Merry Christmas, Happy Yuletide, Joyous Saturnalia! Whatever you celebrate,
I wish you peace and happiness during this festive time of year : )
The tree is decorated and the house looks festive, with red & green
everywhere and, of course, candles glowing. I mailed my cards today
(before Christmas!) and finished the shopping despite the snowy weather.
Yes, I am a pagan but my family celebrates the traditional Christmas
(especially my super-religious cousins) so I send them cards and join
in the celebrations. After all, their holiday traditions come from pagan
roots so why make waves. And I get to celebrate the solstice and Christmas!
Once again the holiday and the new moon are in the same week, so expect
another newsletter next weekend. I am working on a datebook spell to
ensure a prosperous year and Ill share it with you then.
Heal the Earth with Gaea
This is a ritual we have been doing at the winter solstice for 3 years
now. I found it in a book called Moon Magic by D.J. Conway. In
the book, she suggests it as a full moon ritual, I made it part of our
holiday. Usually I like to take a ritual or spell from a book and change
it to make it my own. This one I left the words as she wrote them but
made a few changes to the set up and changed it to accommodate four
people. She spells the Goddesss name Gaea instead
of Gaia so Im using her spelling.
She says to have some barley and/or bay laurel leaves in a cauldron
on your altar and to leave that outside after the ritual as an offering.
We have done this in the past however this year we did not. I poured
some wine in the snow as our offering instead.
You need a brown candle and she suggests putting stones, crystals,
something to represent the Earth ( a picture will do) and/or the Earth
Mother Gaea on your alter and burn an earthy incense. For a single person,
she has you light the candle and carry it to each direction to speak
the words for that direction. For our 4 person ritual we all stood in
our direction (we are lucky enough to have four people whose personalities
each fit a different element but we are still able to get along! )
facing out to that direction. I lit the candle while speaking the beginning
part then handed it to our air person to speak to the east
and then we passed it to each of us to speak to our directions, and
we all said the last part together. We all love doing this ritual because
it doesnt just say do this for us, it says
help us to do this. Ok, here it is:
(set up your altar accordingly and cast your circle.)
Mother Gaea, Goddess of the Earth,
We give you honor
For without your care and being
We would have no home
Earth Mother, Hear our words
We have need of your divine presence
(light candle and carry it to the east)
Awake Earth Mother!
Your winds are heavy and foul
Sweep them clean again!
(carry candle to the south)
Awake Earth Mother!
Your children need your cleansing rays of light
Our atmosphere is in trouble!
(carry candle to the west)
Awake, Earth Mother!
The plants, animals and humans are in danger
Protect your children!
(carry candle to the north)
Awake Earth Mother!
The planet itself is sick
Do not destroy us in order to restore balance
Rather inspire us all to work together as healers of our world
Come again to your children, Gaea!
(place candle on the alter, stand with upraised arms)
Awaken our minds and souls, Gaea!
Teach all humans to respect their home.
Teach us all responsibility,
Whether it be of chemicals or population
Awaken us all to the needs of our Earth!
(thank Gaea for her presence and extinguish the candle. Put the
barley/laurel outside as an offering to the Earth)
Scents of Yule
Heres a tidbit or two about some popular scents.
The smell of ginger is associated with Christmas due to the
baking of gingerbread at this time. The Crusaders were originally responsible
for this treat as they introduced ginger to eleventh century Europe
on their return from the Middle East. During the fifteenth century,
French and German bakers united and formed gingerbread guilds. In those
days there were strict laws regarding specialty breads and gingerbread
was categorized as such so its production was only allowed during Easter
and Christmas. Because bakers always had stalls in the European Christmas
markets (and no Easter marketplace existed) the spicy scent became associated
with winter holidays.
Peppermint has long been a part of Yule celebrations with its
coolness symbolizing winter and its heat symbolizing the Sun. But did
you know the candy cane was invented by an American confectioner who
based its form and appearance on Christian roots? He formed it of white
candy to signify the virgin birth, then shaped it in a j
to represent Jesus. The never-ending red stripe was to symbolize the
blood shed on the cross. The candy itself is very popular, but the symbolism
got lost somewhere along the way. Its still one of my favorite parts
of Christmas and I always buy enough to have some left over in the summer
to make peppermint ice cream....yummmm!
Have a wonderful Yuletide,