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Friday, December 21, 2012

Yule/ A Shifting in Time


There have been postings dealing with this sense of being cocooned with sadness and dread with a touch of apathy. Much talk about the Mayan predictions coupled with the horrible killing of innocents and leaders who don't lead has put many in a gloomy funk.
  I've been walking around with a cloud on my shoulder and an under current of a dam of tears threatening to break.
I'm having a hard time getting into an Xmasy mood.

But yesterday I had some time to myself .  I celebrated Yule a little early by snipping a few branches of holly from my bush and a few sprigs from the little pine out back. We were having a small break in the weather from our passing rain showers. The branches were all wet with a fresh clean smell.
I set up my altar , meditated then performed a  small Yule ritual.
I felt better knowing that today at 6:12 am EST Gaia, Mother Earth, would stand still for a blip in time and then she would begin to move again and  the light would grow.
Tonight I will light candles and make silent wishes for a peaceful heart for all, love to soothe tired souls and    strength to handle what ever comes our way.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Page from Ruby Temple Blackchurch's Journal



                                                                                                       December 24, 1905

Mother and Father have retired for the evening. After today's busy schedule of baking, wrapping presents and acquiring the tree, they were both exhausted. I told them to go on up and I would finish decorating the tree.
  The garland of popcorn and cranberries has been draped upon the the tree branches. The glass balls and ornaments glitter softly in the glow of firelight. There are just a few more paper cones to fill with nuts, candies and trifles.
   My brother Carl still loves to see what small trinkets and confections are tucked into these petite cornucopias. You wouldn't think a young college man of nineteen could be so enthralled with them. he and several of his classmates will be arriving tomorrow.
   As I was gathering up the ornament boxes I found lodged in a the corner of one a crumple of tissue paper. Unwrapping the paper I discovered a small glass beaded red velvet ornament. It was the ornament Jackson gave to me two years ago this  evening.
Has it only been two years?
It feels like twenty. I still find there are moments when the aching loss of him hits me so hard it takes my breath.
    I first saw Jackson Blackchurch running to catch the trolley I was on. As he grasped the railing to climb aboard, I noticed his blond hair catching the slanting rays of the late afternoon sun. A halo of gold seem to form  around his head.
Being seated near the back of the trolley, I couldn't quite hear his conversation with the motorman. But the gesturing and pointing lead me to think they were discussing street directions.
    As the trolley slowed to its next stop, I watched this young man disembark and hurry down the street.
It was then my voice spoke to me and said, "You will marry this man."
 I felt a shiver of truth run up my spine.
Where and when would I see that  man again I wondered.




to be continued.........

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holly


Holly- Ilex Holly
Holly is a family of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers from the tropics to temperate zones worldwide.
The European holly is ilex aquifolium. It has simple alternate glossy leaves , typically spiny toothed or serrated leaf margins, inconspicuous greenish white four petaled flowers. The red berries they produce are technically drupes.
Holly is traditionally known for protection from lightening strikes. Science has caught up to folk tales. It has been discovered that the spines on the distinctively shaped holly leaves can act as mini lightening conductors, thereby protecting the tree and other near by objects.
Holly wood was at one time among the traditional wood for creating the Great Highland bagpipes.

Holly is associated with the thunder gods, Thor and Taranis.
Holly folk names are are Christ's thorn, Hulver bush, Bat's wings and Tinne.
 An old Roman custom was to send gifts of holly branches to their friends during Saturnalia celebrations at Winter Solstice.
It's element id Fire.
Holly incense is used to consecrate the magical knife, asthame.
It's gender is masculine.
It's planetary association is Mars.
The herb is used for protection, consecration, healing, peace, goodwill and luck.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mistletoe

Mistletoe is the common name for Viscum album  , obligate hemi-parasitic plants found in Europe. The tree or shrub host is called the haustorium. It has small broad shaped leaves and produces a cluster of six to seven waxy white berries.
 It is a poisonous plant that causes acute gastrointestinal problems.
In cultures across pre-christian Europe, mistletoe represented the divine male essence and thus romance, fertility and vitality. The berries were thought to look like and represent semen.
        There doesn't seem to be definitive information about the custom of kissing under the mistletoe until the 16th century in England where it became quite the fashion.
American Mistletoe  is from the plant family phoradendon serotinum. It has slightly broader leaves than the European mistletoe and its produces  longer clusters of ten or more berries.
    The American author Washington Irving described the custom of kissing under the mistletoe in his 1820 story, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon.  A young man could kiss the woman of his choosing under the mistletoe plucking a berry from the bush for the privilege. Once all the berries had been plucked the privilege stopped.
 In past European customs, mistletoe was one of the first Christmas greens hung and the last to be removed usually at Candlemas.
 Or it would be hung through the year to preserve the house from lightening and fire. The old would be taken down and new hung the following Christmas season.

Mistletoe leaves and young twigs are used by herbalists for treating circulatory and respiratory ailments particularly in Europe and Germany. Studies have been done using the extract for treating some cancers. The extract is sold under the name of Iscador, Helixor and other trade names.

Folk names: devil's fuge, thunderbesom, bird lime, all heal
Gender: Hot
Planet: Sun
Element: Air
Part used: The herb
Basic powers: Protection and love