Archive for December, 2012

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Excited by the coming Winter Solstice and the Yuletide Season of Good will, or perhaps just the figgy pudding ahead, Celestial Elf does a happy dance.

The tradition of Carol singing or wassailing falls into two distinct categories: The House-Visiting wassail and the Orchard-Visiting wassail. House-Visiting wassail, caroling by any other name, is the practice of people going door-to-door singing Christmas carols. The word Wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon toast Wæs þu hæl, “be thou hale” — i.e., “be in good health”. The practice has its roots in the middle ages as a reciprocal exchange between the feudal lords and their peasants as a form of recipient initiated charitable giving, to be distinguished from begging. This point is made in the song “Here We Come A-Wassailing”, when the wassailers inform the lord of the house that
“we are not daily beggars that beg from door to door but we are friendly neighbours whom you have seen before.”

  
The lord of the manor would give food and drink to the peasants in exchange for their blessing and goodwill, which would be given in the form of the song being sung. Wassailing is the background practice against which an English carol such as “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” dating back to sixteenth century England, can be made sense of.[4] The carol lies in the English tradition where wealthy people of the community gave Christmas treats to the carolers on Christmas Eve such as ‘figgy puddings. 


 
~ **We wish you a Merry Christmas ** ~
 

 We wish you a Merry Christmas (x3)
and a Happy New Year.

REFRAIN 
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Now! bring us some figgy pudding (x3)
and bring some out here. (or, and bring it us here)

REFRAIN 
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

For we all like figgy pudding (x3)
so bring some out here.

REFRAIN 
 Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

And we won’t go until we’ve got some (x3)
so bring some out here.

REFRAIN 
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

It’s a season for music (x3)
and a time of good Cheer.

REFRAIN
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

(Some versions print the refrain as “Glad tidings” instead of “Good tidings’)

~ * Figgy Pudding Recipe * ~
Figgy Pudding

1 cup suet
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons rum
1 apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 pound dried figs, ground or finely chopped
Grated peel of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large egg whites, stiffly beaten

Grease a two-quart mold.
Cream together butter and shortening. Gradually add sugar, egg yolks, milk, extract, apple, figs, lemon and orange peel. Add next 6 ingredients, mixing well. Fold stiffly beaten egg whites into mixture.
Pour into two-quart buttered bowl or mold and place into large shallow pan and steam for four hours.

Custard Sauce
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon butter
In saucepan, scald milk and allow to cool.
Mix together remaining ingredients, except for butter. Add to cooled milk. Cook over low heat until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, mixing well.
Serve pudding warm with custard sauce or sweetened whipped cream.

 

 We All Want Figgy Pudding
 & A Happy New Year
 
 
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Rituals for Yule


SUPPLIES: Yule log (oak or pine) with white, red and black candles on it (set it in the fireplace), chalice of wine, small piece of paper and pencil for each person.
The altar is adorned with evergreens such as pine, rosemary, bay, juniper and cedar, and the same can be laid to mark the Circle.

 
~* Ritual for Yule *~
After casting the circle the Priestess should say:”Since the beginning of time, we have gathered in this season to
celebrate the rebirth of the Sun.
On the Winter Solstice, the darkest of nights,
The Goddess becomes the Great Mother and once again
gives birth to the Sun and the new yearly cycle,
Bringing new light and hope to all on Earth.
On the longest night of winter,
and the dark night of our souls,
there springs the new spark of hope,
the Sacred Fire,
the Light of the World.
We gather tonight to await the new light.
On this night, the Maiden, who is also Mother
and Crone, prepares to welcome the Sun.
Let’s now prepare to welcome the new light within.”

~Invocation to the Goddess and God:
(Priest) “I light this fire in your honor Mother Goddess
You have created life from death, warmth from cold
The Sun lives once again, the time of light is waxing.
We invite you, Great Mother, to our circle
Bring us new light, the light of your glorious Son.”

(Priestess light the white candle on the Yule log and say):
“I come to you as Maiden
Young and free, fresh as springtime
Yet within me a yearning stirs to create and share
and so I become…

(Light the red candle) The Mother
I bring forth the fruit of my creativity
Yet an ancient prophet once told me, as I stood with my son,
A sword shall pierce through thy own heart also
And I knew that I must become…

(Light the black candle) The Crone
The ancient wise one, Lady of Darkness
We three – in – one who brought forth that special child
as long ago, also anointed him for burial-
A bright light that grew and was sacrificed to be reborn
as a new light.”

(Priest) “Ancient God of the forest, we welcome you
Return from the shadows, O Lord of Light.
The wheel has turned. We call you back to warm us.
Great God of the Sun
I welcome your return
May you shine brightly upon the Earth.”

~Consecration of the Yule Log
(Priestess) “Yule is the end of the old solar year and the beginning
of the new one. Traditionally, the end of the year is a time
to look back and reflect. It is a time to look ahead
to the future, to make plans and set goals.”

On your piece of paper, write something you hope to accomplish during the coming year.
When you are finished, attach the slip of paper to the Yule Log.

Priest picks up the chalice and says:
“We toast the new year (sprinkles wine on the log) and in token
of its promise, we consecrate this sacred wood as a focus for the
energies through which we accomplish our tasks and manifest our
desires during the coming cycle.”

~All drink from the chalice.

(Priestess) “You who have died are now reborn. Lend us your light throughthe winter months as we await the spring. 
Let us now light the Yule Log.
Once having burned with the Yule fire, 

these candles will contain the luck of the log 
throughout the coming year.”
(remember to save a small piece of the log for next Yule 

or save the ashes or the candles.)

~Priest and Priestess light the Yule log together.

~Closing:
(Priestess – extinguishing the God taper)
“Thank you Bright Lord
for the light you have brought to us this night
May we carry it within us throughout the coming year.”

(Priest – extinguishing the Goddess taper)
“Thank you most gracious Lady
for your freshness of spirit, your nurturing care
your infinite wisdom
Live within us throughout the coming year.
So mote it be.”

~Close the circle the way you usually do.~

My thanks to The White Goddess for this ritual.

~* A Solitary Yule Invocation *~

Morning light will flood the chamber
– winter solstice sun.

 
Energy unfolding,

Saturn’s rule has just begun.

 
Crystals formed of ice and frost
freeze field and forest green.

 
While Mighty Oak and Holly
Fight for favours from our Queen.

 
The Great Wheel brings conception,
birth, and death as days of yore.

 
Each bonfire on a leyline
honours what has gone before.

 
Seven planets, seven spheres,
seven gates swing open.

 
I lift my arms and call the charge
the incantation spoken!

 
I conjure water spirits,
Pour forth the sacred winds
come hither, O great fire!
The magick now begins!

 
Solar vapors, starry heavens
clouds and earth and waves
unite in your perfection
on this shortest solstice day!

 
I hold the key of secrets
and the phantoms will avail
the crossroads shimmer open
as the rod connects to grail.

 
Seven planets, seven spheres,
seven gates swing open.

 
I list my arms and call the charge
the incantation spoken!

 
Beribboned Yule logs burning
each spark a blessing brings.

 
Red and green, the sacred blood
of past and future kings.

 
Mistletoe and bayberry,
winter’s leaves and resin.

 
Spice and myrrh and evergreen
connect the Earth to heaven.

 
Through scented smoke and sacred prayer
I manifest good will.

 
Bring peace and joy to hearth and home
and every wish fulfill.

 
Seven planets, seven spheres
seven gates swing open

I lift my arms and call the charge
the incantation spoken!

 
Author Unknown ~
May The Sun Shine Upon Your Life
~ * Blessed Yule To You * ~

Baba Yaga Reclaimed

 I came across this interesting account and wanted to share it;
 

Once Upon a Time, there lives an elder named Baba Jaga, she was a loving woman and very powerful shaman, respected by all the rand tribes people. But one day, vampires of earth came, men who lead large armies under the Vatican’s command. 700 years ago, and when the demon warriors of the church, came, they were only following the orders of their Vatican leaders.

And they wanted Baba Yaga dead in the Slavic and Balkan lands, so first they destroyed her reputation as a Grandmother, a sin under the heaven and earth, that reaps a most severe punishment from the primordial grandmothers who are eternal.

Then they made up lies about Baba eating babies and stealing children, the second sin they committed, then they killed her women, her medicine and her soul, the third. These demons raged through the villages, forest and mountain to kill all Baba healers,who were wise sages before religion had ever touched these sacred lands, and then they destroyed her teachings and finally her original myth as shaman and wind whisperer, until all that was left, was her corpse, laying in the mud, raped and beaten.
Then the church tortured and raped her until only her name would be spoken in vain and images of her would only carry their darkness on her face. They even killed and destroyed the most sacred alkonost’s, siren’s and magpie women.

After 700 years of this oppression Baba Yaga is finally returning to wholeness, for Spring always returns in the circle of life and Mother Earth has commanded her wisest Baba’s to restore what was corrupted. She gladly said yes with a song in her sweet voice. Knowing that sending Demons to hell is one of her favorite jobs.”
  * * *
In response to queries over the nature and orientation of Baba Yaga, was she not fearsome before she was demonized by Christian orders, I have researched further. Even when Baba Yaga appears in the most unfavorable light and has a ferocity of nature, she still knows the future, has countless treasures, and knows secret knowledge – all typical aspects in the portrayal Shamanic Wise Women and Healers.
Often she is said to live in the densest forest, which further scared people and added to the mystery and fear surrounding her because the forest is perceived as the boundary between the world of the dead and the living. No wonder then that her hut is surrounded by a palisade of human bones and skulls and that in many fairy tales, Baba Yaga eats human flesh.

Incidentally many magical practitioners of various sorts have employed aspects of death such as use of skull or grave dirt etc in their work of divination and beyond, including the pre Buddhist Bon magicians of Tibet (whilst Tibetan monks have also been known to use goblets carved from human skulls) and a ‘symbolic’ eating of flesh (usually by the super-natural entity) is well attested in accounts of Cunning folk and their familiar or faery spirit helpers, as well as in many forms of Christianity.

The Entsiklopediya mythology also claims that originally Baba Yaga has been a god of death: a woman with a snake tail, who guarded the entrance to the underworld and accompanied the deceased souls of the dead on their journey. This is somewhat reminiscent of the ancient Greek maiden-snake. According to ancient myths, from his marriage to Heracles Echidna gave birth to the Scythians, and the Scythians are considered the earliest ancestors of the Slavs –

Therefore whilst Baba Yaga may indeed have been a fearsome old woman that lived in a house made of bones before further demonisation by the Church, these aspects of her status as a healer and Wise Woman need not be in conflict to any extent at all. 

Blessed Be those that See xx ~
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