Merry Mabon and Autumn Equinox!

It is the time of the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly empty, because the crops have been plucked and stored for the coming winter. Mabon is the mid-harvest festival, and it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest.

Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Mabon, but typically the focus is on either the second harvest aspect, or the balance between light and dark.

On or around September 21, for many Pagan, Mabon is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings. It is also a time of balance and reflection, following the theme of equal hours light and dark. Here are some ways you and your family can celebrate this day of bounty and abundance.

Some things to do on Mabon!

1.  Find a Time of Positive and Negative Energy for Balance

Mabon is one of those times of year that affect people in different ways. For some, it’s a season to honor the darker aspects of the goddess, calling upon that which is devoid of light. For others, it’s a time of thankfulness, of gratitude for the abundance we have at the season of harvest. No matter how you see it, Mabon is traditionally a time of balance. After all, it’s one of the two times each year that has equal amounts of darkness and daytime. Because this is, for many people, a time of high energy, there is sometimes a feeling of restlessness in the air, a sense that something is just a bit “off”. If you’re feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, with this simple meditation you can restore a little balance into your life.

Setting the Mood

Now that fall is here, why not do an autumn version of Spring Cleaning? Get rid of any emotional baggage you’re dragging around with you. Accept that there are darker aspects to life, and embrace them, but don’t let them rule you. Understand that a healthy life finds balance in all things.

You can perform this ritual anywhere, but the best place to do it is outside, in the evening as the sun goes down. Decorate your altar (or if you’re outside, use a flat stone or tree stump) with colorful autumn leaves, acorns, small pumpkins, and other symbols of the season. You’ll need a black candle and a white one of any size, although tealights probably work best. Make sure you have something safe to put them in, either a candle holder or a bowl of sand.

light both candles, and say the following:

A balance of night and day, a balance of light and dark
Tonight I seek balance in my life
as it is found in the Universe.
A black candle for darkness and pain
and things I can eliminate from my life.
A white candle for the light, and for joy
and all the abundance I wish to bring forth.
At Mabon, the time of the equinox,
there is harmony and balance in the Universe,
and so there shall be in my life.

Meditate on the things you wish to change. Focus on eliminating the bad, and strengthening the good around you. Put toxic relationships into the past, where they belong, and welcome new positive relationships into your life. Let your baggage go, and take heart in knowing that for every dark night of the soul, there will be a sunrise the next morning.

2) Go Apple Picking!

-Apple Divination

Apples have always been popular tools for foretelling the future. There are a number of traditional methods in folklore for seeing who one’s lover might be.

  • Peel the apple, keeping the peel in one long piece. When the peel comes off, drop it on the floor. The letter it forms is the first initial of your true love’s name.
  • Wait until midnight and cut an apple into nine pieces. Take the pieces into a dark room with a mirror (either hanging on the wall or a hand-held one will do). At midnight, begin eating the pieces of apple while looking into the mirror. When you get to the ninth piece, throw it over your shoulder. The face of your lover should appear in the mirror.
  • If a girl has more than one potential lover, peel an apple and pull out the seeds. Place a wet seed on your cheek for each boyfriend. The last one left stuck to the skin represents the suitor who is the true love.

Because of its associations with the harvest, the apple is perfect for Mabon magic. Try the Apple Harvest rite, or honor the goddess Pomona at the harvest.

  • Mabon Apple Harvest Rite: This harvest ritual is designed with solitary Wiccans and Pagans in mind, and uses the apple and its five-pointed star as the focus. Honor the ancient gods at Mabon with this harvest ritual.
  • Pomona, Goddess of Apples: Pomona was an obscure Roman goddess, but she still has significance when it comes to the blooming of orchards and fruit trees in the fall.
  • Magic of the Apple Blossoms: The apple is associated with immortality, but is also considered a food for the dead, which is why it often makes its appearance at Mabon celebrations.
3) Apple Crafts

In addition to being tasty and sweet, apples are perfect for craft projects.

Try one of these to decorate your home with magical apple energy.

  • Apple Candle holders: Make a set of decorative candle holders by coring out the top of a pair of apples. Here is the quick DIY Apple Candlestick Holder instructions:

Naturally, you’ll want to put candles on your altar to celebrate this Sabbat. Why not use vegetables and fruits symbolic of the season to make a candleholder? These easy candleholders are perfect for holding a taper-style candle.

First, you’ll want to select some firm fruits. Red apples, early acorn squash, even eggplants work well – apples seem to last the longest. Rinse and dry the fruit or vegetable thoroughly. Polish the outside with a soft cloth until the apple is shiny. Stand the apple up on its bottom, and use a knife or a corer to make a hole in the top where the stem is located. Go about halfway down into the apple so that the candle will have a sturdy base. Widen the hole until it’s the same diameter as your candle. Pour some lemon juice into the hole and allow it to sit for ten minutes. This will prevent the apple from browning and softening too quickly. Pour out the lemon juice, dry out the hole, and insert a sprig of rosemary, basil, or other fresh herb of your choice. Finally, add the taper candle. Use a little bit of dripped wax to secure the taper in place.

  • Apple Garlands: This easy-to-make craft not only looks pretty, but will leave your home smelling delicious and welcoming! Here is a quick how to DIY Apple Garland instructions:

An apple garland is really easy to make. You can make it any length you wish, and it makes your house smell good in the process and magical apples are everywhere by the time Samhain rolls around! You will need: several large apples of any color, lemon juice, dried bay leaves, scraps of fabric, cinnamon sticks, raffia and florist’s wire. Start by peeling and coring the apples, and then slicing them horizontally into circles about 3/8” thick.

Fill a bowl with the lemon juice, and place your apple slices in it. Allow them to soak for about ten minutes – this prevents them from turning brown and discolored. Remove the apple slices from the bowl and pat them dry with a paper towel. Bake your apples for about six hours at 200 degrees. If you like, before baking you can dust them with a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg. Once your apples are completely dried out, the fun really begins. Using the florist’s wire, begin stringing the apples. The wire should go straight through the apples, but if you have trouble, make a hole with a toothpick. Between every few apple slices, string some bay. You can also alternate the apples and bay leaves with bows made from your fabric scraps. Make your garland as long or as short as you like – or until your kids get bored – and then knot each end around a cinnamon stick. Tie a piece of raffia around the ends as well, and then drape your garland on your wall, across your mantel, or over your front door. A variation on the apple garland is to make a smaller length and then bend it into a circle, forming an apple wreath (see photo). Tie a piece of fabric – or bend a leftover bit of florist’s wire – to the top so you can hang it on a nail or hook.

  • Apple Butter: Brew up a pot of delicious apple butter to celebrate the harvest. You can buy apple butter at any grocery store or farmers market but, it is especially delicious when it is home made!
4) Count Your Blessings

Mabon is a time of giving thanks, but sometimes we take our fortune for granted. Sit down and make a gratitude list. Write down things that you are thankful for. An attitude of gratefulness helps bring more abundance our way — what are things you’re glad you have in your life? Maybe it’s the small things, like “I’m glad I have my cat Peaches” or “I’m glad my car is running.” Maybe it’s something bigger, like “I’m thankful I have a warm home and food to eat” or “I’m thankful people love me even when I’m cranky.” Keep your list some place you can see it, and add to it when the mood strikes you.

5)  Honor the Darkness

Without darkness, there is no light. Without night, there can be no day. Despite a basic human need to overlook the dark, there are many positive aspects to embracing the dark side, if it’s just for a short time. After all, it was (you can choose your own goddess of night for this but most people use Demeter’s story) Demeter’s love for her daughter Persephone that led her to wander the world, mourning for six months at a time, bringing us the death of the soil each fall. In some paths, Mabon is the time of year that celebrates the Crone aspect of a triune goddess. Celebrate a ritual that honors that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. Call upon the gods and goddesses of the dark night, and ask for their blessings this time of year.

6)  Get Back to Nature

Fall is here, and that means the weather is bearable once more. The nights are becoming crisp and cool, and there’s a chill in the air. Take your family on a nature walk, and enjoy the changing sights and sounds of the outdoors. Listen for geese honking in the sky above you, check the trees for changing in the colors of the leaves, and watch the ground for dropped items likeacorns, nuts, and seed pods. If you live in an area that doesn’t have any restrictions on removing natural items from park property, take a small bag with you and fill it up with the things you discover along the way. Bring your goodies home for your family’s altar. If you are prohibited from removing natural items, fill your bag with trash and clean up the outdoors!

7)  Tell Timeless Stories

In many cultures, fall was a time of celebration and gathering. It was the season in which friends and relatives would come from far and near to get together before the cold winter kept them apart for months at a time. Part of this custom was storytelling. Learn the harvest tales of your ancestors or of the people indigenous to the area in which you live. A common theme in these stories is the cycle of death and rebirth, as seen in the planting season. Learn about the stories of Osiris, Mithras, Dionysius, Odin and other deities who have died and then restored to life.

8) Raise Some Energy

It’s not uncommon for Pagans and Wiccans to make remarks regarding the “energy” of an experience or event. If you’re having friends or family over to celebrate Mabon with you, you can raise group energy by working together. A great way to do this is with a drum or music circle. Invite everyone to bring drums, rattles, bells, or other instruments. Those who don’t have an instrument can clap their hands. Begin in a slow, regular rhythm, gradually increasing the tempo until it reaches a rapid pace. End the drumming at a pre-arranged signal, and you’ll be able to feel that energy wash over the group in waves. Another way of raising group energy is chanting, or with dance. With enough people, you can hold a Spiral Dance.

9)  Celebrate Hearth & Home

As autumn rolls in, we know we’ll be spending more time indoors in just a few months. Take some time to do a fall version of spring cleaning. Physically clean your home from top to bottom, and then do a ritual smudging. Use sage or sweet grass, or asperge with consecrated water as you go through your home and bless each room. Decorate your home with symbols of the harvest season, and set up a family Mabon altar. Put sickles, scythes and bales of hay around the yard. Collect colorful autumn leaves, gourds and fallen twigs and place them in decorative baskets in your house. If you have any repairs that need to be done, do them now so you don’t have to worry about them over the winter. Throw out or give away anything that’s no longer of use.

10)  Welcome the Gods of the Vine

Grapes are everywhere, so it’s no surprise that the Mabon season is a popular time to celebrate wine making, and deities connected to the growth of the vine. Whether you see him as Bacchus, Dionysus, the Green Man, or some other vegetative god, the god of the vine is a key archetype in harvest celebrations. Take a tour of a local winery and see what it is they do this time of year. Better yet, try your hand at making your own wine! If you’re not into wine, that’s okay — you can still enjoy the bounty of grapes, and use their leaves and vines for recipes and craft projects. However you celebrate these deities of vine and vegetation, you may want to leave a small offering of thanks as you reap the benefits of the grape harvest.

Lammas- The First Harvest Festival!

Lammas: August 2, July 31st/Aug 1st

Frey Fest/Lughnasa/Lugnasad/Lammas

This is an Irish Gaelic name for the feast which commemorates the funeral games of Lugh, Celtic god of light, and son of thewheel of the year 3 Sun.  In the mythological story of the Wheel of the Year, the Sun God transfers his power into the grain, and is sacrificed when the grain is harvested.  So we have a dying, self-sacrificing and resurrecting god of the harvest, who dies for his people so that they may live.  Sound familiar?

The power of the sun goes into the grain as it ripens. It is then harvested and made into the first new bread of the season.  This is the Saxon hlaef-masse or loaf-mass, now lammas.  Seed grain is also saved for planting for next year’s crop, so the sun god may be seen to rise again in Spring with the new green shoots, as the sun also rises in the sky.  There are many traditions and customs all over the country that are still carried on at harvest-time today.

Lammas is a festival celebrating the first fruits of harvest, the fruits of our labours, and seeing the desires that we had at the start of the year unfold so rituals will be centred around this.  Lammas is an early Christian festival, “lammas” means loaf mass and represented the first loaves baked from that years crop. These were taken to church and laid on the altar.

It’s a time for bread-making and corn-dollies. Goddesses celebrated around this time include Demeter and Ceres. Trees associated with lammas are Hazel and Gorse and herbs are Sage and Meadowsweet. Colours associated with lammas are golds, yellows and orange for the God and red for the Goddess as mother.

LammasLammas is traditionally first harvest. Look around you and you will see various trees namely Rowan yeilding bright red berries and brambles showing ripening fruits alongwith apple and pear trees. In this day and age when food is mass produced and imported so we get fruits and veg and corn no matter what time of year it is, it is easy to loose touch with the natural cycle of things.

Suggested Activities:

Creating and or decorating ritual items such as a Stang.  Walk through the woods to spend some time meditating in beautiful surroundings.  Making bread, make a wicker man and put all of your bad habits that you want to be rid of inside him and throw him in the bonfire. Making corn dollies.

Simple ritual ideas for Lammas or First Harvest

August 1 in the northern hemisphere marks the great First Harvest, known as Lammas or Lughnasadh in Celtic traditions (down in the southern hem, you lovelies are celebrating Imbolc, or first hint of spring). You know that I love ritual and ceremony and as a working mother, I also need my rituals to be simple. Let me tell you about the holiday first and then recommend some easy ways to celebrate this special day with friends, fellow magicians, loved ones, or as a solitary practitioner.

Lammas, the festival of light and first harvest, falls technically when the sun reaches 15 degrees Leo. This tends to happen on or around August 1, so we use this as a catchall date for celebration. Like all celtic or pagan holidays, this one honors goddesses whose crafts and legends align with the work we’re doing at this time of year. Ceres and Tailtiu (mother of Lugh) are honored now as great forces of agricultural abundance, their blessings manifest in the bounty of food and growth we are about to enjoy in autumn. Our spiritual and emotional crops are ready for first harvest, too – the fruit of those sacred intentions we set in the darkness of winter and early spring.

Lammas is also a holiday of remembrance and releasing, a time of acknowledging the crops that didn’t survive the winter. This day asks us: What do you need to let go of right now so that you can be fully present to the abundance that is ahead of you? We are reminded that not everything survives in the grand cycle of life.

Here are some simple ritual ideas for ways to honor this day, the first turn of the Wheel of the Year toward fall:

1. Gather wheat, stones in colors of the harvest (think oranges, reds, deep umbers) and create a wheel on a round plate or table like you see in the photo. As you place each item, give thanks for what lies ahead. You might offer a few releasing stones as well, like apache or golden obsidian, for those things you are needing to leave behind.
2. The most traditional Lammas practice is the baking of bread (the name Lammas comes from the Old English hlafmaesse or loaf-mass). When we bake bread we use the grain around us to sustain our bodies, honoring and consuming nature’s sacred gifts.
3. Since Lammas is also a festival of light, celebrating the last long days of the year, your ritual can be as simple as lighting a candle. I made one in the shop in shades of yellow, wheat, and white. I recommend you burn a candle in those shades.

Since Lammas is the first of three harvest festivals you can save some of your decorations for the next two celebrations the first is Lammas, then Mabon and last but not least Samhain.

EVERYTHING ABOUT GEMSTONES! Every kind and type explained!

Semi Precious Stones Taken at a craft shop in ...

Semi Precious Stones Taken at a craft shop in Mingora, Pakistan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From ancient times to civilized times precious and semi-precious stones have always held our fascination. Their beauty is natural and everlasting. Natural Magickians have recognized this beauty and fascination and have used stones in their magick for centuries. They give an extra push of energy onto your desired goal.

Stones are used for many purposes including Meditation, Divination, Healing, magickal oil blends or even crushed in some incense recipes. All gems,stones, crystals hold their own energies or “vibrations”. They respond instantly to the expressed intent of your will. Gem properties are easy for a beginner to master and help build both self confidence and self esteem. There are no rules that you must follow and don’t let anyone tell you that there is! It is a personal journey within yourself and you can learn to use stones in just the right way for you.

You can carry them, burn them, add them to your favorite magickal oil blend, place them around the home, in the car, at the office , anywhere you feel the energies are wanted. We ourselves are still learning all about the wonderous ways of gems and stones. A journey that we hope will never end! Stones predate humans by centuries and can show us our true selves because of that fact. They are symbols for forces far beyond words or cold-hard facts. They are there to show us what is already there within and around ourselves.

There are various uses for the beautiful stones. It is up to you how they are used. This is a mystical journey, no magick is needed other than that of your possession of whichever stone you choose. Get to know each stones properties, learn how these stones can enrich both your personal and spiritual life in unlimited wondrous ways.

10919079_820926061302206_163407303_nCHOOSING YOUR GEMSTONE

One of the most often asked questions about gemstone magick is:
“How do I choose my stone/gem/crystal?”

And the most common answer is:
“Don’t worry. They choose you”

As stated before, stones and gems have their own particular vibration and energy.When you are really serious about finding your stone you will understand this. If you have a chance to plunge your hand into a large barrel of different stones, you will know which ones just “feel” right. Some people experience a feeling of heat when holding a certain stone, others say they feel happy or safe when holding a certain stone. Sometimes its: “It just caught my eye and no matter what I did I couldn’t get it out of my mind.” That’s what is meant by a stone finding you.

A good start in finding the right stone is if you have a goal in mind for the stone. Since there are such a great number of stones available this helps limit your choices. Know the properties of each stone and you will find the one you are looking for; the right shade and shape will become important to you too.

If there is no goal in mind, you just want or need a “special little stone”, see which one jumps out at you, or pass your hand over several stones and feel the energy that comes to you. Try meditating for the right one. Again, knowing the properties of stones may help you in this. The different shapes of the stones will be an impotrtant factor in choosing your stones.

ROUND

Round shaped gems and stones are a symbol of magick and its workings. The means for the opening of psychic awareness and spirituality. Receptive to all powers. Used in all attraction wishes such as love, money and spirituality.

SQUARE

Square shaped stones are masculine in nature and generally considered to be used for building or creating something new or altering something old. A form of stability and endurance.

TRIANGULAR

Triangles are a sign of the three points of humankind; the mind, body and spirit. Able to discern between the four elements. Used primarily for repelling and neutralizing negativity, and for gathering and releasing of all the energies for your intended desire.

PEAR

Pear shapes are a combination of both the round and triangle. Used primarily in associations with the element of Water, it is both receptive and projective. A great shape for balancing of emotions or any wish dealing with psychism or Faerie Magick.

ROD

Rod shaped or Wand shaped are a sign of masculinity. Also commonly referred to as “phallic”. Projective energies, used primarily for a wish for someone, for the intent to be projected towards another.

PROGRAMMING YOUR STONE

Now that you have chosen your stone, it is time for programming it. Programming involves implementing your energy and will into the stone of your choice. However, it is very important to first cleanse the stone. The stones and gems are extremely receptive to vibrations and that includes negative ones. The stone you have chosen may have passed through other hands before reaching you. You must get rid of any other energies the stone may have picked up and make it “yours”.

There are many different methods for cleansing a stone and again it is important to know all you can about your particular stone as some methods may be destructive to some soft stones and gems. The most frequently used method seems to be the one using water and sun.

This method involves holding the stone under running water (spring or well water preferrably) and with the use of visualization, banishing all negative and foreign vibrations and leaving the stone clear with it’s own energies. Instead of drying it with a cloth, place it to dry in the sun. If at night place in the full light of the moon. Both the sun and the moon are powerful sources of natural clear energies.

For stones that are too soft to put under running water, cleanse by passing through the smoke of sage or any other appropriate herb while meditating and focusing on banishing the negative energies and replacing with your own energies.

Another way is to bury the stone of your choice in the earth. Since the earth is the origin of the stone, the natural energies of Mother Earth will cleanse the stone of all negativity. Some say for three days, some say for a week…..you do whatever feels right to you. Also be aware of the moon when burying your stone. The phase of the moon can play a large part in the effectiveness of the cleansing. Still another way of cleansing a stone is to immerse it in salt water, salt being the symbol of the earth’s energies, and let it dry naturally in the sun.

CHAKRA STONES

CROWN (Sahasrara) White Consciousness
THIRD EYE (Ajna) Pure Mind
THROAT (Visuddi) Ether
HEART (Anahata) Air
SOLAR PLEXUS (Manipura) Fire
SACRAL (Svadisthana) Water
ROOT (Muladhara) Earth

The Chakras – meaning wheels in Sanskrit – each relate to different points & are associated with different colours, crystals & gemstones. There are seven primary Chakras, as shown in the above diagram. Place the relevant crystal or gemstone at the Chakra and meditate on that particular point of the body so as to restore or enhance the attributes related to that particular area.

The Crown Chakra is related to spirituality & enlightenment. It is usually used to help with spiritual problems. Colours associated with this Chakra are Clear, White & Purple. Suggested stones to use are Clear Quartz or Amethyst.

The Third Eye Chakra is related to intuition & generosity. It can help heal problems with sight, loneliness, dizziness & uncertainty. Colours associated with the Chakra are Violet, Indigo & Dark Blue. Suggested stones are Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli & Sodalite.

The Throat Chakra is related to communication & harmony. It can help with self expression and, of course, sore throats. Its associated colours are light green and light blue. Suggested stones are Amazonite & Bluelace Agate.

The Heart Chakra is related to love & compassion. It can help with feelings of anger and/or resentment. Its associated colour is green but pink is also sometimes used. Suggested stones are Aventurine and Rose Quartz.

The Solar Plexus Chakra is associated with confidence & self-esteem. Its attributes are for ego, intellect & digestion using the colour yellow. Suggested stones are Calcite & Yellow Jasper.

The Sacral Chakra, sometimes known as the Spleen Chakra, is associated to physical outlet & creativity. It is used to help healing regarding impotence, frigidity, restlessness, jealousy, guilt, bladder & kidneys. Its associated colour is orange and suggested stones are Carnelian & Citrine.

The Root Chakra, sometimes known as the Base Chakra, is realated to sex and stability. It can help with healing problems associated with constipation, fear & low back pain. Its associated colours are black & red and the suggested stones are Haematite, Jasper & Red Garnet.

CRYSTAL AND GEMSTONE POWER

Why do Crystals & Gemstones have power? There are many theories but one of the most popular is that all crystals have the capacity to absorb energies, emotions & knowledge. The variety in their composition means that each type absorbs different powers & these powers are then naturally imparted to the user or wearer.

How do you use Crystals & Gemstones? Firstly it is very important to cleanse your newly acquired crystal or gemstone even if you found it. This is basically to remove any influences from anyone else who has handled the stone. There is no right or wrong way to cleanse your stone & its best to experiment with different methods until you find one that is right for you.

To cleanse your stones wash each stone separately. If you plan to leave them to soak then use a separate container of water for each stone & please be sure to use clean water for each stone. This may seem obvious to some but you’d be surprised how many people acquire several stones at once & just put them all to soak together in a single container. It’s also important to use a natural container not one made of plastic!
You may then wish to recharge your stone and this involves using the power of the earth, sun & moon. I rinse my stones under running tap water then bury them in some earth, (a plant pot will do) for at least a day, so that they may receive earth energies. I then soak them overnight in tap water with a sprinkle of sea salt followed by placing them outside in sunlight so that they may get re-charged or re-energised by the sun. EVERY full moon I place my stones outside so that they may also receive energy from the moon. Obviously, if I’ve acquired a new stone & the next full moon is a long way off, they don’t get placed outside for moon energies immediately.

It is then important to personalise your stone & get to know it. Take the time to hold each stone and feel it with your hands so that you may become attuned with it.

Should you share your Crystals & Gemstones? Many people do not allow anyone else to touch or handle their stones and I too have some some ‘special’ stones that only I touch. However, I have a large wooden bowl on my coffee table and it always attracts attention from visitors who are often drawn to picking up a stone and rolling it in their hand, like a stress ball. I don’t have a problem with this as I like to think that they may ‘need’ something form whatever stone they’ve chosen.

Should you share your Crystals & Gemstones? Many people do not allow anyone else to touch or handle their stones and I too have some ‘special‘ stones that only I touch. However, I have a large wooden bowl on my coffee table and it always attracts attention from visitors who are often drawn to picking up a stone and rolling it in their hand, like a stress ball. I don’t have a problem with this as I like to think that they may ‘need’ something form whatever stone they’ve subconsciously chosen. My children are also constantly ‘playing’ with my stones and sometimes ask to take a certain stone to bed with them. This is why I periodically repeat the cleansing process and recharge my stones. Having said that, it is important that you treat your stones with respect, care and consideration.

Tumblestones and smaller pieces are great for carrying with you each day or make excellent gifts for friends and loved ones. I have a selection of stones that I change and carry according to my feelings or requirements on a particular day. I also have several pieces of jewellery containing different stones and again change these to suit my needs. For example I may wear a particular stone, or have one close by, whilst writing my E-Books but if I’m planning a romantic evening with my husband then I’ll be sure to change the stones later in the evening.

There are numerous ways to use your stones – You can place them under your pillow or on a bedside cabinet so you can absorb their influences whilst you sleep. If you have an ailing plant place some crystals around it or soak a stone in water overnight and use it to water the plant the following day. Talk to your stones, carry them with you, get to know them and feel their energies working for you and then use them however you feel is most appropriate.
Crystal Wands can be used to recharge your whole body. Hold one in your transmitting hand (left if you’re left handed or right if you’re right handed) with the point pointing towards your fingers. Take the second wand and hold it in your receiving hand with the point facing towards your wrist. You now have a complete circuit and after a short while you should feel a flow of energy passing through your body. You can also use a pair of male & female stones in the same way.
Healing with stones is something that’s been going on for centuries although there is now an increasing interest in Crystal healing. Most healers have their own methods and techniques, which they have developed over a period of time to suit them. I stress again, there is no right or wrong way to use crystals and over time you will develop your own rituals for cleansing and using your crystals.

I also stress again that crystal & gemstone healing cannot replace medical treatment and you should always consult a doctor. Crystal & gemstone treatment is a complimentary therapy and should be used as such – complimentary to any other medical treatment you may require.

Diagnosis can be achieved by holding a wand or point in your receiving hand and moving it slowly over the body. With time you will learn to sense an area that needs healing. There is no need to remove your clothes and most healers will not ask you to remove them. If a healer does ask you to remove your clothes then please bear in mind whether you are comfortable with this as it is in no way necessary but some prefer it.
Treatments are numerous and again vary from healer to healer. Some will choose a set of crystals for you to carry with you day & night, others may use a wand or point. In this case the wand is held lightly, as for diagnosing, but usually in the transmitting hand and pointing towards the area to be healed. However, if something needs to be ‘brought out’ from the area the wand will be held pointing away.

Another, fairly common, method is to surround the affected area with appropriate crystals. If the crystals are pointed they will generally be placed with the point towards the area requiring healing for at least 10 minutes.
Chakra healing is also a method used by some healers.
Choosing your Crystal or Gemstone – Actually, they’ll probably choose you. They pop into your life in mysterious & magical ways. They’ll ‘speak’ to you and sparkle like crazy. Crystals respond to thought & feelings so take your time in looking at them and just see if any ‘jump out’ at you.
Just look, don’t touch and see if you’re repeatedly drawn back to looking at the same one. Try not to let logic decide for you – biggest isn’t always best! Let your intuition guide you & trust that feeling.
What about the facets? Well 1 is the number of beginning, initiating, inspiration, ideas & confidence so a Cabochon would be ideal.
2 symbolises mothering & caring. 2 crystals joined represent partnership & sharing.
3 is for communication, expression & creativity. The holy trinity.
4 = mind, body, spirit & feeling.
5 is for freedom & curiosity.
6 = balance & harmony.
7 is for the mystic and seeker of truth.
8 = Power
9 is for helping to learn the lessons of life.
10 represents the whole – it contains the 1 of I am and the circle of completion.
11 A master number that emphasises the meaning of two 1s but also 1+1=2 which symbolises an ability to care for others.
12 completes a cycle – 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 hours of day and night.
13 is the number of divination.

Crystals will create harmony wherever they are. For instance, if you have a child that can’t sleep at night or wakes from nightmares then try placing a crystal under their bed. Children are very receptive to crystals and their power and mine often pick one up and rub it over their tummy or head if hurting – they even instinctively use a clockwise movement.
If someone is sick try placing a crystal in the room with them.
Try placing crystals around your garden plants or in potted plants & see how much more beautiful & bright they bloom & grow. To specifically energise a garden try placing a crystal in each corner and another in the centre. This creates a type of energy similar to pyramid energy.
After you’ve recharged your crystal in water try pouring it over your houseplants or even give it to your pets to drink. Try putting a bowl of uncharged water out for your dog and one that is charged – after time the dog will ‘choose’ to drink the charged water.
To meditate with crystals try holding it in your left hand. Each time you use the crystal it will store the information form the previous meditations and will help your mind more quickly achieve the meditative state.
Crystals are tools to work with & help to create a harmonious environment but they can only assist and amplify what we can do with our minds, energies & willpower.
Crystals are an integral part of the Earth & the Earth and its inhabitants are crying out for love & attention. I believe the heart Chakra of the Earth is now opening and it is time to listen with our hearts rather than our heads. A time to trust and understand our feelings and intuition rather than logic. Crystals can help us reach this new point of balance. They are here to wake us up & remind us of whom we really are.
We are only just beginning to rediscover the power of crystals & gemstones. They will talk to you if you listen.

QUICK REFERENCE AREA FOR COMMON ISSUES

Anxiety Charoite, Amazonite, Celestite, Lepidolite, Verdite, Goethite, Alexandrite
Arguments Labradorite
Attraction Zoisite, Opal
Back Problems Unakite, Soapstone
Breathing Larimar, Turquoise
Circulation Ruby, Lodestone, Agate
Confidence Tourmaline, Gold, Sodalite
Digestion Obsidian, Jasper
Eyes Lapis Lazuli, Jade, Haematite
General Healing Peridot, Tourmailine, Clear, Quartz, Calcite, Fluorite
Good Fortune Angelite, Ruby, Tourmaline
Prosperity Diamond, Emerald, Jade, Malachite
Protection Angelite, Aquamarine
PMT Moonstone
Recovery Silver, Turquoise, Malachite
Travel Jade

HISTORY OF CRYSTALS AND GEMSTONES

Since the beginning of time, crystals, gemstones, rocks & mountains have played a vital role. Many have been found in ancient ruins & Pharaoh Tombs & it is said that the lost city of Atlantis used crystal power the same way we use electricity today. Hindu Puranas describe Krishna as living in a city furnished with rubies, emeralds, sapphires & diamonds. Many cultures believed that stones had a life giving force & this eventually led to them being used for healing.

Stones have also played a key roll in various religions. Islam says that the stones spoke to Mohammed and informed him that he was to receive the Quran from Allah. One of the five pillars of Islam says that every Muslim should try to visit Mecca and the Kaaba which is a huge black stone.

Moses received the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone which are believed to have been sapphires. In the book of Revelations describes Jerusalem as ‘the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth an emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eight beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh a jacynth and the twelfth an emethyst.’

The Egyptians engraved an eye on lapis lazuli as it symbolised Ra, the Sun God.
The Babylonians & Norseman engraved magical symbols on to stones & used them as Rune oracles – somthing which is still used today as a means of divination.
One of the prayers taught to Bulgarians is ‘The Disciple must have a heart as pure as a crystal. A mind as bright as the sun. A soul as vast as the Universe and a spirit as powerful as God and one with God.

Ancient priests believed crystals to be a God given force that defied all evil.
Aboriginals still use crystals for medicine and value the Rainbow crystals in particular as these hold the energies of the Rainbow Serpent & the Rainbow symbolises the bridge between the two worlds They also believe that a crystal that finds its way to you, that you haven’t bought, has been growing itself since the beginning of time especially for you and should therefore be especially valued.

Cherokee Indians consider crystal to be the most sacred & precious stone for healing purposes. They also still revere their crystal skulls which were also used by the Mayans, Aztecs, Egyptians, Tibetans, etc. They were placed on altars and the word of God was believed to be spoken by them. Many psychics consider these ancient crystal skulls as memory banks of information, much like we store information on computers today.

Precious gemstones & crystals have always exercised a magical influence over humanity including Kings & Queens, Smugglers, etc. – all have been lured & seduced by the beauty of gemstones.

INTERESTING FACTS OF CRYSTALS AND GEMSTONES

We often use the names of gemstones to describe certain attributes such as pearly teeth, ruby lips, clear as crystal, etc.
The largest diamond ever discovered is part of the British Crown Jewels – the Cullinan diamond.
Greed has often led man to risk everything for the sake of a jewel.
The most ancient jewellery was found in Queen Pu-Abi’s tomb at Ur in Sumeria and dates from the third millenium BC.
The Egyptians believed that an emerald would break if a marital infidelity occurred. They also ground malachite to wear as eyeshadow.
Julius Caesar was said to have been an avid collector of gemstones.
To drink from an amethyst encrusted goblet was believed to protect against drunkenness.
The Ming dynasty favoured semi-precious stones such as amethyst, agate, quartz and jade. White jade was the stone of divinity and symbolized heaven.
In the middle ages a ruby ring worn on the left hand was thought to protect its owner from seduction.
The Maoris handed down the jade tiki as it was believed to contain the wisdom of the ancestors.
Diamonds were used to cut stone as early as 4000BC.
Crystals are believed to be the connecting force between heaven & earth. Often used for scrying or crystal ball gazing to tell the future.
Remember, shapes & symbols of jewellery can affect you as well as the particular crystal or gemstone it’s carrying. Look at the symbols you wear and decide whether they are helpful and if not give them away! You may also find it beneficial to wear clothes of a certain colour, to match, the crystal or gemstone you’re wearing as colour also plays a vital role in healing – but that’s another book!

Colour is probably the most important factor & the more attractive the colour, the higher the value. Eg. Bright, rich coloured gemstones are valued high & those that are too dark, light or dulled are a lesser value as they are less desired. However, this comes down to personal choice.

Phenomena Some gemstones show unusual effects known as phenomena and this usually increases the desirability & value. Eg. Cat’s Eye effect or Chatoyancy is a reflection effect that appears as a single band of light across the surface. It is commonly found in Chrysoberyl, Tourmaline & Tiger’s Eye. Star effect or Asterism is a reflection that appears as 2 or more intersecting bands of light across the surface. This is commonly found in Ruby, Sapphire & Garnet. Colour Change gemstones are those that change colour when viewed under 2 different light sources. It’s commonly found in Alexandrite, Sapphire & Colour Change Garnet.

Inclusions are mostly microscopic & easily seen under magnification. These are natural features of the gemstones & as long as they don’t interfere with the brilliance, sparkle & fire of a gemstone they don’t affect the value.

Carat a gemstones weight is measured in Carats which originates from the traditional use of carob seeds to weigh gems. One Carat is = to 0.20 Grams. This is then divided into 100 smaller units known as Points. Large gemstones are always rarer than smaller ones, so the per Carat prices rise exponentially. Eg. A 3 Carat Diamond will always be worth a lot more than three 1 Carat Diamonds of the same quality.

ZODIAC CRYSTALS AND GEMSTONES

ARIES Citrine, Agate, Aventurine, Bloodstone, Jade
Mar 21 – Apr 20

TAURUS Jasper, Bloodstone, Carnelian, Jade, Satinspar
Apr 21 – May 21

GEMINI Aventurine, Unakite, Agate, Citrine, Apatite
May 22 – June 21

CANCER Chalcedony, Hematite, Sodalite, Moonstone, Carnelian
Jun 22 – Jul 22

LEO Labradorite, Amazonite, Carnelian, Jasper, Bloodstone
Jul 23 – Aug 23

VIRGO Amethyst, Jade, Amazonite, Carnelian, Jasper
Aug 24 – Sept 22

LIBRA Moonstone, Chrysoprase, Amethyst, Bluelace Agate, Sodalite
Sept 23 – Oct 23

SCORPIO Tigers Eye, Amethyst, Jasper, Unakite, Moonstone
Oct 24 – Nov 22

SAGITTARIUS Sodalite, Obsidian, Smokey Quartz, Chalcedony, Aventurine
Nov 23 – Dec 21

CAPRICORN Smokey Quartz, Opalite, Amethyst, Aragonite, Tigers Eye
Dec 22 – Jan 20

AQUARIUS Rhodonite, Rhyolite, Garnet, Amethyst, Aventurine
Jan 21 – Feb 18

PISCES Turquoise, Bluelace Agate, Calcite, Carnelian, Amethyst
Feb 19 – Mar 20

FOLKLORE AND LEGENDS OF CRYSTALS AND GEMSTONES, A-Z>

ABALONE – Confidence, Spirituality, Heart, Muscles, Digestion
ACTINOLITE – Responsibility, Industry, Inflammations, Liver
AGATE – Competition, Eloquence, Fevers, Gums, Circulation. Particularly good for athletes.
AGATE BLUELACE – Composure, Growth, Infections, Inflammations, Fevers. When worn this stone invokes calmness, removing anger and irritation.
AGATE BOTSWANA – Understanding, Recovery, Toxins, Recuperation, Heart
AGATE DENDRITIC – Energy, Balance, Recuperation, Vitality
AGATE MOSS – Renewal, Assertiveness, Heart, Lungs, Skin
AGATE TREE – Coordination, Management, Chest, Stomach
ALEXANDRITE – Growth, Investment, Nerves, Luck, Joy
ALMANDINE – Affection, Inspiration, Heart, Eyes
AMAZONITE – Clarity, Insight, Nerves, Emotions, Growth, Joy, Success, Self-Expression. A great stone for students as it assists clarity or thought & insight.
AMBER – Career, Accomplishment, Chest, Depression, Uplifting, Optimism, Relief from Worry & Stress. This stone is said to carry the warmth of the sun. Like honey it is disinfectant, antiseptic & protective
AMETHYST – Moderation, Devotion, Insomnia, Addictions, Neuralgia, Acne, Peace, Tranquillity, Happiness, Purification, Healing. Softens negative feelings & also reduces electrical energies so is great for placing near your computer, TV or any other electrical appliances. Aids sleep & headaches. The colour contains the passion, truth & love of Christ.
AMETRINE – Resolution, Teaching, Teeth, Metabolism
ANDALUSITE – Moderation, Enlightenment, Memory, Sight
ANGELITE – Bravery, Fortune, Headaches, Infections, Balancing Emotions, Communication, Overcoming Challenges. Protects against worries.
ANHYDRITE – Coordination, Concentration, Lungs, Chest
ANTIMOANY – Intellect, Progress, Colds, Flu, Swellings
APATITE – Emotions, Business, Speech, Bones
APOPHYLLITE – Tranquillity, Honesty, Respiration, Skin
AQUA AURA – Influence, Arts, Dexterity, Throat, Healing
AQUAMARINE – Insight, Love, Growth, Allergies, Calms Nerves, Detox, Self-Expression, Peace, Purification. This stone is said to help you speak the truth.
ARAGONITE – Energy, Activity, Bones, Digestion
ASTROPHYLLITE – Confidence, Insight, Recovery, Reproductive, Intellect
AUGELITE – Contemplation, Justice, Muscles, Digestion
AVENTURINE – Development, Judgement, Eyes, Migraine, Tension, Insomnia, Prosperity. Stimulates healthy growth and assists the development of mental abilities.
AZURITE – Meditation, Spirituality, Suppleness, Liver, Divination, Concentration
BARITE – Decisiveness, Writing, Muscles
BERYL – Determination, Stability, Nerves, Stress, Energy. It is said that this stone brings those that are on a sea journey safely home. Adds potency to love spells & increases energy levels.
BLOODSTONE – Kindness, Circulation, Strength, Courage, Nature, Blood Toxins, Depression, Spine, Wealth, Confidence. Bloodstone is a variety of Jasper & is primarily associated with the bloodstream & is good for regulating a woman’s monthly cycle.
BLUE JOHN – Strength, Renewal, Vigour, Health
BLUE CORAL – Balances, Blocks Negativity. Helps to stop worrying.
BOWENITE – Intelligence, Leisure, Head, Scalp, Tension
BRAZILLIANITE – Sociability, Relationships, Nerves, Skin
CALCITE – Comfort, Inspiration, Cleansing, Bladder, Pancreas, Toxins. Provides comfort & refreshes the system when in emotional crises. Pink/Clear Calcite is especially good for bringing calmness & balance.
CARNELIAN – Passion, Focus, Arthritis, Rheumatism, Neuralgia, Cuts. Can also enhance sexual energy, assist motivation & benefit the bloodstream. Also, alleviates jealousy.
CASSITERITE – Endurance, Contentment, Cuts, Bruises, Menopause.
CATS EYE – Insight, Security, Headaches, Fingers
CELESTITE – Relaxation, Sympathy, Travel Sickness, Nerves, Stress. Use this stone for a soothing energy. Brilliant for meditation. A great stone if you’re prone to unnecessary worrying.
CERRUSITE – Confidence, Communication, Antivirus, Insomnia, Nerves.
CHALCEDONY – Stamina, Tiredness, Depression, Circulation. A great stone for opening new horizons.
CHALCOPYRIE -Perception, Restoration, Lungs, Hair.
CHAROITE – Assertiveness, Inspiration, Nerves, Cramps
CHIASTOLITE – Stability, Rheumatism, Veins
CHRYSOCOLLA – Expression, Awareness, Heart, Stomach, Blood.
CHRYSOPRASE – Passion, Renewal, Fertility, Ardour, Genitals. Adds fire to physical love! Intensifies friendship, brings prosperity & good luck. Beneficial as a healer.
CHRYSOTILE – Partnerships, Generosity, Veins, Arteries, Skin, Lungs
CINNABAR – Stability, Independence, Appetite, Heart

CITRINE – Renewal, Cleansing, Skin, Diabetes, Circulation. This stone is full of positive influences so is great for helping with anxieties & depression. Also increases psychic power, protects & brings sweet dreams. Opens the door between intuition & logic.

COLEMANITE – Loyalty, Lungs, Muscles
COPPER – Vitality, Purification, Blood, Muscles, Joints. Can amplify the thoughts & feelings.
CORAL – Integrity, Travel, Chest, Creativity
CORUNDUM – Awareness, Confidence, Skin, Eyes
COVELLITE – Communication, Renewal, Ears, Nose, Mouth
CROCOITE – Industry, Sex Organs
CRUPITE – Awareness, Teaching, Circulation, Bladder
DANBURITE – Sociability, Confidence, Muscles
DESERT ROSE – Perception, Commerce, Stress, Recuperation
DIAMOND – Prosperity, Business, Wellbeing, Senses, Bravery, Strength
DIOPSIDE – Love, Commitment, Heart, Lungs, Circulation, Trauma
DIOPTASE – Meditation, Partnerships, Stress, Headaches
DOLOMITE – Optimism, Sports, Limbs, Blood DUMORTIERITE – Patience, Skin, Sickness
EILAT STONE – Spirituality, Balance, Vitality, Wellbeing
EMERALD – Intellect, Prosperity, Headaches, Infections, Thyroid, Skin. Opens the Heart Chakra. The ‘Jewel of Venus’ reveals the truth of a lover’s promise & breaks if they’re false! Helps to develop clairvoyance.
EUDIALITE – Management, Recovery, Sex Organs, Recovery
FLINT – Abstinence, Science, Cleansing
FLUORITE – Caring, Bones, Teeth, Inflammations. A great stone for those in a caring profession such as nursing or healing. Develops spiritual awareness. Brings people together. Grounds excess energy.
FOSSILISED WOOD – Nature, Stability, Nerves, Sharing
FRANKLINIITE – Imagination, Security, Eyes, Hair
FUCHSITE – Productivity, Teamwork, Arteries
GALENA – Dedication, Insomnia
GARNET – Charm, Creativity, Anaemia, Infections, Insomnia. Worn to attract lovers & used by travellers as an amulet. Also has the ability to open the Crown Chakra. Often included in statues of Isis.
GEODE – Fertility, dreams, intensify psychic ability
GOETHITE – Perseverance, Competing, Nerves
GOLD – Generosity, Partnerships, Confidence
GOLDSTONE – Optimism, Development, Stomach, Tension
GRANITE – Stability, Determination, Skin, Hearing
GRAPHITE – Assertiveness, Achievement, Hearing, Spine
HEMATITE – Activity, Stamina, Tiredness, Calming, Travel Stress, Eyes, Blood.
HERKIMER DIAMOND – Stamina, Learning, Energy, Vigour. Special clear quartz that increases the power of other stones, opens the mind & good for dreams
HICKORYITE – Adventure, Flair, Boredom, Negativity, Imagination.
HORNBLENDE – Wisdom, Communication, Balance, Toes, Fingers
HOWLITE – Resilience, Competing, Bones, Teeth
IOLITE – Control, Management, Chest, Addiction
IRNAMITE – Emotions, Judgement, Strains, Muscles
JADE – Benevolence, Providence, Kidneys, Bladder, Digestion, Eyes. Attracts friendship, promotes long life & encourages prosperity. Also used as a travel amulet. Calms the mind & purifies the blood.
JASPER – Attraction, Comfort, Nerves, Blood, Digestion. An excellent energiser.
JET – Sympathy, Healing, Migraine, Negativity
KUNZITE – Vigour, Communication, Balance, Emotions, Skin, Heart. Hiddenite is a variety.
KYANITE – Energy, Finance, Hearing
LABRADORITE – Charisma, Relationships, Arguments, Inhibitions, Feet. Brings out the hidden qualities in the personality. LAPIS LAZULI – Mysticism, Wisdom, Protects Truth, Integrity, Spirituality, Bones, Heart, Eyes. Regarded as a ‘heavenly’ stone. Can enrich both health & wealth.
LARIMAR – Rapport, Meditation, Breathing, Neck
LAVAKITE – Learning, Achievement, Brain, Adaptability
LAZULITE – Purity, Serenity, Sunburn, Teeth
LEPIDOLITE – Restoration, Balance, Nerves, Pessimism, Peace, Insomnia. A relaxing stone
LEUCITE – Clarity, Energy, Nerves, Protection
LODESTONE – Communication, Teamwork, Circulation, Glands
MAGNETITE – Composure, Learning, Heart
MAGNESITE – Enlightenment, Emotions, Fevers, Bones
MALACHITE – Optimism, Recovery, Rheumatism, Asthma, Teeth. Excellent for bringing prosperity to a business. Favoured by gardeners as it makes plants bloom longer. Often used in spells concerning the hearth. Protects & strengthens the Heart Chakra. Clears illusion.
MARBLE – Compassion, Care, Fevers, Renewal
MARCASITE – Ambition, Rapport, circulation, Brain, Eyes
METEORITE – Benevolence, Adventure, Communication, Intuition
MOLDOVITE – Sensitivity, Insight, Hair, Fertility, Renewal
MOOKAITE – Responsibility, Machinery, Stable Health
MOONSTONE – Femininity, Devotion, Dieting, Swellings, PMT. A symbol of female power, attracts lovers, enhances beauty & bestows a long, healthy life. Often used in spells to ensure safe travel. Associated with the Goddess, Diana.
MORGANITE – Intellect, Commerce, Hearing, Vertigo

MOSS AGATE – Identity, Meditation, Lungs, Glands
MOTHER OF PEARL – Providence, Modelling, Skin, Emotions
MTOROLITE – Serenity, Capability, Nerves, Backache
MUSCOVITE – Inspiration, Speech, Muscles, Energy
OBSIDIAN – Achievement, Perception, Stomach, Digestion, Stress. An excellent general healer as it helps create positive influences & provides inner tranquillity. Sends negative thoughts away.
ONYX – Harmony, Spirituality, Hearing, Ulcers, Heart. Used in rosaries as it allows peace of mind & general reflection. Said to strengthen one’s magic & protect against negative magic.
OPAL – Attraction, Theatre, Chest, Creativity, Beauty, Prosperity, Luck, Power
OPALITE – Invention, Management, Fatigue
PAUA SHELL – Versatility, Humour, Tension, Depression
PEACOCK ORE (Bonita) – Charm, Entertainment, Eyes, Brain
PEARL – Assurance, Painting, Tonic, Headaches, Tension
PERIDOT – Career, Whole body, Metabolism, Intuitive Power, Protector, Wealth
PETRIFIED WOOD – Renewal, Hearing, Cultivation
PHENACITE – Intellect, Insight, Stomach, Limbs
PIETERSITE – Organisation, Objectivity, Respiration, Sleep
PREHNITE – Confidence, Business, Mental Energy, Slimming
PURPURITE – Leadership, Prosperity, Finances, Wounds
PYRITES – Awareness, Honesty, Vitality, Recuperation
QUARTZ CLEAR – Purification, Refinement, General, Vertigo, Dizziness. This is probably the most popular of stones & has been used by healers for centuries. It purifies the air, the body, cleanses the system & mind.
QUARTZ ROSE – Love, Forgiveness, Migraine, Headache, Wounds. This is the stone of peace & is closely associated with Venue. It gives joy & happiness in friendship & love & radiates good rapport. Often used in love spells.
QUARTZ RUTILATED – Passion, Contact, Anxiety
QUARTZ SMOKEY – Vitality, Fortune, Depression, Abdomen, Spine. A good luck talisman for competitors. Its protecting & encouraging, provides energy. Often used in spell casting against negative energies.
QUARTZ SNOW – Relaxation, Serenity, Stress, Nerves, Therapy. A ‘soft’ stone for those seeking calmness. Also called Milky Quartz.
RHODOCHROSITE – Friendship, Love, Insecurity, Balance, Eyes, Solitude. A very comforting stone. Helps balance the Sacrum Chakra
RHODONITE – Communication, Restoration, Recuperation, Hearing, Amnesia.
RHODOLITE – Stability, Resolution, digestion, Glands
RHYOLITE – Stamina, Marketing, Chills, Skin
RUBELLITE – Prosperity, Recovery, Heart, Backache
RUBY – Contentment, Fortune, Circulation, Fevers
SAPPHIRE – Love, Partnership, Sleep, Depression, Protection, Power, Inspiration
SARDONYX – Forgiveness, Care, Neck, Hearing
SATINSPAR – Insight, Calm, Disputes, Anger, Spine.
SCAPOLITE – Achievement, Strength, Veins
SCHALENBLENDE – Fortune, Identity, Muscles, Eyes
SCHEELITE – Awareness, Relationships, Colds, Recovery
SCHORL – Practicality, Balance, Liver, Intestines
SEFTONITE – Relationships, Learning, Circulation
SERPENTINE – Meditation, Enlightenment, Stomach, PMT
SIDERITE – Intellect, Loyalty, Bones, Hands
SILICONE – Activity, Attraction, Vitality, Muscles
SILVER – Perception, Investment, Recovery
SMITHSONITE – Consideration, Harmony, Vitality, Digestion
SOAPSTONE – Loyalty, Cultivation, Back
SODALITE – Meditation, Assertion, Blood Pressure, Sleep, Chest. Gives confidence to those that are shy. Used in spells to relieve stress. Helps one to get a new perspective.
SPESSARTINE – Renewal, Confidence, Vitamin deficiencies
SPHALERITE – Integrity, Career, Nerves, Eyes
SPINEL – Energy, Intellect, Stress, Depression, Skin, Slimming
SPIRIT STONES – Vitality, Awareness, Energy, Cleansing
STAUROLITE – Focus, Personality, Spine, Whole body, Forgetfulness. Represents the four elements, bringing everything together.
STEATITE – Adventure, Communication, Digestion, Tendons
STICHTITE – Loyalty, Creativity, Muscles, Chest
STILBITE – Creativity, Understanding, Toxins, Sensory Organs
SUGILITE – Inspiration, Co-ordination, Headaches, Inflammations, Toxins. Used by healers to draw out pain. Brings peace of mind & aids inner vision.
SULPHUR – Intellect, Protection, Skin, Digestion, Arthritis, Rheumatism
SUNSTONE – Insight, Travel, Eyes, Depression. A wonderful re-energiser & health restorer. Used in spells where sexuality is the subject.

TANZANITE – Vitality, Athletics, Bones, Worries
TALC – Affinity, Modesty, Memory, Study
THULITE – Dexterity, Meditation, Hands, Tendons, Concentration. Brings mind & body together.
TIGER IRON – Clarity, Endurance, Movement, Vigour
TIGERS EYE – Insight, Integrity, Asthma, Limbs. A talisman to overcome deceit.
TOPAZ – Assurance, Legal, Infections, Appetite
TOURMALINE – Confidence, Success, General Healing, Good Fortune. Helpful in opening the Third-eye Chakra. This stone is full of joy.
TURQUENTINE – Consolation, Travel, Limbs
TURQUOISE – Environment, Comfort, Respiration, Recuperation, Throat. Expands friendships & protects the home – left in a room it can purify the atmosphere & spread tranquillity. Strengthens all the Chakras. Used in spells to encourage friendship
ULEXITE – Contentment, Industry, Teeth, Worries
UNAKITE – Stability, Enhancement, Muscles, Back-ache, Feet. Gives strength & stability.
UVAROVITE – Vitality, Joy, Throat
VANADINITE – Sociability, Friendship, Lungs, Stomach
VARISCITE – Meditation, Writing, Growth, Digestion
VERDITE – Friendship, Partnerships, Nerves
VESUVIANITE – Intuition, Partnership, Dieting, Depression
VIOLAN – Insight, Vitality, Muscles, Genitals
WILLIAMSITE – Tranquillity, Candour, Lungs, Inflammations
WOLLASTONITE – Moderation, Grounding, Bones, Glands
WULFENITE – Relationships, Invigoration, Digestion
ZEOLITE – Independence, Clarity, Addictions, Toxins
ZINC – Joy, Loyalty, Muscles, Bones
ZIRCON – Clarity, Teaching, Insomnia, PMT. Helps restore a flagging libido.
ZOISITE – Attraction, Entertainment, Fingers, Fertility

Calling the Elements for imbolic!

 

 

elementsDuring the second day of Imbolc Here is how you can call the elements you can even click on the page and print it out for your book of shadows! Merry part and Merry Meet again! My goddess is Nyx, but her daughter is the Goddess that is celebrated during this holiday Gaia.

 

Wicca

wicca-double-pyramid-layouts

What is Wicca?

Wicca is a Pagan/Earth-based spirituality. It draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practice.

Wicca is a diverse religion with no central authority or figure defining it. It is divided into various lineages and denominations, referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralisation. Due to its decentralized nature, there is some disagreement over what actually constitutes Wicca. Some traditions, collectively referred to as British Traditional Wicca, strictly follow the initiatory lineage of Gardner and consider the term Wicca to apply only to such lineage traditions, while other eclectic traditions do not.

Wicca is typically duotheistic, worshipping a god and goddess traditionally viewed as a mother goddess and horned god. These two deities are often viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic godhead. However, beliefs range from hard polytheism to even monotheism. Wiccan celebration follows approximately eight seasonally based festivals known as Sabbats. An unattributed statement known as the Wiccan Rede is the traditional basis of Wiccan morality. Wicca often involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary.

English: One of the Book of Shadows owned by G...

English: One of the Book of Shadows owned by Gerald Gardner, left in his will to Doreen Valiente, and through her to John Belham-Payne. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gerald Gardner, a British Civil Servant, can be credited for bringing to light the religion of Wicca. Drawing from his own involvement in a coven, he was initiated into a surviving Witches coven by one Dorothy Clutterbuck in 1938 or 1939, assisted at times by Doreen Valiente, and the works of Margaret Murray, Robert Graves and other historians. It is composed of Western European folk traditions and Eastern philosophy and incorporates much of the ceremonial magician, the cabalist and the earth-loving pagan into its structure. It is an Initiatory, Oath bound, Mystery Path whose members are trained in Witchcraft, Priestcraft and the High magics of the Ceremonial Magician/Cabalist.

Pentagram with a circle around it

Pentagram with a circle around it (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many different Wiccan Traditions, such as Alexandrian, British, Celtic, Caledonii, Ceremonial, Dianic, Eclectic, Hereditary, Gardnerian, Kitchen Witch, Pictish, Seax-Wica, Solitary, Strega, Teutonic, Faery Wicca, Shamanistic Wicca.

“Wicca is both a religion and a Craft. … As a religion – like any other religion – its purpose is to put the individual and the group in harmony with the divine creative principal of the Cosmos, and its manifestation at all levels. As a Craft, its purpose is to achieve practical ends by psychic means, for good, useful and healing purposes. In both aspects, the distinguishing characteristics of Wicca are its Nature- based attitude, its small group autonomy with no gulf between priesthood and ‘congregation’, and its philosophy of creative polarity at all levels, from Goddess and God to Priestess and Priest.”

Janet and Stewart Farrar, Eight Sabbats For Witches, Robert Hale, London, 1981.

Alexandrian Tradition

The Alexandrian tradition was founded by Alex Sanders in the 1960′s, who had been initiated into a Gardnerian Coven. Perhaps the most noted of Alexandrian Wiccans are Janet & Stuart Farrar.

There are differences between the two paths; some merely external, others of a very significant difference of philosophy. There are differences between the two traditions Book of Shadows and there are some parts of Gardnerian ritual that are unknown within the Alexandrian tradition. There are differences in the use of tools and their elementary correspondences and Alex included rituals of a more ceremonial nature as well as material based on the Kabbalah.

Dianic Wicca

Developed from the feminist movement during the 60′s and 70′s, they focus more on the Goddess, womens spirituality and energies, authors include Z Budapest, Marija Gimbutas and Starhawk.

Gardnerian Tradition

The Gardnerian Tradition is the basis for most of Modern Wicca. It was begun with Gerald Gardner, publishing several books about Witchcraft: 1949-High magic’s Aid, and 1954-Witchcraft Today. He borrowed appropriate work from others, most notably Aleister Crowley, Rudyard Kipling, John Dee and with his High Priestess, Doreen Valiente wrote much of the most poetic rites.

The pagans made christmas and the christians took pagan traditions to form what we know as xmas!

Pagans are the reason you see lights and sing carols.. This is the history of Christmas!

What is the true origin of Christmas? Where did it come from? Did you know Yeshua the Messiah was born nowhere NEAR December 25, but that was the “birth day” of the sun- god, “Sol Invictus” or “Mithras”? Did you know December 25 was the concluding day of the pagan winter festival called the “Saturnalia”? Where did “Santa Claus” come from? The “Christmas tree”? How did this pagan feast become connected with “Christianity”?

Although the whole world celebrates Christmas as a “Christian” holiday, including millions of non-Christians, is Christmas really “Christian” at all? Consider this fact: Look high and low throughout the pages of the Bible, and you will find not ONE WORD of “Christmas” being celebrated by any of YEHOVAH’s people! It is not even mentioned once! Neither the Messiah nor any of his apostles ever observed this holiday, nor the New Testament Church!

Yet on the other hand the pagan, heathen world observed this day for thousands of years before the Messiah was even born!

Where did the mysterious rites and ceremonies that surround this day come from? What about the “Christmas tree” and the “Yule log” and the mistletoe and Holly wreaths? Are ANY of these customs truly “Christian” in origin? And what about fat and jolly old “Saint Nick” — or Santa Claus?

It’s high time we addressed these questions, and took a new look at “Christmas.” A church I was formerly a member of, which condemned Christmas observance as paganism, for almost sixty years, today has turned its back on its former beliefs, and encourages its members to observe this pagan mid-winter festival “in honor of Christ”! Many are doing so, heedless of the severe warnings in Scripture of what their eternal fate and destiny will be if they continue to embrace this ancient custom.

Is it wrong to celebrate “Christmas”? What is the truth about this popular and widespread holiday?

The Origin of Christmas

Before one gets carried away with Christmas worship, there are a few things you should know. Let’s take an honest and objective look at the origins of this holiday.

We read in Werner Keller’s book The Bible as History the following admission:

“December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas Day in A.D. 324 for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian [A.D. 527-565] it was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25 in ancient Rome was the ‘Dies Natali Invictus,’ ‘the birthday of the unconquered,’ the day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in Rome, the last day of the Saturnalia, which had long since degenerated into a week of unbridled carnival…” (p. 331).

Doesn’t it seem rather strange that the so-called “Christian church” should choose a day to celebrate the Messiah’s birth which was identified as the day of the birth of the unconquered sun, the day of the winter solstice, the “shortest day of the year,” when the sunlit part of the days start becoming longer again? What does this have to do with the Messiah, anyway? Was Yeshua the Messiah born anywhere near December 25? Keller goes on:

“Meteorologists as well as historians and astronomers have something of importance to contribute to this question of fixing the date of the birth of Jesus. According to St. Luke: ‘And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night’ (Luke 2:8).

“Meteorologists have made exact recordings of the temperature at Hebron. This spot in the southern highlands of Judah exhibits the same climatic conditions as Bethlehem, which is not far distant. The temperature readings show over a period of three months that the incidence of frost is as follows: December — 2.8 degrees; January — 1.6 degrees; February —0.1 degrees. The first two months have also the greatest rainfall in the year: approximately 6 inches in December, and nearly 8 inches in January. According to all existing information the climate of Palestine has not changed appreciably in the last 2,000 years, consequently modern meteorological observations can be taken as a basis.

“At Christmas-time Bethlehem is in the grip of frost, and in the Promised Land no cattle would have been in the fields in that temperature. This fact is born out by a remark in the Talmud to the effect that in that neighborhood the flocks were put out to grass in March and brought in again at the beginning of November. They remained out in the open for almost eight months.

“Around Christmas-time nowadays both animals and shepherds are under cover in Palestine.

“What St. Luke tells us points therefore to the birth of Jesus having taken place BEFORE the onset of winter…” (p. 331-332).

How interesting! How fascinating! As we explore the time for the birth of the Messiah, we find he was born nowhere near December 25, the very date the world has chosen to “celebrate” supposedly, his “birthday”! But there is much more to the story than this. Let’s go on.

When Was Yeshua Really BORN?

Millions of ostensible “Christians,” or “nominal” Christians, who think they are followers of the religion of Yeshua the Messiah, have been deceived. Not only have they foolishly embraced erroneous “traditions” as if they were “Christian,” but they have been lied to, misled by preachers and ministers and priests, and have ASSUMED that they were worshipping the Messiah! Yet Yeshua the Messiah himself warned: “Howbeit IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, teaching for doctrines THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye HOLD THE TRADITION OF MEN…” (Mark 7:7-8).

The gospel of Matthew also records similar words spoken by the Messiah. Notice! “Ye HYPOCRITES, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouths, and honoreth me with their lips; but THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME. But IN VAIN do they WORSHIP me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of MEN” (Matt. 15:7-9).

Let’s look into this matter honestly. Let’s examine the evidence, seeking the truth. When was Yeshua the Messiah born, anyway? Was it anywhere NEAR December 25? And if not, then why believe a lie, and practice and perform a lie?

The birth of the Messiah is not known for certain, but we can know the approximate time of year when he was born! In the book of Luke we read that the father of John the Baptist was Zacharias, and he was a priest who served at the temple in Jerusalem. He was “of the course of Abia” (Luke 1:5). While serving at the temple, he was informed by an angel that his wife was to have a son, who was to be named “John.” After this, Zacharias finished “the days of his ministration,” and “departed to his own house” (v.23). “And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived…” (v. 24).

The names of the different courses of priests that served at the Temple are given in I Chronicles 24:1-19. “Abia” or “Abijah” was the EIGHTH course. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, each one of these courses served at the Temple for one week, the first course serving the first week of Nisan, in the spring (compare I Chron. 27:1-2), and then each course in its own order. All the priests served during the annual festivals (Passover in spring, Pentecost, and then Tabernacles in the fall). After six months, the order would be repeated, thus each “course” would serve two weeks during a year.

The course of Abijah, then, would have served the eighth week in the rotation. The eighth week from Nisan 1, leaving out the week of Passover, when all the priests served, would have been IYAR 27 TO SIVAN 5, the day just before Pentecost , which generally fell on Sivan 6. After serving a week in the Temple, Zacharias would have remained another week in Jerusalem, because of the Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost that week. Therefore, he returned home shortly after this, and his wife then conceived. This would have been about the middle of June. If we add nine months to this date, the normal time for the gestation of a human baby in the womb, John the Baptist would have been born about the middle of March, in the spring, shortly before the Passover.

Yeshua was conceived about six months after John (Luke 1:24-31, esp. verse 26). This would suggest that Yeshua the Messiah was conceived about the middle of December. This would place his birth nine months, or 270 days, later — or the month of September!

Who WAS Born on December 25?

If Yeshua the Messiah was not born on December 25, who was? In other words, whose birthday is the whole “Christian world” really celebrating on December 25, though they call it the birth of “Christ”? Or, to put it another way, what “Christ” are they talking about? The word “Christ,” remember, is merely the translation of the Greek word Christos, which literally means “Anointed one” — it comes from the Hebrew word Moshiach, from whence we get the word “Messiah.” So what “anointed one” was born on December 25?

Let us take out our magnifying glass, and like Sherlock Holmes, do some careful detective work, and see if we can solve the mystery — the puzzle of why the whole world observes the birthday of Yeshua the Messiah on a day on which he was not even remotely born! In the book History of Rome, by Michael Grant, we read this startling revelation:

“Yet there was also another pagan belief during this same epoch, that much more nearly competed with Christ for the control of the Western world. This was the cult of the Sun, which was revered by millions of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, and its religion for a time even became the state worship….

“In Rome, the divinity of the Sun came very early on; and then, centuries afterwards, in the superb dome of Hadrian’s Pantheon, the central opening, surrounded by star-like rosettes, represented the solar orb….Before long, the emperor Aurelian established a massive temple of the Unconquerable Sun as the central and focal point of the entire religious system of the state (274). The birthday of the god was to be on DECEMBER 25, AND THIS, TRANSFORMED INTO CHRISTMAS DAY, WAS ONE OF THE HERITAGES THAT CHRISTIANITY OWED TO HIS CULT” (p. 391- 392, emphasis mine).

Notice! Christianity took over the birthday of the sun god, the cult of the sun, and transformed it into CHRISTMAS DAY, the “birthday” of Yeshua the Messiah! It was in reality the birth day of the pagan sun god, worshipped by millions throughout the Roman Empire!

We read more about this novel and profound “plot” to turn paganism into “Christianity” in a book by historian Jack Finegan, Myth & Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World. Finegan writes:

“…But the worship of the sun-god continued widely throughout the empire, and under Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) the cult was restored to its former high estate. In the year 274 Aurelian declared the god — now called Deus Sol Invictus — the official deity of the Roman Empire; he built a splendid temple of the sun in Rome…and set the sun’s birthday celebration (naturalis solis invicti) ON DECEMBER 25, the date then accepted for the winter solstice (also in his solar character the BIRTHDAY OF MITHRAS). In the time of Constantine the cult of Deus Sol Invictus was still at its height, and the portrait of the sun-god was on the coins of Constantine….Likewise it must have been in this time and with the intent to transform the significance of AN EXISTING SACRED DATE that the birthday of Jesus, which had been celebrated in the East on January 6…was placed in Rome ON DECEMBER 25, THE DATE OF THE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION OF SOL INVICTUS. This date appears in a list of dates probably compiled in A.D. 336 and published in the Roman city calendar, edited by Filocalus, for the year 354” (Finegan, p. 211-212, emphasis mine).

Are we beginning to get the picture? This was in the fourth century AFTER the Messiah! At this time, the Church moved to incorporate the birthday of the sun god into the so-called “Christian” calendar, and converted his “birth day” into the birth day of THE MESSIAH himself! That which was distinctly and definitely pagan now was “baptized,” and by some act of “magic” was transformed into something “Christian”! At least, to the observer, it appeared to be “Christian.” It was now called “Christian.” But in truth, it still had a pagan heart and core!

The Influence of Constantine

When Constantine became Emperor of Rome, he nominally at least became a “Christian.” But being the head of a far-flung political Empire, he was concerned about the unity and coherence and stability of his Empire. As a sagacious politician, he sought to reconcile and blend and mesh pagan practices with “Christian” beliefs, to merge paganism with the Roman church. Constantine promulgated the “Edict of Toleration” in A.D. 313. He became emperor in A.D. 323, and “then Christianity was enthroned” (Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, The Story of the Christian Church, p. 74). From this time, for the next two hundred years, all persecutions of Christians of the Roman church, and its adherents, ceased. The sword of persecution was “not merely sheathed; it was buried” (ibid., p. 75).

But Jesse Hurlbut laments the results of Constantine’s making Christianity the state religion, free from all persecution. From that time, he points out, the church became totally subverted by politics and self-seeking opportunists.

  • “…the establishment of Christianity as the state religion became a CURSE.

“Everybody sought membership in the church, and nearly everybody was received. Both good and bad, sincere seekers after God and hypocritical seekers after gain, rushed into the communion. Ambitious, worldly, unscrupulous men sought office in the church for social and political influence….

‘The services of worship increased in splendor, but were less spiritual and hearty than those of former times. The forms and ceremonies of PAGANISM GRADUALLY CREPT INTO THE WORSHIP. Some of the OLD HEATHEN FEASTS BECAME CHURCH FESTIVALS WITH CHANGE OF NAME AND OF WORSHIP” (Hurlbut, The Story of the Christian Church, p. 79, emphasis mine).

How did it happen? Obviously, something strange and weird was going on!

Will Durant, renowned historian, in his massive work The Story of Civilization, wrote in volume III, entitled Caesar and Christ, that in the new “church” that developed in the Roman Empire, the Jewishness of Yeshua was lost or rejected, and replaced with Greek philosophy and thought; the “Law” of the Jews was rejected, and, he writes,

“…the god Christ was assimilated to the religious and philosophical traditions of the Hellenistic mind. Now the PAGAN WORLD — even the anti-Semitic world — could accept him as its own.

“CHRISTIANITY DID NOT DESTROY PAGANISM; IT ADOPTED IT. The Greek mind, dying, came to a transmigrated life in the theology and liturgy of the Church…the Greek mysteries passed down into the impressive mystery of the Mass. Other PAGAN cultures contributed to the syncrestic result. From Egypt came the idea of a divine trinity…from Egypt the adoration of the Mother and Child…From Phrygia came the worship of the Great Mother….The Mithraic ritual so closely resembled the eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass that Christian fathers charged the Devil with inventing these similarities to mislead frail minds. Christianity was the last great creation of the ancient PAGAN world” (p. 595).

These historical observations ought to make us sit up and take notice! The ‘Christianity” that we see around us in the world today is but a “spin-off” of this ancient syncretism or ‘blending” and “merging” of PAGANISM into the professed Church of Yeshua the Messiah, which had lapsed into political apostasy, profligacy and impurity. The descendants of the once chaste and pure virgin of the Messiah, the New Testament Church, had seemingly become, for all intends and purposes, the religious WHORE of Babylon — a bejeweled and bedecked and bedeviled slut and trollop, a “shady lady,” a spiritual PROSTITUTE!

“Paganism” was not defeated by the Church. It invaded the church, infiltrated it, and seduced it from within! The professing Christian Church became the “new face of paganism”! Only the “names” were changed. And in some cases — as in “Easter” Sunday — even the old pagan names were left in place!

H. G. Wells, in his Outline of History, discusses the transformation of the teachings of the Messiah into the pagan worship of the heathen, calling itself “Christian.” He notes:

“The observance of the Jewish Sabbath, again, TRANSFERRED TO THE MITHRAIC SUN-DAY, is an important feature of many Christian cults…He [Jesus] did not say a word about the worship of his mother Mary in the guise of ISIS, THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN. Much that is most characteristically Christian [so-called] in worship and usage, he ignored. Skeptical writers have had the temerity to deny that Jesus can be called a Christian at all” (p. 445, emphasis mine, of course).

How did this happen? How did Mithraism, with its December 25 worship, and Sun-day worship, contribute these prominent “holidays” to the established “Christian” Church? How did paganism overtake, overcome, and subdue, the original teachings of the Church of Yeshua the Messiah, and his apostles, and replace Biblical holy days with pagan “holy days”? Should all true Christians be concerned about this historic truth — this reality? Doesn’t it really matter?

What should these facts mean to us, today, who seek to obey YEHOVAH God, and follow the Messiah of the Bible, who seek to be TRUE followers of the Word of YEHOVAH GOD?

The Seduction of the Church

Admits the Worldbook Encyclopedia, “The exact date of Christ’s birth is not known. The early Christians did NOT celebrate His birth, because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom. The first mention of the observance of Christ’s birthday appears about A.D. 200. For many years, several dates were used. December 25 was first mentioned in 336” (article “Christmas”).

This common reference work acknowledges, “For many years, people observed Christmas as a religious festival only. But they GRADUALLY ADOPTED MORE AND MORE CUSTOMS UNRELATED TO THE CHURCH. Most of the customs originated in cultures that existed before Christianity….In 1643, the Puritans, who regarded such celebrations as pagan, outlawed the observance of Christmas in England.” Colonists in New England followed the English laws and also outlawed Christmas. But immigrants to the New World brought Christmas customs from many lands and the old festivities where soon restored.

All of the popular customs and traditions surrounding Christmas actually were celebrated at pagan mid-winter festivals thousands of years before the Messiah was born. Admits this same encyclopedia, “The custom of burning the Yule log began with the ancient Scandinavians, who once a year burned a huge log in honor of their god Thor. After the Scandinavians became Christians [sic], they made the Yule log an important part of their Christmas ceremonies.”

Where Did the Christmas Tree Come From?

One of the most pervasive customs of Christmas, today, is the bringing home and decorating of a “Christmas tree.” Where did this custom come from? Coffin in The Book of Christmas Folklore tells us:

“Most people have heard that the Christmas tree originates in the tannenbaum and is some sort of vestige of Teutonic vegetation worship. THIS IS PARTIALLY TRUE. However, the custom of using pine and other evergreens ceremonially was well established at the ROMAN SATURNALIA, even earlier in Egypt” (p. 209).

Writes Alexander Hislop in The Two Babylons,

“The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir; the palm tree denoting the Pagan Messiah, as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith. The mother of Adonis, the Sun-God and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognized as the ‘Man the branch.’ And this entirely accounts for the putting of the Yule Log into the fire on Christmas Eve, and the appearance of the Christmas tree the next morning” (page 97).

  • Tree worship was very common among the ancients. Says Festivals, Holy Days, and Saints’ Days,

“The Christmas tree…recapitulates the idea of tree worship…gilded nuts and balls symbolizing the sun…all the festivities of the [heathen] winter solstice have been absorbed into Christmas Day…the use of holly and mistletoe to the Druidic ceremonies; the Christmas tree to the honours paid to Odin’s sacred fir….” (p. 236).

Writes Collins in Christmas Folklore:

“This idea of decorating homes on holidays is both worldwide and age-old….So the Saturnalian laurel, the Teutonic holly, the Celtic mistletoe, and the Mexican poinsettia have all attached themselves to this polyglot ceremony…

“Many of the plants used at Christmas are SYMBOLS OF FERTILITY. Certainly any evergreen (fir, yew, laurel) with its ability to return verdure in the barrens months is appropriate, but by far the most interesting are the holly, the ivy, and the mistletoe. Holly, with its pricking leaves, white flowers, and red berries symbolizes the male reproductive urge. In fact, in the English carols…the holly is the male and the ivy is the female. This use of the plants was most likely BORROWED by the Christians along with other customs of the ROMAN SATURNALIA” (p. 22-23).

Ivy, holly’s mate, in ancient Grecian rites took its name from the girl who danced with such abandon and joy before Dionysius that she fell dead at his feet. The pagan god, moved by her dance, turned her into the ivy that she might entwine whatever is near. Dionysius, of course, was the Greek version of the god of wine and revelry, another form of Bacchus, Tammuz, or Nimrod!

Mistletoe, since the earliest of times, has been regarded as mysterious and sacred, the symbol of the sun, bestower of life, an aphrodisiac, and protector against disease and poison. The plant was especially sacred to the Celtic Druids who offered it in prayer to the gods. The mistletoe was referred to by pagans as the “golden bough.” The two great holidays when the pagans gathered mistletoe were Midsummer Day, the summer solstice, and December 25, the winter solstice. It was supposed to posses the power of revealing treasures in the earth, and was formed into a “divining rod.” It was also looked upon as the “seat of life” of the sacred oak, and as an emanation of the sun’s fire. Kissing under the mistletoe is a survival of Saturnalian sexual licentiousness and bawdy immoral behavior, which was commonplace at the Saturnalia.

What about Dear Old “Santa Claus”?

Even Santa Claus has a not-so-benign origin! This fat and jolly elf can be traced back to another ancient pagan Norse legend! Admits the Worldbook Encyclopedia,

“Some of Santa Claus’s characteristics date back many centuries. For example, the belief that Santa enters the house through the chimney developed from an old Norse legend. The Norse believed that the goddess Hertha appeared in the fireplace and brought good luck to the home.”

Although most people assume that the original “Santa Claus” was a bishop by the name of St. Nicholas of Asia Minor of the fourth century, this is not really true. Although some of this bishop’s deeds later came to be associated with “St. Nick,” the original “Nicholas” was once again Nimrod, the “mighty one against the Lord.” The word “Nicholas” means “mighty one, powerful.” Traditions of a “god” who gave gifts under an evergreen tree antecede the Asian Minor bishop by thousands of years! Among the Scandinavians it was the god Odin or Woden who left special gifts during the Yuletide season under the evergreen tree, his sacred tree!

Tony van Renterghem writes in When Santa Was a Shaman: The Ancient Origins of Santa Claus & the Christmas Tree:

“In newly Christianized areas where the pagan Celtic and Germanic cults remained strong, legends of the god Wodan were blended with those of various Christian saints; Saint Nicholas was one of these. There were Christian areas where Saint Nicholas ruled alone; in other locations, he was assisted by the pagan Dark Helper (the slave he had inherited from the pagan god Wodan). In other remote areas…ancient pockets of the Olde Religion controlled traditions. Here the Dark Helper ruled alone, sometimes in a most confusing manner, using the cover name of Saint Nicholas or ‘Klaus,’ without in any way changing his threatening, Herne/Pan, fur-clad appearance. (This was the figure later used by the artist Nast as the model for the early American Santa Claus)” (page 96).

The Catholic Saint Nicholas also had a confusing past. Says van Renterghem, “He was a compilation of two separate saints (one from Myra in Asia Minor, the other from Pinora), both of whom were — as the Church nowadays admits — nothing more than Christianized water deities (possibly related to the Greco-Roman god Poseidon/Neptune)” (ibid.). In the 1970s, the Second Vatican Council formally stated that no Roman Catholic bishop by the name of Nicholas had ever existed! Vatican II further confessed that the legends attributed to this “saint” had no Christian origin, and probably came from pagan traditions!

Says van Renterghem, further:

“By absorbing such PAGAN FEASTS AND TRADITIONS, the Christian Church could subtly bring in its own theology: in this case, establishing the good Saint Nicholas, bringer of love and gifts, while grudgingly allowing the presence of the Olde Religion’s Herne/Pan, but only as a slave to Saint Nicholas. Thus, in parts of Europe, the Church turned Herne into Saint Nicholas’ captive, chained Dark Helper; none other than Satan, the Dark One, symbolic of all evil….

“In Holland and several other European countries, the Saint Nicholas figure is still highly esteemed. He appears as a tall, dignified, bearded, white-haired old man, dressed as a Catholic bishop, complete with cloak, mitre, and pastoral staff, a seemingly genuine Catholic saint, but with a bizarre, quite unsaintly habit of riding through the skies on a white horse, followed by his Dark Helper. It seems that our Catholic saint inherited some of these customs from the pagan god Wodan, who had also been a BEARDED, WHITE-HAIRED OLD MAN, also dressed in a hat and cloak, carried a staff (or spear), rode a white horse, and dragged along the same dark slave/helper on a chain” (p. 97).

So much for old “Santa Claus”! This mythological figure, also, is pagan to the core!

The Dutch “Sinterklaas” brings gifts to good children, while bad children are harrassed by the “Dark Helper,” called Zwarte Pier, or “Black Pete,” who brandishes a broom-like rod. Like Santa Claus, Sinterklaas also had the habit of entering homes through the chimney! His helper, “Black Pete,” is today, still horned, fur-clad, scary, and less than kind to children. Although portrayed as the slave helper of Saint Nicholas, the two are, in many villages, blended into one character, who often has the name Nikolaas or Klaus. Thus “Santa Claus” is blended with, and is none other than, that old enemy of mankind, Satan the devil!

“In Germany, Saint Nicholas’ Dark Helper is a swarthy, horned, frightening little man, always brandishing the besom [broom]. He is known by many names: Knecht Ruprecht (servant Ruprecht), or in Bavaria, Pelz Nickel, meaning ‘fur-clad Nick.’ In Tyrol, the picture is even clearer; there the Dark Helper is Kllaubau, a scarier version of the British Herne the Hunter, a chained, furry, black-faced horned creature” (p. 103-105).

Who was this Odin, or Woden, the original “Santa Claus”? He was the chief god of Norse mythology, a fierce fighter who carried a spear as his special weapon. He was renown as a mighty hunter, and for his magical powers. This same author declares, further, of the connection between Odin/Wodan and Saint Nicholas:

“Wodan/Odin: …man’s friend, the mysterious Schimmel rider. Dragging his dark and devilish slave Eckhart along on a chain, he rides through the stormy skies. He leads the Wild Hunt, eluding, and finally subjugating, the powers of evil. He also wears a broad-brimmed hat, a wide mantel, holds his spear, and rides through the skies (replace his hat with a bishop’s mytre and the spear with a crozier, and we have the Dutch Saint Nicholas)” (p. 111).

In other words, Odin was another name for Nimrod, who, the Bible says, was “the mighty hunter before [the Hebrew word for “before” also means “against”] the LORD” (Genesis 10:9). Nimrod’s reputation as a mighty hunter was widespread.

Says Alexander Hislop, “The Wodan or Odin of Scandinavia can be proved to be the Adon of Babylon” (The Two Babylons, p. 133-134). Nimrod, Adon, or Adonis, of Babylon was the great “war-god.” Odin was the same. Nimrod, in the character of Bacchus, was the god of wine. Odin was said to partake of no other food but wine. The name of one of Odin’s sons, Balder, indicates the meaning of Odin’s own name. Balder is a form of the Chaldee Baal-zer, “The seed of Baal.” The Hebrew “z” in the later Chaldee frequently became a “d.” Baal and Adon both signify “Lord.” Since Balder is the “son of Baal,” as well as the “son of Adon,” or “Odin,” then Baal, Adon, and Odin must be the same person — representative of Nimrod, the first human to be deified and proclaimed by the pagans as a “god” after the Deluge!

“Santa Claus,” then, is not so innocent and cherubic a figure after all! Why do parents take their young children, sit them on “Santa’s lap,” and insist on teaching them Santa Claus myths? The word “Santa,” rearranged, spells “S-A-T-A-N,” and “Claus” is reminiscent of “Claws” — in other words, “SATAN’S CLAWS”! Do you want Satan, the arch-enemy of mankind, to get his “claws” into your children? By teaching them Santa Claus myths, and taking them to “Christmas parties,” with “Santa Claus” handing out “gifts,” you are subtly teaching your children to worship Satan the devil, the great impostor!

The True Origin of “Christmas”

It is indeed strange that a day never mentioned or sanctioned in the Bible should become the chief so-called “Christian” holiday of the entire year — a day never celebrated by Yeshua the Messiah, or his apostles, or the early New Testament Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God!

What is the actual origin of the celebration of December 25? A careful look at the word “Christmas” itself ought to tell us something. Notice! It itself is a mixture. Though it includes the name of Christ, it also mentions the “mass.” Where did the “mass” — with its rituals, elaborate ceremony, pagan prayers for the dead, transubstantiation rites, etc. — come from?

Alexander Hislop in his remarkable book The Two Babylons, points out that the “mass” is something that definitely goes back to ancient PAGAN customs and rites! He declares in plain and clear language:

“Therefore we find the women of Judah represented as simply ‘burning incense, pouring out drink-offerings, and offering CAKES to the queen of heaven’ (Jer.  44:19). The cakes were the ‘unbloody sacrifice’ she required….In the FOURTH CENTURY, when the queen of heaven, under the name of Mary, was beginning to be worshipped in the Christian Church, this ‘unbloody sacrifice’ also was brought in. Epiphanius states that the practice of offering and eating it began among `women of Arabia; and at that time it was well known to have been ADOPTED FROM THE PAGANS. The very shape of the unbloody sacrifice of Rome may indicate when it came. It is a small thin, round wafer; and on its roundness the Church of Rome lays so much stress….The importance, however, which Rome attaches to the roundness of the wafer, must have a reason; and that reason will be found, if we look at the altars of EGYPT. ‘The thin, round cake,’ says Wilkinson, ‘occurs on all altars.’ Almost every jot or tittle in the Egyptian worship had a symbolical meaning. The round disk, so frequent in the sacred emblems of Egypt, symbolized the sun” (The Two Babylons, p. 159-160).

The “sun-god” in ancient Egypt was Osiris. The round disk of the Egyptian “mass” symbolized the sun, and was an offering symbolizing the sun-god. He was considered the life and nourishment of the souls of men!

The “Christ-mass” therefore is nothing more than the celebration of the birth of the “sun-god” himself, the False Messiah, the False “Saviour” of the world, and the “mass” itself also represents the offering or “cakes” made to the queen of heaven, the “Mother” of the pagan Saviour, the “unbloody sacrifice”! Again, “Christ-mass” is proved to be PAGAN to the core!

It is a fact that December 25 was celebrated for thousands of years before the birth of the Messiah as the birth day of an ancient pagan god — THE SUN GOD! Alexander Hislop points out the truth in these shocking words — at least, they ought to be shocking to anybody with a clear, undefiled, and conscientious mind:

“Indeed, it is admitted by the most learned and candid writers of all parties that the day of our Lord’s birth cannot be determined, and that within the Christian Church no such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century, and that not till the fourth century was far advanced did it gain much observance. How, then, did the Romish Church fix on December the 25th as Christmas-day? Why, thus: Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the SAME FESTIVAL WAS ADOPTED by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part of Christians to MEET PAGANISM HALF-WAY was very early developed….Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on, till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition” (p. 93).

Hislop goes on,

“That Christmas was originally a Pagan festival, is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin. In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian title for the queen of heaven, was born at this very time, ‘about the time of the winter solstice.’ The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among ourselves — Yule-day — proves at once its Pagan and Babylonian origin. ‘Yule’ is the Chaldee name for an ‘infant’ or ‘little child;’ and as the 25th of December was called by our Pagan Anglo- Saxon ancestors, ‘Yule-day,’ or the “Child’s day,’ and the night that preceded it, ‘Mother-night,’ long BEFORE they came in contact with Christianity, that sufficiently proves its real character” (pp. 93-94).

December 25th was observed far and wide among the ancient world. This day was “The birth-day of the unconquered Sun.” The Yule log represented the dead stock of the slain Nimrod, arch-apostate rebel against the Lord after the flood (see Genesis 10:8-10), and the Christmas-tree was supposedly Nimrod reborn — the slain god come to life again!

In Europe, the Saxons offered a boar in sacrifice to the sun, to propitiate the queen of heaven on Christmas day. The boar, in pagan mythology, was supposed to have slain the false pagan Messiah. The boar was also a major article of the feast of Saturn at Rome. The boar’s head is still a standing dish in England at Christmas dinner. Says Hislop: “There can be no doubt, then, that the Pagan festival at the winter solstice — in other words, Christmas — was held in honor of the birth of the Babylonian Messiah” (p. 102).

The largest pagan religious cult which fostered sun worship in the Greek and Roman worlds on December 25 was the cult of Mithraism. They called it “the Nativity of the Sun.” Mithras, the sun-god, was supposed to have been born at this time, but so were Osiris, Horus, Tammuz, Hercules, Bacchus, Adonis, Jupiter — all the pagan Messiahs! This fact alone would seem to indicate that all these pagan sun-gods and deities trace their roots back to the original sun-god of ancient Babylon — Nimrod!

This popular winter festival became such an established custom that in pagan Rome and Greece, Egypt, and throughout Europe, the period of the winter solstice was a time of great revelry and festivity. In Rome it became known as the “Saturnalia,” in honor of the god Saturn, “the hidden one.” Saturn was another name for Nimrod, who late in his apostasy went into hiding from Shem, the son of Noah. The “feast of Saturn,” Hislop adds, “lasted five days; loose reins were given to drunkenness and revelry, slaves had a temporary emancipation, and used all manner of freedoms with their masters. This was precisely the way in which, according to Berosus, the drunken festival of the month Thebeth, answering to our December, in other words, the festival of Bacchus, was celebrated in Babylon” (p. 96-97).

Writes T. G. Crippen in Christmas and Christmas Lore,

“Now in December and the beginning of January there were several festivals which were intimately associated with the daily life of the Roman people. First, from the 17th to the 21st December, was the Saturnalia, the great Roman holiday….One might call it the Feast of Topsy-turveydom; when slaves were allowed for a few days to enjoy the semblance of freedom, were waited upon by their masters, and chose from amongst themselves a mock king to preside over their revels. Next, on the 22nd, came Sigillaria, the Feast of Dolls, when a fair was held, and dolls and other toys, mostly of earthenware, were given to children. Then, on 25th, came Brumalia, otherwise Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun, when the days began to lengthen after the solstice….It is believed to have been instituted … by the emperor Aurelian, in honour of Mithras, the Persian sun-god…” (p. 8-9).

Clearly, the pagan customs of Christmas had nothing remotely to do with the Messiah, or the Word of YEHOVAH God, the Scriptures. Clearly, they had nothing to offer to the Church of YEHOVAH God, as they were the very antithesis of true Christianity! Yet, somehow, this ancient pagan festival wormed its way into the established “Christian” Church and became its most prominent holiday of the year! What a monstrous mystery!

The Catholic Church took the excitement which surrounded the Roman Saturnalia, with its excesses, delights, debauchery, and wantonness, and called them the celebration of the birth of the Son of YEHOVAH God, Yeshua. Most people today still think of December 25 as the birth day of Yeshua, even though this is definitely not the case.

This pagan “bash” was transformed by the Catholic Church into the festivities of Christmas, in honor of the Madonna and Child. Thus the pagan Semiramis (Egyptian Isis) and Tammuz (Horus) were “transformed,” by sleight of hand, by the “magicians” of the Roman Church, into Mary and Yeshua. In this manner, the pagan practices of the past centuries became outwardly “Christian” in name and character! For almost 300 years after the time of Yeshua, the Church showed no concern for the date of the Messiah’s birth. The apostles and leaders of the New Testament Church never bothered to find out when Yeshua was born, as the date was not important to them. It was not until the fourth century that Christmas began to be observed by the Roman Catholic Church. Says the Encyclopedia Americana:

“Christmas — it was according to many authorities not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian Church as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth. A feast was established in memory of the birth of the Saviour in the Fourth Century. In the Fifth Century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman Feast of the birth of Sol.”

That is how an ancient PAGAN CUSTOM became engrafted upon the unsuspected Christian world! But should true followers of Yeshua, the Messiah, participate in ANCIENT PAGAN CUSTOMS? Should true Christians celebrate “Christmas”?

The Puritans, who were Christians attempting to reform the Church during the 1600’s, did not believe Christmas should be observed. This “baptism” of pagan rites and festivals by the Roman Catholic and the vast majority of the Protestant Churches, was totally rejected by the Puritans. One of them, William Prynne, during the time of king Charles I, wrote:

“Our Christmas lords of Misrule, together with dancing, masques, mummeries, stage-players, and such other Christmas disorders, now in use with Christians, were derived from these Roman Saturnalia and Bacchanalian festivals; which should cause all pious Christians eternally to abominate them” (The Book of Christmas Folklore, p. 8).

Because of his attitude toward Christmas and pagan rituals still observed by the professing Christian Church, William Prynne was placed in a pillory and his ears were cut off.

Should Christians Observe “Christmas”?

Should Christians today celebrate this ancient festival? Many today may think it is all right, but the opinions of men are not our standard or authority. What does the Word of YEHOVAH God itself say about this matter? It is a very serious question. Is it all right in the sight of YEHOVAH for men to take pagan customs and traditions, and to observe them, calling them “Christian”? Is it all right to merge and combine PAGAN practices with the truth of YEHOVAH God?

According to the prophet Malachi, YEHOVAH does not change (Mal.3:8). His laws and commandments are eternal (Psa. 111:7-8). Does YEHOVAH say it is all right to observe the traditions and customs of the pagans?

YEHOVAH God commanded ancient Israel, “I am the Lord your God. You must NOT DO AS THEY DO IN EGYPT, where you used to live, and you must NOT DO AS THEY DO IN THE LAND OF CANAAN, where I am bringing you. DO NOT FOLLOW THEIR PRACTICES. You must obey my laws, and be careful to follow my decrees” (Lev. 18:2-4).

YEHOVAH God hates idolatry! He detests it with vehement passion. He tells us, “…Be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.’ YOU must NOT WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD IN THEIR WAY, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of DETESTABLE THINGS the LORD HATES” (Deut. 12:29-31).

Because of pagan idolatrous practices, YEHOVAH God cast the Canaanites out of the Promised Land. They were worshippers of Baal, or Nimrod, Tammuz, the sun god, the pagan Messiah, the god of wine and revelry. They worshipped the evergreen tree, and used it as a symbol of their god. They observed December 25, in worship of the waning sun, and their sun-god divinity. This whole religious system stemmed from ancient Babylon, the fount of all heresy and apostasy.

Their sensuality and gross lasciviousness was particularly displayed during the mid-winter festival, called the Saturnalia in Rome, with gift-giving, drunkenness, and sexual licentiousness. YEHOVAH says of such Bacchanalial rites,

“Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled, so I punished it for its sin, and the land VOMITED out its inhabitants….Anyone who does any of these DETESTABLE THINGS — such persons must be cut off from their people. Keep my requirements and do NOT follow ANY OF THE DETESTABLE CUSTOMS that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 18:24-30).

Even such idolatrous items as the “Christmas tree” are condemned in the Word of YEHOVAH God! Jeremiah the prophet wrote,

“Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, LEARN NOT THE WAY OF THE HEATHEN, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them [such as the waning sun at the winter solstice!]. For the CUSTOMS of the people are VAIN [empty, useless, worthless]: for one CUTTETH A TREE out of the FOREST, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They DECK IT WITH SILVER AND WITH GOLD; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good” (Jer. 10:1-5).

Truly, the whole world has been deceived by Satan the devil and his clever masquerades and machinations (Rev. 12:9). YEHOVAH God Almighty thunders: “Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye POLLUTED after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye WHOREDOM after the manner of THEIR ABOMINATIONS?…ye POLLUTE yourselves with all your IDOLS, even unto this day….But as for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD: Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but POLLUTE YE MY HOLY NAME NO MORE with your gifts, and with your idols” (Ezek. 20:30-39).

The very name “Christmas,” combining the holy name of Christ with the pagan mass, POLLUTES and PROFANES YEHOVAH’s holy name! The celebration of these ancient pagan festivals, calling them “Christian,” is an abomination in the sight of YEHOVAH God! YEHOVAH will not accept such pagan, superstitious worship!

Yeshua the Messiah said to his disciples, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will KNOW THE TRUTH, and the truth will set you FREE” — free from the shackles of error, superstition, mythology, and pagan deception! (John 8:32, NIV).

Christmas is pagan. There is no doubt about it. The question is: What are you going to do about it? May YEHOVAH God help you to make the right decision, so you can inherit eternal life, and reign with the saints forever (Rev. 2:26-27; 5:10; 20:4).

Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, but these were not Christmas Carols. They were pagan songs, sung at the Winter Solstice celebrations as people danced round stone circles (The word carol originally meant to dance to something). The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, usually taking place around the 22nd December. The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy! Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived.

Early Christians took over the pagan solstice celebrations for Christmas and gave people Christian songs to sing instead of pagan ones. In AD 129, a Roman Bishop said that a song called “Angel’s Hymn” should be sung at a Christmas service in Rome. Another famous early Christmas Hymn was written in 760AD, by Comas of Jerusalem, for the Greek Orthodox Church. Soon after this many composers all over Europe started to write ‘Christmas carols’. However, not many people liked them as they were all written and sung in Latin, a language that the normal people couldn’t understand. By the time of the Middles Ages (the 1200s), most people had lost interest in celebrating Christmas altogether.

This was changed by St. Francis of Assisi when, in 1223, he started his Nativity Plays in Italy. The people in the plays sang songs or ‘canticles’ that told the story during the plays. Sometimes, the choruses of these new carols were in Latin; but normally they were all in a language that the people watching the play could understand and join in! The new carols spread to France, Spain, Germany and other European countries.

The earliest carol, like this, was written in 1410. Sadly only a very small fragment of it still exists. The carol was about Mary and Jesus meeting different people in Bethlehem. Most Carols from this time and the Elizabethan period are untrue stories, very loosely based on the Christmas story, about the holy family and were seen as entertaining rather than religious songs. They were usually sung in homes rather than in churches! Traveling singers or Minstrels started singing these carols and the words were changed for the local people wherever they were traveling. One carols that changed like this is ‘I Saw Three Ships’.

When Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans came to power in England in 1647, the celebration of Christmas and singing carols was stopped. However, the carols survived as people still sang them in secret. Carols remained mainly unsung until Victorian times, when two men called William Sandys and Davis Gilbert collected lots of old Christmas music from villages in England.

Before carol singing in public became popular, there were sometimes official carol singers called ‘Waits’. These were bands of people led by important local leaders (such as council leaders) who had the only power in the towns and villages to take money from the public (if others did this, they were sometimes charged as beggars!). They were called ‘Waits’ because they only sang on Christmas Eve (This was sometimes known as ‘watchnight’ or ‘waitnight’ because of the shepherds were watching their sheep when the angels appeared to them.), when the Christmas celebrations began.

Also, at this time, many orchestras and choirs were being set up in the cities of England and people wanted Christmas songs to sing, so carols once again became popular. Many new carols, such as ‘Good King Wenceslas’, were also written in the Victorian period.

New carols services were created and became popular, as did the custom of singing carols in the streets. Both of these customs are still popular today! One of the most popular types of Carols services are Carols by Candlelight services. At this service, the church is only lit by candlelight and it feels very Christmassy! Carols by Candlelight services are held in countries all over the world.

Perhaps the most famous carol service, is the service of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College in Cambridge, UK. This service takes place on Christmas Eve and is broadcast live on BBC Radio (and all over the world). In my house, we listen to it and it means Christmas has really started! The Service was first performed in 1918 as a way of the college celebrating the end of the First World War. It is always started with a single choir boy singing a solo of the first verse of the Carol ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. Sing along to Once in Royal David’s City! (on a different site) A service of Nine Lessons and Carols has nine bible readings (or lessons), that tell the Christmas story, with one or two carols between each lesson. Sometimes you get carol services which are a combination of nine lessons and carols and carols by candlelight! So you have nine lessons and carols by candlelight!

Yule!

YULE is amazing!

It is a time to spend with friends family and live in harmony!

It is so easy to create an altar for Yule

Burn: Bayberry, Chamomile,frankincense, rosemary, sage.

Decorate: w/ Holly, Juniper, mistletoe, moss, oak, cedar, pine cones, evergreen blessed thistle.

Use things from outside to be the green cheep witch just because you didn’t buy something from a store does not mean it is not just as good! It comes from your heart as does all magic!

Also deck the halls is a pagan solstice song you and your coven can chant !

Here is a chant that is perfect for Yule!!

God Rest Ye Merry Pagan Folk

“Gods rest ye merry pagan folk
Let none of you dismay.
Remember that the Sun returns
Upon this Solstice Day
The growing dark is ended now
And spring is on its way

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy
Comfort and Joy
Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

The winter’s worst still lies ahead
Fierce Tempest Snow and Rain
Beneath the blanket on the ground
The Spark of life remains
The Sun’s warm rays caress the seeds
To raise Life’s song again

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy
Comfort and Joy
Oh tidings of comfort and Joy

Within the blessed apple lies
The promise of the Queen
For from this pentacle shall rise
The orchards fresh and green
The Earth shall blossom once again
The air be sweet and clean

Oh tidings of comfort and Joy
Comfort and Joy
Oh tidings of comfort and Joy”

The date varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar.  Yule is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences.

Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) 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, the sun’s “rebirth” was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.

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 boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not “die” thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes Nature Sprites would come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to visit tthe residents. Mistletoe was also hung as decoration.  It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it.

The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice 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 by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially 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 hearth 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 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.

Many customs created around Yule are identified with Christmas today.  If you decorate your home with a Yule tree, holly or candles, you are following some of these old traditions.   The Yule log, (usually made from a piece of wood saved from the previous year) is burned in the fire to symbolize the Newborn Sun/Son.

Deities of Yule:  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.

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

Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, 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

Spellworkings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.

Deities of Yule:
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.