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.

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.

 

Merry Meet! Merry Imbolc

I Hope all the fellow Children of the earth and who have faith are MERRY and HAPPY during this time of celebration!

This Holiday is not just about Mother Earth its about the cycle of Rebirth of the Green man and Horned God. What ever religion or Deity you choose to follow please remember we are all children of earth the cycle of life and death is real and beautiful death is not the end,  it is an transition!

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Witch calender events for 2014

Pagans and Wiccans love to celebrate, and as the Wheel of the Year turns, a number of milestones are reached. Each is a time for gathering together with friends and family, working on our spiritual development, and feasting and merrymaking! The following is a list of dates for 2014, as well as resources for celebration in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

***Please note that the full moon dates and times are based upon the Farmer’s Almanac schedules, which is listed in Eastern Standard Time.

 January

1st: New Moon 11:15 am , Hag’s Day – Honoring the Goddess as she who transforms!, New years Day, Birthday of folklorist Sir James Frazier, 1854

6th: Triple Goddess Day- Honoring the Goddess as the three-in-one, Also the Day Of The Lord of the Dance Honoring shiva, seeking his aid for prosperity  and wisdom in the new year, and also a spouse if desired.

8th: 1st Quarter moon 3:40am

13th: Last of Austria’s witchcraft laws repealed in 1787

16th: Full moon 4:53

18th:Day of Danu- celebrating the Great Goddess who shows the way.

19th: Birthday of Dorothy Clutterbuck

20th: Celtic Tree Month of Birch ends

21st: Celtic Tree Month of Rowan begins

24th: Last Quarter Moon 5:20

25th: Birthday of poet Robert Burns, 1759

28th: Up Helly Aa celebration, Shetland Islands, Scotland

30th: New Moon 11:39 pm, Birthday of Z Budapest, founder of Dianic Wicca

February

2nd: Imbolc, & Lammas or Lughnasadh (Southern Hemisphere), Roman celebration of Februalia

6th: First Quarter Moon 7:23pm

12th: Death of Gerald Gardner in 1964

14th: Valentine’s Day & Full moon, Quickening Moon at 6:53 pm

15th: Lupercalia, Pan’s day-Honoring the lord of the wilderness

17th: Celtic Tree Month of Rowan ends

18th: Celtic Tree Month of Ash begins

21st: Birthday of author Patricia Telesco

22: Birthday of author Sybil Leek

28th: Cake Day- offering little cakes to the God and Goddess and remembering your ancestors.

March

1st: New Moon 8:00 am, Matronalia, the Festival of Women

6th: Birthday of “official witch of Salem” Laurie Cabot in 1933

8th: First Quarter Moon 1:27pm

16th: Full moon — Storm Moon at 1:08 pm

17th: St. Patrick’s Day, Celtic Tree Month of Ash ends

18th: Celtic Tree Month of Alder begins

20th: Beginning of Spring, Ostara, Mabon (Southern Hemisphere)

26th: Birthday of author and folklorist Joseph Campbell

28th: Death of author Scott Cunningham in 1993

30th: New Moon 6:45pm

April

6th: National Tartan Day

7th: First Quarter Moon 8:27am

14th: Celtic Tree Month of Alder ends

15th: Full moon — Wind Moon at 3:42 am, Celtic Tree Month of Willow begins,

16th: Birthday of author Margot Adler

22nd: Earth Day

23rd: Wiccan pentacle is officially added to the list of VA-approved emblems for gravestones,07

29th: New Moon 6:15am

30th: Walpurgisnacht celebrated by German witches

May

1st: Beltane, Samhain (Southern Hemisphere)

5th: Cinco de Mayo

7th First Quarter Moon 3:16am

11th: Mother’s Day

12th: Celtic Tree Month of Willow ends

13th: Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn begins

14th: Full moon 3:16 pm

21st: Last Quarter Moon 1:00pm

28th: New Moon 6:14 am

June

1st: England’s Witchcraft Act of 1563 goes into effect

5th: First Quarter Moon 8:39pm

9th: Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn ends

10th: Celtic Tree Month of Oak begins, Hanging of Bridget Bishop, first victim in the Salem Witch Trials

13th: Full moon 12:11 am, 13th: Birthday of Gerald Gardner in 1884

15th: Father’s Day

17th: Birthday of Wiccan author Starhawk

19th: Last Quarter Moon 6:39pm

21st: Beginning of Summer, Summer Solstice Sabbat Midsummer A.k.a Litha, Yule (Southern Hemisphere)

22nd: England’s last Witchcraft Law is repealed in 1951

27th: New Moon 8:09 am, Birthday of author Scott Cunningham in 1956

 

July

4th: Independence Day

5th: First Quarter Moon 12:00am

7th: Celtic Tree Month of Oak ends

8th: Celtic Tree Month of Holly begins

12th: Full moon 7:25 am

13th: Birthday of Dr. John Dee in 1527

19th: Last Quarter Moon 2:09am, Rebecca Nurse is hanged in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692

26th: New Moon 10:42 pm

August

1st: Lammas or Lughnasadh, Imbolc (Southern Hemisphere), Birthday of medium Edward Kelley, 1555

2nd – 4th: Dublin Irish Festival (Dublin, OH)

4th: First Quarter Moon, Moon Celtic Tree Month of Holly ends

5th: Celtic Tree Month of Hazel begins

10th: Full Moon — Corn Moon at 2:09 pm

15th: Birthday of Charles Leland, folklorist and author, 1824

17th: Last Quarter Moon

20th: Birthday of author Ann Moura in 1947

25th: New Moon 2:13 pm

31st: Birthday of author Raymond Buckland

September

1st: Celtic Tree Month of Hazel ends

2nd: First Quarter Moon, Celtic Tree Month of Vine begins

9th: Full Moon

10th: Birthday of Carl Llewellyn Weschcke

14th: Birthday of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa in 1486, Birthday of author Ellen Dugan

17th: Television welcomes Bewitched in 1964

21st: International Day of Peace

23rd: Fall Begins, Fall Equinox or Mabon, Ostara (Southern Hemisphere)

24th: New Moon

29th: Celtic Tree Month of Vine ends

30th: Celtic Tree Month of Ivy begins

 

October

1st: Birthday of Isaac Bonewits, founder of Ár nDraíocht Féin

8th: Full moon

12th: Birthday of occultist Aleister Crowley, 1875

18th: Birthday of Nicholas Culpeper, noted herbalist, in 1616

20th: Birthday of Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary

23rd: New Moon

27th: Celtic Tree Month of Ivy ends

28th: Celtic Tree Month of Reed begins

31st: First Quarter Moon, Samhain, Beltane (Southern Hemisphere), Day Of the Dead, Halloween, Covenant of the Goddess formed in 1975

November

1st: Mexico’s Day of the Dead, All Saints Day

2nd: Birthday of Wiccan author Sirona Knight

6th: Full moon

11th: Veteran’s Day

14th: Last Quarter Moon

22nd: New Moon

24th: Celtic Tree Month of Reed ends

25th: Celtic Tree Month of Elder begins

28th: Thanksgiving day (United States)

29th: First Quarter Moon

30th: Birthday of Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, founder of Church of All Worlds, Festival of Hecate Trivia

December

6th: Full moon – Long Nights Moon at 7:27 am, Krampusnacht

14th: Last Quarter Moon

17th: Beginning of Saturnalia

21st: Winter Solstice or Yule, Litha (Southern Hemisphere)

22nd: New Moon, Celtic Tree Month of Elder ends

20th: Celtic Tree Month of Birch begins

21st: Winter Starts

22nd: New Moon

25th: Christmas Day, Feast of Frau Holle, Germanic goddess

28th: First Quarter Moon

31st: Festival of Hogmanay, New years eve

 

 

 

 

 

Yule Recipes everything from morning to night!

Yule Celebration Recipes 
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Morning Julegroed
4 cups milk
A couple of almonds, finely chopped
1 rounded teaspoon of butter/margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup washed white rice
A pinch of cinnamon powder
1/2 cup thick cream

In a large saucepan, heat the milk until boiling. Add butter/margarine, then add the rice and turn down the heat. Cover with lid, and let rice simmer slowly for about one hour or until the milk is absorbed. Transfer to a non-metal bowl and fold in the cream and almonds. Serve in small bowls with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

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Sun Up Egg Squares
1 pound pork sausage, cooked & drained
1 1/4 cups bisquick
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
12 eggs
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup milk
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon each; pepper, oregano

Layer the sausage, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and cheese in a well greased 13″x9″x2″ baking dish. Beat together the remaining ingredients in a non-metal bowl and pour over sausage mixture. Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and set (about 30 minutes). Cut into 12 3-inch squares. Serves 12, can be halved.

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Shortest Day Ham Loaf
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 pound ground ham
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients above and shape into 2 individual loaves. In a saucepan combine:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 cup water

Bring sauce to a boil, pour over the loaves, place loaves in a 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour, basting regularly. Makes 10-12 servings.

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Yuletide Slaw
4 cups red cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, corse ground
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons parsley
1 green bell pepper, chopped

Combine and toss the vegetables together. Mix salt, pepper, salad oil, lemon juice, sugar and parsley and pour over the vegetable mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour, Toss briskly before serving. Makes 8 servings.

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Festive Ham Balls
3 cups bisquick
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
10 1/2 cups smoked ham
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2/3 teaspoon milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Lightly grease a 15 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ baking pan. Mix all above ingredients in a non-metal bowl. Shape mixture into 1″ balls. Place the balls about 2″ apart in the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until brown. Remove from pan and serve immediately. Makes 16 servings.

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Brighter Day Cheese Ball
3 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon red hot pepper sauce
1 pkg. (8-oz) Neufchatel cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3 green onions w/tops, finely chopped
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced parsley

Preheat the oven to 350. Spread out chopped pecans on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until toasted, tossing once. In a small non-metal bowl, mix the cream cheese, onions, mustard, red pepper sauce, and garlic with mixer at a medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Wrap in plastic wrap and shape into approx. 4″ ball, refrigerate for 15 minutes. After, on a sheet of waxed paper, toss the pecans and parsley. Unwrap the cheese ball and carefully roll it around in the mixture, covering it completely. Rewrap the cheese ball and place in refrigerator until time to serve. Serve with crackers or fresh vegetables. Makes 24 servings.

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Hot Spiced Wassail (non-alcoholic)
4 cups cranberry juice
6 cinnamon sticks
5 cups apple cider
1 orange, studded with whole cloves
1 cup water
1 apple, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix juice, cider, and water in large saucepan or crock pot. Add cinnamon sticks, clove studded orange, and apple slices. Simmer mixture for 4 hours. Serve hot. Makes 12 servings.

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Solstice Surprise Salad
1 large unpeeled cucumber
1 15 1/2 ounce can whole chestnuts
4 ounces cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons French dressing

Wash and dry cucumber. Cut into quarters, lengthwise, then thinly slice into a non-metal bowl. Grate cheddar cheese and add to cucumber. Break up the chestnuts into fairly large pieces and add. Toss well to mix, adding the French dressing. Chill for one hour before serving. Makes 6 servings.

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Roasted Lamb Feast For A (Sun) King
1-3 pound shank leg of lamb
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
1/8 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed
8 cloves garlic
6 parsnips, cut into 1″ pieces
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon, sliced

With a sharp knife, trim all fat and cartilage from the lamb. Season with the salt and pepper. Make 1″ deep slits all over the leg of lamb. Use most of the garlic and all of the rosemary by pushing 1/2 garlic cloves and a few rosemary leaves into each slit. In a large roasting pan, combine oil with the sweet potatoes, the parsnips (turnips may be substituted), and the rest of the garlic. Move the vegetables to the side of the pan, and place the leg of lamb in the center. Move the vegetables around the lamb, surrounding it. Roast the lamb and vegetables for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Turn the vegetables occasionally so that they cook evenly. Remove from the oven, and with a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a serving dish. Keep warm. Place the lamb on a carving platter and cover with foil. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes. Slice the roasted lamb and serve with warm vegetables. Makes 6 servings.

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The Best For Last Bars
1/4 pound butter
10 ounce raspberry chocolate chips
12 ounce can evaporated milk
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 1/2 cups sugar
7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 heaping tablespoon of instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla

In heavy saucepan or double boiler melt the butter. Add evaporated milk, sugar, and coffee. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add raspberry chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate. Stir the mixture until all ingredients are melted. Add the marshmallow creme and stir until well blended. Stir in the vanilla. Pour into a slightly greased 9″ x13″ pan. Refrigerate. Cut into bite-sized bars when cooled. Makes 12 servings

Yule-Winter Solstice is coming!!!

Winter Solstice is coming!!

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.