The Yule Log

The Yule Log
by Lila

The tradition of the Yule logs dates back millennia. The origin of the word Yule seems to originate from the Anglo Saxon word for sun and light. People used to burn a yule log on the Winter Solstice in December. The Winter Solstice is the day of the year with the shortest amount of daylight. Yule is celebrated by fire, which provides a dual role of warmth and keeping evil spirits away. Many people thought that evil spirits were more likely to wander the earth on the longest night of the year. All night bonfires and hearth fires kept evil at bay and provided gathering places for folks to share feasts and stories.

Winter Solstice marks the sun’s victory over darkness; the days would now grow longer. The cinders from the burnt log were thought to protect homes from lightning and the evil powers of the devil. The ashes were also sprinkled on the surrounding fields to ensure good luck for the coming year’s harvest. The largest remaining part of the log was kept safe to kindle next year’s fire.

The Yule log has waned in popularity with the advent of electric heaters and wood stoves. With no access to a hearth, fireplace or fire pit, modern folks are losing a sacred tradition. Today, we may still partake of the Yule Log tradition by creating a smaller version as a table ornament, embellished with greenery and candles, or the popular Yule log cake. As we eat a slice, we can imagine taking in the protective properties of the log.

Many enjoy the practice of lighting the Yule Log. If you choose to burn one, select a log and carve or chalk upon it a figure of the Sun (a rayed disc) or the Horned God (a horned circle). Set it alight in the fireplace at dusk, on Yule. This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess. As the log burns, visualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days. Traditionally, a portion of the Yule Log is saved to be used in lighting next year’s log. This piece is kept throughout the year to protect the home.

Whether you are burning a log or creating a centrepiece, different woods may be used to produce different effects:
Aspen: invokes understanding of the grand design
Birch: signifies new beginnings
Holly: inspires visions and reveals past lives
Oak: brings healing, strength, and wisdom, symbol of the Oak king, the New year
Pine: signifies prosperity and growth
Willow: invokes the Goddess to achieve desires
Decorate your log with the any of the following items:
bright green needles of fir represents the birth of the new year
dark green needles of yew represent death of the waning year
vines of ivy or birch branches represent the Goddess
sprigs of holly with red berries represent the Holly king of the dying year
As you light the Yule log chant the following:

As the yule log is kindled
so is the new year begun
as it has been down through the ages
an unending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth
every ending is a new beginning
May the Yule log burn
May all good enter here
May there be wheat for bread
and vats full of wine
(or may we never hunger may we never thirst)

When the log has almost completely burned, collect a small piece of the Yule log (dip in a bucket of water to ensure it is completely out) wrap carefully and keep somewhere in the home for safety and protection.

collect some of the cold ashes and store in a glass bottle. The ash can be used for spells of protection and amulets. The remainder of the Yule ash can be scattered over fields or gardens to ensure fertility in the spring.

Pauline Campanelli; Wheel of the Year

Lila is an initiate in The Sacred Three Goddess school. She lives on a mountain in beautiful British Columbia with her husband, four cats, two ferrets and other varied critters of nature. She spends her time communing with the Faerie folk and long walks by the river.

Hunting the Hunter

Hunting the Hunter

by Melanie Fire Salamander

When I first started work in the Craft, as a solitary, I hadn’t much use for the God. The deity Who attracted me was the Goddess. I remember communing with Her in candlelight, before an altar of old telephone books covered with blue-figured silk. I felt incorporated by Her, supported.

My concept then of the God was the God of the Christians. From my ninth year to my thirteenth, I attended an Episcopalian church, where everyone was too polite to save me, though I did enjoy singing in the Youth Choir. I found the Episcopalian services pretty on the outside, but within they seemed dry as dust. I tried to be moved, but I ended up yawning, more taken by my walks to church through the quiet, sun-splotched Sunday mornings than by the ritual. The most of God I sensed among the Episcopalians was the echo of a long-ago voice.

When I did feel a presence from the God, that presence was of God the Father. Jesus I always saw as a person, a visionary you had to respect; I never got in touch with the loving Christ. We see our gods through the archetypes we’ve found in life, I think, and I was reared in a patriarchal household, from which I wrenched fight by fight over a period of years. In that household, the looming male figure was my father, grey-haired before my birth, the raging patriarch. Though my father and I patched up our relationship as I started serious work as a witch, my wounds were still raw enough I wanted nothing to do with fathers.

One of the first books I read that spoke of witchcraft as a spiritual path was The Spiral Dance. I remember Starhawk’s descriptions of different versions of the God: the gentle, loving Blue God, the viny Green One, and the Horned God, the Hunter. But for me none of Starhawk’s gods rang true. They seemed merely constructs. The Blue God appeared too girlish, and for me green was female. I felt the Horned God as the most real, but frightening and lumpen, as if one would want to mate with a bull. I shrugged, paid lip-service to the God in the group rituals I attended, and on my own worshipped the Goddess.

Meanwhile, life went on. Though I had no vision of the God, I managed to enjoy His sex. In Ireland I had a fling with a 21-year-old boy with dyed black hair, who wore a black shirt his friend’s sister made; we drank too much ale and richocheted against the painted stone walls of his village at 2 a.m.. Back in Seattle, I dated a photographer, also younger than me, slender as a brown sapling, sarcastic; I eroticized the smell of developer. I dated men my own age, too, but I kept reverting. Take my intersection with the surly boy, a singer in a band: I fell in love with his pumped chest and pierced nipple, though we never once held a conversation without arguing. Or take my e-mail flirtation, which went on too long and was never consummated: spiky, poison-sweet, dysfunctional as a car crash.

That one finally brought me to full stop. Some of the others had been obsessions, too, but this one patently made no sense. He had a girlfriend; we’d seen each other in the flesh perhaps five times; we’d never touched. What was it about him that sent my head spinning?

Those attachments you get, which are too strong, in the end seem to have little to do with the persons who inspire them. We tend to worship the gods we see in our lives, and the corollary is that if we don’t see the gods, they try harder and harder to reveal themselves.

I came to the God slowly, through His fauns.

Luckily the gods will teach you lessons many times over. But even when you’ve learned a few things, nothing is for sure. This story I’m telling you now, none of it is “true”; it’s just the explanation I’m giving myself.

Right now for me, the God is a muse. He comes on as a lover, but he is not a husband, nor even exactly a friend, more a capricious mentor. Our relationship is only sometimes about satisfaction; mainly the point is longing.

The God inspires my fiction; the characters I find most fun to write are usually fauns. They’re not portraits of boys I’ve known, though on occasion they’ve started out to be. Often they begin as minor players, who then take on a life of their own. The God inspires them: fills them with His breath and sets them moving. As they move, they draw me into the work, and their touch inspires the other characters.

This particular God-energy seems to work better for me driving fiction than real-life relationships. My fauns were never good boyfriends; I don’t think the Muse makes a good partner. His and my relationship is about tension, a pleasurable discomfort that makes me itch. I wouldn’t want that tantalizing, unfulfilling energy in an ongoing human relationship, but it feels right in relating to a god. It keeps me writing.

But the God will not be bound only into fiction.

At a festival, I saw a boy all in leather, crouched among greenery, looking up at me: black eyes, black hair, trembling lips with a fringe of mustache. I knew for certain I wanted him when I saw him take off his shirt. At the firepit, I maneuvered to sit next to him, warmed my cold hands on his thighs.

The Aphrodite shrine was full, locked, so we found the Pan shrine. Under a fake-fur pelt, we made love by candlelight. Something there was intoxicating as whiskey, something glancing, a bit heart-rending. I remembered him a long time, and I wrote him letters, though no permanent connection came.

It was only later I saw the God was laughing at me.

In the Pan shrine? Melanie, don’t you get it?

So it is often, I think. The gods don’t just come when you call. They make cameo appearances, and later you wonder why you remember that scene.

To see Him in your life, use your peripheral vision. Some people He comforts, some He teases; it depends on what He thinks you need from Him. But never doubt the God is there.

Images of the Divine Masculine

Images of the Divine Masculine

by K. C. Holt

In these times, the masculine seems in danger of being devalued. Examples of the masculine demonized as the patriarchal oppressor and destroyer of the environment and all that is good in society are all too easy to find. However, the feminist movement that gained momentum in the ’60s held out much hope not only to women, but to a great many men – men who not only agreed with what women were saying but realized that their own liberation from unrealistic and emotionally crippling stereotypes hung in the balance. In the following paragraphs, we will explore views of the masculine that are not new but have been lost to many in the mainstream of society and religious orthodoxy.

Looking at today’s spiritual landscape, it appears the image of the “Divine Masculine” is in a state of flux. The men’s movement has been late to start, galvanized into existence by some very patriarchal behavior within the women’s movement as well as by the need to reclaim what orthodox patriarchal religion has suppressed and persecuted. Patriarchal society has a numbing effect on the souls of men. Men now seek the door to their feeling, spiritual side with a renewed vigor unfettered by past convention, allowing them to love and work in ways that heal their lives.

Rites of passage for men have become little more than preparation for surrender to the hero image. Men find themselves sent forth to compete, to accumulate wealth, power and dominion over their environment. Dominion separates men from nature; they lack the immediate connection to the earth women gain through the cycles of menstruation and birth.

Men, instead, are linked to nature’s cycles through the activities of hunting and gathering or farming and agriculture. But these activities have largely been removed or distorted through the industrialization of society. Industrialization has helped lead to the incorrect and damaging association of nurture with the feminine and domination with the masculine. This pigeonholing of the male psyche by society and modern psychology has produced a shallow conception of the nature of masculinity. Furthermore, such an association ignores aspects of feminine psychology that do not necessarily fit the image of nurturer.

Aaron R. Kipnis, in his provocative book Knights Without Armor: A Practical Guide for Men in Quest of Masculine Soul, aptly states the problem: “Men in our culture today are undergoing a major restructuring of the basic paradigms governing masculine consciousness and behavior. It’s important to understand and uncover those aspects of the inner psychic life of persons that are essentially masculine in nature. We need to develop a working model that meets the needs of modern men on the basis of their own individual, personal experience. In many cases, this is very different from the constructs that have come out of heroic, monotheistic, patriarchal thinking or the revisions of feminist theory…. We need a more expansive psychology, which embraces the possibility of a moist, soulful, dark, authentic, mysterious, lunar, deep and earthy masculinity.”

Where might we look to find this concept of a mysterious, lunar, deep and earthy masculinity? Does it indeed exist, or does it need to be created? The answer is that it has existed for millennia. The evidence of its existence is carefully concealed by the orthodox monotheistic religions and the admittedly unbalanced patriarchal society we find ourselves in.

Wicca emphasizes polarity, worships the Earth God and has kept His memory alive. Most Wiccans see men and women as equal in spirit and intelligence but opposite in physical and emotional orientation. The practice and philosophy of Wicca is built around this polarity. I claim no authority to speak for any one tradition; Wiccans are as diverse as any religious group, ranging from what I like to affectionately call Fundamentalist Wiccans to Eclectic Wiccans. Some might prefer or better fit the title pagan or shaman. The point is that the gods associated with the deep and lunar side of masculinity are the gods of the earth and the sea.

Within the pagan and Wiccan philosophies, these gods find their emphasis, and as to their personal value to men, I speak from my experience as a son, father, grandfather and pagan. Men navigate their worlds through the powers of air (intellect) and fire (action). When they look to the depths of their souls, however, they find the earth and sea powers of love, attraction, affection, beauty, harmony, artistry and peace.

To turn inward to the subconscious, the feminine, in order to transform yourself does not mean to become feminine! The mistaken concept that one must become feminine has led many men astray from the God. A “real” man is one who lets the gods of the Earth teach him to understand his physical potential and limitations. He follows his heart with the warrior spirit to the depths of the sea, where he finds wisdom, sanctuary and the secrets of his strengths and weaknesses. The world problems we can attribute to the negative aspects of a male-dominated society cannot be solved by immersion only in the female aspects of divinity. They must include recovery of the forgotten and positive aspects of the God. The Great and Horned One, oldest of all the gods, sees women as equals and is a just and strong god rather than judgmental and vengeful.

The Horned God predates civilization. His image first appears in a Paleolithic cave in France, the meager beginnings of what we know as recorded history. He is the Wild Man, the Green Man, God of the Forest and Animals and Consort of Nature, the Goddess. The Horned God of Wicca, Cernunnos, is pictured holding a ram-headed serpent in his hands. He wears an open neck-ring or torque, in which we can see the symbol of the moon. He is the guardian of the cauldron, the lover and son of the Goddess who is Her partner in the sacred dance of creation.

With the shift in consciousness that led to patriarchal monotheistic thought, something was lost. The polytheistic pagan and matriarchal society’s concept of the one universal consciousness or deity that is expressed through a multiplicity of forms, both male and female, was forgotten or more likely totally ignored by the patriarchs. Cernunnos was devoted to Nature and the Goddess. He taught his sons to hunt, protect, nourish and cherish His mother, sisters, daughters and mate. The monotheistic patriarchy now vilified him as a devil.

The concept that sexuality leads men to confuse mystical ecstasy with eroticism led to the lie that the Goddess would seduce men to their folly. With the Horned One demonized and the Goddess expelled from the heaven of the patriarchs, Nature was open to plunder and rape. Is it any wonder that we see the anger of the Mother in the eyes of her female worshipers?

While Wicca has kept the memory of the Earth God alive, there are other places we may look to reclaim positive images of the Divine Masculine. In the pantheon of ancient Egypt, we find Nu, goddess of the night sky and stars, arching her naked body over Geb, god of the earth. He is depicted hard with desire, reaching upward for union with the stars. He strives towards Her, knowing that She will come to Him at Her need: a knowledge all men hold in their hearts.

Osiris was Geb’s heir. Sometimes he is depicted colored red for the earth, and more often green for vegetation. The Atef crown he wears sometimes is shown with a pair of horns sprouting from its solar disk.

Pan of the Greeks was linked to Aker of the Egyptians. A horned god who guarded the entrance to the Underworld, Assur was an Assyrian supreme god, who while associated with war was a fertility and moon god also. The moon has not always been the sole domain of feminine deities, nor the sun of male deities, for that matter. Osiris was referred to as Lord of the Moon in numerous instances. In Sumer, in the city of Ur, Nanna was worshipped as the Moon Father. In India, the Moon Father is referred to as Soma. The Babylonians knew him as Sinn.

Celtic mythology is also full of gods associated with the earth and the sea. Dagda brought back the cauldron of abundance and led the Tuatha De Danan underground to the faery mounds. He is associated with sexuality and fertility. Cromm Cruaich is known as the Lord of the Mound and associated with the harvest. Manannan Mac Lir was the Irish god of the sea, who separated the world of the faeries and humans.

The image of solar gods is lofty, dry and remote. The other side of masculinity, which is moist and deep with feeling, is to be found in the gods of the sea. Poseidon or Neptune was god of the sea. Poseidon conspired with Hera and Athena to overthrow the sky god Zeus. Most have seen Neptune as a patriarchal god, but this story shows us how the watery, earthy depths of our masculine feeling side can work to overthrow the Sky Father, high above the earth.

Whereas the sky gods often have hidden if not absent sexuality, the earth and sea gods are sexually well-endowed. Poseidon’s trident symbolizes his phallic nature. The trident is also associated with the wild dancing god Shiva of the Hindus. These are just some of the examples of where one may look to find a soulful, dark, lunar and earthy masculinity.

We are the sum total of all that has come before us: the Mesolithic hunters, gatherers and Neolithic farmers of matrilineal culture (7000-2000 B.C.); the Indo-European warriors emphasizing the male sky gods in the centuries of the Bronze and Iron Age (2000-800 B.C.); the turn of the millennium with the advent of Christian mythology and its concepts of dualistic division between body and soul, world and spirit and Original Sin; and finally the age of scientific rationalism. Rationalism allows for nothing supernatural and reduces the universe to a language of numerical abstraction – mathematics.

No one of these periods surpasses the other. They all possess a unique imprint on the human experience. Any one of them taken alone represents but a fraction of the evolutionary progress of the human soul. The earth gods, born in the distant past, still prove necessary to us; they are the force whereby the land springs forth in an ever-changing cycle. We must identify and nurture the positive aspects of maleness embodied in our God or gods and unite the God to the Goddess.

In a time when the orthodox concept of God has become sterile and sexless, the deities of the earth and sea await all men. They possess the ability to guide men to a fuller meaning of what it is to be sons, fathers and grandfathers. They offer a positive alternative of what it means to be male in a world that has lost sight of the good nature of Man. As men, we have the task to reclaim the divine masculine and unite with our sisters in perfect trust and perfect love.

THE WITCH’S BALLAD

Witchy Comments

THE WITCH’S BALLAD
-Doreen Valente?

Oh, I have been beyond the town,
Where nightshade black and mandrake grow,
And I have heard and I have seen
What righteous folk would fear to know!
For I have heard, at still midnight,
Upon the hilltop far, forlorn,
With note that echoed through the dark,
The winding of the heathen horn.

And I have seen the fire aglow,
And glinting from the magic sword,
And with the inner eye beheld
The Horned One, the Sabbat’s lord.
We drank the wine, and broke the bread,
And ate it in the Lady’s name.
We linked our hands to make the ring,
And laughed and leaped the Sabbat game.

Oh, little do the townsfolk reck,
When dull they lie within their bed!
Beyond the streets, beneath the stars,
A merry round the witches tread!
And round and round the circle spun,
Until the gates swung wide ajar,
That bar the boundaries of earth
From faery realms that shine afar.

Oh, I have been and I have seen
In magic worlds of Otherwhere.
For all this world may praise or blame,
For ban or blessing nought I care.
For I have been beyond the town,
Where meadowsweet and roses grow,
And there such music did I hear
As worldly-rightous never know.

~Magickal Graphics~

Earth Deities

Earth Deities

Gods/Goddesses– the Dagda, Cernunnos, the Horned God, Nuada, Adonis, Pan, Cronus, Faunus, Consus, Saturn, Seb, Osiris, Pachacamac, Cerridwen, Blodeuwedd, Creiddylad, Anu, Tailtiu, Demeter, Gaea, Hera, Persephone, Asia, Rhea, Cybele, Tellus Mater, Juno, Ops, Ceres, Proserpina, Nerthus, Heqet, Isis, Coatlicue, Izanami, Inanna
Color– Yellow, Brown
Incense/Oil– Birch, Cherry, Cloves, Lilac, Rosemary
Animals– Toad
Spirits– Fairies, Elves, Gnomes
Stones– Rock Crystal
Metal– Nickel
Plants– Corn, Willow, Lily, Ivy, Grains
Wood– Fir
Planet– Earth
Tarot Cards– Four Tens, Four Pages
Magickal Tools– Wand, Goblet
Direction– North
Rituals– Organized Material Manifestations, Healing Mental and Physical Illnesses, Improving Life, Centering Oneself, Healing Plants and Animals, Trance, Psychic Work with Spirits

Agricultural Deities

Agricultural Deities

Gods/Goddesses- Cerridwen, Brigit, White Lady, Epona, Lugh, Bel, the Horned God, Amaethon, Dagon, Demeter, Aglaia, Euphrosyne, Persephone, Hecate, Gaea, Rhea, Cronus, Pan, Adonis, Hades, Carpo, Aristaeus, Ceres, Ops, Proserpina, Flora, Tellus Mater, Saturn, Faunus, Mars, Jupiter, Consus, Triptolemus, Vertumnus, Renenet, Heqet, Min, Osiris, Ra, Hapi, Amen, Cinteotl, Xilonen, Gucumatz, Yum Caax, Itzamna, Xipe, Xochipilli, Tezcatlipoca
Color- Yellow, Brown
Incense/Oil- Birch, Cherry, Cloves, Lilac, Rosemary
Animals- Toad
Spirits- Fairies, Elves, Gnomes
Stones- Rock Crystal
Metal- Nickel
Plants- Corn, Willow, Lily, Ivy, Grains
Wood- Fir
Planet– Earth
Tarot Cards– Four Tens, Four Pages
Magickal Tools– Wand, Goblet
Direction– North
Rituals– Organized Material Manifestations, Healing Mental and Physical Illnesses, Improving Life, Centering Oneself, Healing Plants and Animals, Trance, Psychic Work with Spirits

Laugh-A-Day: You might be practicing Bubba Wicca if …

You might be practicing Bubba Wicca if …


  1. You are out in the woods and the Horned God appears to you and it takes you more than 30 seconds to put down your deer rifle.
  2. You’ve ever duct-taped an outhouse and called it a sweat lodge.
  3. You run out of candles and then get the emergency flares out of your   trunk.
  4. Your altar is made from the hood of an old Chevy pick-up.
  5. You begin your Circle by calling for quarters to be placed in the beer fund jar.
  6. You enter a skyclad circle with the words, In Perfect Love and Perfect Lust.
  7. You close a circle with the words “Hot damn, let’s party!”
  8. You get most of your spiritual wisdom about the cycles of nature from Bill Dance bass fishing shows.
  9. You watch NASCAR for its karmic revelation.
  10. Your ritual robes are made of weatherproof camouflage.
  11. Your revel fire causes the smokejumpers to fly in.
  12. The only herb you use has to be planted in the middle of nowhere.
  13. You think “The Reclaiming Collective” is a great name for a used automobile parts business.
  14. Before you can use your ritual cauldron, you have to wash out the bones from your fish stew.

    Turok’s Cabana

The Wicca Book of Days for June 15 – The June Moon

The Wicca Book of Days for June 15th

The June Moon

 

Wiccans honor the Full Moon under a variety of names during their June Esbats, depending on which of its powers they wish to highlight. Some term it the “Mead Moon,” in which case “mead” may refer to either England’s fermented-honey drink, or “meadow,” this name speaks of natural sweetness and fertility. Others call it the “Dryad Moon,” denoting the nymph that the ancient Greeks believed lived within every tree. Another name is the “Lover’s Moon,” signifying the nature of the relationship between the Goddess and Horned God at this time of year.

 

Magna Carta Day

 

June 15 marks the anniversary of the signing in England, in 1215, of the Magna Carta, the “great charter” guaranteeing certain human rights that is regarded as one of the first democratic documents. Give thanks that you live in a democratic society today, and resolve to use your vote in November.

Calendar of the Moon for June 14

14 Huath/Thargelion

Feast of Pan

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a brown cloth lay the figure of a goat, a clay cup of well water, a horn of wine, a phallus, and many green branches.
Offerings: Honor the wild male self in everyone.
Daily Meal: Sheep or goat meat.

Pan Invocation

Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!
Goat god, Satyr god,
God of woods and high mountains
Lord of Testosterone
Player of the body’s music!
Great Pan is dead
But liveth still!
We will not forget our bodies,
Lest you send us panic
At every touch of affection.
Help us to love our flesh, O Pan,
God of scent and musk and all that is animal!
Let us remember
That we, too, are animal,
And we, too, live in our bodies
Which are a privilege
And not a punishment.
Come, Horned One,
Come to the woodland glade
Come for the wine
Come for the dance
Come, lusty god from Arcadia
Come with pipe and drum
And make the mountains
Ring anew!

(A circle should be formed of drummers and dancers, who should shout “Io Pan!” as they dance in a circle, until they fall from exhaustion.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

THE WITCHES BALLAD

Oh, I have been beyond the town, Where nightshade black and mandrake grow, and I
have been and I have seen What righteous folk would fear to know!

For I have heard, at still midnight, Upon the hilltop far, forlorn, With note
that echoed through the dark, The winding of the heathe horn.

And I have seen the fire aglow, And glinting from the magic sword, And with the
inner eye beheld The Horned One, the Sabbat’s lord.

We drank the wine, and broke the bread, And ate it in the Old One’s name. We
linked our hands to make the ring, And laughed and leaped the Sabbat game.

Oh, little do the townsfolk reck, When dull they lie within their bed! Beyond
the streets, beneath the stars, A merry round the witches tread!

And round and round the circle spun, Until the gates swung wide ajar, That bar
the boundaries of the earth, From faery realms that shine afar.

Oh, I have been and I have seen In magic worlds of Otherwhere. For all this
world may praise or blame, For ban or blessing nought I care.

For I have been beyond the town, Where meadowsweet and roses grow, And there
such music did I hear As worldly-righteous never know.

Enjoy!!!!!!!
Blessed Be