Reasons for the Season

secretsoftheserpent

I have several new readers this year that are not familiar with some earlier works. This is the perfect day to show the truth of so many traditions that take place this time of year. Instead of  reblogging all of them, I will give a link to them in this post along with a summary of what they are about. Whatever it is you are celebrating this holiday, please keep in mind yourself. Everything about religion is for you to give your power away. The only truth in this world lies in yourself. So Happy (enter your name here)mas!!!!

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Making A Yule Log/Having A Old Fashioned Christmas

Good Witches Homestead

Make this Yule Log use as a handcrafted herbal gift for family and friends this holiday season.

Yule Log Recipe

The Yule log is traditionally burned on New Year’s Eve to usher in good fortune for the coming year. It is created in the spirit of prayer or ritual for the fulfilment of dreams, hopes, and wishes for prosperity, happiness, peace, or whatever you want the New Year to bring. As you create the log, perform each action with intention for your dreams to come true.

1. Start by tying a red ribbon around the middle of a large piece of firewood. There are many items that can be used to decorate the log such as moss, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, rose hips, frankincense resin, fir branches, pinecones, or prayers written down, rolled up, and tied with pieces of string.

2. Attach all of the ornaments with drippings…

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Wildcrafted Winter Solstice Decorations with Conifers, Holly, Ivy, Bittersweet, and More

The Druid's Garden

Decorated mantle with greenery, ribbon, and a nice candelabra Decorated mantle with greenery, ribbon, and a nice candelabra

Part of the fun of the holiday season is “decking the halls” and decorating for the season. By bringing the symbols of the season into our homes, for festivity and communion, we are able to deeply align with the living earth and her turning seasons. And the symbols of this particular season, at the winter solstice, span back millennia: deep red berries and dark green conifers, trails of ivy, mistletoe, and other evergreens. Adding to this, the symbols of the season are also reflected in mythology, such as the battle between the Oak and Holly king and the Goddess Frigga’s wheel of the year.  These symbols have been with us for centuries in one form or another, and weaving in and out of whatever dominant tradition that is present.  And so, in this post, I will explore how we might…

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Here’s A SOULstice Ritual

By Amy Brucker

It’s going to be dark this week–new moon, solstice–so I created a SOULstice ritual to support your journey.

But first, a few thoughts about the darkness…

The Descent into Darkness

When all that’s familiar is stripped away, you’re left with darkness.

Some people tremble with fear when they encounter this place. Others revel in the mystery, using it as an opportunity to discover the depths of their being.

The choice is yours, but what you do here influences your entire life.

The ancient Greek myth about Persephone illustrates this struggle, but it also gives clues about the best way to move forward.

Persephone is innocence personified. One day she tends her garden, joyfully gathering posies, when out of nowhere, Hades comes to abduct her and pulls her into the underworld.

Persephone is separated from everything she knows and holds dear–the light, warmth, her mother. She slips into the darkness and loses herself. Devastated by her predicament, she goes into depression and denial.

Her life has been hijacked. It’s no longer her own. She will never be the person she was.

How many times have you been innocently enjoying your life when some drama or trauma abducted you from your blissful moment?

Bad news.

A break up.

A micro-managing boss.

This is Hades pulling you from your holy garden into the darkness, against your will, where you will be faced with the most important decision you can make.

Denial or Acceptance

Although Persephone’s Descent is an allegory that explains the transition from the warm, sunny days of summer to the bleak, dark days of winter, it’s a myth with another message.

This story is about choice.

Hades, god of the underworld, presents Persephone with a pomegranate, a deliciously ripe fruit. It’s a gesture of good will, but it also serves as food to nourish her.

Persephone looks at the fruit, but refuses to eat. Days go by, weeks. She grows weary and hungry, hoping her fast will miraculously return her to the garden of innocence.

Persephone wants to ignore her situation in hopes that it will go away. But that denial keeps her stuck in hell, where there is no life, only death.

Then one day, she cannot take the bleakness any longer. Persephone makes a decision and eats the fruit. Her bite is the acceptance of her fate. She decides to make peace with her situation. She eats the fruit, and with it, steps into her new life.

Because of her choice to nourish herself, Persephone begins to heal. Through healing, she becomes one with her Self.

It’s only through acceptance of her situation that she can move forward to create a healthy and new life.

She chooses life.

Where was your life hijacked?

At some point your life took an unexpected turn.

Maybe the evil queen ripped your heart out and locked it in a box; or your knight in shining armor ran off with another maiden; or your health was poisoned by a shiny red apple.

Perhaps this situation hijacked your life, linking your soul with suffering.

And maybe this situation has become the Story of Your Life, influencing your health and wellness, like Persephone’s abduction into the underworld influenced hers.

Expect it isn’t the whole story.

There’s a decision to be made.

How long are you going to stay in the darkness before you taste the sweet, delicious fruit that is yours for the taking?

When will you choose life?

Connecting with your Soul at Soul-stice

What is the BIG decision you need to make to return to wholeness?

Bits of you may have been quietly or abruptly pushed aside. Your spiritual gifts. Your purpose. Your peace of mind.

Something in you was abducted and only you have the power to call it back.

Is it time to make a choice? How much suffering will you endure before you feel ready?

SOULstice is the perfect time to go into the darkness–consciously–to explore what’s missing. Reflect on what you’ve lost so you can acknowledge your journey and make a choice to bring all of you back into the light.

Your SOULstice Ritual

I created this SOULstice ritual for you to help you call back the bits of your soul that are lost.

Supplies

One pomegranate (if you can’t find a pomegranate, an apple or any other fruit will do).
A candle.
Matches.

Ritual

Take a few moments to contemplate a situation in which you were abducted from your metaphoric holy garden.

What derailed you and became the Story of Your Life in a way that is not supporting you?

Imagine that part of you is in the underworld. This aspect of you holds part of your soul, and with it, part of your power.

It’s time to choose: will you let it linger in the underworld, or will you call it back?

If you’re ready to call it back, have the supplies on hand and imagine you are talking with a part of you that is in the underworld. Say this prayer out loud (or write your own). Feel free to change it so it resonates with you:

You are a part of me, but you were abducted into the darkness.
I know it was difficult to leave the life you cherished.
I know you felt ripped away from innocence.

Your journey was difficult and I honor it.
I acknowledge your pain.
I see your suffering.

Yet now it’s time to call you back into wholeness.

I call you back by eating this fruit, which carries the seeds of life to nourish me.
I eat the fruit and nourish myself.
I eat the fruit and make myself whole again.

May it be so.

Eat the pomegranate seeds.

Light the candle and say this:

As I light this candle, I call back all parts of me and honor the beauty of my soul.

Feel the parts of you returning and integrating into your being, and say,

May it be so.

When you’re ready, close the ritual by giving thanks and blowing out the candle.

Notice how you feel.

Happy Solstice and Hanukkah to those who celebrate.
Amy

As We Approach the Winter Solstice

Good Witches Homestead

If you are like me, December can be overwhelming…. As we approach the Winter Solstice, the gift of sunlight is hard to come by, causing light deprivation, circadian disturbances, and shifts in melatonin regulation.  The subsequent effects on mood, behavior and health can be difficult to deal with, especially since the reins of life’s expectations don’t loosen to accommodate these seasonal shifts.  Instead, the holidays bring their own unique stresses and can add to a sense of depletion and anxiety.

In my case, it’s the same each year.  The effects of light deprivation sneak up on me, much in the way that seasonal allergies seem to. I start feeling sluggish and apathetic.  My eyes take on a dull ache and my skin and hair feel like straw.  My sleep is less rejuvenating and I feel starved for more of it.  When the morning alarm rings, it takes me by surprise…

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Elder Mother, The Wild Hunt, And The Winter Solstice

If you follow the sun, you’ll find that, as fall edges into winter, it slips further and further south. The angle of the sun’s rays gets shallower, and the days become shorter with the sun in southern skies. But every year, it turns back and begins its northward course right around the time of the winter holidays: a new light is reborn, and we can start fresh in a new year. The Winter Solstice.That said, many traditional cultures used the moon as an easier form of time-tracking. Her course, when accounting for the earth’s orbit around the sun, runs about 29-30 days from full moon to full moon. The moon cycle also divides neatly into four segments of about 7-8 days each, making it a useful way to mark the more practical weekly calendar. The moon traces more intimate rhythms, while the sun holds the broad, seasonal cycles.But the lunar and solar calendars are offset: while there are about twelve full moons in a year, that’s not quite enough to account for all the days between one winter solstice and the next. In fact, there are about 11-12 extra days after twelve lunar cycles before the sun synchronizes with the calendar again. So, in order to keep the daily household rhythm and the seasonal agricultural rhythm aligned, our ancestors simply inserted twelve extra days at the beginning of the year, right after the Winter Solstice. These days existed outside of the normal lunar calendar, and after they were over, the weekly reckoning could recommence and be in line with the solar cycle again. This, of course, is the origin of the “twelve days of Christmas”.

Source: Elder Mother, The Wild Hunt, And The Winter Solstice

21 Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice – also known as Yule – is one of my favourite times of the year…. okay, my absolute favourite time of year. But maybe I say that for all holidays!

And while I love the major celebrations of Samhain (the start of the Dark Half of the year in the Celtic Wheel of the Year) and Beltaine (the beginning of the Light Half of the year), there is something about Winter Solstice that touches so many. Virtually all cultures and faiths celebrate Father Sun and the return of the light at Solstice.

So what is Solstice? The word solstice comes to us from two Latin words, sol  (the Sun) and sistere (to stand),  referring to the standing sun that we experience twice a year. During the days around the solstice, the Sun appears to stop in its travels (particularly dramatic in polar regions!).

On Solstice, our ancestors celebrated the return of the Sun with feasts, music and art, rituals, greenery, camaraderie and – most importantly – symbols of the Sun such as bonfires and candles. And many carried on the tradition for a full 13 nights / 12 days (in the Celtic world, the day began and ended at sunset), a tradition some of us may recognize as the root of the Twelve Days of Christmas. […]

Read entire article at the Source: 21 Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice

Witches Gossip Corner ~ December 19, 2016

Not everyone celebrates the same during the holidays and gift giving varies from culture to culture. If you are looking to help someone’s life progress and know what they are currently struggling with, you cannot fail or tarnish your Karma if you are willing to help another, in fact, you are in turn balancing it. Good deeds are always rewarded three-fold … Read the article at the Source: Witches Gossip Corner ~ December 19, 2016

 

 

TANAAZ (Forever Conscious): “Winter Solstice 2016: The Dark Night of the Soul”

In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21st marks the Winter Solstice and the dark night of the soul.

Traditionally the Winter Solstice has been a time to honor darkness and to journey deep within to reflect, restore and nourish from the inside out.

Every living being on this planet is a reflection of dark and light.  As beautiful as a rose is when it’s in full bloom, it too still needs to die and wither away into the darkness in order to be reborn.  Just like the petals float away and the bud closes for the winter in order to regenerate, we too follow a similar process.

Nature is always providing us clues as to the cosmic energy around us and where Mother Earth is directing her attention.  By following the rhythms and cycles of the Goddess Mother Earth, we too can bring harmony and equilibrium to our own state of being …

Read in entirety at Source: TANAAZ (Forever Conscious): “Winter Solstice 2016: The Dark Night of the Soul”

Mistletoe The Sacred Plant of the Druids — Good Witches Homestead

Gathering the Mistletoe On the Sixth day after the new moon A procession of village folk. Gathered to seek a special boon Underneath the ancient oak. They spied a clump of mistletoe High in the oaken canopy The berries gave a milky glow Against bare limbs of the winter tree. A white robed Druid climbed the boughs With his golden sickle blade A green circlet of ivy ‘round his brow His long dark hair caught up in a braid.

Extending his body along a stout limb He could just reach the holy plant Anxiously below they waited for him And began their sacred chant. Uil-ioc! Draoidh-lus! Sùgh an Daraich! Stretched beneath the gnarled wood A sheet of white linen was spread For the herb to touch the ground would Be an ominous omen of dread. Deftly the Druid cut the stem And the herb fell upon the sheet A cheer rose from within the glen And the deed was declared complete. A white bull was sacrificed that night And a midwinter feast was held for all The herb was preserved for a holy rite A gift from the venerable Druids of Gaul.

via Mistletoe The Sacred Plant of the Druids — Good Witches Homestead