-cultural society as a festival for all creeds to enjoy in their own cultural way with family. Quality time spent with kin is what life is about. Time is such a rare commodity that any time together is a time of celebration!
What to do at this time
The symbols of Christmas as we know it today are pagan in origin. I No home is festive until the greenery is hung and the tree, which is central to all the festivities, is brought into the home. Decorating the tree with sparkles and baubles and aromas and nuts in each family is done in their won traditional way, to ensure a prosperous year ahead, as well as lighting the darkness, finished with the Goddess/fairy/angel on top to oversee the fun.
The Holly represents the circle of life and is worked in a circle and hung on the door and protects your home from evil over the holiday period whilst providing a home for any wee ones over the winter. Meanwhile, the ivy should not be taken in doors until at least Christmas eve if you follow traditional folklore to keep that bad luck away!
I completely fill my home with twinkly lights and candles everywhere and a roaring fire every day, with it never really going out over the holiday period. The lounge is always the warmest and cosiest room in the house and where everyone naturally congregates, especially in the depths of winter. There is something very primal about a fire and people have been doing exactly what we are doing every day, for millennia…keeping a fire going for cooking and for warmth but constantly drying other wood around it to ensure the continuance of heat through the coldest time.
The Yule log was very special in days gone by…an oak log was burnt on the fire on Yule and then a piece of it saved for the next year’s fire but, apart from me, very few people have the need to burn a magickal log in their fireplace so, these days, a Yule chocolate log decorated with a sprig of holly is much more favoured, pushing 3 candles in the top to light at dusk. You can then consume the cake on the days following…yum!!
Aromas of cinnamon, orange, clove and nutmeg are traditional at this time and are scents associated with not only healing, but also prosperity and protection, something needed to survive the forthcoming winter. They are also all symbolic of the Sun. Burn these around the home for a festive Yuletide ambiance. As usual, my festive oils are back and all contain seasonal spices to help keep infection away while you relax and play. We have as always:
Childhood memories; full of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, plus orange and tangerine and
Winter wonderland; your woodland aromas of pine, cedarwood, nutmeg and cypress both 5ml £3.75, 10ml £7.00
Christmas Welcome; Tangerine, geranium, cinnamon and clove and
Yuletide celebrations; is Pine and tangerine, cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh and clove, both 5ml £4.50, 10ml £8.50
Sacred mistletoe of the Druids…
Mistletoe is hung over the front door at Yule to protect the home from any misfortune and attract good luck for the forthcoming year. Any agreement made under the mistletoe and sealed with a kiss was legal and binding in days gone by…so kissing your loved one under the mistletoe sealed the promise of marriage!
This year’s mistletoe will be arriving and on sale, if all goes to plan, by 15th December. Keep the herb cool until Yule, then at dusk, light your yule candle (or candles in the yule log), pass the mistletoe through the flames quickly. Remove the old bunch & burn or recycle, before hanging the new. Tie the mistletoe with red ribbon or cotton and, without it touching the floor at any point from point of purchase until now, hang over the front door on the inside. Leave in situ all year to ensure a lucky year for you and all who enter!!
Hogmanay…New Year’s Eve celebrations
I love Hogmanay. Christmas is all about family and getting together, but Hogmanay is all about you and what you want in the forthcoming year to materialise. This is time to leave the year behind, so welcome when it has been a difficult year, so Hogmanay is a time of hope and happiness and of the future, not the past. Set goals at Yule knowing you can put them into action at the turn of the calendar.
New Year or Hogmanay over the past centuries has also brought about traditions of its own. It is customary in Scotland in days gone by to go into the New Year completely clean. The body would have been bathed and new clothes put on after the home had been thoroughly scrubbed. All jobs no matter how hated are to be done before the New Year celebrations begin and the New Year enters your home. One thing passed on from my mum and her mum before is to always pay the bills (even if it is the minimum payment on the credit card). Never enter the New Year in debt! A fire would have been burned all night to complete the New Year ritual, and this would have been the actual fire but these days, candles will be sufficient. We are all aware of the Hogmanay tradition of bringing in coal, bread and whisky (fuel, food and drink) and this tradition still goes on as does that of the dark male! Apparently, the Celts were red/dark haired but the Norse and Vikings were blonde – dark hair meant friend, not foe…so there you go, another mystery solved! It is also important that the bringer of the New Year isn’t wearing all black or carrying a knife (the Skein Dubhe is part of the kilt so it isn’t counted!!) If someone enters by mistake before the entry of the New Year, it can be counteracted by throwing salt into a fire, so don’t panic!!
To continue the New Year traditions, ensure your cupboards are full of fresh food for New Year’s Day and your pockets and wallet/purse full of cash to ensure a year of plenty all the remainder of the year.
Bucket board…if you don’t ask, you don’t get…so get asking for Hogmanay
A couple of years ago, I made my ‘Bucket board” and placed it in my career and life path area as part of my Magickal Housekeeping. This was to provide inspiration for my time off and consisted of lots pictures of all the things my partner and I want to do and see before we die, so a long-term project. When deciding on holidays, my only request is that it includes something off our board.
The reason I am covering this is, since building my bucket board and ensuring it was in the correct magickal area of our home, we have travelled a lot more and I have removed quite a few completed things from the board. It is almost like the Universe has made more space and funds available to help fulfil my travel requests and we have been on more than our usual holidays. Since creating the board, I have been lucky enough to have been up the Eiffel Tower, on a steamboat down the Mississippi, seen the grassy knoll in Dallas and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. I have climbed among the cooled path of a volcano, and overcame my fear of gondolas by going peak to peak in the Canadian mountains. I really believe that, if I hadn’t spent time putting my dreams on a board, these trips would never have been done. It provides focus, so every time you pass and glance at your board, you are putting energy into your dreams.
So, what does that mean for you? Is there anything you want to do in your future? Maybe you want your dream home? Maybe you have that dream job in your mind or want to set up your own company because you have a great business idea? Maybe you want to climb every mountain or take a swim in every ocean, or move to another country? Then you too can make a dream board to help make it happen! I know you probably have it mentioned in your wish box but this is a visible wish board to tweak that vibration. I didn’t have specific travel in my wish box but the board gave me space to detail exactly what we want to happen! Here’s what to do?
Firstly, you need a pin board or, if wall space is limited, then you can use a picture frame. Depending on what the board is for, select the area of your home you think it best located. Start collecting a file of pictures and words to depict your dreams. Mine was obviously from travel and holiday magazines, but if you want a home of your dreams, then collect pictures of aspects of your dream home you want in it…roll-top bath, patio doors, garden swing, dream kitchen…you get my drift? Include things like the security it offers, who will be living in it, where it needs to be… all the things that matter and build the vision of what you want the new home to do for you and yours!! Are you following me? Your dream board should offer what your dream means to you, and build up the collage of your needs and wants!! Once you have you’re a plethora of picture in your file, you can start to build your board on the next new moon. Burn incense of your choosing, depending on your chosen subject, and concentrate on your wishes and dreams. Start to pin your pics on the board and over time, add to it to build your vision and let’s see where is takes you!!
Festive Shop opening times…
Shop will be open until 24th as usual, then…
Closed 25-27th Dec, open 28-30th Dec, closed 31st Dec until 9th Jan and I will re-open on Tuesday 10 January…
Please stock up with anything you may need before my break. I am always away for a rest at Hogmanay but this
year, Helen is also away, so we will remain closed until I return. FB page will notify of any late changes to this
Full Moon: Wed 14 Dec @ 00.06 hrs New Moon: Thur 29 Dec @ 06.54 hrs
Full Moon: Thur 12 Jan @ 11.35 hrs New Moon: Sat 28 Jan @ 00.07 hrs
Mulled wine will be on from 2pm Yule to Christmas Eve for all you regulars who come to shop, to wish you well for 2017. Hope you all have a fab festive break.
Yuletide blessings from Chris (alias the Green Witch)