Snow progression

It snowed quite a bit in the south east last week.

Taking into account school being closed for the MLK holiday Monday, I worked at school one day last week: Tuesday.

The snow started around 8:30 in Raleigh. It continued to snow through the day until 6:30-7:00.

Thursday and Friday were also snow days, as it was still pretty much everywhere until late into the afternoon Friday.

Wednesday, a snowman amidst the falling snow.

Thursday, just as cold but clear, and we added a carrot.

Friday, clear and shrinking from melt

Saturday, almost gone

Sunday, only a scarf remains

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Is my heathen showing?

So…it’s cold. 

No, like it’s fucking cold. 

Told you. Fucking cold.

Some folks joke that little girl’s everywhere are looking again to Elsa and all of this attention has got the bitch strutting her shit again. 

Witchlette just did some work with Skadi not so long ago. I’m not saying all of this is the result of Witchlette, but I will say she has as much of a hand in it as the kids watching the movie adnausium. 

But…here’s the thing.

Yes, it’s cold. 

It’s also 😱 winter ❄️. 

The people who are seem to be the most upset over the cold are also the ones who griped their way through the summer because it was too hot. 

Yes, I agree North Carolina does not have the infrastructure to handle this cold. But with the jet stream getting weaker and artic airflow coming at more extreme latitudes more frequently, they, and other southern areas, better get started. Because it’s only going to get worse. 

Not too long ago, I would totally put myself in the camp of it’s cold and I want to be inside where it’s warm. Recently, I’ve noticed I run very hot. Folks around me are shivering and I’m sweating. My students know to wear layers in my classroom because 70° is as high as I will set the thermostat- mostly because any more than that is wasteful but also because I physically can’t take any more. I get nauseated when it’s too warm. 

Like I said, this is a rather recent change. 

Could it be mind over matter, that I am focusing so much mental and emotional energies of connecting with my Gods and my ancestors that my physiology has shifted?

This morning, I had on a winter coat and gloves, and I was very comfortable. Others wore more and were still feeling frozen. Around 2:00, I left from my classroom to go to another building on the campus and walked out to a balmy, sunny afternoon. It felt pleasant. Surprised, I checked my phone for the temperature and was surprised when I saw 34°. Wow. I just described it as balmy. 

Perhaps it was compared to the 16° on the way to work.

Then again, perhaps my heathen is showing. 

Days of Yule

This year:

First day of Yule was the High Feast, which we had at R’s house and it rekindled holiday magic I haven’t felt since family gatherings of many years ago. 

Day two was for Thor and the extremes of cold and heat, as we delve into the winter. We watched A Christmas Carol for the extremes, and the scary ghost stories of the Wild Hunt. We also opened gifts to celebrate the returning of the Sun. 

Day three was for Skadi and Ull, Lord and Lady of winter. We made and hung snow flakes in their honor. 

Day four fell on Christmas Eve, the night when Santa/Odin comes. This morning, we discussed the Wild Hunt, how the winds blew fierecly and carried Odin and Slepnir, and now Santa and his reindeer, far and wide. We talked about the Wild Hunt and how it is a time of scary stories. In honor of the scary ghost stories, and in preparation of presents received from Santa, Odin, and family tomorrow- to remember the point of Christmas is love not gifts- we watched Nightmare Before Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 

We ended the night with tossing reindeer and horse food (oats and sugar) on the front lawn, and leaving out cookies and milk for Santa and a horn or mead for Odin. 

Day five landed on Christmas where we explored the idea of family, both kith and kin, who share love between us. To show our love, we share gifts with our family, small tokens that, when enjoyed, you can remember who gave it to you and remember the love you share between you. 

The kids were surprised by happy gifts under the tree from Santa, stockings of goodies left by Odin, and gifts from kith and kin sent in from out of town. 

Witchlette was also very pleased to see the cookies eaten, the milk drank, and the mead enjoyed. 

We spent the morning enjoying each other and our new goodies. After lunch, we headed to my mom’s house where we enjoyed the company of extended family and shared gifts and good food together. 

Day six

Yesterday was spend with kin receiving gifts. We are very fortunate for everything and everyone we have in our lives. There are those in our community who are not as fortunate. Today is dedicated to them: we stopped at the grocery store and bought supplies for the food back. Last month, we gave canned fruits and veggies as well as beans and rice. The month before that, we gave pasta, tomato sauce, and cereal. This month, we got baby food, toothbrushes, toothpastes, soap, shampoo, and sanitary supplies. 

Usually, we drop off our donation to the box at Harris Teeter, but the folks have already picked up the box. Witchlette doesn’t do well in the car, so we’re going to drop off our goodies at the Magick Circle collection. Late, yes, but we did the gathering of supplies on the day. 

Day 7 we celebrated Mother’s Night. I learned after it had already passed that Mother’s Night is celebrated the night before the Solstice, which makes sense. Some traditions also have it in the third day of Yule. I will plan differently next year. 

Today, for Mother’s Night, I honored Frigg with a meditation of my own, while packing and preparing for our move. Also, since it’s mother’s night, everyone did an activity of moms choosing. This mama chose to go to hockey practice before lunch and watch hockey after dinner. 

Day eight

This was the first day we didn’t fully see through our activity. Today was dedicated to Elements and Elementals. We were going to make elemental totems for a family altar, but the activities were planned far before the day and the amount of packing that was done was not calculated for in the original plans. So…with craft supplies packed, we decided to plan our family altar for our new house and gather supplies. We have sticks and leaves for Earth, feathers for air, shells from our last trip to the beach for water, and crystals from camping for fire. As we are setting up our new house, we will arrange them in a hurricane vase, which is also already packed, and find the perfect spot for the whole family to enjoy it. 

Day Nine

Day Nine was devoted to Odin Allfather and all fathers. Witchlette and I spoke of Odin often during the day, though we didn’t have a set time devoted to him. Appropriately, we spoke of him while we were going somewhere. 

Hubby was given the choice of doing whatever activity he wanted to do. He wants to get the house on the market, so he decided to spend his time working on the house projects on his list. 

Day Ten

The 10th day is for our ancestors. Witchlette wanted to hear more stories about her great grandfather on Hubby’s side, his beloved grandfather, Grandpa C. We didn’t talk much about the countries where we hail from, as Witchlette knows most of that, especially her Pre-K class did an around the world where are you from unit with parent volunteers speaking about  their cultures. 

Day eleven

Day Eleven fell on New Year’s Eve. Typically I end our Yule celebration with Oath Night, but it wasn’t so this year. 

The three of us who were old enough to make oaths last year read them at the dinner table. I wanted to journal weekly to get perspective and positivity. While I didn’t journal weekly, I did journal more frequently and got more positive. Hubby wanted to complete more house projects, and he did. Witchlette wanted Witchling to get better (he was sick this time last year) and since Witchlette got better, Witchlette’s oath was also a success. 

We wrote down our oaths for the coming year, with Witchlette whispering hers to Hubby so that it will be hers to own and Witchling whispering his to me. 

After dinner, I set the previous, successful oaths a blaze to release them. 

Day twelve

The last day of Yule was dedicated to the Sun, which likely should have been marked on the second day. A bit before Thanksgiving, Witchlette spotted some sun catchers in the dollar store. I returned to the store on my own and purchased them as stocking stuffers. I store that in my not usual gift stop and forgot all about them until we were cleaning out the closet last night. Happily, they became our Yule activity for today. The kids painted them as they saw fit, though Witchlette was disappointed there was no red paint, but she loves her finished product of Leo nonetheless. 

And now, everything from Yule has been packed away. It’s fucking cold in North Carolina, we have an artic blast with temperatures only going as high as 40 at the end of the week. While the sun has returned and the days are slowly getting longer, we are fully in the cold season. 

Solstice blessings!!!

Last night, Hubby, Little Witches, and I went to a High Feast for the Longest Night and enjoyed the company of kith and kin.

Witchlette and I we’re honored with being asked to bless the meal with our dinner time blessing. I brought Witchlette’s Asgard stories book to share tales of Ragnarok, The Wild Hunt, and why we celebrate Yule based on R’s and my shared Germanic ancestors. 

Since R hosted, we joined for her Sun Wheel on  Solstice night last night. Most the whole of people gathered went to her balcony and we rewelcomed Air, Fire, Water, and Earth before lighting Spirit. 

We played games, ate wonderful food, shared love and friendship. We also stayed out way too late, Littles included, which in turn had us sleep much later than normal this morning. 

When we woke, we shared a special breakfast together and lit our final Sun Wheel candle. 

We rewelcome Air, that we may speak our truths, Fire, that we may be light bearers in the dark, Water, that we may hold to our emotional wisdom, and Earth, that we may care for ourselves and our planet. 

This morning, we welcome Spirit, that we may feel the unity and connection of our family together here. That we may feel the unity of our extended family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. We welcome unity between us and our kith, our chosen family. We welcome unity between all people in the world that there may be peace and love for all. 

Hail and blessed be. 

We also opened our second day of Yule box giving us our activity for the day and spirit we are honoring, and we also opened family gifts. 

Bonus: Witchlette asked for Fairies and Hubby and I got her a fairy play set. Within the play set is an apple tree, and hanging from the tree are golden apples. Witchlette was beside herself that Idunn is in her toy. 

Traditional alignment

Yesterday was groundhog day. Phil saw his shadow, informing us that winter is still six weeks away. …which it is, as there are six weeks between Imbolc and Ostera, but it will feel like winter for these last six weeks. 

However, it was also nearly 70 degrees on Imbolc. 

Both tradions agree, it will be cold between now and Ostera. 

Yule Blessings!

Yule, the Winter Solstice. Meteorlogically, winter started on December 1st. Solarly, it began on Mabon, at the Autumn Equinox. By the time we are at Yule, we have been in the Meteorlogical winter for 20 days and the Solar winter for about three months. Yet seasonally, Yule is the official start of winter. While the Sun has returned and the days will begin to grow longer, the weather will also grow colder. The Oak King has finally fallen away and his twin brother, the Holly King, rises up and rules his half of the year when the only greenery around are the evergreen plants which, like him, do not ever go dormant and are only fully recognized at a time when all other plant life is at rest.

May Yule Blessings reach out to you and yours at this season and every day.

Back into the Swing of Things

So the holiday season has officially ended. This weekend we took down the decorations, boxed everything up, put it back in the attic. All the gifts are away, some in cycle before the tree went up.

The house is back to its unseasonable normal. It’s a little sad.

One of the cultural reasons winter celebrations were started was because of the dreariness that is winter. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s it’s brown. The winter festivities brought everyone together and celebrated the spring that is, day by day, coming.

Solstice has passed, so the days are beginning to get longer. It’s a wonderful feeling. When we took down our outside decorations, we noticed the daffodils are already beginning to bud (waaaay to early, but it was still nice to see!).

But it’s still only early January. It’s still dark and it’s still cold and it’s still brown. Green is coming, but the Yule decor is a direct symbol of the impending spring. And now it’s packed away back in the attic.

And now we have to wait to see [more] of the sun. Feel the warmth. Smell and touch the green.

At least I have my growing Witchlet to occupy me while I wait for spring!