Imbolc first Sabbat of 2020

Archive, Witch, Pagan, Druid, Faery, Spiritual

Imbolc, What is it? Well in the Celtic seasonal calendar, which marks the beginning of the lambing season and signals the beginning of Spring and the stirrings of new life. This is when we start to see shoots of snowdrops.

It is Feile Brighde, the ‘quickening of the year’. The original word Imbolc means ‘in the belly’. See how it ties in with Farming and Lambing. The Land is pregnant and expectant – and only just visible if at all, like the gentle curve of a ‘just-showing’ pregnancy.

It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring. The wheel is turning and with it comes our hopes, new life.

Here is hope. We welcome the growth of the returning light and witness Life’s insatiable appetite for rebirth.

It is Feile Brighde, the ‘quickening of the year’. The original word Imbolc means ‘in the belly’. See how it ties in with Farming and Lambing. The Land is pregnant and expectant – and only just visible if at all, like the gentle curve of a ‘just-showing’ pregnancy.

It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring. The wheel is turning and with it comes our hopes, new life.

Here is hope. We welcome the growth of the returning light and witness Life’s insatiable appetite for rebirth.


Imbolc is a time to let go of the past and to look to the future, clearing out the old, making both outer and inner space for new beginnings.

Spring cleaning is called this, for this very reason!!

So try spring cleaning your home to clearing the mind and heart to allow inspiration to enter for the new cycle.

Doreen Valiente says spring cleaning was a nature ritual.

So I find it’s a good time for wish-making or making a dedication. Send out a promise of something you can work towards through the year.


Imbolc is traditionally the great festival and honouring of Brigid (Brighid, Bride, Brigit), as she was loved as a pagan Goddess that her worship was woven into the Christian church as St Bridget. So the Christians/pagans could accept the change of worship.
She is a Goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft. She is a Goddess of Fire, of the Sun and of the Hearth. She brings fertility to the land and its people and is closely connected to midwives and new-born babies. She is the Triple Goddess, but at Imbolc she is in her Maiden aspect.

For me I’ll be lighting my candles, eating some good food, and going out to spring clean the cobwebs off myself, and spend some time with friends.

#Blogmas Yule Sabbat is here.

Archive, Blogmas 2019, Christmas gifts, Witch, Pagan, Druid, Faery, Spiritual

Gather ye fellow witches and pagans, it’s the Winter Solstice, or better known Yule. From the German word Jul. Pronouced as Ewe-Elle. This year Yule is 22nd December until 2nd January.

The solstice is the signal that life and light is beginning to return, halfway through the darkest times, and come Imbolc 2nd Feb the first stirrings of life can be seen. It’s a time to celebrate!!

The Festival of Rebirth and The Return of the Sun

We celebrate the eventual end of the longest night, we realise now the dark is defeated with the Return of the Sun, there comes the return of light, hope and promises. Now is the time The Goddess gives birth to the Sun/Sun God. The Sun begins to wax, get stronger and stronger, which in turn means the days grow longer. All that is hidden will begin to emerge

The Oak King and The Holly King
The old ones have stories and tales of the two warring kings. They rule a season each. There is the Holly King who rules over the darkest parts of the year which ranges from Midsummer solstice to Yule, he is God of the Waning Year.

At Yule he is defeated, and gives his life to the young light Oak King, God of the Waxing Year and his twin, who rules over the lightest parts of the year, which ranges from Yule to Midsummer. Both rule for half of the year, both fight for the love of the Goddess and both give up their life force for the well-being of the land. In truth, they are one.

Yule

Is truly a time of celebrating, feasting and being together. Knowing you’ve survived the bleakest times and the light is returning, means more feasting is allowed, hence the big Christmas dinner. And our Yule tree is no different to a Christmas tree either, it’s how the tradition starred, deep in pagan roots.

Evergreens represent everlasting life which is why us pagans use them. Traditionally they would be hung around doorways and windows. And of course each one has a symbolism of its own. Do you know what they are? You may be surprised that all your Christmas traditions are actually Pagan Magick.


Mistletoe
A plant deeply steeped in pagan history and revered by the Druids, this is the healer and protector. It is carefully cut to ensure it never touches the earth. The magical properties it has from it lives between the worlds, between sky/heaven and earth. The white berries of mistletoe represent the fertile white semen of the life-giving male. Bet you didnt know thats why we kiss under it?!


Holly
Another evergreen of protection, I mean it’s spikes say protection all over!! The holly’s spiky bristles are believed to repel unwanted spirits, and unwanted attacks from everything else too. Back in the old days newborn babies used to be sprinkled with ‘holly water’, water in which holly had been soaked, especially potent if left under a full moon overnight. Holly is sacred to Holle, the Germanic underworld goddess, and symbolizes everlasting life, goodwill and potent life energy, as most red things do! Its red berries of this holly represent feminine blood.

Together, mistletoe and holly represent the Sacred Marriage at this time of year with the re-birth of the Sun/Son. Again this is why you often see these adorning your Yule wreaths and Decorations.

Ivy
Evergreen symbol of immortality and resurrection, and once again used for Christmas and yet no one knows why. Well as it growes into a spiral, this symbol reminds us of reincarnation and rebirth. Sacred one to God Osiris, where His death and resurrection was a central theme in Egyptian religion. Sacred also to Dionysys, god of vegetation, blossoming and the Return of Spring.


Pine
Its branches bring healing and joy to the home, and this is the Traditional tree we all choose to adorn our homes. We decorate it with representatives of lives, hopes, dreams, and honour our ancestors. It’s why our decorations are traditionally Green, for life, Red for feminine, White for masculine, Gold for the God and Silver for the Goddess.

Yule Log

Well it never used to be chocolate, rather it would be a lot from the previous year, that would be lit, and kept alight until Yule is over. Modern Yule logs can be logs made to hold tea lights or of course eat a chocolate one.

However you celebrate, I hope it’s a truly magickal blessed time for you all.

Summer Solstice 2019

Archive, Witch, Pagan, Druid, Faery, Spiritual

Well its already that time again, the time we all long for all bleak winter. When the gardens are blooming and bursting with life, and summer is in full swing.

But here are some correspondences for the Sabbat, I tend to use all my green adventurine,moss agate and citrine around this Sabbat.

Time to crack open the barbeque, turn on the sprinklers, and enjoy the celebrations of Midsummer! Also it’s nearly time for schools out!! Exams are over, less stress and more thoughts leaning towards enjoying the sun!

Also known as Litha, this summer solstice Sabbat honours the longest day of the year. So take advantage of the extra hours of daylight and spend as much time as you can outdoors, well weather permitting of course.


Depending on your individual beliefs amd spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Litha, the summer solstice.

However the focus is nearly always on celebrating the power of the sun. So get out there and watch a sunrise, or watch the sun setting. It’s the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up.( We hope, here in UK!!)

The dream we have is that we can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, listen to the birds, sunbathe and get back to nature under the long daylight hours.

Traditionally there would be balefires burning for people to leap to drive out evil energies, a tradition still going strong in some European countries, we saw it in Ibiza. Or farmers would drive their cattle through to cleanse them. Nowadays it’s done more symbolically. We’ve leapt a candle in the garden, making our wishes.

I don’t have an altar set up, nor do I do things ceremonially. I prefer to gather my family for get togethers have good food, share stories and enjoy some beers. And hopefully enjoy the sunshine and nature too. It’s very low-key as I’ve learnt over the years, faith and spirituality doesn’t need flare and pomp it just needs you and your intentions.

#Blogmas 2018 Yule tide Blessings

Archive, blogmas 2018, Family Adventures, Witch, Pagan, Druid, Faery, Spiritual

You know the year has gone fast when the Solstice is here, seems barely five minutes since the Summer Solstice 21st June.

Some believe that the Winter Solstice is a day celebration, but in reality they had no clocks or calenders, so Yule lasted over a period of days. Yule 2018 will begin on Friday

21

th December and ends on

Tuesday

1st January 2019.
And is a time of great symbolism and power. It marks the return of the sun, when the days finally begin to get a little longer. It’s also a time to celebrate with family and friends, and share the spirit of giving during the holidays.

You can as a pagan hold rituals, both with a circle or as a solitary. But as we are a family, we choose to do this in a far more understated way. Instead I rather have a good meal, where we save some as an offering to the spirits, light candles to honour the ancestors. And have a Yule log, we’ve had both a chocolate log very nice, but also one to light our candles on too.

Everything we do as a Christmas celebration is really a Yule celebration, from the feast to the tree, wreaths and gift giving. So they are already hand in hand. But on this day especially it is nice to take a reflection over the year that has passed, and of time yet to happen. Because the returning Sun is the promise of things to come.

Like at Samhain, you can burn wishes wrote down, if you choose to have a bonfire outside. But weather being awful this month, and myself not doing well health-wise, it’s not likely for us this year. But not all is lost, you can make those wishes as you blow out the candles after your feast?! Like a birthday wish. Or burn them in your real fire or log burner if you have one.

So eat up and drink and be merry, it’s time to give thanks for all that you have. Feel blessed, it’s been an eventful year.

Our plan is a full on Roast, and Christmas movies galore, probably Arthur Christmas, and Home Alone.

#Blogmas 2018 Alternative Christmas my top 10

Archive, blogmas 2018, Challenges, Randoms, Miscellaneous, Witch, Pagan, Druid, Faery, Spiritual

If like me, you’re a touch quirky, like the odd, and weird. Then you too can do Christmas with your own stamp on it.

I love these, a bit of a different Christmas bauble, and at £9.99 they are an excellent price. But here

A different type of Christmas jumper for the man in your life? Available here

One for the ladies, I personally LOVE this one, and would wear it all winter not just Christmas. Available here

Why not adorn your lovely Christmas tree with a zombie? He’s so cute and available here

No Christmas is Christmas without krampus!! And this tee shows you know the real spirit of the season. Get yours here

Or settle for a krampus decoration. The best way to acknowledge the dude this holiday. And available here

Why not completely change how you do your tree, and opt for an eco friendly one this year, buy here

Have a different set of candles as your table centre piece this Christmas. A fabulous trio set here

For Yule as it is originally known, it is traditional to pay honour to the green man, the woodland spirits, this is why you have a tree at Christmas. So add some traditional Yule decorations from here

Last but not least, every witch needs a besom (broomstick) that shows the theme of the sabbat. Yule or as you know it Christmas. Available here

Yule Celebrations, Part 2 #Blogmas

Archive, Blogmas 2017

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I can’t believe I’ve done it, in 21 days of #blogmas I’ve missed 1 day. Even though I’ve had 2 birthday celebrations, my husband’s and third daughters 21st. Along with weekend in #London and #Bristol. I’m pretty impressed, as I’m usually skittish and disorganized.

However I am disorganized at home, still haven’t got food for Christmas, or finished wrapping. But that’s a hip pain issue more than anything. So anyways its here, the #Witches #Yule. So here’s part 2.

 

A Yule Log plays an important role in the celebrations of the winter solstice and later became a feature in Christmas even, a large oak log was lovingly brought into the house and kindled in the evening, using a branch from the previous years Yule Log. It was deemed essential that the log, once lit, should burn until it was deliberately extinguished. The length of time, varied from region to region, from 12 hours to several days and it was considered bad luck if the fire burnt itself out. It was never allowed to burn away completely, as some would be needed for the following year.

In England, it was considered unlucky for the Yule log to be bought with actual money, and had to be acquired using other means such as favours, bartering, swapping, anything as long as no money changed hands. Often it was given as a gift by landowners, and sometimes decorated with evergreens. In Cornwall, a kernow tradition is to draw a figure of a man was sometimes chalked on the surface of the log, mock or block. In Provence, where it was called the tréfoire, carols were sung invoking blessings upon the women that they might bear children and upon the crops, herds and flocks that they might also increase.

The ashes from the Yule log were saved to make protective, healing or fertilising charms, or scattered over the fields. In Brittany, the ashes were thrown into wells to purify the water, and in Italy as charms against hailstones.

In some parts of the Scottish Highlands, a variation of the Yule log was observed, here a figure of and old woman, the Cailleach Nollaich, was carved from a withered tree stump. At dusk, the figure was brought into the house and laid upon the burning peat of the house fire. The family would gather round the hearth and watch the figure consumed into ashes, the rest of the evening was spent in games and merriment. The figure, represented, not fertility and life but of the evils of winter and death, the figure had to be totally consumed if misfortune and death were to be averted in the coming year.

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Mistletoe, from the Old English misteltãn, is really a parasitic plant that grows on a variety of trees, particularly the apple tree, it is held in great veneration when found on Oak trees. The winter solstice, called ‘Alban Arthan’ by the Druids, was according to Bardic Tradition, the time when the Chief Druid would cut the sacred mistletoe from the Oak. The mistletoe is cut using a golden sickle on the sixth day of the moon. It is often associated with thunder, and regarded as a protection against fire and lighting. In Scandinavian mythology, Balder the Beautiful was killed from an arrow made of mistletoe and wielded by the blind god Hoder. Shakespeare, in Titus Andronicus II calls it ‘the baleful mistletoe’.

It is interesting to note that mistletoe was excluded from church decorations, probably due to its connection with the Druids and pagan and magickal associations. This ancient ban on mistletoe is still widely observed.

Yule Candle 

This was an ornamental candle of great size, once widely used at Yule throughout Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia.  See how traditions havent changed much, not even the colours, as they were often coloured red, green or blue and decorated with sprigs of holly or some other evergreen. The candle was lit either on Christmas Eve, its light shedding on the festival supper and left to burn throughout the night or early Christmas morning, to burn throughout the day. It was rekindled on each successive night of the twelve day festival, and finally extinguished on the Twelfth Night. Here’s the tradition of the 12days. Its all pagan you know!!

While the candle burns, it is believed to shed a blessing on the household, it was considered a sign of ill omen or misfortune for the candle to go out or blown out. Actually in ALL witchcraft it is bad form to blow out candles. Better to snuff them out. It was also considered unlucky to move it.  In some households only the head of the family could perform this task, it being considered unlucky for anyone else to touch it whilst alight.

So there you have it, not so different to Christmas at all. So eat well, drink plenty and make Merry, for the darkest days are over, the light is reborn. Life will return, we see its first sparks.

Don’t forget to leave an offering outside to the spirits. That’s what we do. And as for Yule log, we use a chocolate one now lol

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Yule Celebrations, what’s it all about? #Blogmas Part 1

Archive, Blogmas 2017

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Yule: Winter Solstice – Dec 21st/22nd

What is the origin of the word Yule? It has been suggested that it has origins from the Old English word, geõla, or the  Old Norse word jõl, a pagan festival celebrated at the winter solstice, or even the Anglo-Saxon word for the festival of the Winter Solstice, ‘Iul’ meaning ‘wheel’. In old almanacs Yule was represented by the symbol of a wheel, conveying the idea of the year turns like a wheel, The Great Wheel of the Zodiac, The Wheel of Life. The spokes of the wheel, are the old festivals of the year, the solstices and equinoxes.

The winter solstice, is  the rebirth of the Sun, is an important turning point, as it marks the shortest day, when the hours of daylight are at their least. It also the start of the increase in the hours of daylight, until the Summer Solstice, when darkness becomes ascendant once more. Finally the light is returning, you can feast, party knowing that the darkest days are over.

Cycle of the Year

Yule is deeply rooted in the cycle of the year, it is the seed time of year, the longest night and the shortest day, where the Goddess once again becomes the Great Mother and gives birth to the new Sun King. The oak king rejoices once again. On this the longest night of the winter, ‘the dark night of our souls’, that there springs the new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, the Light of the World. New life is set to return.

Fire festivals, celebrating the rebirth of the Sun, held on the Winter’s Solstice can be found throughout the ancient world. The Roman festival of Saturnalia was held on the winter solstice, boughs of evergreen trees and bushes would decorate the house, gifts where exchanged and normal business was suspended. The Persian Mithraists held December 25th as sacred to the birth of their Sun God, Mithras, and celebrated it as a victory of light over darkness. In Sweden, December 13th was sacred to the Goddess Lucina, Shining One, and was a celebration of the return of the light. On Yule itself, around the 21st, bonfires were lit to honour Odin and Thor.

The festival was already closely associated with the birth of older Pagan gods like Oedipus, Theseus, Hercules, Perseus, Jason, Dionysus, Apollo, Mithra, Horus and even Arthur with a cycle of birth, death and resurrection that is also very close to that of Jesus. It can hardly be a coincidence that the Christians, also used this time of year for the birth of Christ, mystically linking him with the Sun.

That Yule is another fire festival, should come as no surprise, however unlike the more public outdoor festival of the summer solstice, Yule lends itself to a more private and domestic celebration. It is definitely more private for us, firstl its too cold and so close to Christmas, so its easier to celebrate at home quietly. Yet like its midsummer counterpart, is strongly associated with fertility and the continuation of life. Here the Goddess is in her dark aspect, as ‘She Who Cuts The Thread’ or ‘Our Lady in Darkness’, calling back the Sun God. Yet, at the same time, she is in the process of giving birth to Son-Lover who will re-fertilise her and the earth, bringing back light and warmth to the world.

BlessedYule12