This time of the year is a special time for many of us with the holiday season upon us. It is also the dark times and many of us struggle with the waning light and stress. It is a time to slow down and rest despite the many tasks and to-do lists. Can we go back to the magical time of our childhoods where we played in the snow, marveled at snowflakes and believed in Santa? I remember as a child making Christmas cookies with my mother and siblings, often more frosting landed in my mouth than on the cookie itself. The smell of the Christmas pine tree still makes me smile. Also, we’d spend hours creating apples and oranges covered in cloves. I try and capture some of those feelings in my practice of being a witch and pagan by celebrating Yule and the Winter Solstice. . Yule is just one of the many pagan festivals celebrated near the Winter Solstice throughout history. The Winter Solstice may be the darkest point of the year, but Yule is a celebration of light! From the greenery to the gold to the glimmering flames of candles, these are signs of life in the dead of winter. During the Winter Solstice, we embrace the longest and darkest night of the year with the least amount of daylight. The dark triumphs over the light, but this day signifies a turning point. It is a time where to recognize the gifts of winter, being thankful for the opportunity to slow down and reflect, to let go of all that is not serving us, but also to mourn the hardships of a cruel season that was filled with loss.
Hope is the theme of the Winter Solstice, knowing that life will return once again to nature. In our own lives, a new seed is sprouting even in the darkest of times. This is a celebration of the birth of the sun as it slowly grows in brightness and overtakes the darkness each day. At this time, we are also renewed and reborn with a hope to persist. This part of the wheel of the year is comparable to the new moon, the beginning of a new cycle. Yule is the best time to decide what you want to manifest in the coming year. It is also a great time to do shadow work and remove any blockages keeping you from actualizing your dreams.
One is the ways we can celebrate yule is to make a Witch ball. Witch Balls derive from an ancient pagan custom said to have originated in England, and brought over here sometime in the 18th century. A witch ball was designed to repel or ensnare evil spirits or energies and protect the home and its inhabitants. Yule Balls are a way to refresh the energy within your home as the wheel turns, and to be aware of what energies we choose to invite inside. Yule Balls are very easy to make. All you need is a glass or plastic ornament, a glue gun and some herbs, crystals, wire, feathers or even little trinkets. Get creative, use whatever you have in your closet, yard, or pantry. Traditionally glass was used to create Yule balls, but plastic works , too They are normally filled with all-natural ingredients that you can collect from around the house or in the garden.
Here are some suggestions;-Moss: to create a place of nurturing and for perseverance in achieving my goals Mugwort: to aid in divination (it helps me as a Tarot Card Reader), to provide relaxation and for protection Rose Quartz: to encourage self-love and love in relationships Carnelian: to stimulate creativity and keep me motivated Chamomile: to promote happiness and to relieve anxiety Lavender: to encourage a calm, peaceful environment filled with peace Spring of Rosemary: for protection, healing and wisdom Acorns: for protection and financial abundance Cinnamon Sticks: for protection, love and for success in business Bay Leaf: for protection Rose Petals: for a loving, harmonious home that heals all those that enter Key: a nod to Hecate, the Goddess who presides over magic and spells. Happy Yule & Winter Solstice.
I was raised by a scientist. I learned to question the world around me and to think critically. And still I found magic in my world. A magic that connects me to the plants, animals, elements and the spirit world. Although I practiced witchcraft for many years, there was a nagging voice telling me that all I believed in was just hocus -pocus and the world was just a dry set of equations or could be explained by only a scientific theory. * Note here that some forms of scientific thought are still just theories until proven differently. I still question yet know after years of creating ritual and doing spell-work that magic is real. That my wishes have come true within the context of this life and still accepting biology and science. For me there is not a split in the perception of magic and science, more like a symbiotic union. It is still a miracle this life on earth to me. And the beauty of the plant and animal world still amazes me with a child-like abandon. And synchronicities still occur in my every day happenings which seem magical and suddenly, "as if by magic, the doors start to open". One definition of magic is; "the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural focus." This sentence can give us time to ponder. The digital world seems very mysterious to me and influences my perceptions. Unfortunately, the bible condemns anything to do with the magical world, deeming it to be devil work and evil. This war on our inner child, on our rights as women and human beings to be in connection to the world around us is deadening. it is destructive and does not serve Life itself. By separating us from this deep resonance we become depressed, unhappy, addicted and manipulated by those who want to control our lives. The richness is lost and we lose an important part of ourselves. The magical one and our fully alive awareness to all the beings around us. Open the door and step into it. Be brave.
Please don't take the title the wrong way. Of course, all children are special. It's just that I happen to have three daughters and I am extremely proud of them. They have grown up to be empathetic, kind, hard-working, artistic and all around great people. They've found three wonderful men for partners and now there are five grandchildren. The point is I believe we still need more women in places of power and men who lead us not into destruction and war. Too much male energy in power brings our world into chaos and imbalance. And I'm certainly not saying that all women are good people. I believe that the way we women are made of that we tend to be more peace-loving and we do create life in our bellies. Just that fact means we don't want to lose our babies men and women to war. My youngest daughter did a project about witches and paganism with me as her model. The article is great and she received an honorable mention. For me she's an awesome photographer. Here is the link to her website. https://lenscratch.com/2020/07/amrita-stuetzle/
Here is my newest altar. It represents what is going on in my life right now. My best friend Inanna gifted me a an altar cloth that represents dragon energy and then two combs; one a phoenix and the other a dragon. The other items I have collected over the years especially the stones and shells which are made into a spiral. At one of my last VWC witch camps. I was given the role of guardian of Air and Fire from Hecate, the Goddess we were working with that year. And a dragon. I retired my day job of a city school music teacher just recently and hence the phoenix is a great symbol of me re-thinking, re-creating what my life will be. Where my passion lies which is writing, co-creating ritual and music. The flame of creative flow. When you create/build your own altars remind yourself of what is important to you. It can be an ancestor focused one, or to a specific deity or one for peace. Find photos and objects that have meaning for you. Light a candle or candles for your personal spiritual work.