Category Archives: Yule Sabbat Simmering Potpourri

Yule Designs

Merry meet all,

Recently on the weekend I had some fun. I attended the long awaited book launch where I gave a poetry reading of my now published poem. The poem was titled The Sawbug’s Toil. I then signed what seemed like 300 copies of the book Whispers of Mermaids and Wonderful Things by Sheree Fitch and Anne Hunt.

The book launch was a success. I am proud to have been a part of that. I look forward to new opportunities. I received a book I won in the mail titled Gideon by Alex Gordon. I shall enjoy the book, I am sure.

Yule is right around the corner. I spied snow on the ground. I have been preparing for Yule. I went on a long nature walk the other day. I enjoyed walking through the paths, gorgeous autumn trees hanging overhead, and the crisp chill hint of winter in the air. Twigs cracked underfoot, squirrels chirruped, and leaves fluttered to the ground. I collected pine cones by the Armdale ocean and acorns. I found a crab shell and a mollusk shell too.

I plan to use the pine cones and acorns for Yule. I have begun an herbal yule spice jar for a friend for Yule. When I get my money, I plan to buy holiday fabric and start making gifts and decorations for myself and others. I am eager to get started. I have a pattern for a Yule stocking and browsed through my fave fabric store for inspiration. I was excited to discover that Fabricville had everything I need to get started. All I need is some cash.

For my herbal spice jar for a friend, I blended a pine cone, dried orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, pine needles and added it all to a jar. I will add the dried pomegranate rind to the mixture. I want to decorate the jar. The library books about crafts that I borrowed will help me with decorating the jar.

I shall post more here about preparing for Yule.

Blessings, Spiderwitch )O(

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Filed under Uncategorized, Winds, winter, winter enchantment, Winter magick, Winter Solstice, Winter Solstice ritual, wonder of nature, worship, Yule, Yule crafts, Yule incenses, Yule log, yule magick, Yule Sabbat Simmering Potpourri, Yule Stockings for the whole family

Altar Decoration for Yule

CIMG0912

Merry meet all,

Winter is upon us. The chill of winter bites at us as we travel to work or holiday shopping. Be inspired by the winter colors for your altar decorations. Blues, silvers and whites as well as red, greens and golds correspond with winter.

Add solar symbols to your altar. The Solstice is about the return of the sun. Pine cones, evergreen boughs, sprigs of holly, a Yule log and or antlers. They all represent the Winter Solstice season. Candles in winter colors, antlers, mistletoe, a bowl of snow, bells and sun wheels reflect winter.

The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year. Burn a Yule log. Be sure to supervise to avoid a fire. Check your smoke alarms that they are well functioning first.

Evergreen, fir, spruce and pine are popular woods to use for a ritual or altar decoration. Their scents invoke those fresh earthy scents. Cinnamon, allspice, clove and nutmeg are earthy and spicy. Nuts and dried fruits can be added to an altar or a gingerbread house!

The altar cloth can be a white color or blue and silver. My altar cloth is sheer and has a snowflake print on it. It is reversible and switches between silver and gold depending on which side faces up.

Then once the altar is dressed and assembled, smudge it with sage and an altar cleansing potion. Be sure to clean the altar area beforehand. Enjoy your seasonal winter altar. Have a merry Winter Solstice.

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Ornaments for Yule

saltdough

Merry meet all,

Yule is a few days away. In this post, I want to show you how to have a wonderful Yule that won’t stress you out. 

I made my own ornaments this year. Tinsel, wrapping paper, a tree, gifts and food- it all adds up. With some effort, you can make your own decorations at a significant fraction of the cost it takes to buy them. 

I showed how to make salt dough ornaments in the previous post. Be sure to poke a hole in each ornament. I used an awl to reinforce the hole in the ornaments. You don’t want to poke hard enough to break the ornament but enough to be able to wind thread through with ease. Tie a knot in the thread. Add glitter and paint each one. I used blue, silver, red, gold, yellow,  and green. Let them dry between coats of paint. Clear liquid nail polish suffices as varnish. When the holiday season ends, store the ornaments in tissue or waxed paper in a plastic container. The ornaments should last till the next season. 

Hang the ornaments on the tree with care. I hung them high enough that my cat can’t get to them but also where they wouldn’t get tangled or broken. Take pride in your creations! Your friends might ask you on where you got them!

I used acrylic paint for decorating the ornaments. Stripes, solid colours, dots or stars are good ideas. If you have a pentacle press you can press the pentacle down on each cookie before you bake them, adding a witchy image to the ornament. Keep in mind it might be coated over if you paint them. You could imprint a leaf design on each one and leave the cookies with a natural look. Use unbleached flour for the brighter colour if you want that look. 

Be creative. Stock up on Yule/ Christmas cookie cutters. Try to collect yule oriented cookie cutters, not just Christian. Stars, sun symbols, moon, tree and animal cookie cutters are perfect. If the ornaments can correspond with the Yule season, that is even better. 

If you aren’t that savvy in making your own ornaments, then the local thrift store is one option. Brew some yule simmering potpourri and listen to Yule carols as you make your own ornaments. Have fun. 

Btw, I live in an apartment. I can’t have a real tree. I have a tall Goth tree I am using for a Yule tree. It’s perfect. 

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Thrifty at Yule

yule altar frost

Merry meet all,

Yule is one of the eight Sabbats that a Witch celebrates during the year. Yule welcomes the return of the sun. The Holly King and Oak King battle for who shall reign. It is a fun time for all. It can also be costly. Here’s how to overcome that. 

You don’t need a huge tree to have the perfect Yule/ Christmas celebration. I use a tiny fake tree in my apartment and decorate it every year. I set down a deep green cloth then set the tree on and have fun dressing it up. I hung a sachet of spicy herbs that correspond with Yule- see previous post for a recipe idea. I bought a candle decoration- (a house). I bought a small tree candle that I will burn on Yule day. Decorations don’t have to be expensive: they should speak to the heart. I have some tree decorations I have had since I was a child and I am likely not the only one. 

A jug of cider, apples, cinnamon sticks, spices and herbs. oranges, pomegranates, cookies, and eggnog add zip and spice. Sometimes a box of decadent chocolates can be found on sale. Do try to buy organic food or at least nutritious food. My Mother volunteers at a food coop and shares the surplus of organic veggies with me. That is one great way of getting healthy food at a free price! 

The holidays are stressful and on pets too! All the human traffic, decorations, and chaos can ruffle your BFF’s feathers or fur! Be mindful and observant of them. If they seem too stressed by your relatives visiting, relegate them to a quiet room or take them outside. Just remember to rescue them from freezing! You can buy socks and actual coats for your furry friends. 

Most people have a hard time with buying gifts for their loved ones at Yule/ Christmas. I have a few helpful hints: If you really know the person, it’s easy. You know their preferences and opinions on things, their likes and dislikes. Yes your pets count too. Generosity can be shown in alternative ways. Clean someone’s car for them. Fill it with gas for them. Shovel their sidewalk or walk the dog for an afternoon. I obliged to take my Mom’s food to be composted in the green bin for her when she was feeling ill. Let someone ahead of you in line at the grocery store if they have only 1 or 2 items to pay and you have 50. Little acts of kindness go a long way. Someday they will do the same for you. People remember kindness. You will feel better about yourself. This will get you more in the spirit of Yule. 

I always send cards to some near and dear loved ones. It’s not for everyone. My grandmother snail mailed me $200 so I sent her a card. I also plan to send a card to the young girl Safyre Terry who lost her family due to arson. She has received tons of cards. But it means something and that’s what makes it special. A homemade gift means a lot too!

Despite our differences, and our love hate relationship, and the fact that I honor Yule more than Christmas, I am still sharing a dinner with my Mother on the 25th. ( I don’t have to cook and I couldn’t anyway). It is a real treat because my Mother is the most amazing cook ever. I would prefer that over the terrible meal from the Food Bank sent to me over last Yule. I mean, it was terrible. I get a gorgeous meal with my Mother. Yeah not a hard choice. 

YOU ARE NOT TAKING YOUR CREDIT CARD TO THE GRAVE

Whatever you decide, I wish you all a Merry Yule/ Christmas.

Bright Blessings. 

Lady Spiderwitch 

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A snowy Esbat

Tree

Merry meet all,

Today it is blustery and snowy. I am not going anywhere in this weather. No one is. Not until the snow plow clear the roads and it is safe enough to leave the house. The sky is completely cloudy and grey, like a heavy grey mantle hovering over the city. Snow blankets my garden. I hope the stray cat and birds keep warm in their shelter, wherever they are. 

In this weather, it will be hard to visualize the moon tonight. I think I will make snow a part of my esbat, like putting snow in a bowl and then sending it energy and then casting it outside again. Or maybe I shall only perform a meditation.I mean, this is very different from performing an esbat in the heat of summer.

Regardless, I wish you all a snowy magical esbat. The earth hibernates deep under the snow and the moon veils herself from us. This is the time to turn inward and reflect on things you wish to change. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Yule Crafts

CIMG0912

Merry meet all,

Spend a fun afternoon making Yule crafts with friends and family. Burn some simmering potpourri incense in a pot, light a candle and play some cool pagan yule tunes. You are now all set for a fun afternoon. 

Salt Dough

Salt dough is one of the easiest ways to make Sabbat ornaments. You will need 4 cups of flour (you can adjust the recipe), 1 cup salt, 1 1/2 cups hot water, and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. The preparation time is 30 minutes, and the cook time is 30 minutes. The total time it can take is 60 minutes. 

Combine the salt, flour, and then the water until the dough becomes elastic. Add the oil now and knead the dough. Be sure the dough is just right, not too soft and not too sticky. Once you like the consistency, make your decorations with yule cookie cutters. Bake the ornaments at 200* for 20 to 30 minutes. Once they have cooled on the cookie sheet, paint them with yule pagan designs and symbols, and seal with clear varnish. 

* I just googled the recipes. 1 recipe called for 1 cup of flour. So do adjust the recipe to suit your needs. 

Yule Sachet

Herb sachets make great decorations and gifts. You need the following: Bay, cloves, juniper berries, orange peel, grated, orris root, peppermint, pine, rosemary, squares of holiday fabric, colourful ribbon, cinnamon sticks and bells. 

Mix the herbs in a bowl with a wooden spoon. As you stir deosil, concentrate on your intent. Blend varying proportions until you have it the way you want it. Use the spoon to add the herbs to the sachet in the centre of the fabric. Pull the corners up and tie the ribbon. Tie a cinnamon stick and the bells in place. Use a second ribbon to create a loop to hang the sachet on the tree. 

Pinecone ornaments

Add an earth-friendly theme to your Yule decorating, one way to do so is to use the elements of nature. You will need the following: Pinecones, of any shape or size, equal amounts of ginger, nutmeg and allspice, blended. a diluted mixture of water and craft glue, glitter, ribbon, and a paintbrush. 

To prepare the pinecones, rinse them under running water and spread them on a cookie sheet. Bake them at 250* for 20 minutes. This opens them up and cleans the bacteria. The sap will look pretty. Once the pinecones have dried, use a small brush to apply glue to the cones. Be sure to lay them down on newspaper. Cover the entire cone or only the tips of the cones for a more frosty look. 

Add spices and glitter to a ziploc bag. Drop the pine cones in and shake the cones with the spices and glitter. Allow to dry and tie a ribbon around the ends to hang it on the tree. Tie on some sprigs of greenery or use them as a way to add scent to your room. 

I am sure you can invent other ways to make yule ornaments or gifts. Feel free to share your ideas and photos here. I wish you all a merry Solstice. Leave out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, Sinterklaas, Befana or Father Christmas. Feel free to browse previous blog posts here for more inspiration on how to celebrate Yule. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch 

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Customs & Traditions of Yule

Yule woods

Merry meet all,

Customs from other cultures on how people celebrate Yule exist around the world. Yule is celebrated around the world. The traditions vary but for a short time, our hearts are united. 

In Australia, there is a population of 20 million people that all differ in ethnic backgrounds and cultures. They still set up Christmas trees, wait for Father Christmas even in the warm season. 

China- In China, only 2% of the population observes Christmas as a religious holiday. The main winter festival in China is a New Year celebration at the end of January. They do ancestor worship by showing paintings and portraits in the family homes.

Denmark: In Denmark, Christmas Eve dinner is a big cause for celebration. They eat rice pudding, baked with a single almond inside. Whoever eats the almond in his pudding is guaranteed luck for the new year. Children leave out glasses of milk for the Juulnisse, elves that live in peoples’ homes, and for Julemanden, the Danish version of Santa Claus. 

Finland: In Finland, their tradition on Christmas Day is pure relaxation. Hard to argue with that. The night before, on Christmas Eve, is when they hold the big feast and the leftovers are enjoyed the next day. On December 26th, the day of St, Stephen the Martyr, everyone visits friends and relatives. One fun custom is Glogg parties, which involves the drinking of a mulled wine and eating lots of baked treats. 

Greece: In Greece, they recognize St. Nicholas, he was the patron saint of sailors. They burn heath fires for several days between December 25th and December 26th and January 6th,  and a sprig of basil is wrapped on a large cross to protect homes from the Killantaroi, negative spirits that appear during the twelve days of Christmas. Gifts are shared on January 1, which is St. Basils’ Day. 

Pagan Roots of Christmas Traditions

The tradition of Christmas carolling began as the tradition of wassailing. Centuries ago, wassailers went from door to door, singing and drinking to the health of their neighbors. The idea harkens back to pre-Christian fertility rites- in those ceremonies, villagers traveled through their fields and orchards in midwinter to drive away evil spirits. They shouted and sang. Carolling wasn’t actually done in churches until St. Francis, around the 13th century. 

Santa Claus’s origins trace back to the Dutch Sinterklaas mythology, with a few elements of Odin and Saint Nicholas woven into the mythology. La Befana, a kind Italian witch who leaves treats for well-behaved children? Or Frau Holle, who leaves gifts for women at winter solstice. According to folklore, in January on the night of a fesat, Befana flies on her broom, delivering gifts. She leaves candy, fruit, and small gifts for good children. If you were naughty, you received a lump of coal. You better not cry, you better not pout, because Le Befana’s watching and coming to town!

She uses her broom for magical cleaning of homes and sweeping floors before she departs for her next home to bless. 

There are just some of the customs celebrated by people around the world. 

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Yule Rituals

YULEC

Merry meet all,

Yule is approaching in the Northern Hemisphere on December 21. This is a time of symbolism and power. Yule marks the return of the sun, when the days finally become longer. It’s a time to celebrate the sun’s return with family and friends, and share the spirit of giving with them. Here are some Yule rituals to celebrate this winter Sabbat, either as a group or as a Solitary. Make sure to record the ritual experience in your Book of Shadows!

The ancients knew that Yule was the longest night of the year. They knew it signalled the sun’s return to earth. They celebrated it and marked the occasion with festivals. Use solar symbols and lots of candles and lights, bright colours, or a bonfire. This Sabbat celebration is best when combined with a feast. Bake cornbread, buttered rum, plum pudding, cranberry dressing and cookies. Clean up, and when you’re done, cover the altar area with altar items. 

You can use a lot of candles or only a few candles. In the centre, place a sun “candle” on a riser so it’s above the rest. Don’t light the other candles yet. Turn off the lights and face your altar. Cast a circle. Face the candles and say:

The wheel of the year has turned again and the nights are long. Tonight, the darkness retreats to let light glow over us again As the wheel spins the light glows once more. Now  light the candle and say: 

Even in the darkest hour, even in the longest lights, the spark of life has lingered on. The darkness crawls back and sunlight glows once again. 

Beginning with the candles closest to the sun candle and working your way outward to the sun candle, light each of the other candles. As you light each candle, say:

As the wheel returns, light returns. Warmth and new life returns with it. Shadows vanish and darkness is banished. So be it. 

Blessed be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Yule Altar

yule altar frost

Merry meet all,

Yule is about celebration and family and fun. The Sun is making its return to the earth. Here are some tips on how to decorate your altar. Use cool colours for winter such as blues, silvers and whites. Find ways to incorporate reds, whites and greens of the seasons. Evergreen boughs represent winter, so add dark greens too. Cover your altar with a cool color and add candles in a variety of winter shades such as silver, blue, gold and white. Roll the candles in an oil then sprinkle them. The sprinkle will adhere to the candles. 

Yule reflects the return of the Sun. Add solar symbols to your altar. Gold discs, yellow candles, or stars are good to use. Inscribe a pillar candle with solar symbols and empower and charge it as your solar candle. Decorate with evergreen boughs, holly sprigs, pinecones, a Yule log, and reindeer.

Use your imagination when decorating your altar. Use fruit and nuts, mistletoe, snowflakes, icicles, a charged bowl of snow, candy canes, nutcrackers, and bells. 

Once you are finished, smudge the altar. Clear away dust and dust mites. Sprinkle it with saltwater and hold your hands above the altar. Say:

“I charge this altar for Yule’s return. Blessed Be.”

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Yule Trees

Tree

Merry meet all,

Yule is almost here!! Christmas trees – the poor things, are lined up outside stores. People carry home wreaths with visions of silver bells dancing in their heads. Only this year, instead of harming a real Yule tree, why not consider using a fake one? It is far kinder to the trees that are robbed of their life for a few days of standing in a house when that tree may have been a home to birds or squirrels. 

Sure, it’s wonderful to have a real tree and enjoy the scent of spruce or pine in your home. But we are Witches. We can use incense to create that yes oh so wonderful scent. Here is how to create Yule incense. You can go outdoors and collect pine cones, pine needles, mandarin oranges, and cinnamon from your pantry. Mix it together and burn it in your cauldron or turn it into a simmering incense. This is good to do if you’re like me and your smoke alarm goes off every time. I know, annoying. Holly, mistletoe, and ivy are good choices to use in an incense too. Dust off your incense books for more recipe inspiration. You might invent a great recipe to share with friends. Waft the scent around where you have positioned the fake tree and enjoy the scent. 

I attend the farmers markets occasionally. I bought a cool small Yule tree candle. That will be fun to burn. If you search now for treasures such as that one, you will be all set by the time the Winter Solstice is here. If you saved and safely stored all your ornaments, you won’t need to buy too many new ones this year. And if you are gift giving, save all the ornamental paper and tissue paper you get during the year to reuse now. There are many ways you can save money. Download yule-ish tunes from the Internet to enjoy as you decorate your tree and home. 

Invite over your friends for a Yule crafternoon of making Yule crafts. That is a great way to use up those herbs that sat neglected in your pantry all year. See if you can think of other ways to save money and have a memorable holiday season. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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