Dream Pillow Charm

From the Book 
"Sticks, Stones, Roots, and Bones" by Stephanie Rose Bird

This dream pillow is desingned for protection, strenght, restful deep sleep, and prophetic dreams. Allergy sufferes should wear a dust  mask for this project and may want to leave out the hops. Susbtite jasmine for the hops if desired.

Botanical Mix:
Handful of dried bay leaves, dried Egyptian chamomille flowers, French lavender buds, dried hops or jasmine, lemon verbena millein, rose petals, and Spanish moss.

1/2 teaspoon of chammiolle essential oil
1/4 lavander essential oil
1/2 teaspoon attar of roses or quality rose fragance oil
2 teaspoons Queen Elizabeth root powder
2 9-inch squares of fabric like fingham linen, hemp, mud cloth...
purple cotton thread
small scarab or Tet

Begin by making the botanical blend. Recite the following chant as you add each ingredient listed into one bowl. Except for the Spanish moss, crumble the ingredientes into small relatively fine pieces.

Geb, help me 
(crumble bay leaves)
Innana relax me 
(crumble chamomille flowers)
Isis keep me safe 
(crumble lavender bids)
Gaia direct my dreams 
(crumble hops or jasmine)
Geb, I thank thee 
(crumble lemon verbena)
Innana guide me to the truth 
(crumble miullein)
Isis shield me 
(crumble rose petals)
Thanks be to Earth Mama for sharing your healing gifts 
(break Spanish moss into 1 inch peaces)

Sprinkle the chamomille and lavender oils and the attar of roses over the botanicals and mix well. Sprinkle the Queen Elizabeth root powder over the mixture and stir again. Place mix in a dark container and seal. Store away from light for 4 weeks, shaking contents constantly. Each time you shakle, reactive the magical quialities of the herbs by reciting

Geb help me
Innana relax me 
Isis keep me safe 
Gaia direct my dreams 
Earth Mama I thank thee 
Geb guide me to the truth 
Innana shield me 
Thank you Isis for sharing your presious gift.

While working the herbs each day and waiting for the mix to mature, make a pillow case with the fabric and thread. When the botanical blend has matured, stuff pillow case with it and insert the scarb or Tet at the end, or save it to glue on the outside of the pillow. To finish, sew 9 knots onto pillow to magically and physically fortify your stitchery: 2 knots near the middle of the top and sides and 3 at bottom. Put your dream pillow into pillowcase.


Herbs of Protection and Purification

I got the paper from Grimdeva. Visit her site (button on the left scroll). Click on the image to enhance and download at will. 



Yule Season

Yule Season

Yule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next  morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear fort from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were “wassailed” with toasts of spiced cider. 

Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, the boughts were symbolic of immortality, the wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly, mistletoe, and ivy not only decorated the putside, but also the inside of homes. It was to extend invitation to Nature Sprites to come and join the celebration. A spring of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to pay visit to the residents.

The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder’s land, or given as a gift… it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze be a piece of last years log, (held onto for just the purpose) . The log would burn throughout the  night, then smolder for 12 days after before the ceremony put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the heart at the Solstice.

A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side s oit sets up straight. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season) , green, gold, and black (the sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.

Deities of Yule
Are all Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid’s flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda’s cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.
Goddesses: Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother.
Gods: Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.

Symbolism of Yule
Rebirth of the Sun. The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Instrospect, Planning for the Future.

Symbols of Yule
Yule log, or small Yule log, with 3 candles, evergreen boughts or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poisettias, christmas cactus.

Herbs of Yule
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense, holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

 Foods of Yule
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb’s wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples)

Incense of Yule
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Colors of Yule
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.

Stones of Yule
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

Activities of Yule
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule.

Spellworking of Yule
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.

At Yule They Gather

At Yule They Gather 

The Yule Moon bewitches the dark night air
Her power unlocked by chant and prayer.
Her children worry, the Sun once so bright
Now seems lost, swallowed by the night.
Of joy and terror this season they know
Travel they must where Elf and Fairy go.
Past standing stone, and twisted tree
Around frozen rivers and silver sea.
Over snow covered meadows, and dusky hills
Where all life now stands hushed and still.
From the silence Her heart beats the drum
In the way of the Ancients they have come.
Louder and louder pushing back the night
The clans have gathered, what a sight!


The 12 Days of yule: The Noble Virtue of Truth

4th Day of Yule
Remembering the Noble Virtue of Truth

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.  
~Aldous Huxley
After consieration about what can I write here, I remembered an old story I once wrote, about what the secret of life is. Little truths we come to discover at one point in our lives... I share this story with you, in hopes that it makes you think about your own lives, and that perhaps you can add to the list more little truths about what the secret of life might be.
The story was originally written in Spanish (my native tongue), and  it is based on Faith Hill's song, "The Secret of Life".
The Secret of Life

My dearest friends, family, and all those other people who have decided to give me a little piece of your time in these, the last moments of mine. First of all, let me thank you for coming to my funeral. Yes, I know that the news shocked and took many of you by surprise, I mean, me being as healthy as I was and all that, but I was feeling sort of down in the dumps for a while and since no one told me it was a "not dying" day, I decided to kick the bucket before it was too late and they added one more candle to my already crowded birthday cake (last time I counted there were 87 candles and I told myself, "Dear God! Has it really been that long?"). Now, most of you may ask yourselves what this person is doing here - this complete stranger, reading my last words to all of you. Well, I wanted someone who could read my final comments and words to all of you without breaking down and crying, someone who was cheap, and someone who was easy on the eye for all you ladies outthere... and cousin Thomas (who are you kidding man? I mean, honestly!). 

So, before we begin, allow me to tell you something: stop crying! Really, I mean, crying won't convince me to come back and it won't buy my ticket back to the living. The only thing you will achieve with all that crying is a terrible headache tomorrow, red eyes and puffy face that you will pin later on to one yourstrully. So please, clear your tears. And to the people in the back who have no idea who I am nor why in the world are you here, I give you my full permission to leave. I know most of you are youngsters who are obligated by your parents to come to crazy old aunty Rainy's funeral, but trust me that I would  much rather you go outside, enjoy your life and stop living someone else's. Life does not last forever, kids, and I am a clear example of that. So, please, go out, live a little, and someone please close the casquet; if they wanted to see me they should have come to visit when I was alive and kicking. Now what's the point? I'm dead! The good and bad cualities of people are said when people can actually hear them and thank you for saying them, not when you're already on the other side and quite frankly could care a rat's ass about you. And since we're being honest here, why do you people insist on bringing flowers? If you knew me, you knew the hell these pesky little creations of the lord brought to my sinuses, why bring them to me to my last resting place? Take them back to the flower store or place them in a nearby grave for all I care. Now that I have said my peace, I can confess the most important things a person should know to be happy. I can tell you the secret of life.
The secret of life is getting up early on a wintery morning, realize you don't have to go anywhere and go back to sleep in your warm and soft bed; it's staying up late without worrying if you have to get up early the next morning. It's going to the beach and realize how small we really are in this world as you stand in front of the raging sea. 
The secret of life is to find love and care for it with all your heart, even if you heart gets broken later on; it's  never to give up in the search for that perfect romance, even to the last second of your breath. 

The secret of life is to buy a new dress that you once saw at the store and then when you come back it's on sale so you have enough left over for the shoes that go with it. It's to smell flowers without worrying about your sinuses blowing up. It's cuddling next to a cat. It's to work in a job you love doing and you get paid for it. It's having kids running through the grass and listening to their laughter as they play a new exciting game and remembering when you used to play the same thing when you where young. 

The secret of life is spending time with the family and listening to the stories told on a Christmas morning over a good cup of coffee and tamales burning on the stove. Is never having to worry about what you eat or eating without obssessing yourselves about looking fat. It's enjoying a good football game and cheering for the team no one thought would win. It's listening to a good jazz band -- live. It's doing that thing that everyone told you you couldn't do. It's helping someone in need and knowing that the wheels of karma go around and someday you might be the one in need of assistance. It's walking under the rain on a hot summer night. It's tasting a good martini. It's traveling to a place you always wanted to go. It's blowing up the candles on your 77th birthday. It's driving a sports car as you're leaving the car agency, with hat 80's song you love cranked all the way up on the stereo.

The secret of life is that there is no secret. You have to live for the moment andhope that all your best efforts were enough to let everyone know how much you cared, how proud you were of them, and that every single detail tells your story -- a story of a full, wonderful life that you wouldn't trade for all the gold in the world nor for one more second of life when it comes to the end of the road. I had a wonderful life, filled with ups and downs, tears and laughter, good friends and fearsome enemies -- full of everything and nothing at all. I wish you all, trully, that as you leave this place, you step into a good life. Your own.
I Love you.

3rd Day of Yule: The Noble Virtue of Courage

Courage...If you look in wikipedia (oh, the know it all of information in the WWW) you can find that the words is defined as "the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while "moral courage"act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement." How many times are we confronted by life? How many of our actions require us to have courage, to stand up for what we believe in? How many of us face these fears when we act in favor of those who cannot fend for themselves?

Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was a person who taught us courage. Her daughter, Rubi, was murdered over two years ago. As the justice system in Juarez stood still and did nothing, she set out in a crusade to find her daughter's killer. She found him, she handed him in, he confessed to the crime... and then was released by the penal system in the State of Chihuahua because of lack of evidence.

Marisela was overtaken by pain. Her only daughter's killer was being set free by the same penal system who is supposed to protect us from people such as this. She wouldn't have it. She set out to recapture this person and confronted the state, municipal, and federal government about it. She received many threats to her life, to the life of her beloved ones... And then, it happened... as reported by Front Line, "On the evening of 16 December 2010, Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was holding a peaceful vigil, together with other families of victims of femicide, against the absolution of her daughter's killer, outside the Chihuahua State Governor's Office. A security video recording is said to show a car arrive at the scene carrying a number of masked men. One man allegedly approached the human rights defender and exchanged words with her. She attempted to get away but the man followed her and shot her in the head. He immediately fled the scene. Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was taken to a local hospital but died shortly afterwards as a result of her injuries".

What is courage? standing up for your daughter, for another's daughter, for a city that needs it. If the authorities believe we are going to be silenced by these acts of criminal randomness, they are profoundly wrong.  I, along with all those who are tired of living in fear, are standing up, fighting for our city, and joning forces to bring all those people who believe that by silencing our voice, they will silence everyone else.

Our fight is just beginning.

In memory of Marisela and Rubi Escobedo

2nd Day of Yule -- The Winter Solstice (and a Holt)

I am trully sorry I haven't been consistent in this blog Party. The main reason for me not posting as often as I want to is because I have no internet access at home. So, in order for me to post these I drive to the nearest coffee store (which shall remain nameless but you can picture it with the siren, the stars, and the yummy yet extraordinarelly expensive coffee) Yet I have figured out that I will write down the posts and then when I get the chance (like this one) to post them, I shall. The good news is that I might be getting internet before the end of the year, so keep your fingers crossed!!

2nd Day of Yule – The Winter Solstice
December 21th

Short days, long nights. I don't know if that is absolutely good in a city like mine...
- Me
As our beloved mother gathers her strength to bring forth the light of the Sun Child into this world, I cannot help but to think how much we need this light of hope, more than ever, particularly in a city like mine. 

Juarez has been described as the most violent city in the world. With over 3,000 murderers this year alone, the wave of blood that started over five or six years ago doesn't seem to want to take a break over winter holidays. However, as the Great Mother gathers her strength, I want to believe that the light of the Sun child will bring hope to the hearts of every single one of us who wish nothing but to leave in peace in this town.

Many times our beloved Lady comes forth and protects us with her cloth. Warm advice comes from her heart, and the path that she shows us in our time of dispair makes even the darkest hours seem nothing more than a whim. So, as she prepares to give birth to the sun god, let us remember that this rebirth brings joy, hope, light, and change. And to that light I will hold on -- to the hope that every effort we are making to bring peace to my town will come to be the child that is born to my Great Mother, and that the new year will bring opportunity for establishing the damaged peace in each of our hearts.


12 Days of Yule: Mother's Night

 And Thus begins the 12 days of Yule, and what a wonderful way for our mother to grant us the delight of her presence! A moon eclipse that rose through the starry sky -- mother moon and father sun blessing their children from above, making them feel their love and warmth. 

Being raised Catholic, I cannot help but to ponder between the similarities between my Catholic background and my Pagan ways. In Mexico we honor the maternal figure probably more than we honor anything else. During the month of December, the figure of Mother Mary (or, as we call it, the Guadalupana or the Virgen de Guadalupe) is honored on December 12, as a mother to all Mexicans. Through the year, we ask for her protection, for her love, for her comprehension -- and we ask her to guide us, to give us hope, and to bring us confort in times of joy, in times of need, and in times of solitude. To me (as well as to many other Mexican pagans out there) Mother Mary (or La Virgencita) is just one more of the many faces the Great Lady portrays -- the motherly figure who cares for all her children. 

My grandmother said that once you have a child, you're mother to every single child in this world. And I have seen that through the eyes of my mother and my sister. I have not yet been given the joy and blessing of motherhood. Yet every creation that comes out of my hands, every animal that I heal, every mind that I educate, is as if I am giving birth to a new life and a new expectation --- a new hope.  

So, yesterday's eclipse to me was a warm reminder that our blessed mother is there for us. In a world that often seems to go mad, in times when we feel desperate and alone, we can always look up to the sky, open our hearts, our minds, and feel our celestial mother's love. 


'Twas the Night Before Yule

Twas the night before Yuletide and all through the glen
Not a creature was stirring, not a fox, not a hen.
A mantle of snow shone brightly that night
As it lay on the ground, reflecting moonlight.

The faeries were nestled all snug in their trees,
Unmindful of flurries and a chilly north breeze.
The elves and the gnomes were down in their burrows,
Sleeping like babes in their soft earthen furrows.

When low! the earth moved with a thunderous quake,
Causing chairs to fall over and dishes to break.
The Little Folk scrambled to get on their feet
Then raced to the river where they usually meet.

“What happened?” they wondered, they questioned, they probed,
As they shivered in night clothes, some bare-armed, some robed.
“What caused the earth's shudder? What caused her to shiver?”
They all spoke at once as they stood by the river.

Then what to their wondering eyes should appear
But a shining gold light in the shape of a sphere.
It blinked and it twinkled, it winked like an eye,
Then it flew straight up and was lost in the sky.

Before they could murmur, before they could bustle,
There emerged from the crowd, with a swish and a rustle,
A stately old crone with her hand on a cane,
Resplendent in green with a flowing white mane.

As she passed by them the old crone's perfume,
Smelling of meadows and flowers abloom,
Made each of the fey folk think of the spring
When the earth wakes from slumber and the birds start to sing.

“My name is Gaia,” the old crone proclaimed
in a voice that at once was both wild and tamed,
“I've come to remind you, for you seem to forget,
that Yule is the time of re-birth, and yet…”
“I see no hearth fires, hear no music, no bells,
The air isn't filled with fragrant smells
Of baking and roasting, and simmering stews,
Of cider that's mulled or other hot brews.”

“There aren't any children at play in the snow,
Or houses lit up by candles’ glow.
Have you forgotten, my children, the fun
Of celebrating the rebirth of the sun?”

She looked at the fey folk, her eyes going round,
As they shuffled their feet and stared at the ground.
Then she smiled the smile that brings light to the day,
“Come, my children,” she said, “Let's play.”

They gathered the mistletoe, gathered the holly,
Threw off the drab and drew on the jolly.
They lit a big bonfire, and they danced and they sang.
They brought out the bells and clapped when they rang.

They strung lights on the trees, and bows, oh so merry,
In colors of cranberry, bayberry, cherry.
They built giant snowmen and adorned them with hats,
Then surrounded them with snow birds, and snow cats and bats.

Then just before dawn, at the end of their fest,
Before they went homeward to seek out their rest,
The fey folk they gathered ‘round their favorite oak tree
And welcomed the sun ‘neath the tree's finery.

They were just reaching home when suddenly it came,
The gold light returned like an arrow-shot flame.
It lit on the tree top where they could see from afar
The golden-like sphere turned into a star.

The old crone just smiled at the beautiful sight,
"Happy Yuletide, my children," she whispered. "Good night

The Yule Log

The Yule Log

~ author unknown ~

The Yule log is a central part of Yule festivities. The log is kindled from the remains of the previous year's Yule fire (This piece was kept in the home throughout the year for protection . . The Yule log symbolizes the light returning to conquer the darkness. According to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder' s land, or given as a gift... it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze. The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out.

A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side so it sets upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.

Once, the Yule log had been the center of the celebration.

There are many traditional ways to collect your log; Some collect a log at Beltane and dry out till Yule. Others use the thickest part of the Yule tree trunk to save till it becomes next years Yule log. Still others will make a ritual of trekking into the woods at yuletide and dragging their Yule log home.

Yule Log Magick
The yule log is a remnant of the bonfires that the European pagans would set ablaze at the time of Winter Solstice. These bonfires symbolized the return of the Sun.

An oak log, plus a fireplace or bonfire area is needed for this form of celebration. The oak log should be very dry so that it will blaze well. On the night of Yule, carve a symbol of your hopes for the coming year into the log. Burn the log to release it's power. It can be decorated with burnable red ribbons of natural fiber and dried holly leaves. In the fireplace or bonfire area, dried kindling should be set to facilitate the burning of the log.The Yule log can be made of any wood (Oak is traditional). Each releases its own kind of magick.

Ash -- brings protection, prosperity, and health

Aspen -- invokes understanding of the grand design

Birch -- signifies new beginnings

Holly -- inspires visions and reveals past lives

Oak -- brings healing, strength, and wisdom

Pine -- signifies prosperity and growth

Willow -- invokes the Goddess to achieve desires

The burning of the Yule Log can easily become a family tradition. Begin by having parent(s) or some other family member describe the tradition of the Yule Log. The tale of the Oak King and Holly King from Celtic mythology can be shared as a story, or can be summarized with a statement that the Oak represents the waxing solar year, Winter Solstice to Summer Solstice, and the Holly represents the waning solar year, Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice.

Lights are extinguished as much as possible. The family is quiet together in the darkness. Family members quietly contemplate the change in the solar year. Each in her/his own way contemplates the past calendar year, the challenges as well as the good times.

Then the Yule Log fire is lit. As it begins to burn, each family member throws in one or more dried holly sprigs and says farewell to the old calendar year. Farewells can take the form of thanksgiving and appreciation and/or a banishment of old habits or personal pains.

Once the Yule Log itself starts blazing, then the facilitator invites family members to contemplate the year ahead and the power of possibilities. Each member then throws in an oak twig or acorn into the fire to represent the year ahead, and calls out a resolution and/or a hope.

Families using a Yule Log with candles each family member can write a bad habit and/or a wish for the upcoming year on a slip of paper and burn it in the candle flame.

When this process is done, the family sings a song together. The traditional carol, "Deck the Halls", is good because it mentions the Solstice, the change in the solar year, and the Yule Log.

Let the Yule Log burn down to a few chunks of charred wood and ashes (or candles burn down). Following an ancient tradition, save remnants of the fire and use them to start the Yule Log fire the following year.


The Sabbaths

The Sabbaths 
(From the Book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft") 

Do you love holidays or loathe them? We think you’ll probably like the Wiccan holidays. In this chapter, we’ll tell you about eight of them. The good news? They don’t involve long exhausting trips to the mall. Wiccan holidays do involve Nature and the cycles of the Earth in her seasons. Most of the things that you’ll need (besides your magickal tools) can be found in your backyard or in a local park. And if you want to exchange any gifts, they, too, can be crafted from Nature’s gifts. The Wiccan holidays are truly a time when you tune in to the Earth and the changes she undergoes with the turning of the seasons.

All About the Sun

The Sun represents the God, the male spirit of the All. Like the Sun’s, his energy is bright, vibrant, powerful, and protecting. He allows the plants to grow, warms the Earth, and provides the Earth and all her creatures with light and nutrients that are crucial to the flourishing of life.

As we’ve all noticed, there are many more hours of daylight during the summer than there are in the winter. Summer days are longer because the Earth’s axis, the imaginary pole on which the Earth spins, tilts a little in relation to the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The fact that the Earth is tipped in this manner actually causes the seasons and causes there to be a longest day of the year and a shortest day. Because Wicca is a Nature-based religion, each of these changes, the heralds of the shifts of the season, is honored.
What Are the Sabbats?

The Sabbats are holidays on which Wiccans celebrate the male energy of the All, which is represented by the
God and the Sun. These are days of celebration of the God just the way the Esbats (as discussed in the previous chapter) are celebrations of the Goddess. There are eight Sabbats. Unlike human-made holidays, the Sabbats are naturally occurring events. They mark the equinoxes—the two days a year when daytime and
nighttime are of equal duration. The Sabbats also include the longest day of the year, the longest night of
the year—known as the solstices—and the midpoints between these occurrences.

As the Lord and Lady Travel the Wheel of the Year

In Wicca, the year is seen as a wheel that keeps turning. Once it has completed a rotation, it keeps going and turns around again and again. The Lord and the Lady, as manifestations of the All, play a major part in this continuous cycle. Many Wiccans look at the year as the continuing and repeating story of the Lord and the Lady.

Although Samhain is the Wiccan New Year, let’s start with Yule. Here’s a quick tour of the Wheel of the Year:

➤ At Yule, which occurs at the time of the winter solstice in December, the Lady gives birth to the Lord and rests from her labor.

➤ At Imbolc, in February, the Lord is seen as a small boy, and the Lady recovers from giving birth.

Ostara marks the first day of spring and the awakening of the Earth. At this time, the Lord is seen as a growing youth.

➤ At Beltane, the Lord has grown to manhood. He falls in love with the Lady, and they unite, producing the bounty of Nature. The Lady becomes pregnant by the Lord.

➤ The Summer Solstice is the point in midsummer when everything in Nature is at its peak, growing and lush. The Lord and the Lady are both at the height of their powers.

Lughnassad is the day in August of the first harvest. The first grains are cut, and the Lord begins to weaken.

➤ At Mabon, the second harvest, the Lord is coming to his end. The days grow shorter, and Earth readies for the slumber of winter.

➤ At Samhain, in October, the Lord dies only to be reborn of the Lady again at Yule.

When the Lord is born at Yule, he is the incarnation of the God of Light. From Yule onward, the daylight hours will be longer and longer until the Summer Solstice, when the balance tips the other way. After the Summer Solstice, as the days begin to grow shorter, he becomes the Dark God. At that point, the shortening of the days herald his coming death.

Deities of Winter Solstice

While it may be mostly Pagans and Wiccans who celebrate the Yule holiday, nearly all cultures and faiths have some sort of winter solstice celebration or festival. Because of the theme of endless birth, life, death, and rebirth, the time of the solstice is often associated with deity and other legendary figures. No matter which path you follow, chances are good that one of your gods or goddesses has a winter solstice connection.

Alcyone (Greek)

Alcyone is the Kingfisher goddess. She nests every winter for two weeks, and while she does, the wild seas become calm and peaceful.

Ameratasu (Japan)

In feudal Japan, worshippers celebrated the return of Ameratasu, the sun goddess, who slept in a cold, remote cave. When the the other gods woke her with a loud celebration, she looked out of the cave and saw an image of herself in a mirror. The other gods convinced her to emerge from her seclusion and return sunlight to the universe.

Baldur (Norse)
Baldur is associated with the legend of the mistletoe. His mother, Frigga, honored Baldur and asked all of nature to promise not to harm him. Unfortunately, in her haste, Frigga overlooked the mistletoe plant, so Loki - the resident trickster - took advantage of the opportunity and fooled Baldur's blind twin, Hod, into killing him with a spear made of mistletoe. Baldur was later restored to life.

Bona Dea (Roman)
This fertility goddess was worshipped in a secret temple on the Aventine hill in Rome, and only women were permitted to attend her rites. Her annual festival was held early in December.

Cailleach Bheur (Celtic)
In Scotland, she is also called Beira, the Queen of Winter. She is the hag aspect of the Triple Goddess, and rules the dark days between Samhain and Beltaine.

Demeter (Greek)
Through her daughter, Persephone, Demeter is linked strongly to the changing of the seasons and is often connected to the image of the Dark Mother in winter. When Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter's grief caused the earth to die for six months, until her daughter's return.

Dionysus (Greek)
A festival called Brumalia was held every December in honor of Dionysus and his fermented grape wine. The event proved so popular that the Romans adopted it as well in their celebrations of Bacchus.

Frau Holle (Norse)

Frau Holle appears in many different forms in Scandinavian mythology and legend. She is associated with both the evergreen plants of the Yule season, and with snowfall, which is said to be Frau Holle shaking out her feathery mattresses.

Frigga (Norse)
Frigga honored her son, Baldur, by asking all of nature not to harm him, but in her haste overlooked the mistletoe plant. Loki fooled Baldur's blind twin, Hod, into killing him with a spear made of mistletoe but Odin later restored him to life. As thanks, Frigga declared that mistletoe must be regarded as a plant of love, rather than death.

Holly King (British/Celtic)
The Holly King is a figure found in British tales and folklore. He is similar to the Green Man, the archetype of the forest. In modern Pagan religion, the Holly King battles the Oak King for supremacy throughout the year. At the winter solstice, the Holly King is defeated.

Horus (Egyptian)
Horus was one of the solar deities of the ancient Egyptians. He rose and set every day, and is often associated with Nut, the sky god. Horus later became connected with another sun god, Ra.

La Befana (Italian)

This character from Italian folklore is similar to St. Nicholas, in that she flies around delivering candy to well-behaved children in early January. She is depicted as an old woman on a broomstick, wearing a black shawl.

Lord of Misrule (British)
The custom of appointing a Lord of Misrule to preside over winter holiday festivities actually has its roots in antiquity, during the Roman week of Saturnalia.

Mithras (Roman)
Mithras was celebrated as part of a mystery religion in ancient Rome. He was a god of the sun, who was born around the time of the winter solstice and then experienced a resurrection around the spring equinox.

Odin (Norse)

In some legends, Odin bestowed gifts at Yuletide upon his people, riding a magical flying horse across the sky. This legend may have combined with that of St. Nicholas to create the modern Santa Claus.

Saturn (Roman)

Every December, the Romans threw a week-long celebration of debauchery and fun, called Saturnalia in honor of their agricultural god, Saturn. Roles were reversed, and slaves became the masters, at least temporarily. This is where the tradition of the Lord of Misrule originated.

Spider Woman (Hopi)
Soyal is the Hopi festival of the winter solstice. It honors the Spider Woman and the Hawk Maiden, and celebrates the sun's victory over winter's darkness.

Yule Incense

From "The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews" by Cunningham

Yule Incense

You will need:

2 Parts of Frankincense
2 Parts of Pine needles or resin
1 Part Cedar
1 Part Juniper Berries

Mix and smolder at Wiccan rites on Yule. (or on around December 21st) or during the winter months to clenase the home and to attune with the forces of nature amid the cold days and nights.


Scents have a way of making time stand still for us sometimes, and the aromas of the winter holidays are no exception. For many people, re-creating the smells and emotions of our childhood, or even of some distant ancestral memory, is part of the magic of the Yule season.

To make your own magical winter night's incense, first determine what form you’d like to make. You can make incense with sticks and in cones, but the easiest kind uses loose ingredients, which are then burned on top of a charcoal disc or tossed into a fire. This recipe is for loose incense, but you can always adapt it for stick or cone recipes.

As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the intent of your work. This particular recipe is one which evokes the spices and magic of a cold December night. Use it during a ritual, if you like, or as a smudging incense to purify a sacred space. You can also toss some into your fire just to make the house smell like winter.

You’ll need:
  • 2 parts Juniper berries
  • 2 parts mugwort
  • 1 part cedar
  • 1 part pine resin
  • 1 part laurel leaves
  • 1 part chopped sweetgrass
  • ½ part rosemary
Add your ingredients to your mixing bowl one at a time. Measure carefully, and if the leaves or blossoms need to be crushed, use your mortar and pestle to do so. As you blend the herbs together, state your intent. You may find it helpful to charge your incense with an incantation, such as:

As the sun returns, back to the earth,
we celebrate life and death and rebirth.
Cold winter nights and chilly days,
smoke in the sky, carry ills away.
A time of magic, at the longest night,
for without the dark, there cannot be light.
Herbs of power, blended by me,
As I will, so it shall be.

Store your incense in a tightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its name and date. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.


Yule Ritual


Tools needed: A Green Altar Cloth
A Cauldron w/Lid or Cover Plate
Holly Sprig Wreath
Mistletoe Sprig Wreath
12 Low Vibration Stones (flat oval river rock work well)
1 Black Votive Candle
1 Green 12" Taper Candle
1 White 12" Taper Candle
1 Gold (12hr) Pillar Candle
Pine Incense
Bowl of Water w/ Pine Sprig in it
Plate of Sand
You are welcome to add any personal items of your choice

This ritual showed be performed right after sunset. About an hour before, sweep area moving in a deosil manner. Yule symbols such as Poinsettias, Pine Cones, and even a decorated Yule Log nearby (if too big for altar) adds to the ambiance.
Place the proper candles and symbols at the four cardinal directions. Place the gold God pillar candle at right top of altar. Place the white Goddess taper candle at the top left. Place your Pentacle (or a plate with a Pentagram drawn on it) in the center of the altar. Place your Cauldron to the right of the altar, with the black votive candle, Holly sprig wreath around it , inside. 

Cover cauldron with lid or cover plate. Place the green taper candle and mistletoe wreath where they will be behind you at the beginning of the ritual. Outline your circle perimeter with 11 of the low vibration stones (save 12th to close circle when you enter. Place the rest of your tools and props according to personal preference. 

Take a shower or bath for purity. Sit quietly for a period to ground and center. When ready put on some soothing music associated with the Sabbat and your ritual. Enter the standing stone circle and close with 12th stone. Cast circle by envisioning flames of Yule colors red, green, and gold coming up between the stones. When all become a continuous line, step up to the altar.


"From the darkness is born the light,
From void, fulfillment emergesThe darkest night of the year's at the threshold,Open now the door, and honor the darkness."
Take the lid/plate off the cauldron and light the black votive candle inside. Step back from the cauldron and give silent honor to the Holly King, the ruler of the dark half of the year. Call quarters, start by lighting yellow candle in the East:

" Powers of Air, step forth from the darkness,
Enter my circle , as dark gives 'way to light.
Bring along with you the essence of pine trees,
Remind me of Springtime as I face Solstice Night."
Light the pine incense and place on Pentacle/Center Plate. Light the red candle in the South:

"Powers of Fire, step forth from the darkness,
Enter my circle, as dark gives 'way to light,
Bring along with you the first glint of tomorrow,
Remind me of Summer as I face Solstice Night."
Pick up the Athame and brandish it in the flame of the candle to reflect the light. Place on the Pentacle/Center Plate. Light the blue candle in the West:

"Powers of Water, step forth from the darkness,
Enter my circle, as dark gives 'way to light,
Bring along with you bittersweet memories
Remind me of Autumn as I face Solstice Night."
Pick up the bowl of water, sprinkle water with pine sprig in Pentacle/Center Plate. Light brown candle in the North:

"Powers of Earth, step forth from the darkness,
Enter my circle, as dark gives 'way to light,
Bring along with you the land that now slumbers,
Remind me of Winter and this cold Solstice Night."
Pick up the plate of sand, sprinkle sand in a line around the other symbols. Step back from the alter for a moment and contemplate the seasons of the past year, and how their lessons have brought you to where you are today. When ready, begin again:

"Dark my surroundings, and cold be this night
But Thy labor, Blessed Mother has reborn the Sacred Light
The Child Divine, The most honored Sun. Shall return with the sunrise again, Two will be One."
Remove the Holly wreath from around the black votive candle. With your right hand, present it to the four elements in a deosil manner. Finally, in a clockwise motion, place it behind you, to signify the death, "passing", of the Holly King. 
Turn back to the altar. Then with your left hand, reach behind you, and in a clockwise motion bring forward the Mistletoe wreath and the green candle. Present them to the elements, slide the wreath over the green candle and place the candle in its holder in the cauldron. Light the green candle with the black votive candle:

"Hark! Behold the Rebirth of the King of the Woodlands!
Behold the Oak King, strong and vital he rises!"
Snuff the black votive candle and with your right hand, place it behind you in a clockwise motion. Turn back to the cauldron, close your eyes, and silently honor the Oak King.

Begin again:
"Awake now Thy Mother, Thy Lover, Thy Lady -
Awake now Thy Goddess of Life, Death, Rebirth."

Take the green candle out of the cauldron and light the white Goddess candle on the altar. Replace the green candle in the cauldron. Take the white Goddess candle with both hands and hold out at arm's length over the cauldron:

"Awaken, my Lady, look upon Thyne Divine Child,
His rebirth while You slumbered was subtle and silent.
The Stag King, the Green Man, Lord of Fertility,
He awaits thy wakening gentle and benevolent"
Place the white Goddess candle back in its holder at the left top of altar. Step back and assume the Goddess position. 
In a bold voice: 

"All hail the Oak King, His rebirth; a promise
All hail the Divine Child, Giver of Life
All hail the Blessed Sun, reborn to the Mother
For he retakes His throne at the end of Solstice Night!"
Now is the time for meditation and any spellworkings. Spellworkings associated with Yule include those for peace, harmony, love, and happiness. Next celebrate with the Cakes and Ale (Fruitcake* and Spiced Cider *) ceremony, saving some for the wee Folkes, outside. Thank the Goddess and snuff Her candle. Thank and release the elements:

"Carry sweet tidings, 'round the world and beyond,
I charge thee as messengers Earth, Water, Fire, and Air
Let all rejoice loudly in the Oak King's return
Teach all that you meet, with the glad tidings you bear."
Snuff each Quarter candle in a widdershins manner. Step back and face the cauldron and the green candle still burning bright.

"Before my circle, tonight, I close blessings I ask for this house and my kin tomorrow at daybreak, when I arise
A special flame I will carry, withinAnd a gold candle upon my altar I'll light adding my will to the Sun King's intent
To climb aloft in the vaulted skies and for strength back to me; three times, strength I've sent."

Snuff the green candle. Take the Mistletoe wreath and place it on the other symbols on the Pentacle/Center Plate. Release the circle. Clean up, leaving the gold God pillar candle in center front to light upon rising in the morning. You are done.

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