To divine whether you will marry in the New Year, try throwing a shoe or boot into a willow tree. If it gets caught in the branches, the answer is yes. You are allowed to throw the shoe no more than nine times because, in spells, nine symbolizes completion.
From: The Good Spell Book
Saturday, December 31, 2011
To divine whether you will marry in the New Year, try throwing a shoe or boot into a willow tree. If it gets caught in the branches, the answer is yes. You are allowed to throw the shoe no more than nine times because, in spells, nine symbolizes completion.
There is a lot of lore and superstition surrounding the New Year. What follows is an extensive listing of what NOT to do, and what to avoid at all costs on this most powerful day of the year:
New Year's day was one of ill omen to the ancient Egyptians.
It is unlucky to have clothes hanging on the line when the New Year is born.
If a person in deep mourning pays you a call on New Year's day, a member of your family will die before the year is out.
In Northern Yorkshire, people will not allow anyone to light a candle from the fire on New Year's day, so afraid are they to "carry fire to fire."
The Chinese believe a Buddhist priest to be the first to enter a house on New Year's morning is even worse than to have a woman first enter it.
Burn all the visiting cards that have been received throughout the year on the first of January. If you keep them from year to year you will have bad luck.
If you have not provided yourself with a calendar before the New Year comes in, you will be behindhand in all your undertakings during the year. (Massachusetts.)
If you eat apples on New Year's day it will produce abcesses.
Some people believe that if you put on clean linen on New Year's day, you will have sores come on your skin.
On New Year's day no one must utter the words that indicate death in any form, especially the word "shi" itself, lest the invitation be accepted. (Chinese.)
The Chinese believe it very bad luck not to pay all of his outstanding accounts on the last day of the year, and begin fresh and straight on New Year's day.
If a creditor makes a disturbance in the house of a debtor on New Year's Day it is considered a most unlucky omen for the future prosperity of the debtor. (China.)
It is bad luck in China to spend money the first three days of the year, except for candies and refreshments.
If one sneezes on New Year's eve while preparing for bed, it is a sign of misfortune during the coming year. (China.)
It is a sure sign of strifes and debates among the learned, and of many robberies to happen during the year, if the new year is ushered in with very red clouds.
A corpse in the house on New Year's day is the sign of another death to follow soon.
The throwing of coal-dust or soot instead of lime before a door on New Year's day, betokens gloom and bad luck. (Malta.)
When the wind blows on New Year's night, it is a sign of pestilence.
"If you wash clothes on New-Year's day,
You'll be sure to wash a friend away."
It is unlucky to sow on New Year's day.
Spend on New Year, spend all the year.
It is very unlucky to refuse a beggar anything on New Year's day, or to refuse a request of any kind.
A sudden noise on New Year's night foretells the death of an inmate.
To meet a priest before any other male on New Year's day, is a sign of death during the year; if a policeman, litigation is sure to follow.
It is unlucky to have a flat-footed person enter the house first of any one on New Year's day. (Folk Lore of Northern Countries.)
It is an omen of ill luck if a redhaired woman enters a house on New Year's morning.
If the first man you speak to on New Year's morning has his hands in his pockets, you will have a hard time getting what money you want during the year.
Among the Highlanders, if a black and threatening cloud appears on New Year's eve, it is looked upon as a forerunner of some dire calamity to the country or to the family estate over which it appears to hang.
French flax is put on the spindle New Year's eve in many parts of Germany. None must be spun then, as it would be bad for the year's spinning.
It is unlucky to have the fire go out on New Year's day.
It is unlucky to eat anything green on New Year's day.
In Hesna, it is unlucky to eat an apple on New Year's day.
In the rural districts of Cornwall, it is unlucky, if a female is the first to enter a house on New Year's morning.
In some of the northern countries of Scotland, it is considered unlucky to enter a person's house on New Year's day empty.
In Scotland, nothing that could be washed on the last night of the year was left unclean. Even the walls were whitewashed inside, lest misfortune should fall upon the family.
To break a white lamp-globe on New Year's day is a sure sign that you will experience great financial losses during the year.
To break a colored lamp-globe on New Year's day is a sign of the death of a near relative during the year.
The Chinese think it unlucky to allude to any possible misfortune on New Year's day.
It is unlucky to take ashes out of the house on New Year's day.
In Malta, a superstitious dread still attaches to some one of the family keeping absent at dinner time on New Year's day. He who doesn't dine with his family on New Year's day is expected to die at the end of that same year. It is also said in Malta that he who eats hotch-potch soup on New Year's day is to gnaw the ham bones all the rest of the year; and that those who eat cabbage on New Year's day will groan for a whole year.
A branch of the plum-tree placed over the door at New Year's is very luck bringing, as the tree is so beautiful and fruitful.
The orange is placed over the door in Japan on New Year's day so that the family shall continue perpetually, and generation after generation shall follow each other like the buds, flowers, and fruit.
Cook cabbage on New Year's day and you will have good luck all the year.
Decorated apples stuck on three skewers are exchanged for luck on New Year's day in Great Britain.
It is lucky to have the last glass from the last bottle of wine on New Year's.
At Bromyard, England, at midnight, December 31st, a rush is made to the nearest well or spring of water, and he who gets the first drink of it, "the cream of the well," will have fine luck all the coming year.
The last glass of wine or spirits drained on New Year's eve is called the "Lucky Glass," and whoever is fortunate enough to get it, will be successful during the coming year.
In Japan oranges are hung up on New Year's day as a charm to insure the long life of the family.
Just before midnight on New Year's eve, the Chinese put on new or clean garments so as to enter the new year purely, and thus gain good fortune to themselves.
On New Year's eve at Biggar, Lanarkshire, a large bonfire of thornbush is lit and kept burning all night, and the boys jump over it for luck during the year.
A present of money given in China at the end of the old year is an auspicious omen for the new year.
Money presents from members of a household to each other are strung on a red string as a symbol of joy.
New Year's night quiet and clear indicates a prosperous year.
The Chinese think New Year's day is the luckiest of the year.
If you leave a glass of wine standing between eleven and twelve on New Year's night, and it runs over, the vintage will be good that year.
The Chinese say that if a man sits up for ten years in succession and sees the New Year come in, that he will have a very long life.
It is lucky to rise early on New Year's morning.
If a person receives money on New Year's day, it is a good omen, for they say that he or she will continue to do so all the year.
If the first carol singer who comes to the door on New Year's morning, is brought in at the front door, taken all through the house, and let out at the back door, it will bring luck to the house for a year.
The Europeans as well as the Japanese hang the "lucky bag," a square of white paper tied with a red and white string, over their gates on New Year's day for luck.
If you put a coin into the spout of a pump on New Year's eve, and bring it into the house the instant the clock has struck twelve, you will have a prosperous year.
The Germans have a superstition that if you serve "Hopping John" (peas and rice boiled together) at dinner on New Year's day, you will be lucky all the year.
In China a small white cock is killed on New Year's day, to bring good luck for the coming year.
It brings good luck to place a piece of money on the window on New Year's eve.
A triangular cake, filled with mince meat, was formerly baked, and bits of it fed on New Year's day to the cattle in Coventry, England, for good luck.
It is said to bring good luck through the year if you place a diamond, or a gold or silver coin, in a glass of water and drink of the water the first drink you take on New Year's morning.
Feed the birds well on New Year's morning by placing a sheaf of wheat or barley or some bread outside your house, then good luck will attend you, and good crops and prosperity come to you during the whole year.
To have peas for dinner on New Year's day is said to bring money all the year.
The inhabitants of Heligoland have a custom on New Year's eve to perambulate the streets with broken pots and pans which they place before their friends' doors, and the man who has the largest heap is the luckiest and most popular.
For fishermen to draw blood with hook or gun on New Year's morning is to insure a plentiful year.
It is considered good luck in England to sand the steps on New Year's day.
On New Year's eve the Chinese tie small gourds around the children's necks as a safe-guard against the small pox. Some Chinese put paper masks on their children on New Year's eve, believing that the small-pox god will pass them by, and not recognize them.
In Germany it is said that the person who eats millet and herring on New Year's day, will never be wanting of money during the year. Others eat seven or eight kinds of cake, one of them made of powdered poppy seed mixed with flour and water, in order to insure prosperity during the new year.
In the neighborhood of Gorlitz and in the Ukermark, on New Year's eve, straw bands are placed under the table and the guests rest their feet upon them; and afterwards they are taken out into the orchard and bound around the trees, so that they will bear well the next year. (German.)
In Turkey, on New Year's Day, every stranger entering the house must throw salt on the fire for luck.
At midnight on New Year's eve the Japanese father dressed in his richest attire sword in hand or sabre in his girdle, and with a box of roasted beans in his left hand, goes alone all through the house with his right hand scattering the wonderful beans around, saying: "Avaunt demons! Begone devils! Enter Fortune! Come in Prosperity!" This causes the evil spirits to leave.
The teacher in China who must send poems on New Year's day to the parents of his pupils, sits on New Year's eve writing them with a dish of rice and a vase of flowers before him on the table, these offerings to the sun causing him to write better rhymes.
To receive a letter containing good news on New Year's day, is a sign of good news coming all the year.
"He who is born on New-Year's morn
Will have his own way as sure as you're born."
In one locality in England, bands of straw were put under the feet on New Year's day while at table. When the meal was finished, one person got under the table and another one sat on his back and drew out the bands of straw. These were taken to the orchard and bound around trees, which were thereby insured to bear a full crop of fruit the next year.
Place a gold coin on the threshold when you lock your door on New Year's eve and take it off in the morning when the Church bell rings; you will then have money to spend all the year.
On New Year's day cakes called "Poplady" were eaten for luck. They rudely resembled the human figure with two dried currants or raisins for eyes, and another to represent the mouth; the lower part being formed somewhat like the case of an Egyptian mummy. This cake is no doubt a relic of Egyptian or Roman superstition.
New Year's night is celebrated in Hungary, the same as in most other countries, by much shouting and boisterousness generally. This is kept up all night, until daylight; to scare bad luck and evil spirits away, they say.
Source: Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World
Some Albanian tribes celebrate their New Year on the first of September, and everything that happens during the day, presages the happenings of the months of the year, as to whether they will be lucky or not.
On New Year's day dip your thumb seven times in salt and put in your mouth all that rests on the nail. You will dream that your future husband or wife will bring you water. (Persia.)
On New Year's night, it was an old Welsh custom with the wise and courageous old men of the parish to sit up all night in the church porch. On that night, it was said, a voice, emanating from beneath the altar table, pronounced the names of those who should die within the coming year.
If a woman dies first in the year, then the greatest mortality during the year will be amongst women; and vice versa if a man dies first. (Gloucestershire, England.)
On New Year's eve, the Gurians in Russia place small pitchers of wine in each of the bed-rooms of the family; if in the morning the wine has increased, the harvest will be abundant; but if the wine is lessened, they will have bad luck that year.
During the time that the male Jews are at the synagogue on the night of the tenth of the month Tisri (Yorn Kippur, the day of atonement), the women light the candles and lamps at home, and according as the light burns prognosticate good or evil fortune.
If your first caller on New Year's day is a male, you will have good luck and many friends; if a female, bad luck and few friends.
Turn your pillow at midnight of the thirty-first of December, and you will dream of the one you are to marry.
If the sun shines on New Year's day, it is a sign that the flax will be straight.
He who steals on New Year's, can steal safely for a year.
Every Chinaman must perform the extraordinary act of taking a bath on New Year's day. To fail in this would be a bad sign.
The Chinese put potatoes in water on New Year's eve and prognosticate their fortunes by the way they grow. If they are not thrifty they will meet with trouble during the year.
At midnight on New Year's the Japanese build small fires on the floor of their houses and from the manner in which the flames arise, foretell what will be their luck during the coming year.
At Liege, Belgium, it is a bad sign if a little girl presents you the first wishes for a happy New Year, but lucky if it is a boy.
It is an old Dutch superstition that, if you want to marry the girl you love, your voice must be the first one she hears, and your face the first she sees, on New Year's morning.
Venetians consider it very important to notice whom you meet the first thing on New Year's day. If it is a man, you will have good luck, if a woman, bad luck; if a priest, you will die within the year; if a policeman, you will have litigation.
The first person of the opposite sex you meet on New Year's day will bear the Christian name of your future partner.
If ice melts on the 1st of January, it will freeze the 1st of April.
In one part of modern Greece all in the house go out early on New Year's morning each bearing a branch on which the leaves are well dried. These they cast on the open fire, each wishing at the same time good luck to the family. The greater the fire, the better the augury.
On New Year's eve take your hymn-book to your bedroom, blow out the lamp, open your book and mark a hymn (in the dark), put it under your pillow, and sleep on it. Next morning read the hymn, and its text will indicate the events of the year.
Your conduct on New Year's day is a forerunner of your conduct all the year.
It is said that whatever the experience of a person is on New Year's day, so it will be all the year, either tears or smiles.
In Scotland, the first person who comes to the house on New Year's day will govern the luck of the house for the year, and in this belief, the "first foot," is carefully watched.
In Transylvania on New Year's eve the young men of the family bind together as many wreathes as there are persons in the house and throw them over the roof. Those that fall indicate the ones who will die that year.
Lay a green ivy leaf in a dish on New Year's night, cover it with water and set it in a safe place until the fifth day of the year. If the leaf is then still green and fair, you will be safe from any sickness all the year; but if you find black spots on it, you may expect sickness.
In Pomerania and also in this country, young ladies believe that if they rapped at a poultry-house door at midnight on New Year's eve, and the cock cackled first, they would surely be married that year; but if the hen cackled first, they would remain maids.
"On New-Year's Day
Take out and then take in,
Bad luck will begin:
Take in, then take out,
Good luck will come about."
On New Year's eve, if a person wishes to know his fate during the coming year, he must go into the open air with a psalm book in one hand, and a piece of silver in his mouth. He must allow the book to fall open, and if it opens at the death psalm he will die; if it opens at a bridal psalm, he will marry; and whatever else it opens to, wul indicate his fate. (Sweden.)
A "plane-soled" or "flat-footed" person is considered in Scotland a sanctimonious person and unlucky to meet on New Year's day; while a hearty, merry fellow is good luck. It is necessary for all to drink every drop in the glass presented, and eat all of the bread given on that day, for good fortune. If anything unusual takes place on that day, it is noted and talked of all the year, so important to the village fortunes are the events of New Year's Day.
In Turkey, if a stranger visits you on New Year's day he must go to the hen-house and place an egg under a hen. If she does her duty and sits upon it the stranger is auspicious and is feted. It is called "the lucky foot."
"If New Year's-eve night wind blow south. It betokened] warmth and growth, If west much milk and fish in the sea, If north much cold and storms ther'd be, If east the trees will bear much fruit If north east Bee it, man and brute."
On New Year's eve the Italian maiden places in one corner of her bed room a thimble, in another water, in a third ashes, and in the fourth a ring. Upon waking in the morning if she sees the ring first, she will be married that year; if she sees the water first, the year will be unlucky; if the thimble, fortune will smile on her; if the ashes, she will die.
On New Year's morning take the Bible, lay it upon the table, open it and place your finger on the page at random. The verse upon which your finger touches will give some idea as to your future for the coming year.
The first baking after New Year's day, make as many little cakes as there are people in the house, give each a name, and pick a hole in it with your finger; if any one's hole gets baked up, he or she will die.
"With business is the year auspiciously begun:
But every artist, soon as he has tried.
Works but a bit, then lays his work aside."
As a weather guide the first day of the year is much regarded. East wind on New Year's day forecasts a year of cattle plague. West, the death of kings. S. W. epidemics, North, fertility.
Source: Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World
Saturday, December 24, 2011
- Latin name: Yellow birch - betula alleghaniensis; black birch - betula lenta; canoe or common birch - betula papyrifea.
- Celtic name: Beth (pronounced: beh)
- Folk or Common names: Beithe, Bereza, Berke, Beth, Bouleau, Lady of the Woods, Birth, Canoe Tree, Paper Tree, Silver Birch, White Birch.
- Meaning of the name: "Birch" is derived from the meaning "Bright" or "Shining" in Indo-European and Sanskrit terminology. Quite possibly it came from the Anglo-Saxon term "Beorgan" meaning "to protect or shelter"
- Parts Used: Leaves, bark, wood, sap, branches.
- Please note: never take bark off a living Birch tree, since this will kill it.
Birch leaves can be used to make an infusion that is good for breaking up kidney or bladder stones. Birch bark is an astringent and can be used to treat non-hereditary baldness. Birch tea can be made from the inner bark and leaves and this is good for rheumatism or as a sedative to aid sleep. Birch sap can be harvested the same way maple sap is, and then boiled down into birch syrup.
Magical History and Associations:
The bird associated with the Month of the Birch is the pheasant. Birch's color is white, its day is Sunday and its gemstone is red chard. The Celtic symbol of Birch is the White Stag with a rack with seven tines. Birch is associated with the element of water, is a tree of the sun and the planet Venus, and its Herbal Gender is feminine.
The Birch tree is sacred to the God Thor and the Goddesses Diana and Cerridwen. Birch is considered to be a Goddess tree, the symbol of summer ever-returning. The Birch is also a special tree to the Celts ("On a switch of birch was written the first Ogham inscription in Ireland, namely seven B's, as a warning to Lug son of Ethliu, to wit, 'Thy wife will be seven times carried away from you into fairyland or elsewhere, unless birch be her overseer." - Robert Graves, The White Goddess) and Birch wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane. It is one of the three pillars of Wisdom (Oak, Yew, Birch) and often symbolizes the first level of Druid working.
Birch trees often have Otherkin spirits attached to them and the "Lieschi" or "Genii of the Forest" are said to dwell in their tree tops. The Ghillie Dhu (pronounced "Gillee Doo or Yoo") are guardian tree spirits who are disguised as foliage and dislike human beings. They prefer birch trees to all others, and jealously guard them from humans. If the spirit of the Birch tree touches a head it leaves a white mark and the person turns insane. If it touches a heart, the person will die.
The month of Birch is a good time to do magick associated with new beginnings. Magickal work done in this moon adds strength and momentum to any new choices made. The Birch has applications in magick done for protection, creativity, exorcism, fertility, birth, healing, Forest Magic, Inner Authority/Self-Discipline, Lunar workings, love, and purification. Magickal protective uses of Birch include tying a red ribbon around the trunk of a birch to ward off the evil eye. Also, gently whapping someone with a Birch twig drives out negative energy, and Birch branches hung near a cradle will protect the newborn from psychic harm. In fact, cradles can be made from Birch wood to further protect a newborn. Many farmers plant Birch around their houses to protect against lightning.
For magical parchment, gather Birch bark from a tree that has been struck by lightning (chosen by Thor) - and the Birch paper will keep the writings safe. Because Birch wood has the qualities of exorcism and protection, its twigs are traditionally used to make witches' brooms. Brooms made of a mixture of Ash, Birch and Willow are said to be especially powerful in magick. Birch rods are also used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old year. Birch is also perfect to use to make a 'Goddess' wand, since Birch is the tree known as 'the Lady of the Woods' and a grove of Birch trees is an excellent place to communicate with the Goddess.
Birch wood is also a good choice for making rune sets to use for divination. Be sure to harvest your branch for the rune set during the waxing moon, and make sure you ask Odin or Byarka to inspire your work. Also ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. Birch trees especially appreciate gifts such as pretty stones, sea shells, flowers or herbs.
- Year of Moons, Season of Trees
- Tree Medicine Tree Magic
- A Druid's Herbal
- Celtic Astrology
- Glamoury: Magic of the Celtic Green World
- The Book of Druidry
Friday, December 23, 2011
- Dec 23 thru Jan 1st
- Jun 25 to Jul 04
Persons born under the sign of the Apple Tree tend to be slight of build, with lots of charm, appeal, and attraction, pleasant aura, flirtatious, adventurous, sensitive, always in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, scientific talents, lives for today, a carefree philosopher with imagination.
Source: Wicca Chat
Thursday, December 22, 2011
- Dec 22
According to some astrological traditions, it is said that if you were born on Dec 22, you were born under the sign of the Beech tree. Persons born under this sign tend to have good taste, and be concerned about their looks. Other qualities of Beech tree people may include the following: materialistic, good organization of life and career, economical, good leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.)
Source: Wicca Chat
Art from: Veronika Brazdova
The Sun is in Capricorn from approximately December 22 to January 19, depending on the year.
Symbol: The Goat
Zodiac Placement: 10th Sign
Stone: Amber, Onyx
Color: Purple, Brown
Flowers: Carnation; Narcissus; Buttercups; Orchid
Anatomy: The knee, bones, skeleton
Keywords: tenacious, conservative, resourceful, disciplined, wise, ambitious, prudent, constant.
Capricorn is a feet-on-the-ground, eye-on-the-prize sign. Those with Sun in Capricorn have a realistic, grounded approach to life that can be seen no matter how dreamy the rest of the birth chart suggests. These people know how to do things, and to get things done.
Some Capricorns naturally turn their backs on things they deem too frivolous. They are very much concerned with things that are worthwhile—and that includes their own lives. Capricorns want to do and be something worthwhile. Like their Earth signs relatives, Taurus and Virgo, they need to feel useful and effective in the real world in order to be satisfied with their lives. But the Capricorn spin on the earth signs is that Capricorn possesses a stronger need for recognition in a worldly sense. They have a strong sense of society and its framework, and they feel most secure when they feel they are doing their part within that framework.
Capricorns like to pare things down, and take pleasure in the simple things in life. However, many are attracted to status symbols and these ones will wear the best clothes (tasteful ones!) and drive quietly impressive cars.
Comparing Capricorns to their symbol, the goat, brings up some interesting analogies. Solar Capricorns can see into the future, and plan for it. They don't mind taking things slowly, but they absolutely aim to get to the top of the mountain in life! They make their way steadily and sure-footedly; and their strength and singleness of purpose are admirable.
Capricorns can sometimes be rather lonely people, although they rarely let it show. They are often a little reserved—even standoffish. This is generally because they value all things practical, and they'll seldom wear their emotions on their sleeves, unless they have a particularly flamboyant Moon sign.
This is a sign that is surely the most resourceful of the zodiac. To some, Capricorns come across as unimaginative, but they can be enormously creative when it comes to the material world. They are generally very capable people with a strong sense of tradition and responsibility.
Many Capricorns have mastered the art of making people laugh. Their sense of humor can be of the deadpan variety—they're generally excellent at keeping a straight face. They can be bitingly sarcastic, too.
Capricorns are not known for taking too many risks in life. They value the beaten track and things "tried and true". This is not to say they are stick-in-the-muds — they simply value the hard work laid down by those who've been around before them.
Turn to your Capricorn friends for help when you need to really get things done. They'll have practical advice, and they'll help you organize and manage your life a little better. Capricorns are generally good with their "word", dependable, and rather loyal people.
Source: Cafe Astrology
If you were born between December 22 and January 21, you were born under the sign of the Carnation. Those with the carnation flower sign are beautifully adept at putting things in order, and organizing. You are strong willed and determined for others to see your point of view. You are a natural leader, and others look to you to lean on. You can be driven and determined and this makes you a strong personality. You are no stranger to hard work, and you like to get things done your way. You like security, particularly if you are building a comfort zone with your own two hands.
Source: What's Your Sign
Also known as: Yule, Alban Arthuan, Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year. It is from this point that the days begin slowly to become longer and longer. The sun is at its most southeastern point over the Tropic of Capricorn in the northern hemisphere and has no apparent northward or southward motion.
In the time of the ancient tribes this was a time of celebration, for it meant the turning point of winter and the eventual return of spring. Yule is the time when we honor the Goddess for giving birth to the sun once more. It is the time when the Oak King is victorious over the Holly King. The Holly King represents death and darkness that has ruled since Samhain, and the Oak King represents rebirth and life. The waning (diminishing) sun is overtaken by the waxing (increasing) sun, thus the days become longer after the victory of the Oak King.
Yule is a time when we do Rituals and celebrate the increasing daylight, to renew, and to see the world through the eyes of a child. Spells done at Yule tend to raise our spirits, and bring harmony, peace, and joy. During Yule we see the wisdom of past experience begin to glimmer. The experiences we yielded over the harvest season of the times gone past begin to be reborn as wisdom, new light, to guide us further down the Paths we have chosen.
It is customary for Witches to decorate the Yule tree, and adorn the house with holly, ivy and pine. It is time when Father Winter, a white bearded chap dress in red, fur trimmed robes, arrives bearing gifts and exchange gifts.
This is the eve when the Yule log from the previous year is burned in the fire. Symbolic of the newborn sun, each year's Yule log is of oak, charged in a Magic Circle and kept in sacred space the following Yule. This not only celebrates the oak and places it in a place of distinguished honor, but also ensures there will be fuel for the remainder of Winter.
Source: © Copyright 1996, Christina Aubin; used by permission
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. The Juvenalia were scenic games instituted by Nero in A.D. 59, in commemoration of his shaving his beard for the first time, thus intimating that he had passed from youth into manhood. He was then 22 years old.
These games were not celebrated in the circus, but in a private theatre erected in a pleasure-ground (nemus), and consisted of every kind of theatrical performance, Greek and Roman plays, mimetic pieces, and the like. The most distinguished persons in the state, old and young, male and female, were expected to take part in them. The emperor set the example by appearing in person on the stage; and Dion Cassius mentions a distinguished Roman matron, upwards of eighty years of age, who danced in the games.
The Juvenalia continued to be celebrated by subsequent emperors, but not on the same occasion. The name was given to those games which were exhibited by the emperors on the 1st of January in each year. They no longer consisted of scenic representations, but of chariot races and combats of wild beasts.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
About an hour before sunrise, plant yourself outside, preferably on a hill, or the top of a building. Face the direction where the sun will rise and begin to call the sun. Forcefully project the sound so that you imagine your body shaking; then the room or space where you are shakes; then the world, and finally the whole universe - by which time, you should be sweating. Eventually, you will feel that the sound is coming through, rather than from you.
Names or mantras you can use include the following:
- Shamash (Babylonian)
- Amun Ra (Egyptian)
- Sulis (Celtic)
- Helios (Greek)
- Surya (Vedic)
- Sol Invictus (Roman)
- Inti (Incan)
Spell by: Shirleytwofeathers
Ruller: Apollo, Druids, Venus
Magickal Form: Berries, Leaves, Wood
Use for: Fertility, protection, love, healing, luck, and invisibility
Mistletoe is another important plant that is used in many holiday traditions surrounding the winter solstice. Druids believed that anything found growing on an oak tree had been sent from heaven and mistletoe found on oaks was especially sacred.
Said to lose its power once it touches the ground, mistletoe is a holy herb and sacred to many deities. Mistletoe was perceived as being in a category all its own. Although it lives on trees, it's not a tree. Although it's like a plant, it doesn't grow in either Earth or Water.
In the Celtic language, mistletoe means “All heal” and it was thought to possess miraculous healing powers and hold the soul of the host tree. Mistletoe would be hung over the entry into peoples’ homes and atop doorways within their homes as a token of good will and peace to all comers.
It is said that when warring Viking armies met under a tree in which mistletoe occurred that they would cease battle for the remainder of that day. Today, many people still hang mistletoe in their homes and couples kiss when they meet under the mistletoe.
In some traditions each time a couple kiss under the mistletoe a single white berry is removed and the kissing ceases when the final berry is removed. Kissing a lover under the mistletoe will make this relationship last. There is a myth associated with this practice that stated if any unmarried women of the household went unkissed during the hanging of the mistletoe, they would not marry in the coming year.
As a matter of fact, you can tie mistletoe with a red ribbon and hang it in your home any time of the year for luck, protection and extra kissing.
- Adding mistletoe to other love potions increases their power.
- Place the leaves or berries high on a mantel in the home to protect its occupants.
- Leave a sprig of mistletoe in the home of someone you want to be remembered by.
- Twist marjoram and thyme around mistletoe and hang it in the corners of each room to attract luck and good fortune.
- Carve a ring from mistletoe wood and wear it for protection and to ward off illness.
Mistletoe is believed to possess a magical affinity for seizure disorders. To prevent seizures, carry a piece of mistletoe in your pocket or within a conjure bag. Jewelry and charms carved from mistletoe wood can also be worn or carried. The most potent mistletoe seizure charm is a magic knife with an iron blade and a handle carved from mistletoe wood.
Mistletoe berries resemble tiny golden moons enhancing the lunar and fertility symbolism. According to Pliny, a piece of mistletoe carried as an amulet helps a woman conceive. Fertility charms are carved from mistletoe wood, and then carried or attached to a pin and worn as a brooch. The most powerful mistletoe jewelry is embellished with pearls.
Mistletoe allegedly enhances the reproductive capacity of animals. Not only does it promote conception, it's believed to also prevent miscarriage, particularly for sheep and goats.
Hang mistletoe in the barn, or place it on around the animal in question. Be aware that the amuletic part of mistletoe is usually the "wood" - and again, be cautious as mistletoe can be toxic, especially the berries.
In Sweden mistletoe is known as "thunderbroom." Place it over thresholds, and hang it from the wall to protect a home from lightning. You can wear mistletoe around your neck to promote invisibility and hang it on a baby's cradle to prevent fairies from stealing the youngster.
CAUTION: The leaves and berries of mistletoe are poisonous. Use caution when handling and keep away from small children and pets.
Sources: The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells
and The Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients
Monday, December 19, 2011
Oak and holly play an important role in many of our holiday celebrations surrounding the winter solstice. In ancient cultures the holly tree symbolized the waning sun commencing with the summer solstice and the oak tree symbolized the waxing sun commencing with the winter solstice.
The Druids believed holly’s evergreen nature made it sacred and that it remained green throughout winter to keep the earth beautiful at a time when deciduous trees shed their leaves.
Holly was used for decoration throughout homes with it being used for boughs over entrances to peoples’ homes or formed into holly wreaths that were hung on doors. Placing a ring of holly on doors originated in Ireland since holly was one of the main plants that was green and very beautiful with its red berries at this time of year and gave poor people a means of decorating their dwellings. Decorating one’s home with holly was believed to bring protection and good luck to the inhabitants in the coming year.