Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Yuletide! My interview with the ABC for the Solstice & some more facts about Yule

I had a lovely interview with the ABC two days ago which was aired on ABC774 yesterday which you can read all about here.

Winter solstice - Yule
One of the eight sabbats (sun cycles), Yuletide is a time to provide one another with gifts and coax the sun back into shining down into our lives for the harvest while we feast with abandon over the winter stores as the sun returns - but to make sure that the sun did return, ancient pagans would make sure to have their Winter Solstice rite.

The Holly King (God of the Waning Year) is overtaken by the Oak King (God of the Waxing Year) – a tree who is about to regrow its leaves into the warmer months and strengthen as the holly plant is at its weakest point and is ‘overtaken’ by the oak.   The Goddess gives birth to the Child of Promise and Pagans celebrate the Sun (Son)’s return.  Yule celebrates the birth of the child of promise whose birth signifies the renewal of the land so that we may all feast again on the harvest of the coming year - also our psychological harvest.  

Though Samhain is really a time to put the last year behind you, it's time to consider your harvest of the last year which you are now using up and how you will chose to sew the seeds of the next year until Yule.  Consider planting seeds around this time to see through the following year.

In Mythos Osiris (of Harvest) is killed by his brother Set (of night) and ripped into pieces.  Isis, wife of Osiris, finds all of the body parts of her husband, binds them together with magick and revives him for long enough to mate with him and produce their child Horus 'The Lamb' or 'The Light' which are also used to describe Jesus as the Mother Mary and Jesus are also archetypes for Isis and Horus.  The keening of Isis with her sistrum is incorporated into the Winter Solstice ritual in 'A Witches' Bible' as she encircles Osiris' body seven times.

Yule is one of the lesser sabbats, as the lesser sabbats fall on equinoxes or solstices and mark the changes of the four seasons and the greater sabbats are Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas which represent that season at its highest point.
Solstice means ‘the sun stands still’ and sabbat means 'repose' or 'to rest' so this particular sabbat is a time to rest, feast and enjoy but also to let go of what is holding you back.

More on this Sabbat...

Etymology of 'Yule'
From the Norse “Iul” meaning ‘wheel’ to represent the turning of the sun at solstice where the people would feast on the last of their winter stores with abandon with ale & slaughtered livestock, leaving some for the nisse.  The nisse are the little people or gnome/troll-like creatures that demanded food on that eve, or else there could be trouble, particularly from the Julenisse...

"...the Julenisse is a kind of cross between Father Christmas and a nisse. The most characteristic features of Norway's answer to Santa Claus are his red stocking cap and long white beard. The Julenisse wears knee breeches, hand-knitted stockings, a Norwegian sweater and a homespun jacket. On top he wears a heavy fur coat — it can get cold in Norway in the winter. He is jolly and happy, but can also be stern and even a jerk. If you don't stay in good with him through bribes, he can sabotage your happiness in any number of ways."

The Wild Hunt
Rather than re-hash this information on The Wild Hunt I thought I'd send you to a very well written and researched article by Cassandra Eason which you can find here on The Wild Hunt which is celebrated/marked at this time of year.

Symbology in the current Christian Church.  From 'The Witches' Bible':
At Dewsbury in Yorkshire, for nearly seven centuries, church bells have tolled ‘the Devil’s Knell’ or ‘the Old Lad’s Passing’ for the last hour of Christmas Eve, warning the Prince of Evil (Holly King/Winter) that the Prince of Peace (Oak King/coming spring and grain) is coming to destroy him.  Then, from midnight on, they peal out a welcome to the Birth (the Sun/Son/Jesus/Horus archetype).

Worship in Ancient Britain
‘Wooden pillars throughout Europe were aligned with the rising of the sun of winter solstice have been recently dated to 3200 – 3000 BC. (Newgrange in Ireland, Maes Howe in Scotland, Stonehenge and the Dorset Cursus in Britain), enabling us to currently calculate this holiday to be at least 5,000 years old.’
(Source: Solitary Witch [listed below])

Welsh winter solstice (‘Alban Arthan’)
The chief Druid would cut mistletoe from the oak tree as a protection against fire and lightning

In Italy a witch Befana (Epiphany) would fly on the Twelfth Night and put gifts for children down chimneys
(Source: 'A Witches' Bible')

The Witches Bible (1984) by Janet and Stewart Farrar,Phoenix Publishing Inc
Solitary Witch - The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation (2009) by Silver Ravenwolf, Llewellyn Publications.
The Witches Bible (1984) by Janet and Stewart Farrar,Phoenix Publishing Inc

Thursday, June 19, 2014

More eco products for the home on a low budget

Hello fellow pagans!

Normally living off of the smell of an oily rag means that how you spend your money is better for the environment (a) because you are consuming less in general and (b) because often the products that you do use can be used in various ways.  What may be missing from the general household are products that are also biodegradable and are grey water safe for your garden.

Here are a few tips and tricks to keep you going...

What's in the image below

Poppy Seeds: An amazing exfoliant which means that you won't be using horrible products with plastic beads in them which are terrible for the environment.  Great to use on the face once a week.
Face washer: I wet the face and polish it in the morning only with a face washer, then use my face wash after that.
Bi Carb soda: A very fine exfoliant to use once daily if you need finer work done on the face.  Also great in combination with vinegar to clean areas of the house.
Lavender oil: Pure 100% is great for blemishes.
Apple cider vinegar: can be used as a toner for the face
Dr Bronner's Castile Soap: An incredible cleaner for the house (one part soap to 40 parts water), it's three times more effective than soap.  Great to use once a week on your hair before putting a treatment through, but don't use much, it's very drying.  It has fair trade ingredients, is biodegradable, vegetable based and can also be used about the home in your washing machine (1/4 cup to 1/3 cup for a regular load) and even to brush your teeth with.
Enviro Care Sensitive Body and Hair Cleanser + Enviro Care Hair Conditioner and Treatment: this stuff is fantastic.  You can use the body & hair cleanser for bubble bath and it's safe for babies.  Both products are biodegradable and grey water safe.  You can grab them from Eco Office Supplies online.

What's not in the above image - unpackaged products from Lush:
Lush sell solid shampoo bars which are free of packaging and great for travelling.  They also have 'toothy tabs' which are solid pills of toothpaste - also free of packaging.

Remember that stationery energy makes up for the majority of carbon emissions in the home - get onto it!

)O( Elspeth

Monday, June 16, 2014

Great links for studying the Gardnerian path

This wonderful thesis 'Text A: Teasing Out the Influences on Early Gardnerian Witchcraft as Evidenced in the Personal Writings of Gerald Brosseau Gardner' by Lisa Crandell has been passed around from witch to witch - and as I'm already only seventeen pages in I'm feeling a great deal of the knowledge I've been taking in forming into the one marvellous piece of work - all 501 pages of it in total! also walks you through various elements already found within the above thesis as well as more detail around the life of Gerald Gardner.