According to Italian anthropologists and authors Claudia and Luigi Manciocco, Befana’s origins back to Neolithic beliefs in a great goddess associated with fertility and agriculture. Author Judika Illes writes, “Befana may predate Christianity and may originally be a goddess of ancestral spirits, forest, and the passage of time.” In the book Vestiges of Ancient Manners […]
When you plant something in the ground, feed and water it and tend to it over the seasons, you develop a relationship with that plant/flower/tree.
Then, when you bring a piece of it inside, just glancing at it can transport you back to early spring mornings with a cup of tea and dew on your feet, or late, warm summer evenings, watering the garden, drinking wine or maybe just where you were when you first had the idea of the plant in that space. When you are a gardener, you have a relationship with your plants, and mostly its positive.
The Mahonia in this festive wreath is one of plants left from the garden before. Fred and Lilian, the people who lived in our 1950s semi before us, were gardeners. When my husband moved into the house the garden was overgrown but over the years that have followed we have…
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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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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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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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ELDER (Sambucus spp.) – The Latin name Sambucus is derived from a Greek word for a wind instrument made from the elder. Also known as Ellhorn, Elderberry, Lady Elder. Sacred to the White Lady and Midsummer Solstice. The Druids used it to both bless and curse. Standing under an elder tree at Midsummer, like standing in a Fairy Ring of mushrooms, will help you see the “little people.” Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms. Music on panpipes or flutes of elder has the same power as the wand. The pith can easily be removed from the small branches to make a flute. Elder re-grows damaged branches with ease and can root rapidly from any part. A tea for purifying the blood can be made from the flowers and wine from the fruit, but in general, the tree is poisonous. In Norse mythology, the Goddess Freya chose the…
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Oh wondrous headed doe… Amongst its horns it carries the light of the blessed sun…” Hungarian Christmas Folk Song
Long before Santa charioted his flying steeds across our mythical skies, it was the female reindeer who drew the sleigh of the sun goddess at winter solstice. It was when we “Christianized” the pagan traditions of winter, that the white bearded man i.e. “Father Christmas” was born.
Today it is her beloved image that adorns Christmas cards and Yule decorations – not Rudolph. Because unlike the male reindeer who sheds his antlers in winter, it is the larger and stronger doe, who retains her antlers. And it is she who leads the herds in winter.
So this season, when we gather by the fire to tell children bedtime stories of Santa and his flying reindeer – why not tell the story of the ancient Deer Mother of old? It was she…
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COMMON NAME: Christmas Rose
Species, Hybrids, Cultivars:
H. niger “Angustifolius”-small flowering, pure white form. H.n. “Praecox”-blooms September-February. H.n. “Major,” H.n. “Multiflorus”-smaller flowers.
DESCRIPTION: This plant, which grows to a height of 12 to 8 inches, has interesting evergreen leaves that are slightly toothed and divided into seven to nine leaflets. The large white flowers are 2 inches or more across, with bright yellow stamens in the center. The blossoms turn pink or purplish as they age.
CULTIVATION: Christmas roses prefer sandy, neutral soil rich in humus. They do best with a bit of winter chill, and they need heavy mulch to protect them from the summer heat. Protection from winter storms and severe weather will also benefit the plants. Winter sun, summer shade, and ample moisture throughout the year are the perfect conditions for the Christmas rose. Plants can be divided in…
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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