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Merry Yule! Blessed Solstice!

Published December 21, 2012 by Lunapo

Merry Yule! Blessed Solstice!

Light a fire!

Enjoy some mead!

Have a feast!

Hug your loved ones!

Bring Kith and Kin near!

Blessed Yule!

…and, at least for a small while, forget about the world [possibly] ending tonight.

Why not listen to the almighty cookie instead?

Why not listen to the almighty cookie instead?

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Musical Musings: Dec the Halls

Published December 19, 2012 by Lunapo

So I’ve already discussed how most, if not all, of the “Christmas traditions” are stolen from Pagan celebrations.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,  For the Holly King
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don we now our gay apparel,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Toll the ancient Yuletide carol,  The “ancient Yuletide carol”??!! So you’re admitting that it’s Yule!! 😀
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the blazing Yule before us, The blazing Yule [log]; another admittance
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Strike the harp and join the chorus. Because caroling is a Pagan tradition.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow me in merry measure, Measure of harmony, see above
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While I tell of Yuletide treasure, Yuletide treasure! Another admittance!
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away the old year passes,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sing we joyous, all together,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Heedless of the wind and weather,
Fa la la la la, la la la la

So, in summary, Dec the Halls is a TRUE Yule song. Not a “Christmas Carol”. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This one belongs to us! Let’s embrace it!!

Yule Etymology

Published December 14, 2012 by Lunapo

Over the past few weeks, I have been posting a lot about Yule: what it means in my house, what it means to other people, things related to the celebration. Today I would like to share the etymology of Yule itself.

“Yule is the modern English representative of the Old English words ġéol or ġéohol and ġéola or ġéoli, with the former indicating “(the 12-day festival of) Yule” (later: “Christmastide”) and the latter indicating “(the month of) Yule”, whereby ǽrra ġéola referred to the period before the Yule festival (December) and æftera ġéola referred to the period after Yule (January). Both words are thought to be derived from Common Germanic *jeχʷla-, and are cognate to Gothic (fruma) jiuleis and Old Norse (Icelandic and Faroese) jól (Danish and Swedish jul and Norwegian jul or jol) as well as ýlir[1], Estonian jõulud and Finnish joulu. The etymological pedigree of the word, however, remains uncertain, though numerous speculative attempts have been made to find Indo-European cognates outside the Germanic group.

The noun Yuletide is first attested from around 1475.”

Thanks again to Wikipedia.

“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.


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.”

And also to Wicca.com

Musical Musings: 3-way

Published December 12, 2012 by Lunapo

Yesterday, I posted about how many Christmas traditions are Pagan in origin. A while back, I posted about how we celebrate 12 days of Yule, like olden days.

Today, I would like to share with you three versions of 12 days of celebrating!

First, the song we all know: The 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Twelve drummers drumming, Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree!

According to The Old Ways, there is a traditional song about the King and the Lady (god/goddess perhaps?). This song has 13 days.

THE YULE DAYS

traditional

(to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”)

 

The King sent his Lady on the first Yule day
A papingo-aye. (i.e., parrot or peacock)
Who learns my carol and carries it away.
The King sent his lady on the second Yule day
Two partridges and a papingo-aye
etc. ——– circa 1870

Third day – Three plovers
Fourth day – A goose that was grey
Fifth day – Three starlings
Sixth day – Three gold spinks
Seventh day – A bull that was brown
Eighth day – Three ducks a-merry laying
Ninth day – Three swans a-merry swimming
Tenth day – an Arabian baboon
Eleventh day – Three hinds a-merry dancing
Twelfth day – Two maids a-merry dancing
and Thirteenth day – Three stalks of corn

Each followed by “Who learns my carol, etc.”

The last one is my personal favorite: a local radio show played it once when I was a kid and it doesn’t feel like the holidays without hearing this song!

The first thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Is finding a Christmas tree

The second thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me:
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The third thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Hangovers
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The fourth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me

Sending Christmas cards
Hangovers
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The fifth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Five months of bills!
Sending Christmas cards
Hangovers
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The sixth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me:
Facing my in-laws
Five months of bills!
Oh, I hate those Christmas cards!
Hangovers
Rigging up these lights!
And finding a Christmas tree

The seventh thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me:
The Salvation Army
Facing my in-laws
Five months of bills!
Sending Christmas cards
Oh, geez!
I’m tryin’ to rig up these lights!
And finding a Christmas tree

The eighth thing at Christmas that such a pain to me:
I WANNA TRANSFORMER FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!
Charities,
And whataya mean “YOUR in-laws”?!?
Five months of bills!
Ach, making out these cards
Honey, get me a beer, huh?
What, we have no extension cords?!?
And finding a Christmas tree

The ninth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Finding parking spaces
DADDY, I WANT SOME CANDY!!!!
Donations!
Facing my in-laws Five months of bills!
Writing out those Christmas cards
Hangovers!
Now why the hell are they blinking?!?!?
And finding a Christmas tree

The tenth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me:
“Batteries Not Included”
No parking spaces
BUY ME SOMETHIN’!!!
Get a job, ya bum!
Facing my in-laws!
Five months of bills!
Yo-ho, sending Christmas cards
Oh, geez, look at this!
One light goes out, they ALL go out!!!
And finding a Christmas tree

The eleventh thing of Christmas that’s such a pain to me:
Stale TV specials
“Batteries Not Included”
No parking spaces
DAD, I GOTTA GO TA BATHROOM!!
Charities!
She’s a witch…I hate her!
Five months of bills!
Oh, I don’t even KNOW half these people!
Oh, who’s got the toilet paper, huh?
Get a flashlight…I blew a fuse!!
And finding a Christmas tree

The twelfth thing of Christmas that’s such a pain to me:
Singing Christmas carols
Stale TV specials
“Batteries Not Included”
No parking?!?
WAAAAAAAAAAH! WAAAAAAAAAAH!
Charities!
Gotta make ’em dinner!
Five months of bills!
I’m not sendin’ them this year, that’s it!
Shut up, you!
FINE! YOU’RE SO SMART, YOU RIG UP THE LIGHTS!!!
And finding a Christmas tree

Holiday Meanings

Published December 11, 2012 by Lunapo

Pagan calendar indeed!

With the holidays comes a lot of pomp and circumstance. It has been said before and it will be said again and again.

Ain’t that the truth!

My aunt and uncle in South Carolina are very religious; my aunt is constantly posting items on Facebook about Jesus and what’s going to happen to all of the evil non-believers out there. She sends emails with the same messages, and I confronted her a few years ago with my perspective and my beliefs. She hasn’t sent me one of those emails since. Thank Goddess.

Below is a lovely post from The Organized Hearth Witch:

“Jesus is the reason for the season” … “The REAL meaning of Christmas” … “Keep Christ in Christmas”… Sound familiar? We hear these phrases every year as many of those who follow the Christian faith try to promote the idea that theirs is the original and only legitimate holiday celebration. But it’s simply not true.

Unless the Christian’s holiday celebration consists solely of setting out a nativity scene & going to church, then the observances are pagan in origin. That said – I think everyone should celebrate whatever traditions they wish… regardless of their faith.

I, for one, do not limit myself solely to the celebrations of my personal path. I incorporate aspects of many different traditions and don’t see this as a conflict. Why? Because I respect and honor those traditions in and of themselves, and do not try to insinuate that they are anything that they are not. As such, I don’t dishonor or offend those who DO follow those traditions and consider them sacred.

The truth is that all of the Winter Holiday customs pre-date the Christian church, and are NOT Christian. They have been adopted & incorporated into the church. I have no problem with aspects of my faith being celebrated by those who do not follow my path. In fact, I welcome it.

What I find offensive, do not appreciate, and cannot stomach is the arrogance which insists that these things are NOT pagan and are, instead, Christian… and that the “REAL” meaning (source) of the holiday is the idea of Christ’s birth.

Sorry, No.

Santa is not Christian, no matter how many pictures and figurines there are of the jolly man in red kneeling before a manger. Neither are candy canes, snowmen, Christmas trees, exchanging presents, etc etc etc.

It is important to be educated & really understand what it is you’re celebrating during this Winter Holiday season. In that light:

  • Christmas Trees – Pagans have, since the beginning, revered the Evergreen trees & would decorate them as part of their sacred celebrations. They are considered a symbol of winter’s inability to stop the cycle of renewal, and a promise of the return of the sun, celebrated at the Winter Solstice.
  • Mistletoe – Figures heavily in Norse mythology & Druidic rituals. (Also: Holly, Ivy, Wreaths & the like)
  • Caroling – Early carols were sung in a circle dance by European Celts as part of fertility rituals. There was also raucous singing in the streets by naked revelers during Saturnalia. The practice of wassailing (signing from door to door) was another pagan custom. These were later adopted as a (now clothed) way to celebrate Christmas.
  • Candy Canes – They were not created to represent the purity & blood of Jesus, or as a ‘secret code’ between early Christians, or to represent the shepherds’ crooks. They’re just candy.
  • Exchanging Presents – The tradition of ‘gifting’ small, meaningful tokens has always figured heavily in Pagan rituals & celebrations.
  • Yule Logs – Yule has been celebrated by ancient Pagans & especially the Norse who would bring in large logs for the fire in recognition of the return of the sun. There would be feasting during the days the log burned down.
  • December 25th – The last day of the ‘Saturnalia’ celebration, an ancient & hedonistic Roman holiday. Also very near the Winter Solstice, an ancient Pagan observance celebrating the return, or birth, of the Sun God (often depicted with a halo of light or rays of sun emanating from him… sound familiar?). The church, in an attempt to bring Pagans into the faith, ‘rebranded’ December 25th as the “official” date of Jesus’ birth. The church encouraged these new followers to continue celebrating in the manner they had been, simply adding a celebration of the birth on the 25th.
  • Santa Claus – The man who came to be known as “Saint Nicholas” was born in Turkey & became the Bishop of Myra. He was named a saint in the 19th century. He was known for being charitable & assisting those in need. In 1087 a group of sailors who idolized Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy. There, they ‘adopted’ the local custom stories of the female boon-giving deity called The Grandmother (or Pasqua Epiphania) who would fill children’s stockings with her gifts. The followers ousted The Grandmother from her shrine & put Nicholas in her place, saying that he was the one who gave gifts. This is where the legends (not fact) of his gifting originated. The cult grew & spread until it reached the German & Celtic pagans who had their own history of worshiping Woden who had a long, white beard & rode a horse through the heavens. Again, the observances were merged. In a bid for pagan followers in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church adopted the Nicholas cult, incorporated it into their liturgy, and began teaching that he did (and they should) distribute gifts on December 25th, which they had already established as the “birth date”. Through the years, modern secularism has blended this history with a variety of other traditions and stories from around the globe to create what we now know as ‘Santa Claus’ – a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol.

Now, I am not saying that anyone should not celebrate the way they wish. I don’t believe that these traditions should be stripped from Christian households. I am simply asking that they be acknowledged for what they are, and that respect be given to their origins.

Put up a tree, decorate it with lights, burn your Yule log, sing carols, tell stories of Santa Claus, and all the rest. Enjoy this magical time to the fullest! Because at its core, this season is all about family, peace, love, and spreading joy to others. It’s a time to come together and ‘drink from the cup of human kindness’…

So please, celebrate in the manner you wish, and allow me to do the same – without having to listen to the perpetuation of the lie that my traditions are not mine.

Yule Angel (c) Anne Stokes

I myself have adopted the adage “Keep the Sol in Solstice”. 🙂

Yule gifts

Published December 10, 2012 by Lunapo

First, I want to share a post from Pagan Dad:

To Santa or not to Santa?

I put out a call for article ideas yesterday on my Facebook page and while there were many ideas, some of them have already been talked about on my blog. Part of the problem with my years of archives of posts is that things get lost in there. But there is one that I wanted to talk about today.

Whether or not we should tell our children about Santa and the whole idea of him bringing gifts on Yule/Christmas. The parent was worried about lying to our kids, even though we tell them not lie ourselves.

Yet as I sit down to write this I’m having a hard time deciding on the appropriate course of action would be. But I can say that we still talk about Santa and about La Befana, the Italian Christmas Witch. Although my oldest has reached the point many years ago, that she doesn’t believe she has been forbidden from telling her sister. Of course now her sister, our youngest, is growing up (too fast mind you) and starting to question. Although she told us, very emphatically that Santa is really the Holly King just this past week.

So for us I don’t see the harm in it. There is a difference in lying for gain and to avoid trouble (things our kids get in trouble for) and telling a little white lie to allow our children to grow up with a sense of wonder. And besides do we want our children to be both that “Pagan kid” and the kid who tells everyone that Santa isn’t real? Because unless we raise them in a bubble then they are going to find out about the mythical creatures and beings that we believe and honor during the holidays.

Now all of this being said, there is no harm in telling your kids that Santa really is the Holly King. That way when they reach that age when they stop believing then they can still honor the Holly King for the season.

Thoughts?

Blessed Be!”

In an earlier post, I described how Hubby and I do gifts for each other on Yule (the morning or evening of the second day). We do holiday gifts with other family members on the 25th. The two of us have discussed doing Santa presents for our future children, and that those gifts would also be on the 25th. That way, like Pagan Dad says, our kids aren’t the non-Christian weirdos AND the kids who don’t have Santa. (For the record, I know many, many Jewish families who include Santa for the sake of their kids feeling part of the larger materialist, gift-driven majority). Besides, as I got older, I realized my mom was Santa. I also realized that the Spirit of Santa is the goodness of the holidays; the way people go above and beyond in their charitable donations this one time of year.

After reading Pagan Dad’s post, I like the idea of referencing Santa as the Holy King, to give him a more firm foundation in our tradition. The only issue I have with that, is what figure would then represent the Oak King in the summer?

Decor inside and out!

Published December 4, 2012 by Lunapo

This weekend we decorated the house for the holidays. I like to have everything up the first week of December (not too early, but still plenty of time to enjoy) and stay up until the weekend after Hubby’s birthday (Jan 8).

Last year, time got away from us and we didn’t have anything up. It was quite sad, never actually felt like the holidays. This year, like the years before, we went all out (for us).

20121202-201255.jpg

This is the table at the front entrance. I have different silk plants for different times of the year. Holly and poinsettia for winter, pink and purple flowers for spring, cat tails and yellow flowers for summer, leaves and orange flowers for fall.

In the living room, we have the tree, the stockings, presents on the mantle, and a mistake toe ball hanging from the light.

20121202-201310.jpg

Outside, we have snowflakes and blue lights in the tree, candy canes around the tree. On the house we have solar icicle lights, they need a day to charge up.

20121202-201324.jpg

20121202-201451.jpg

This is the tree lit up without any lights on the house!!!

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