About.com:12 Days of Yule Devotionals (Day 6)

About.com

 

Day 6: A Sunset Prayer for Yule                              
Patti Wigington
From Patti Wigington, your Guide to Paganism /Wicca                                                                           
As the sun descends into the horizon on the longest night of the year, take a moment to ponder what you will see when you wake the next day. 
 

A Sunset Prayer for Yule                            

Set aside some time to meditate upon the meaning of this time of year, and what it signifies for you and your life.


The longest night has come once more,

the sun has set, and darkness fallen.

The trees are bare, the earth asleep,

and the skies are cold and black.

Yet tonight we rejoice, in this longest night,

embracing the darkness that enfolds us.

We welcome the night and all that it holds,

as the light of the stars shines down.     

                        

 

Additional Reading                            

Make those long winter nights a little more refreshing with some freshly blended incense. Put together a batch of Winter Nights Yule Incense, and burn it during rituals, or just to make your home smell comforting in the cold of winter.
 

Tomorrow: A Nordic Yule Blessing                             

This email is written by:                                                                      Patti Wigington                             

Paganism /Wicca Guide                                         

About.com: 12 Days of Yule Devotionals (Day 1)

About.com
Day 1: A Prayer to the Earth at Yule                              
Patti Wigington
From Patti Wigington, your Guide to Paganism /Wicca                                                                           
Welcome to the 12 Days of Yule Devotionals! We’ll begin today by taking a moment to honor the earth at the time of the Winter Solstice.
A Prayer to the Earth at Yule                            

Just because the earth is cold doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on down there in the soil. Think about what lies dormant in your own life right now, and consider what may bloom a few months from now.

 

Cold and dark, this time of year, the earth lies dormant, awaiting the return of the sun, and with it, life. Far beneath the frozen surface, a heartbeat waits, until the moment is right, to spring.

Additional Reading                            

Cultures around the world have celebrated the winter solstice for eons, and each has its own unique set of traditions. Take a moment today to get to learn about some of the customs of winter.
Tomorrow: A Sunrise Prayer for Yule                            

                                        This email is written by:                                                                      Patti Wigington                                                          Paganism / Wicca Guide                                        

Making the Most Out of the Dark Time of the Year

Making the Most Out of the Dark Time of the Year

 

by C. Cheek

In the days before deep freezers and electric heating, winter was a time of deprivation, a time of hungry children and wolves baying in the dark. Now, winter means a thousand media images asking you to spend money you don’t have, to buy presents people don’t need, in celebration of a god you don’t worship. The difficulty of turning down yet another plate of free cookies is nothing like wondering if you’ll have enough food to last until the spring. We live in better times now, times in which our main problem is one of excess. But aren’t we missing something? The silence and hunger of winter have something to teach us.

How then, can we draw back our lives? How can we cast off the gluttony and excess that surrounds us and listen for what darkness has to teach? Here are some practical suggestions for bringing this paring-down into your own life.

Clear your debts: Shinto-Buddhists, on December 31, pay off old debts to start the New Year with a clean slate. Even if you can’t “consolidate all your high credit card bills into one easy payment” as the spam advises, how about giving back that ten bucks you borrowed from your sister? And what about other debts? Sometimes we owe debts to our friends that aren’t monetary. We all borrow things — books, clothes, movies, CDs — and sometimes those things never find their way back to their owners. Those shoes will sit in your closet, with you always meaning to give them back to Sarah next time you see her, and then years later you clean it out and realize that Sarah has moved out of state. The shoes have now entered that uncomfortable stage where you don’t feel right keeping them, but you can’t get rid of them either. Go through your home and find anything that doesn’t belong to you, and make a point of returning it. Don’t wait until the next time you accidentally see that person. Bring that book back now, or send that DVD in the mail if your cousin lives too far away.

Sometimes we have emotional debts. In many relationships, we ask more than we offer. Are you the asker? Do you have a friend who listens to all your problems without complaint? Or maybe your coworker has covered your shift? Think about your life and try to balance out, get down to a place where you owe no debts, and have no obligations tugging you out of your center.

Clear your home:While you’re getting rid of some of your money, how about going through your household goods? Do you really need four spatulas? Are you ever going to wear that size six bridesmaid’s dress again? Many worthwhile charities could use donations, but more to the point, we can use the feeling of relief we get when things we don’t need leave our homes. Maternity clothes are a perfect example. I kept bags of maternity clothes in the closet for almost a year after my daughter was born. Clothes are symbolic of periods in our lives. Giving my maternity clothes to the Goodwill meant that I was acknowledging the end of the childbearing chapter in my life. Hard? Yes, it’s always hard to close a door.

Let this be the month to slay white elephants. When my grandmother died, she left boxes and boxes of antiques, which a packrat like me couldn’t resist — a silver-plated teapot, a porcelain figurine, a souvenir from someone’s trip to Mexico — a lifetime of clutter from my grandmother’s life. She hadn’t showed these things to me while she was alive, so the objects had no sentimental value. I kept them because they were too `good’ to throw away. But there’s a perfect place for white elephants: re-gifting. How about that lava lamp, or your singing bass? Look at it, think about all the people you know, and try to decide who would like to get this as a “just because” gift. Can’t think of anyone? There are always eBay and yard sales.

Clean your home. Once you’ve gotten rid of the knickknacks you never really liked, it’s time to get rid of the dirt. Some Zen practitioners believe that manual labor is the perfect meditation. Launder those curtains. Wipe down the walls. Push the mop back and forth against that floor, and let your mind empty itself. And when you’re in that restful center place without thought, wash away the negative energy that’s accumulated in your home. Pour it down the drain with the dirty water.

Clean your body on the outside: When your home is clean and uncluttered, you can work on the home of your soul. My morning shower feels so rushed. Some days there isn’t even enough time to wash my hair. Make a day for cleaning. Sit down, look at yourself. Toenails grow, calluses build up on feet and elbows. Get a pumice stone and rub away that built-up skin. That skin is weeks old. Let it go. You don’t need it anymore. A toenail can take 12– 18 months to grow out. What were you doing when that toenail first came out the quick? Maybe there was something in your life a year ago that you wish hadn’t happened. Snip, snip. Throw that crescent into the garbage.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our outside face, we forget to show people who we really are. When you’re a child, soap and water seem enough. Then, you add moisturizer, conditioner, make-up, colognes — product after product until the scents and chemicals swirl around you. Don’t forget, you’re a human under there. If you dare, let your hair go un-dyed, leave off the conditioner and hairspray and gel, stop your make-up routine for a week. Or only a day? Do what you can. Look in the mirror. That skin, that hair, that’s you. Haven’t seen her for a while, have you?

Clean your body on the inside: You know those egg sandwiches for breakfast aren’t really good for you, and neither is that two-latte-a-day habit. Yes, we all gain weight over the holidays. Unless they’re living in Siberia, no one can escape the Christmas blitz. Free food, parties, candy on sale; sluggish overeating can make us feel terrible. Go through your pantry and get rid of the food you don’t need. Give it to food banks. No, not just the can of beans; the food you really don’t need, the Oreos, the cake mix, the six-pack of soda, the giant tub of frosting. In this day of plenty, we don’t need high-calorie foodstuffs hoarded away. Be a lean hungry wolf, not a fat hoarding chipmunk.

Make New Year’s resolutions and diet, not just to lose weight, but also to feel hunger. That’s right, hunger. Hunger can teach us things about ourselves that we can’t learn in any other way. That empty belly, the grumble, the hint of pain. Our ancestors lived with that for months on end. Could you live on dwindling supplies of grain and dried meat? No? Could you live without cigarettes, or caffeine, or chocolate, or beer? Try. See if you can. See how strong you are. See what’s in your core. Maybe you’re tougher than you gave yourself credit for.

Clear your heart: Take a vacation from people who harm you, from those who sap your energy, from those who make you angry. The holidays can be hard to bear, and there’s no reason to keep carrying emotional angst around with us until spring. Sometimes people hurt us, knowingly or unknowingly. Get a notepad and write down the hurt: My sister criticized me. Someone dinged my car in the parking lot. My co-worker got a raise and I didn’t. Take those notes and burn them. Watch the smoke fly away. You don’t need the hurt anymore. In the spring, you’ll make a new life for yourself. Feel neutral yet? No? Maybe you’re the one who harmed someone. Find the strength within you to apologize to your brother for yelling at him. Admit to your roommate that you didn’t clean your mess, and make it right. Even if it hurts, you’ll feel better afterwards.

Some friends and I used to play roller hockey on Sunday mornings. We’d get up early, and play for hours until our arms and feet ached and our shirts were soaked. No shower feels as good as the one that sluices off sweat. No meal feels as good as the one that truly slakes hunger. By truly embracing the cold and darkness of winter, we’ll make the most of spring. Now is the time to tear away all the old weeds in our flower bed and clear the soil to make room for new growth. Let go of that which you don’t need, and that which you can live without. Prune away the inessentials, until only you remain. Then we’ll see what blooms when the earth warms again.

“Reclaiming Samhain”

 

“A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.

This year may we renew the earth.
This year may we renew the earth.

Let it begin with each step we take.
And let it begin with each change we make.
And let it begin with each chain we break.
And let it begin every time we awake.”

– Starhawk, Reclaiming Samhain

Laugh-A-Day: Why Do Pagans Make New Year’s Resolutions?

Why Do Pagans Make New Year’s Resolutions?


Alexandrian/Gardnerian

To reveal this would be to break my oath of secrecy. I can say, though, that it really is an ancient rite, dating far back in time, back even before 1951, and I have learned it from an unbroken lineage. As Gerald said, it takes a resolution to make a new year.

Asatru

First, we don’t believe in a “Resolution” or a “List of Resolutions.” We believe in many lists. Second, “Making New Year’s Resolutions” is part of the three levels, or worlds, and the resolution maker simply rises from one level to another. Hail to the New Year!

British Traditional

The word “Resolution” comes from a very specific Old English word (“resolvere”), and it only properly applies to certain acts or processes of list making by those of East Anglia or those descended therefrom. As for the rest, I suppose they are doing something remotely similar to making resolutions, but you must remember that traditional resolutions are not to be confused with the modern resolutions…

Celtic

In County Hunghover on New Year’s day, they still observe Lady Resolutia’s Scribbling, which is a survival of the old pagan List Making petitionary rite. Today, modern pagans are reviving the practice, dedicated to the Tipsy Lady and the Green Scribe.

Ceremonial

“Making a List” is a phrase that summarizes many magical structures erected and timed by the practitioner to produce the energy necessary for the intention of making resolutions for the new year. For example, the astrological correspondences have to be correct, the moon has to be waxing (if the practitioner intends to follow the resolutions) or waning (if the practitioner merely wishes to keep the resolutions for reference), and the practitioner has to prepare herself through fasting and proper incantations. Note: Certain forms of invocation (summoning a list of resolutions inside your mind) can produce abnormal or even dangerous results and should only be constructed within a properly erected circle…

Chaos

Thinking in terms of “listing” and “resolutions” is simply looking at the formal, typically perceived structure of resolution making space-time. We, instead, focus on the possibility of the resolution making itself; what appears to be a random act is thus actually the norm — it is The List which is the freak of chance. Indeed, quantum mechanics now demonstrates what we knew all along: Two or more lists can simultaneously exist in the same place at the same time. Thus, by attuning ourselves to the dynamic energy (called “listing”), we can manifest the resolution. Of course, to the unknowledgeable, this appears as making a list of resolutions.

Dianic

The Lyst Mayker (“list maker” is a term of patriarchal oppression) seeks to reclaim for herself the right to make Resolutions, after it had been denied to her for centuries. By doing so, she reawakens the power of the Resolution within herself.

Discordian

You’ve got to be kidding!

Druid

Resolutions are made to arrive at the Truth, of course! Keep in mind that 99% of everything written about Making-New-Year’s-Resolutions is pure hogwash, based on biased sources. Yes, there were a few unfortunate sacrifices of list makers in the past, but that is over now…

Eclectic

Because it seems right to us at the time. We use some Egyptian-style paper and Celtic-sounding words for the Resolutions and incorporate some Native American elements into our Pen-names, like, Scribe-Who-Waffles-and-Runs-from-the-Wolves.

Faery

In twilight times and under sparkling stars, those properly trained can still see the writers making their lists. Reconnecting with these “fey-scribblers” as they write is crucial to restoring the balance between the energies of modern development and living with the earth.

Family Traditional

Growing up, we didn’t think much about “making resolutions.” A list was a list. It was made because that was what worked to get the New Year started. We focused on what worked, and we worked more with the elders of the list makers and less with all this “guardians of the New Year” business. We didn’t get our concepts of “Lists” or “Resolutions for the New Year” from Gardner, either. You can choose not to believe us since we did not “write down” on paper what was listed to us orally (which, at certain times in history, was the only way to avoid becoming New Year’s fireworks!), but that doesn’t change the facts: There were real list makers, and they really did make resolutions!

Kitchen Witch

The writers make their lists to lose weight, get a job and move away from home because they have mothers like me who are always testing new recipes on them!

Left-Hand Path

Earnest, dedicated pagans resolving to improve themselves! Do you think that is all there is to writing lists? Do you dare to know the dark side of making resolutions and the other path to self-development?

New Age

We make lists of resolutions because we chose this as one of our lessons to learn in this life. Besides, there is so much incense and bright, white paper to cover in the New Year.

Newbie

Well, ’cause I read in this really kewl book that said, like, we are supposed to make New Year’s Resolutions, right?

Posting On An Online Discussion Group

What do you mean why should we make New Year’s Resolutions????!!!??? Haven’t you read **any** of the previous posts? We’ve been [expletive deleted] debating every word of that question, painstakingly trying to come to some kind of answer. I know you wrote “all i wnted to know was why should we make a list of resolutions, im not looking for any Resolution spells” but I’m fed up with newbies who can’t even bother to REEEEEEEEAAADDD the posts on that very topic! No, this is *not* a flame. But, I and several others here have the *maturity* to properly explore and respond to this question, and we were properly trained; we *didn’t* just read a book and think we were full-fledged list writers. (phew, feeling much better after ranting.)

Solitaire

The list makers don’t want to be part of a coven.

Shaman

Making a list is a way to reconnect with the healing, visionary lifeways of the past. Wise Women have long known this, but increasingly the Wise Guy’s Movement is adding more men to the list making too.

Snert

Hey, are you guys really making New Year’s Resolutions? Can you give me a spell that will make me a list of resolutions?

Wiccan

The list maker makes a list because she feels like she is finally “coming home.” She can do it alone or with others, but she has to call to the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the New Year first … uh, after casting the circle, of course.

Source: PaganPortal.com

Turok’s Cabana

“Lore Of The Door”

“Between the heavens and the earth
The way now opens to bring forth
The Hosts of those who went on before;
Hail! We see them now come through the Open Door.

Now the veils of worlds are thin;
To move out you must move in.
Let the Balefires now be made,
Mine the spark within them laid.

Move beyond the fiery screen,
Between the seen and the unseen;
Shed your anger and your fear,
Live anew in a new year!”

Lore of the Door

Welcome, Darkest Night

Welcome, Darkest Night

by Janice Van Cleve

 

I love this season of growing dark. The night starts earlier to cast its blanket of quiet and peace upon the land and calls me to wrap up what I am doing. Early darkness coaxes me to sit down to supper at six o’clock instead of nine, so I can digest properly before I go to sleep.  Longer nights delay the prodding light of morning, so I can grab a few more winks. It encourages me to work more efficiently with the daylight that I do have. The dark time of the year is a healthy time for me.

It is a healthy time for plants and animals as well. Perennials focus on building up their root systems during the dark time, and annuals spread their seeds. Leaves fall to the ground to be leached and composted into next year ‘s soil. Animals feast on the yield of crops and orchards and store up surplus to see them through the winter and spring. In the dark time, all nature refocuses on renewing itself, sloughing off that which is no longer necessary and nurturing the best for the new year.

For northern tribes who lived where night falls longest and deepest, the dark time of the year was a time of great creativity. Bards honed their songs and added new verses for the entertainment and education of their audiences. Farmers turned to woodworking to fashion furniture or to decorate the interiors of their homes. Tradespeople made cloth, tools, jewelry, clothes and other goods to sell the merchants when they returned in the spring. Cooks became more and more inventive as the darkness lingered and the variety in the larder grew more limited. Even today, most school and university classes are scheduled for the winter months. In the business world, new product releases from software to movies to automobiles are debuted during this time.

In short, the dark time of the year is a busy, industrious and very creative time for nature and for human activity. So why in modern society does it get such a bad rap? The ancients certainly figured out that spring followed winter every year, and they used their skills to create solstice calculators like Stonehenge to predict how much more winter they had left. Were they really immobilized in fear of the dark, waiting for solstice to give them hope of spring? Or, on the other hand, did they grumble at solstice that they only had a few more months to play, eat, sing and finish their carvings before they had to get back out and work the farm again? Ancient peoples, after all, did not create surpluses for profit or a year-round global economy. They simply raised enough to sustain themselves so they could devote their time to crafts and play.

Perhaps it was the new religion of Christianity that tried to separate light from dark, exalting the former and disparaging the latter. Perhaps it was Christians’ idea to create fear of the dark so they could make light seem like a sort of salvation. However, nature doesn’t seem to need saving from anything, except from human greed. Nature goes on, year after year, with summer and winter alternating appropriate to the latitude. Nature values the dark time as much as the light and uses both to its advantage. The dark time is healthy and wholesome. It is as necessary for life as rain and sun, decay and bacteria.

And so it is appropriate that our pagan new year starts with Samhain, the beginning of the darkest time of the year. We rest before we work. We focus inwardly before we focus on the wider world. We sleep, we feast, we meditate, and we renew ourselves so that when spring’s light returns and calls us to next year’s work we can respond with new health and strength. These are gifts of the dark time. We are fortunate to have them!

SAMHAIN RITUAL FOR REMEMBERANCE AND RELEASE

SAMHAIN RITUAL FOR REMEMBERANCE AND RELEASE

 

At Samhain, the Witches’ New Year, we remember our past, including departed loved ones and friends. We also plan for the future with new hopes, dreams and ambitions. Part of creating a good future is releasing the negative energies of the past.

Find a safe place to light a bonfire, cauldron fire or several orange and black candles. Carve one orange candle with the Rune symbol for Signals and one black candle with Gateway. Set up your Altar and close the Circle as usual.

Perform the following meditation:

Gaze deeply into the flames and relax, calling up memories of your past. Greet long gone friends and ancestors, asking them what knowledge or wisdom they can offer you for the future. Listen carefully to their advice and suggestions, give thanks and move on.

Recall the highs and lows of the past year. Compliment yourself on your successes and forgive your failures. Bring positive images closer and brighter and make negative thought recede into the background. Release any negative energy you feel towards yourself or others for mistakes. Move on.

Picture the coming year as you would like it to be – prosperous, filled with health, love and satisfaction. Envision friends and loved ones happy and successful in their own way. Give this year a colour or colours of your choice, or even your personal colour. Picture this colour casting a glow over the upcoming year. Raise your chalice and give thanks saying:

“Out with the old, in with the new, the coming year will make dreams come true. Great thanks and blessed be.”

Drink from your chalice and return to the present. Write the above affirmation or any messages you received in black ink on your parchment paper. Wrap the Samhain herbs in the paper, add the stones, place it on the fabric square and tie it with the ribbon. Cleanse and charge the talisman as describe. Give thanks and Open the Circle.

Later on, after you have finished the ritual, find a stone and paint it the colour you chose to symbolize the coming year. Write the date on the stone e. g. 2012. Put the stone in a noticeable place and when you see it, recall the dreams and hopes you envisioned for the New Year. Blessed Be and Happy New Year!

“Simple Wiccan Magick Spells & Ritual Ceremony”
Holly Zurich

Samhain Solitary Ritual

Samhain Solitary Ritual

By Eden
Decorative Suggestions:
pumpkins, apples, masks, candles, black, red, orange,cauldron, besom

Supplies:
Photos of relatives or friends who have passed
White candle for each relative ( tea lights )
36 inches of yarn ( continuous piece) bright color such as red or orange
13 hazelnuts for tradition Druid method * or candy corn for a modern twist
1 apple (traditional)** or pomegranate, either cut in half
jack o lantern
4 mini pumpkins
4 votive candles for quarters
dried leaves (enough for circle size)
two candles one black one white
long piece of yarn ( this is a separate pc from above pc.)

Prep:
break off stems of mini pumpkins, hollow out big enough place for votive candles in top, cut doesn’t have to be deep,
just enough to keep candles form falling, set at quarters (use care when cutting!)
Outline circle with leaves Visualize jack o lantern as a protective ward (it’s traditional use) and have lit in circle from set up through ritual
Decorate according to taste
Have black and white candles on altar have black candle lit on altar, do not have white candle lit
Have photos with unlit candle in front of each, on altar if there is room or in other designated space

Ritual:

(Cleanse, Cast, Invoke)

” Blessed be the season of Samhain!
The time of the wise Crone!
The time of the last fall harvest
The time of the birth of winter
Night that we remember our loved ones who have passed from this life.
Night when we look on to the new year.
Night that reminds us that death holds the seeds of new life!”

(Prepare to light candles for departed)

” My dear loved ones, tonight as the wheel turns the veil which separates us is thin. On this night hear my words of love and honor”

(Light candles in front of photos one at a time, while lighting candle speak name of loved one and say what
you wish in honor or love, do this for each)

(Prepare to welcome the new year)

(Focus on black candle, while making banishing pentagram towards black candle)

” Farewell old year, take with you the season of summer”

(put out flame of black candle)

(Focus on unlit white candle, while making invoking pentagram)

“Welcome new year, bring with you the season of winter”

(light white candle)

“The wheel has turned yet again. Now at the time of ending that is yet also the time of beginning.
What is to come is, what was will come again, circling on and on throughout the ages.”

(prepare for meditation)

” And what of the past”

(close eyes with the intent to remember aspects of a past life, look at things in this life that you
believe could be related to a past life, focus on these things, see if this focus turns into scenes or
feelings about a past life)

( Prepare for resolutions)

” And what of the year to come”

(Take fruit, hold both halves in hands and visualize the habits you would like to rid yourself of over the next year being poured into it,when done place halves back together and tie halves together with one of the pieces of yarn, put aside to bury later)**

(Prepare for divination)

(Take bright colored yarn and make a circle on ground or altar if room, hold hazelnuts or candy corns in hands,focus on question, toss them into the circle and look for patterns of answer, such as y or n or if they make a shape or initial)*

(Offering, libation, feast)

(prayer for upcoming year)

“The wheel of the year turns on and on, from season to season, age to age. I remember and recognize that all time is here and now. I have paused to watch the wheel turn on this blessed eve, and, I praise the Wise Crone, in this time of Her glory. Blessed be Wise Crone.”

(Close Circle)

* according to Edain McCoy in ‘Sabbats’ pg. 42
** traditional Wittan Samhain practice per Edain
McCoy, ‘Witta’ pg 170 (adapted)

About The Author:  Eden, is a recent level one graduate of the
White Moon School of the Feminine Divine.  She lives in the North
Georgia mountains with her husband and three young children, where she practices eclectic paganism both as a member of a coven and as a solitary.

Daily Feng Shui Tip for July 4 – ‘Happy Fourth of July!’

Happy Fourth of July! On a day devoted to celebrating independence with all sorts of fanfare, including the traditional fireworks, let’s talk about the other ways Feng Shui says you can blast your way to better recognition and career related rewards. But first some Feng Shui firework history. Asian cultures use fireworks to welcome in the New Year and bid farewell to any negativity attached to the old one. They also use fireworks to celebrate weddings, grand openings and to clear the space before enacting sacred rituals. The fireworks are mostly employed to blow away harmful energies and negative spirits. According to this ancient philosophy, they can also be used to symbolically protect a home or to create an ‘explosion’ in the Fame area of your home. For this intention we use the ‘Five Buddha Firecrackers,’ a specific grouping of five faux red and gold foil firecrackers positioned in the Fame area of your home or office in order to promote your career, bring monetary rewards and blast you up the ladder of success. Have a safe and wonderful holiday and may we all enjoy freedom forever!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com