Sunday, December 19, 2021

Yule Celebration: December 19

 

Photo courtesy of Ksenia Yakoleva 


Welcome Back! It's time to announce our winner from yesterday's Wardruna Skald Album Giveaway!

Jaye Todd!

Congratulations! 


Today's Story: Yuletime Travel


by Author River Eno

 Holly took a long breath and closed her eyes. Her thoughts passed through a space of dense fog, as always happened during travel, and then she landed on a dark, deserted road. A large house stood ahead of her. She walked toward it but was roughly thrust back into her body. Her eyes popped open. The cauldron in front of her blazed hot with burning mugwort. The attic was quiet and dark.

She sat cross legged on the wood floor, next to the small window looking out into the wild back garden. She’d wrapped herself in the warm blanket her partner, Finley, gave her last year at solstice. It was midnight and had just started snowing, sprinkling the tall pines in the garden with white. Perfect conditions to do a bit of astral travel. Something, for all of Holly’s years of witchery and magik, she could not quite manage.

Meditation was similar, she’d never learned the art of it. She could manifest, and she could infuse an object or situation with her intent. She was a master in tarot and there wasn’t a ghost nearby she could not hear. But for all she could do, she could not travel the astral plane. At least not well.

Tonight, she’d hoped things would be different. She’d met someone. No, not met. They’d know each other for years, and had spent time on dates with each other’s partners, only recently a fondness had grown. Finley, ever the encouraging poly partner, told her to go for it. They lived quite far apart, but she had visited them once, so she thought she’d try to visit on the astral plane even though she rarely had luck doing it. On this solstice, with the snow falling, with the Oak and Holly kings at war and with magik afoot, Holly had a good feeling. Until she was so rudely tossed back into her body.

Oddly enough, she felt it was because she wasn’t dressed properly. She hadn’t ever given much thought to the clothing she wore while traveling. She frowned at her pajamas.

So, Holly envisioned herself in jeans and a sweatshirt while going through the fog and … no luck. One step toward the house and then back in the attic she was, over and over. She sighed but refused to lose hope. Taking another deep breath, she relaxed her body and this time she chose to allow her subconscious to guide her choices.

She closed her eyes, passed through the mist and landed on the road. She felt different. She looked down and was wearing a pair of worn maroon corduroys, a peach-colored, thermal shirt and black boots. It was an old, comfortable outfit. One of her favorites. And it did feel … right.

She walked along the dark road toward the house, stopping at the wooden gate surrounding the property. It was tall and locked. But locks were easy as she and her new love were followers of Hecate. She rested her hands on the gate and thought of the lock’s mechanisms, the twists and turns and then the click. The gate lock sprung, she pushed it open and stepped inside.

Immediately Holly felt a presence, a wall of unpleasant energy; the house was warded. Her friend, ever cautious, made her smile. This apotropaic magik she knew well and could hold her own against, but also, she wasn’t evil or there to harm, so the magik didn’t need to deflect or be afraid. As she tried to move forward the wards sent her to a different spot around the back of the house, although no closer. When she tried to move forward again, she was sent back to the front of the house.

She sighed but shook her astral body free of tension. She had come too far to be pushed out. And after all this time, she thought she was beginning to understand traveling, and why she’d had no luck with it. She needed to be willing to give herself over to the experience, be malleable, let it guide her to the next level. Not the other way around. She needed to give a piece of herself, even at the expense of her comfort, which wasn’t so different from other magiks she’d often worked in.

The weight of the warding spell was intimidating, forceful, but Holly called it to come closer. The heat of it didn’t ease, but it didn’t heighten, and she asked it to step inside her body to see her intentions. A chill raced up her back and then she easily moved forward one step and then another.

Pleased, Holly walked the driveway, up the stone path, passed the front door and around toward the back of the house. Through the screen-covered back porch, she saw a light on in the kitchen and then another light over a shed nearby. She turned to the large garden and was stopped by a scarecrow standing in the snow on one tall leg. It’s large radish-like head and gaping teeth rather disconcerting.

“Hey, you,” Holly whispered.

Scarecrow hopped its long stick body up and down. The snowy wind blew its dark tatters of clothing. It was clear the ward wanted contact to explore her further.

Holly stepped up to it and was whisked into the air. She held tightly as it danced and whirled her around the garden. Its lone leg hopping in the snow to music she couldn’t hear until she was breathless, and it dropped her onto a snow-covered garden bed. She lay only a moment before sinking. She didn’t fret. This was how the ward would learn who she was, she knew that. This was how it would infuse her with its magik.

Holly twirled low in the earth. Whispers in the darkness and senescence in the damp soil pressed around her. After timeless moments entwined with plant roots and small living creatures the magik raised her to the surface and pushed her to stand.

She stood dazed but invigorated. The snow fell steadily, and the vanilla scent of white oak mingling with the florals of holly permeated the garden. A cold wind passed coating her in pine. The scents of Yule filled her with purpose.

She walked her new love’s garden and then circled around to the back porch, noting the changes since her physical visit. The light was still on in the house … and there, finally she saw them. They were talking to someone, laughing, and heading toward the sliding glass doors leading to the porch. It opened and closed noisily, and she caught a scent of bayberry and woodsmoke wafting from the house.

She watched them strike a match and light a candle on the small table by the door. They picked it up and moved to the edge of the porch, placed the candle on the ledge and took a sip of a drink they held. They looked out into the night, and she wondered if they felt her presence. Even with the screen between them she could see clear enough and her heart leapt in her chest. After only speaking on the phone for so long, she’d forgotten how attractive they were. How sexy.

They stood quietly, seeming to contemplate, before putting their hand flat on the screen and then turning to go back inside.

“Wait,” Holly called.

They turned sharply and walked back out. Looking into the garden a few moments more, they blew the candle out and stood in the dark. Holly walked closer, but felt uneasy, a sudden lightness in her body. She was losing agency, her body calling her back. She quickly reached her hand out, “Happy Yule,” she said.

Holly’s eyes opened. The moon had moved across the sky and the attic was dark save for the embers of mugwort in her cauldron. She couldn’t contain her happiness. Not only had she traveled quite successfully, but her new love’s scent surrounded her. She heard their voice in her head as she was separated fully.

“I love you, Holly.”


Today's Music: The Wolf Song- Nordic Lullaby- "Song of the Spirit Weavers

Submitted by Renee' Sosanna Olson





Today's Craft: Yule Witch Ball with Jaye Todd


When you hear the words witch ball, images of witches gathered in a ball room may pop into your head but that is not what is meant.

A witches ball is usually a hollow sphere that has been filled with various herbs and crystals according to the makers desire to protect the home from negative energies, ill fortune and intentions and also bad spirits. Not only will a witches ball protect you but it is also thought that they can bring luck and prosperity to you.

This Yule I’d like to share with you all my Witch ball craft with you. I will share the herbs and crystals that I am using and also the reasoning behind including each element.
If you wish to create a witch ball and want to create your own mixture of contents then go for it… follow that intuition and do what is right for you.
For this craft you will need

  • Star Anise
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  •  Ground Nutmeg
  • Rosemary (dried or fresh)
  • Basil
  •  Clear Quartz
  • Red Jasper
  • Rose Quartz
  • Fillable bauble (preferably glass)

Firstly cleanse your bauble using an incense stick of your choosing, I’m using Dragons Blood for its cleansing properties. Don’t forget to cleanse both inside and out.


First up we are going to add some of the ground nutmeg into the ball (you can use a funnel or a coned sheet of paper to make it easier), this is being added to bring clarity and health into the home for the coming year.

Next up we will add some rosemary this is for remembrance of those who walked the path before us and purification of the home in which it will be hung.

Once you have the desired amount of rosemary in the ball you can add some Basil. This is to bestow love and protection for your home and its inhabitants.

Now it’s time to add the crystals. First up we are using rose quartz, this is the stone of unconditional love and peace of heart.  Now you can add the Clear Quartz for clarity, optimism and to promote luck, harmony and well-being. Remember that Clear Quartz is known as the master crystal and can be used to replace any crystal. The final crystal that we are going to include is Red Jasper. We are using this one as it represents health, goal setting and manifesting ideas. With the New Year just around the corner now is a great time to set your goals and being manifesting those ideas.

Finally we are going to add a stick of cinnamon. You can use ground cinnamon but I prefer to use the sticks as it’s pleasing to the eye. We are adding this element to attract abundance and success for you and your household and a star anise for a little added love and protection.
Once you have added everything you can replace the top of the bauble and finish with some ribbon or yarn and a charm if you so wish.

The last step is to find a place to hang your ball, you can hang near a door, in a window or simply hang near your altar to ward off bad spirits and negative energies etc for the coming year.


Have a blessed Yule.

Jaye ~ The Gaeilge Moonchild


Today's Recipe: Scandinavian Glogg

with Dawn Leith-Dougherty

Scandinavian Glögg

 


  • Large magnum bottle inexpensive red table wine such as cabernet or pinot noir
  • Small bottle of Port wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups or so of brandy (I like apple brandy, but use what you like)
  • Candied orange slices and ginger slices
  • 4 cardamom pods cracked
  • Add to cheesecloth and tie up: a couple fresh cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, 6-8 whole cloves, orange peels, 3-4 star anise
  • Handful of golden raisins and handful of almond slivers
  • Optional, whole orange studded with cloves*

 In a bowl cut 4 to 6 strips of fresh orange peels (as little white pith as possible) and a couple slices of fresh ginger, cover with sugar, let sit 8 to 10 hours or overnight.

 Add wine to large pitcher and steep with the cheesecloth herbs/peels, add loose golden raisins and almonds. Steep overnight in refrigerator

 Simmer low in pot together until sugar is dissolved. Turn off and add the brandy. Remove cheesecloth. Add with the bottle of port to a crock pot turned to the warm setting (or leave in pot on stove on warm) with the cloved whole orange. Ladle out to serve with a cinnamon stick and a few raisins and almonds in mugs.

 *NOTES*

This recipe is as varied as you can imagine, and many families have their own versions similar to this one, the recipe above is the one I use. Many people choose to add a shot of bourbon or vodka to the mugs upon serving, or in place of the brandy. The spice and fruit/nut measurements are just guidelines, just add as much or as little as you like. Remember, this is a very strong SPICED alcoholic beverage, so don’t skimp on the flavors. This recipe can be scaled down or scaled up accordingly, this recipe makes a very full crock pot. This would be easy to make with a cider instead of wine for those who do not drink. 


Today's Giveaway: Wreath of Winner's Choice 

From: Enchanted Wreaths by Lynn

This giveaway from Enchanted Wreaths will be the Winner's choice from the available selection in my shop. Instagram.com/enchantedlynn

Here are a few that as of right now are available but please check out my IG for more. US residents only. 


To enter: Go to  Instagram.com/enchantedlynn . Peruse the site, then:

Come back, comment below as to which is your favorite wreath.  Remember: this is open to US residents only today, and you MUST enter your email into your comment, or submit your information to our Sirens Winter Solstice Registration form to keep your information confidential. Failure to provide an email address voids your eligibility.

Winner is assigned a number via spreadsheet and is selected via random.org. The sponsor (Alexis Kennedy) is the one who provides this service, and is not eligible for giveaways.

We will announce the winner in tomorrow's blog post. All entries are eligible for the grand prize giveaway, announced on December 21.


That's it for today! We'll see you tomorrow for more frolicking and merriment! Happy Yule!

3 comments:

  1. I love Lynn’s wreaths, especially the crescent moon ones. But keeping with the Yule season, I love the Santa wreath with the Joy ornaments! dawn@treeoflifedesigns.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LOVE the Owl Spirit wreath! They are all gorgeous though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love all of them! I had a Yule craft day with some of my favorites today, and we made witch balls!

    ReplyDelete

Happy Yule from The Sirens! December 21, 2021

  Photo courtesy of Miikaa Luotio Brightest Yule Blessings to you and yours! Our celebration was short and sweet, but we're thrilled tha...