Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday What Herb Is This - Herbal Cold and Flu Care

Herbal Cold and Flu Care
Found at Khakani’s Mystical World


This herbal information is intended as an introduction to how medicinal herb plants can be used as remedies for cold, flu & similar ailments. It is intended for educational purposes only. I am not a medical professional and I cannot prescribe what herbs are right for you. I cannot answer medical questions, so please do not ask me (or any other complete stranger for that matter) to prescribe herbal remedies, cures, treatments or to guess what is wrong with you. If you use herbs, do so responsibly. Consult your doctor about your health conditions and use of herbal remedies. Herbs may be harmful if taken for the wrong conditions, used in excessive amounts, combined with prescription drugs or alcohol, or used by persons who don't know what they are doing. Just because an herbal remedy is natural, does not mean it is safe! There are herbs that are poisonous such as Poison Hemlock, Jimson weed, and many more.

Colds and Flus can strike at any time throughout the year, regardless of when, they always stink!
Here are some recipes for herbal "concoctions" to help you get thru,  whether you are the one feeling down or a family member. Whip some up  and make a basket for a friend or co-worker that hasn't been feeling  well. No matter how you choose to use them I hope they bring some relief! If you find yourself at a loss trying to reconcile the herbs listed to something you can find in today’s world, you can go to Joelle’s Sacred Grove and reference her wonderful herbal cross-reference information.

Garlic Honey Cough and Cold Syrup

Peel garlic cloves, put into a jar. cover with honey. Set in warm place for 2 weeks or more until the garlic turns opaque. Take 1  teaspoonful as needed. Dilute with a little water or lemon juice for

Onion Cough and Cold Syrup

Slice an onion, cover it with honey, let stand overnight. Strain, take a teaspoonful 4-5 times daily as needed.

Cherry Horehound Syrup

  • 2 ounces honey
  • 2 ounces water
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 oz wild cherry bark
  • 1/2 oz horehound syrup
  • 1/2 oz rhubarb syrup
  • 1/2 oz wild ginger syrup

Boil and the honey & water, skim. Add vodka,syrup of wild cherry bark, horehound syrup, rhubarb syrup, and wild ginger syrup. Shake well before each use. Take one teaspoon as needed or every hour.

Cough Syrup Combo

  • 2 part Elecampane Root
  • 1 part Horehound
  • 2 parts Musk mallow or Marshmallow Root.

Combine all the herbs, cover in honey and keep warm for 1 day. Strain herbs and use as needed.

Anise Tea for Coughs

Using Anise as a cough remedy is now supported by science. It has been a traditional treatment for coughs, bronchitis and asthma. The herb contains creosol and alpha-pinene that loosen bronchial secretions and make them easier to cough up. Gently crush 1 teaspoon of anise seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-20 minutes and strain. Drink up to 3 cups per day.
As a tincture, take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to 3 times a day. For children and the elderly begin with low-strength preparations and increase in strength if necessary.

Cough Combo

Equal parts of Coltsfoot, Mullein and Licorice. Combine all herbs and use 1-2 tsp. per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes.

Whooping Cough

  • 1 part White Horehound
  • 2 parts Mouse Ear
  • 1 part Sundew
  • 1 part Coltsfoot
  • 1 part Thyme

Mix all ingredients together. Use 1-2 teaspoon to 1 cup of boiling water. Steep 10 minutes.
Old Fashioned Mustard Plaster

Mix one part mustard powder with 4 parts of flour. Add enough water to make a thick paste. Rub a little warmed olive oil over the chest then apply the mustard paste to chest, lung areas and upper back, keeping it in place with a clean cotton cloth. You can use powdered ginger root instead of mustard as well.

Ginger Root Tea

Ginger helps fight and kill influenza virus and increases the immune systems ability to fight infection.

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • lemon juice and honey to taste

Steep 10 minutes. Drink as little or as much as you desire throughout the day.

Fenugreek Tea

Fenugreek's soothing mucilage may help relieve sore throat pain, cough, and minor indigestion. Gently boil 2 teaspoons of bruised seeds per cup of water. Simmer 10 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day. To improve flavor add, honey, lemon, anise or peppermint. Do not give medicinal preparations to children under 2. for older children and the elderly start with low strength preparation and increase strength if needed.

Sore Throat

  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1 cup water

Boil water, add honey and lemon. Drink to relieve sore throat.

Other remedies:

Gargle with hot salt water. 1/2 teaspoon salt to 8 ounces of water 4-5 times a day.
Licorice Root - Suck on Licorice candy made from real licorice or drink a tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of licorice root in 1 cup of hot water for 3 minutes.
Blackberry - Eat blackberries to relieve mouth sores and sore throat.
                 Tea: Use 2 to 3 teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep 10-20 minutes, drink up to 3 cups per day.
Echinacea - 2 teaspoons per cup of water, bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day.
Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus loosens the phlegm in the chest, making it easier to cough up. Studies show Eucalyptus kills influenza, a virus that causes the  most serious form of flu. It also kills some bacteria so may help prevent bacterial bronchitis, a common complication of colds and flu.
Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried crushed leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 minutes. Drink up to 2 cup per day. Not for children under 2.
Horehound -
Horehound is commonly used as a cure for children’s cough, cold and croup. This herb has expectorant properties that loosen phlegm from  the chest. Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried herb to 1 cup of boiling water. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, drink 3 times a day.
Horehound Candy

  • 1 cup horehound tea
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups dark or light corn syrup

Boil horehound leaves to make a good strong tea. Drain reserving 1 cup of liquid. Add the cup of tea to the other ingredients and boil until it just starts to caramel. Put onto a flat greased cookie sheet. Start cutting with kitchen shears or scissors as soon as it starts to harden on edges.

Allergy Relief Formula

  • 2 parts Fenugreek
  • 1 part Horehound
  • 1/2 part Black Cohosh
  • 1/8 part Lobelia.


  • 2 parts Elecampane
  • 1 part Goldenseal
  • 1 part Licorice
  • 1 part Wild Cherry Bark
  • 2 teaspoons Honey.

Combine all the dry herbs together, insuring that they are well mixed. Take 1 ounce of the dry mixture and place in a 8 ounce jar, or a mug that can be covered completely. Pour 6 ounces hot water over herbs and let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain  off the herbs and add 2 teaspoons of raw honey or to taste. Drink 6 ounces 3 times a a day.

Cold and Flu Combo

  • 3 parts Echinacea
  • 3 parts Goldenseal Root
  • 2 parts Pau D Arco
  • 2 parts Peppermint leaf
  • 2 parts Mullein
  • 1 part Ginger Root

Combine all of the herbs together. Place 2 Tablespoons of mix in jar that can be completely covered. Pour 6 ounces of hot water over the herbs and seal. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain herbs. Drink 1 cup 3 times a day. Inhale the tea to relieve sinus congestion.

Elecampane Tea

Elecampane is used for chronic lung conditions, asthma, bronchitis, colds and pleurisy. Simmer 1/2 ounce of dried root in one pint of  water for 20 minutes. Drink after meals.

Bergamot Tea

Bergamot is a rich source of thymol, an aromatic antiseptic. Helps nausea, vomiting and upset stomach. Infuse 1 teaspoon dried bergamot in one cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes. Strain and add honey to taste.

Cold Sores

  • Bergamot
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil.

Combine & apply as needed

Lemon Balm

2 Teaspoons dried lemon balm to 1 cup of water. Steep 15-20 minutes. Sweeten with honey and give for fevers, cold and flu symptoms.


  • 2 parts Boneset
  • 1 part Elder Flower
  • 1 part Peppermint

Mix all together and use 1-2 tsp. per cup of boiling water. Drink as hot as possible.


  • 1 part Echinacea
  • 1 part Goldenrod
  • 1 part Goldenseal
  • 1 part Marshmallow leaf.

Mix all ingredients together and use 1-2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes and drink 1 cup every 2 hours.

Hay Fever

  • 2 parts Elderflowers
  • 1 part Ephedra
  • 1 part Eyebright
  • 1 part Goldenseal

Mix all herbs together. use 1 teaspoon per cup of boiling water, let steep 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup up to 3 times a day.


  • 2 parts Echinacea
  • 2 parts Poke root
  • 2 parts Red Sage
  • 1 part balm of Gilead.

Mix all herbs together and use 1-2 tsp per cup of boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes and drink 1 cup every 2 hours.

Blood Purifier for Colds

  • 2 oz. Echinacea root
  • 1 oz Yellow Dock root
  • 1 oz. Golden Seal root
  • 1/2 oz. Ginseng root

Powder herbs and mix together. Put into size 00 capsules and take 2 capsules 3 times a day for 10 days. This combination is good for just about any illness.
Found and Posted By Witch of the North. Blessed be to you all

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday Try A New Taste – Pasta With Smoked Cheese

* Pasta with Smoked Cheese *
Found at


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2/3 cup julienne-cut raw, peeled sweet potato
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano OR 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces dry fettuccine noodles or whole wheat fettuccine noodles
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper strips
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Melt butter in large skillet. Add broccoli, mushrooms, sweet potato, shallots and oregano. Sauté about 8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in whipping cream and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer to reduce cream slightly, stirring constantly. (Cream should cling to vegetables.) Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Add cooked noodles to vegetable mixture; toss gently to combine. Stir in roasted pepper strips. Sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Serve immediately.
***Perfect Pasta Hint: Improve your pasta dishes simply by adding a pat of butter to the pasta just after it's drained. Not only will this give your sauce extra body and flavor, but it will also help the sauce adhere to the pasta.

Yield: 6 servings.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Make A – Snowman Wind Chime & Pine Cone Bird Feeder

* Snowman Wind Chime*
posted by Susie

You will need:

  • 4" ceramic clay pot
  • 4" Styrofoam ball
  • 36" long 1" diameter plastic candy cane
  • lg felt snowman hat
  • wooden carrot (for nose)
  • 2 buttons (5-1/2" and 2-1")
  • 1 jar decoart snow tex
  • white acrylic paint
  • green felt square
  • 3 large bells
  • 2 yard jute
  • plastic holly blush
  • scissors
  • xacto knife
  • flat paintbrush
  • hot glue gun and sticks
  • craft stick ruler

Add some acrylic paint to the snow tex jar. Use craft stick to stir until consistency of paint. Cover the entire pot with mixture, let dry. Cover the Styrofoam ball with the mixture, let dry. Use knife to cut candy cane into 3 equal lengths to use as chimes. Cut 3 12" pieces of jute and tie a bell to the end of each piece. Gather ends of jutes (the bell less ends) making sure chimes hang at different lengths. Thread through the hole in the bottom of the pot and knot. Glue to secure knot and trim off excess jute. Glue Styrofoam ball to the top of pot to form the head of the snowman. Cut 2, 12" x 2" strips of felt, glue ends together to make one long strip. Make 2" cuts along each end to make fringe. Wrap scarf around neck of snowman and glue to secure. Glue the 1/2" buttons on the face (2 for the eyes and 3 for the mouth). Glue the carrot nose on. Glue the 1" buttons down the front of the pot for buttons. Cut a 12" piece of jute and knot the ends together. Use the scissors to make a small hole in the top of the Styrofoam ball. Push the jute knot into the hole and glue to secure as a hanger. Use the scissors to make a small slit in the top of the hat. Thread the hanger up through the slit and glue the hat to the foam ball. Add blush to cheeks and glue the holly onto the scarf.

* Pine Cone Bird Feeders *
Posted by Susie

You will need:

  • Pine cone
  • yarn
  • peanut butter
  • bird seed

This is a really easy one for little kiddies. Take your pine cone and tie a strong piece of yarn around the base of it. Cover the pine cone with peanut butter. Roll the pine cone in bird seed and hang from a branch outside. You can put more PB and seeds on it when the birds finish it. Try different seeds to attract different types of birds.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Surprise - “To Be A Witch” & “Tips for Solitary Practitioners”

Both of these pieces were found at Joelle’s Sacred Grove – Well, the “Tips for Solitary Witches” was found in my Book of Shadows, but apparently originally came from there… *grin*

author unknown

To be a witch is to love and be loved.
To be a witch is to know everything, and nothing at all.
To be a witch is to move amongst the stars while staying on earth.
To be a witch is to change the world around you, and yourself.
To be a witch is to share and give, while receiving all the while.
To be a witch is to dance and sing, and hold hands with the universe.
To be a witch is to honor the gods, and yourself.
To be a witch is to Be Magick, not just perform it.
To be a witch is to be honorable, or nothing at all.
To be a witch is to accept others who are not.
To be a witch is to know what you feel is right and good.
To be a witch is to harm none.
To be a witch is to know the ways of old.
To be a witch is to see beyond the barriers.
To be a witch is to follow the moon.
To be a witch is to be one with the gods.
To be a witch is to study and to learn.
To be a witch is to be the teacher and the student.
To be a witch is to acknowledge the truth.
To be a witch is to live with the earth, not just on it.
To be a witch is to be truly free!

Tips For Solitary Witches
written by Jim Garrison

There are a lot more self-initiated Witches out there than practically any other variety.  While it is a valid and legitimate spiritual path, self-initiation also  poses a few unique challenges to those who would seek the Old Gods on their own.  If you are contemplating self-initiation and the building of your own spiritual practice based on the Wiccan model, here are some tips to help make the process  go a bit more smoothly.

You have every right to initiate yourself and to follow your own, unique paths to the Gods.

No one has a monopoly on wisdom, nor on the Mysteries.  Anyone who approaches the gods with sincerity, respect, and integrity  can and will discover their own way to commune with these essential  forces of nature. It requires creativity, persistence, and determination - it is a challenging path to take.

Clarify your intent.

Ask yourself "Why am I doing this?" It is wise that you examine your motivations  - pursuing such an intensive path as solitary Wicca is not something  to do on a whim, nor is it a "fun" hobby. It's work, and plenty of it. You don't get to take advantage of someone else's previous efforts, except for what you can get out of books. You have to build your own foundation, and establish a mythos and context within which to work.  You can just declare yourself a member of your own tradition, but what will it mean?

Gather your resources.

You need to establish a set of ground rules - guidelines for what you want  and what you plan to do. This will require reading everything you can get.  Try to read a diversity of authors, and don't just read about Witchcraft  - broaden your horizons as much as possible.

If you find something you like, adapt it

Don't just lift it out of its context. Once you have a basic framework  within/upon which to work, rewrite everything to fit your emerging vision.  Don't be worried about perfection - you will re-write things many times as you develop and grow. The more you learn, the more you'll be able to enhance, refine, and desire to modify your first attempts at a ritual.  When members of a tradition refer to basic things such as their oaths,  the creed of their sect, whatever degree they may have been initiated  into or whatever, these things all mean something within that tradition. When you are self-initiated, it's all up to you what it all means to you  - in as far as it applies to you and you alone. Develop your own unique versions of those elements of the Craft that you choose to adopt. It's perfectly fine to toss out all the old stuff  and start out on your own path. If you do, there's a lot of baggage to deal with, and you might not want to toss the baby out with the bath water. Take some time and reflect upon these things. Make no hasty decisions.  Seek to understand your impetus and motivation for removing or including the various bits and pieces of Craft material. Personal creativity is a vital part of the Craft. There's not much room for dogma in an ecstatic, experiential religion.

Draft a statement of your core beliefs

Sign it, date it, and place it in your journal or Book Of Shadows (BOS). Choose a time each year to re-examine it, meditate upon it, and amend it if desired. Sometimes this is a good thing to do during the winter months,  perhaps at Candlemas or Imbolc. You decide.

Document all of your sources, wherever possible.

Give credit to where credit is due. You have nothing to gain by trying to pretend that you wrote Gerald Gardner's books. Keep yourself honest  and avoid the ego-inflation that comes with plagiarism. Given time, and effort, you will develop your own rites. When you do, you don't want to dilute the meaningfulness of the moment by that nagging little  voice that reminds you that you didn't really do it. Respect your  creativity, maintain personal integrity, and let things develop naturally. You'll be glad you did.

Remember degrees refer to experience, not rank.

Too many readers of books assume that the various degree systems refer to the rank and level of power of an individual, and so they strive to get  to the top of the ladder as fast as possible. Don't. The degrees are a system of landmarks to allow us all to identify those who have undergone similar experiences. When you are working alone, there's little to be gained by initiating yourself into the third degree, assuming the title of elder, or even calling yourself a Witch queen or magus. These things all have very real meanings, and claiming what is not rightfully yours is the surest way to bar your ever attaining it for real. Take your time. Learn all you can,  and work with the gods and mighty ones.

One big advantage you have as a solitary practitioner is the lack of politics and disagreement.

You decide what to do and just do it. This is impossible in group situations where you must deliver cues, explain what you are doing, and accommodate multiple interpretations and viewpoints. As a solitary you know exactly what you are attempting to do, how you want to do it, and you are free to do whatever you will - it's just you and the gods.

Solitary work is ideal for self-transformation and healing.

You can focus on building up your self esteem, creating new habits, and modifying your lifestyle to suit your spiritual outlook. As a solitary  practitioner, you can build your sabbat and esbat rituals around your goals and needs in ways that a group could never do. As you progress, as healing occurs, as changes take place, you will find your practice likewise changing. Consider this a form of sympathetic magic. As you become more fully integrated and whole, your rituals will become more balanced and holistic as well. The Craft is a healing path, so why not approach it as such?

We all learn at different rates and in different styles.

Working alone makes it possible to modify everything to suit your schedule, circumstances, and requirements. Creativity and sincerity can guide you in making your Craft practice a viable and vital part of your life. No matter what disabilities, hindrances, or restrictions you may have in your life, you can practice Wicca - if you truly,  honestly desire to do so.

Be yourself.

Don't try to be something you're not. Remember the words of the Charge Of The Goddess,

"...if you do not find it within you,  you shall never find it at all."

The established traditions - Gardnerians, Alexandrians, Algards, Sheba, Georgian, and so on - have specific rites they have developed. Established traditions have  structures, essential teachings, practices, customs, and shared history that provides a collective context that cannot be accessed by the power of your will, no matter how hard you try. You can access many of the same truths, learn the same secrets, celebrate the same rituals, and experience the same mysteries, but you cannot initiate yourself as a Gardnerian or Mason. Think about it. Why on earth waste your time trying to be something you're not?There's precious little room on the path to spiritual development for self-deceit. Those who truly are drawn to the Craft value honesty. It is absolutely required of you if you have any spiritual aspirations whatsoever. You can lie to yourself, but you'll never fool the Gods.

The above article was written solely by Mr. Jim Garrison.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Form A Circle - Invocation of the Seven Powers

Invocation of the Seven Powers

by (Silver Toad)

Face East, arms raised high, and say:

"I hail to the East. Powers of the four winds. Bringers of Knowledge and Imagination. I invoke thee."

Face South, arms raised high, and say:

"I hail to the South. Powers of Fire and Flame. Bringers of passion and courage. I invoke thee."

Face West, arms raised high, and say:

"I hail to the West. Powers of Water and the Sea. Bringers of vision and purity. I invoke thee."

Face North, arms raised high, and say:

"I hail to the North. Powers of Earth and Sand. Bringers of balance and strength. I invoke thee."

Look above, arms raised high, and say:

"I hail to above. Powers of the God. Guardian of the Forest and granter of rebirth. I invoke thee."

Lower to your knees and place your hands onto the Earth. Say:

"I hail to below. Powers of the Goddess. Lady of the Moon and granter of wisdom. I invoke thee."

Place your hands upon your heart and say:

"I hail to within. Powers of Spirit. Strong and true, the forces live within me."

Chant this until you feel balanced with the forces:

"The Air, The Fire,

The Water, The Earth,

Above and Below,

I summon within."

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bonus Post *Christmas & Winter Superstitions, Folklore & Weather lore***

* Christmas Superstitions *
source unknown

~ Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green.

~ A blowing wind on Christmas Day brings good luck.

~ Wearing new shoes on Christmas Day will bring bad luck.

~ The child born on Christmas Day will have a special fortune.

~ Place shoes side by side on Christmas Eve to prevent a quarreling family.

~ To have good health throughout the next year, eat an apple at midnight on Christmas Eve.

~ A clear star-filled sky on Christmas Eve will bring good crops in the summer.

~ Eat plum pudding on Christmas and avoid losing a friend before next Christmas.

~ On Christmas Eve all animals can speak. However, it is bad luck to test this superstition.

~ If you refuse a mince pie at Christmas dinner, you will have bad luck for the coming day.

~ Good luck will come to the home where a fire is kept burning throughout the Christmas season.

~ In Greece, some people burn their old shoes during the Christmas season to prevent misfortunes in the coming year.

~ In Devonshire, England, a girl raps at the henhouse door on Christmas Eve. If a rooster crows, she will marry within the year.

~ One must begin decorating one's house with a wreath on the front door, with no decorating to have been done before that. After the wreath is in place, the rest of the house should be decorated, working in from the front door. The wreath placed on the front door at the start will guarantee nothing but good energy enters the house, and the energy will follow the decorations within, leading into the heart of the home. The reverse is also true; the wreath should always be taken down last when removing holiday decorations.



* Winter Weather Forecasting by Woolly Worms *

by Old Wives Tales

People in many areas know that autumn has arrived when they start spotting woolly worms. One of the enduring folk tales in the United States is that a woolly worm can share insight about the upcoming winter's weather. Is there a grain of truth in this belief? First off, we need to establish what is a woolly worm. You may have also heard them called woolly bears.

Woolly worm is a common name for the larval [caterpillar] stage of a family of tiger moths. If you want to get technical, the scientific name is Pyrrhactia. Woolly worms generally are from 1 to 3 inches long and found throughout the United States. This may explain why belief in their winter prediction ability is widespread.

The woolly worms of winter weather forecasting fame are not just any ol' Pyrrhactia family member. You want to seek out the Pyrrhactia Isabella [Isabella tiger moth]! This is the woolly worm which is densely covered with bristly hair that is black at both ends of the body and light reddish-brown in the middle. The predictive area you want to observe is the brown band portion: The narrower the band, the harsher the winter. If more brown than black and the middle band leans toward orange, that indicates the winter will be mild.

As widely shared as that bit of folk lore is within the United States, experts will say that the belief is simply not true. The variations in a woolly worm's bands are due to other factors and not weatherly predictive powers. In other words, the scientific evidence does not help support that particular weather lore.

For example, the bands vary due to differences in species. The particular genus [Pyrrhactia] contains around eight different species whose larva will parade in the fall months with fashionable bristly haired coats. Some are solid black, without any bands, and others have bands of varying sizes. Yet I already shared earlier in this article that you wanted the Pyrrhactia Isabella due to the type of banding on that particular species. So could this mean the scientists think that people will easily confuse what caterpillar, out of that particular family, that they need to observe? In a way but there are other reasons they will share.

The size of bands is also be due to the stage of growth the woolly worm is in and not the weather predictions being shared. A woolly worm has six larval stages before entering the winter cocoon stage. What this means is that the caterpillar sheds its former coat, or molts, six times and this process can have the color and size of the bands vary from molt to molt. For example, older caterpillars may have more black than younger ones.

There are some year-to-year weather factors that can help determine the amount of black hair on banded woolly worms. Now don't let that get your hopes up that this is where the predictive ability of the woolly worm may come into play. Ones that ate and grew in an area where the fall weather was wetter generally have more black hair than the woolly worms from drier areas. So in essence, according the scientific community, the woolly worm cannot be fully counted on to provide an accurate peek at the upcoming winter. It may instead hint about growing in an area where the weather had been a damp or that it is getting ready to enter the pupal stage.

However, just because I shared a view point that woolly worms weather forecasting skills are more lore than fact does not mean you cannot have fun appreciating the little critter or the folk lore associated to it. Every October the town of Banner Elk in North Carolina holds a Woolly Worm Festival! The town boasts that, over the past 20 years, their "Woolly Worm Readers" have had an accuracy rate of nearly 90%. What's the secret of their accuracy? Well, first off they have to know which woolly worm to use.

And I do not mean they just rely on making sure that they have the larval Isabella tiger moth either. They host a woolly worm race where the caterpillars race upwards on strings that are three feet long. It may be an edge to train your woolly worm for this competition. However, there isn't a prerequisite that you have come to the festival with your own woolly worm for this racing event. You can try your luck by selecting a particularly speedy looking woolly worm to purchase from one of the local children.

The woolly worm that becomes champion of the Woolly Worm Race is then used by festival's "Woolly Worm Readers" to determine the official Woolly Worm Forecast for winter! If that isn't honor enough, the woolly worm's owner will also win a cash prize! [For more information, contact: Woolly Worm Festival,
PO Box 3335,
Banner Elk, NC 28604
Phone: (828) 898-5605].

The Official Site of The Wooly Worm Festival 

University of Illinois at Urban – Champaign

Iowa State University Entomology Department


* Folklore and Weather lore of Winter *

Source Unknown or Unavailable

~ Count each foggy day in August, there will be a snowfall for each.

~ If July is hot & August is exceptionally cool, it will bring a hard winter with little snow.

~ A windy December is indicated by a rainy March.

~ If October is overly warm, February will be exceptionally cold

~ If October’s full moon arrives without a frost, there won’t be front until after November’s full moon.

~ The severity of Winter can be foretold by how close to Christmas Day the new moon falls – the closer it is, the harder the Winter to come.

~ If Autumn flowers bloom late, the Winter will be bad.

~ If in August the first week is exceptionally warm, the following Winter will be very long, and bring heavy snows.

~ Expect a bad Winter if November is overly warm.

~ Watch the growth of the weeds – their height indicates how high the snow banks will be.

~ If the leaves drop early in the season, it indicates winter will be mild, however, if the leaves drop late, winter will be nasty

~ A cold Winter is indicated by thunder in the Fall.

~ Thunder during the week of Christmas foretells a rough Winter.

~ If Christmas is green, Easter will be white

~ Onion skins are an indicator of the coming Winter – if thin, the Winter will be mild, if thick & tough, Winter will be long & hard

~ Look to other fruits & vegetables , as well as wildlife for signs – thick cornhusks, tough apple skins, plentiful nuts & berries, early migration of birds, bees building very high in trees – all indications to prepare for a bad Winter.

~ If ant hills are high in July, the Winter will have lots of snow.

~ Squirrels scurrying to gather nuts indicates a fast, heavy snowfall is on the way. Holding their tails high is another indication of a long Winter.

~ Look at the breast of your Thanksgiving goose (turkey maybe..? not sure on this one…) lots of spots indicate long, cold Winter, few  spots indicates a mild Winter.

~ Have access to a partridge (not necessarily in a pear tree…)? Look at the feathers on it’s legs. The farther down they’ve grown, the more severe the Winter to come.

~ A wide brown band on a woolly bear caterpillar, says it will be a mild Winter.

~ The first snowfall coming before the ground has frozen hard indicates a mild Winter.


Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Thursday This Is Your Spell – Snow ***Merry Christmas!!!***

* Invocation to the Snow Queen *
By Lilly Willow; © Copyright 2000

I looked and looked for a source for this, but couldn’t locate anywhere on the web. But I think it’s beautiful & should be shared… if this is yours, and you have a site you’d like others to visit, please contact me

Once upon a dark and frigid night,
through the still and silent forest,
a faint, cloaked figure beckons me.
The Snow Queen.

Her delicate alabaster hands
with their long pale icy fingers unfurl.
A blustery wind begins to chill my face,
as the sky's feathery flakes drift down,
blanketing the woods with alabaster.

Closer, and closer now, I see her breath,
soft puffs of tiny frosted crystals,
that catches the gossamer silvery moon's light
Whispering my name with her ancient voice,

I soon grow weary and curl up to rest.
She embraces me with her primordial ice
and then is gone, the Queen of Winter,
leaving no footprints in the snow.


Spell For Protection In The Snow
found on

You will need:

  • A non-metal bowl
  • One peppercorn
  • A pinch of salt
  • Pinch of powdered ginger
  • Pinch of powdered cloves
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • A small square piece of red cloth (Preferably cotton)

Place the peppercorn in your bowl, visualize you traveling safely through the snow, guarded and protected. Say this:

"I charge you with protection.”

Place the salt in your bowl, visualize as above, and say:

"I charge you with stability."

Place the cayenne pepper in your bowl, visualize as above, and say:

"I charge you with warmth."

Place the ginger in your bowl, visualize as above, and say:

"I charge you with protection."

Place the cloves in your bowl, visualize as above, and say:

"I charge you with health."

Mix the assembled spices and salt with your fingers. Visualize yourself having safe travel, a protected and cozy time, happy play times in the snow, etc etc. Now transfer the herbs to the center of the cloth square. Fold in half, and then in half again and sew up the ends. Carry this with you during Winter tide. Make a new charm every snowy season.


Snow Magic
found at
Wiccan Information

Snow is nature’s purifier. It insulates plants and seeds against winter’s fury and cleanses the earth. Snow is the perfect element for winter rituals. To remove negativity from the home, try this snowball spell:
As the moon wanes, make a snowball and stand outside your home. Hold the snowball and visualize red light streaming from every window and door, collecting in the snowball. See the light changing from red to blue. Place the snowball on the ground as you say:

“I release all negative (or name a specific problem) and let it return to the earth.”

Let the snowball melt naturally. If you live in an area without snow, use ice. Before winter purification rituals, place snow or ice in a white bowl and let it melt. Anoint your forehead, heart, feet and magical tools with this water. Then proceed with your spell.


And for the witchlets….or anyone who needs a break, really *grin*

Spell to Make It Snow – Part 2 (Pt. 1 is here )
Source Unknown

You go outside and kind of like run in place, or you can just run in circles while you chant

"Snow, snow,
You're there I know;
Please come down and touch the ground
And make it white all around".

You have to do it at least four to five times.



Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wednesday – Christmas Eve – Christmas History & Lore

* The Holly King and Other Lore *
From the earth Witchery Webpage; Source no longer available : (

The Holly King

From the Celtic tradition, we get a pair of ancient pagan images who fight for supremacy at Yule. The Holly King and the Oak King are probably constructs of the Druids to whom these two trees were highly sacred. The Oak King (king of the waxing year) kills the Holly King (king of the waning year) at Yule. The Oak King then reigns until Midsummer when the two battle again, this time with the Holly King as the victor. The Holly King, who has evolved into the present day Santa Claus, wears red, dons a sprig of holly in his hat, and drives a team of eight (total number of solar Sabbats) deer, an animal sacred to the Celtic Gods. Holly and mistletoe are traditional to the season through commemoration of the battle. The holly was hung in honor of the Holly King; the mistletoe (which grows high in the branches of oak trees) in honor of the Oak King. The Oak King and Holly King are mortal enemies at Midsummer and Yule, but they are two sides of a whole, and neither could exist without the other.

Santa Claus

Today's Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year), and Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats). Julbock or Julbukk, the Yule goat, from Sweden and Norway, had his beginnings as carrier for the god Thor. Now he carries the Yule elf when he makes his rounds to deliver presents and receive his offering of porridge.

When Early Christians co-opted the Yule holiday, they replaced the ancient Holly King with religious figures like St. Nicholas, who was said to live in Myra (Turkey) in about 300 A.D. Born an only child of a wealthy family, he was orphaned at an early age when both parents died of the plague. He grew up in a monastery and at the age of 17 became one of the youngest priests ever. Many stories are told of his generosity as he gave his wealth away in the form of gifts to those in need, especially children. Legends tell of him either dropping bags of gold down chimneys or throwing the bags through the windows where they landed in the stockings hung from the fireplace to dry. Some years later Nicholas became a bishop--hence the bishop's hat or miter, long flowing gown, white beard and red cape.

When the Reformation took place, the new Protestants no longer desired St. Nicholas as their gift-giver as he was too closely tied to the Catholic Church. Therefore, each country or region developed their own gift-giver. In France he was known as Pare Noel. In England he was Father Christmas (always depicted with sprigs of holly, ivy, or mistletoe). Germany knew him as Weihnachtsmann (Christmas man). When the communists took over in Russia and outlawed Christianity, the Russians began to call him Grandfather Frost, who wore blue instead of the traditional red. To the Dutch, he was Sinterklaas (which eventually was mispronounced in America and became Santa Claus). La Befana, a kindly witch, rides a broomstick down the chimney to deliver toys into the stockings of Italian children. These Santas were arrayed in every color of the rainbow--sometimes even in black. But they all had long white beards and carried gifts for the children.All of these Santas, however, never stray far from his earliest beginnings as god of the waning year. As witches, we reclaim Santa's Pagan heritage.


Santa's reindeer most probably evolved from Herne, the Celtic Horned God. Eight reindeer pull Santa's sleigh, representative of the eight solar Sabbats. In British lore, the stag is one of the five oldest and wisest animals in the world, embodying dignity, power and integrity. From their late Autumn dramatic rutting displays, stags represented strength, sexuality and fertility. As evidenced by multiple prehistoric excavations of stag antler ritual costumes, the wearing of stag antlers in folk dance recreated the sacred male shaman figure called Lord of the Wild Hunt, Cernunnos, or Herne the Hunter, among others--he who travels between worlds, escorting animal spirits to the afterlife and sparking wisdom and fertility in this world. Likewise, the stag's branching antlers echo the growth of vegetation. In America, the stag represents male ideals: the ability to "walk one's talk," and powerfully, peacefully blend stewardship and care of the tribe with sexual and spiritual integrity.

In Northern European myth, the Mother Goddess lives in a cave, gives birth to the sun child, and can shape shift into a white hind, or doe. Therefore, the white hind was magical, to be protected and never hunted. In myth, graceful running women of the forest--who were actually magical white hinds--brought instant old age or death to hunters who chased them. To the Celts, all deer were especially symbolic of nurturing, gentle and loving femaleness. White deer hide was used to make tribal women's clothing. White deer called "faery cattle" were commonly believed to offer milk to fairies. In Britain amongst the Druids, some men experienced life-transforming epiphanies from spiritual visions or visitations by white hinds, balancing and healing their inner feminine energy. In Europe white hinds truly exist, and are many shades of warm white cream-colors, with pale lashes--otherworldly in their peaceful and modest behavior. To many Native American tribes, deer are models of the graceful and patient mother who exhibits unconditional love and healthy, integrated female energy.


The Wheel of the Year is often symbolized by the wreath. Its circle has no beginning and no end, illustrating that everything in its time comes back to its point of origin and travels onward, over and over again. Scandinavians began the tradition of hanging the wreath at Yule, the beginning of their new year, to commemorate new beginnings in the cycle of life. Today in rural Germany, a giant wreath, known as St. Catherine's Wheel, is a holdover from another pagan custom which involved sympathetic magic to lure the sun's warmth back to the earth. A giant four-spoked wheel with an effigy of a person bound to it, is lighted on fire and rolled down a hill. (The effigy probably hearkens back to a time when human sacrifices were made in plea to the sun.) In some traditions, Yule was a more important holiday for honoring the Sun God than Midsummer. In Winter, Mother Earth was cold and barren without the fertilizing power of Father Sun.


Mistletoe was also known as the golden bough and was held sacred by both the Celtic Druids and the Norse. Mistletoe was used by the Druid priesthood in a very special ceremony held around this time...five days after the New Moon following winter solstice, to be precise. The Druid priests would cut mistletoe from a holy oak tree with a golden sickle. The branches had to be caught before they touched the ground.

Celts believed this parasitic plant held the soul of the host tree. The priest then divided the branches into many sprigs and distributed them to the people, who hung them over doorways as protection against thunder, lightning and other evils. The folklore, and the magical powers of this plant, blossomed over the centuries A sprig placed in a baby's cradle would protect the child from faeries. Giving a sprig to the first cow calving after New Year would protect the entire herd. Now for the kissing part. Although many sources say that kissing under the mistletoe is a purely English custom, there's another, more charming explanation for its origin that extends back into Norse mythology. It's the story of a loving, if overprotective, mother.

The Norse god Balder was the best loved of all the gods. His mother was Frigga, goddess of love and beauty. She loved her son so much that she wanted to make sure no harm would come to him. So she went through the world, securing promises from everything that sprang from the four elements -fire, water, air, and earth - that they would not harm her beloved Balder. Leave it to Loki, a sly, trickster spirit, to find the loophole. The loophole was mistletoe. He made an arrow from its wood. To make the prank even nastier, he took the arrow to Hoder, Balder's brother, who was blind. Guiding Holder's hand, Loki directed the arrow at Balder's heart, and he fell dead. Frigga's tears became the mistletoe's white berries. In the version of the story with a happy ending, Balder is restored to life, and Frigga is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the offending plant -making it a symbol of love and promising to bestow a kiss upon anyone who passes under it. Balder is sometimes seen as the sacrificed and resurrected god, who is restored to his people after the Battle of Ragnarok.


Winter was a time of death and stagnation in the eyes of early humans.The earth was barren and unproductive, shelter was drafty, disease was common, and food was scarce. Little wonder they did all in their power to assure the Sun's return each year. During the festivals of the waning year, fire became a form of sympathetic magick to entice the Sun back to the earth. Bonfires were lit; Flaming wheels rolled down hillsides; Burning candles were placed in windows. Candles were later placed in the boughs of evergreen trees, later evolving into lights on our holiday trees.

Honor the new solar year with light. Do a Solstice Eve ritual in which you meditate in darkness and then welcome the birth of the sun by lighting candles and singing chants and Pagan carols. If you have an indoor fireplace or an outdoor fire circle, burn an oak log as a Yule log and save a bit to start next year's fire. Decorate the inside and/or outside of your home with electric colored lights. Because of the popularity of five pointed stars as holiday symbols, this is a good time to display a pentagram of blue or white lights.

Saint Nick, Old Nick & The Good God Thor
Talk by Rel Davis,
Minister of the Unitarian Fellowship of South Florida,
1812 Roosevelt Street, Hollywood, Florida 33020,
December 18, 1993

The festival of Christmas has always been a controversial one in Christianity. The Puritans banned Christmas altogether and during the Cromwellian period in England, anyone celebrating Christmas was jailed for heresy. Probably the most hated of all Puritan laws was the one abolishing Christmas and probably led to popular acceptance of royalty - at least the king allowed the masses to celebrate Yule!

In America, Christmas was generally outlawed until the end of the last century. In Boston, up to 1870, anyone missing work on Christmas Day would be fired. Factory owners customarily required employees to come to work at 5 a.m. on Christmas -- to insure they wouldn't have time to go to church that day. And any student who failed to go to school on December 25 would be expelled. Only the arrival of large numbers of Irish and northern European immigrants brought acceptance of Christmas in this country.

Even today, large segments of the fundamentalist movement oppose Christmas as a pagan holiday. In some homes, Santa Claus is called "Satan Claus" and St. Nick is considered to be identical with Old Nick. So who is this Santa Claus character who is really the main emblem of Christmas? The Church says that Santa Claus is nothing but Saint Nicholas, an austere bishop of Asia Minor who lived in the fourth century. There are two stories about Nicholas. One, the expurgated version taught by the modern church, and the other, the colorful one taught by early Christians. Let's look at the modern version first.

Nicholas was born into a rich family in the city of Parara but his parents died while he was only a child. He was raised an orphan and became a priest. When he did so he gave all his possessions to the poor, and especially to orphans. He made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and on the way a storm threatened to swamp his ship. He prayed and the storm was calmed. He is now patron saint of some sailors. When he returned he was elected bishop of Myra. Under Diocletian he was imprisoned but freed under the Emperor Constantine. That's the story. According to the church, his feast day of December 5 was transferred to Christmas by the Dutch, who called him Sinter Klaus.

The older story is a lot juicier. In reality, of course, there is no historical record of a "Nicholas" ever having been born. The story went that he was born a saint, fasting even as an infant. They said he would only take his mother's breast on Wednesdays and Fridays. According to the stories, he became a bishop because his predecessor predicted it in a dream, and he was the first person to enter the church the next day. He was said to bring back the dead from a magic cauldron. He could stop any storm at sea by ordering it to calm. He miraculously multiplied a shipment of grain so it could feed his entire diocese for two years, with enough left over for a new crop of grain. When he died, his bones exuded a huge quantity of holy oil capable of curing any known disease. One of his most famous acts of charity was the throwing of money through open windows to provide dowries for unmarried women. He really did not like spinsters and believed all women should accept the slavery of lawful marriage!

One group of Christians followed Nicholas' teachings. They were a gnostic sect called the Nicolaites who believed that the only way to salvation was through frequent intercourse between the sexes. Though they were brutally suppressed by other Christians, they recognized Nicholas, and his cauldron of regeneration, as a pagan fertility god. In fact, Nicholas was nothing but the ancient Roman God Poseidon in new guise. Poseidon was the god of the sea, possessor of a magic cauldron and capable of calming the sea with his voice. The Teutonic equivalent was called Hold Nickar, king of the nixies. A nixy was a sea nymph, like a mermaid or water fairy. He was the Danish sea-god. The English called him Old Nick and when the Europeans brought their "St. Nicholas" to England, they instantly recognized him as their own. By the way, the symbol of St. Nicholas in the church is either a phallus in a yoni (the older symbol) or three golden balls (later the symbol of the Medici family and now of pawnbrokers). Both of these are ancient fertility symbols.

Today, we think of Old Nick as synonymous with the devil, the Christian anti-Christ. Old Nick is a bad guy. His alter ego, St. Nick, however, is a good guy. Let's get back to Santa Claus, or Sinter Klaus, the real hero of Christmas. Christian scholars claim that the Dutch "Sinter Klaus" was really Saint Nicholas, and that "Sinter" is Dutch for "saint." Well, don't you believe it. The best evidence is that the term was originally "Klaus of the cinders," that is, the man from the chimney. This explains the color of his clothing (red and white, the color of fire.) The Dutch really weren't so stupid as to confuse December 5 (St. Nicholas' day) with December 25 (Yule). Santa Claus never was St. Nicholas. So who was he?

Let me quote from a nineteenth century book on nordic mythology, H.A. Grueber's Myths of Northern Lands, published in 1895. He wrote:

“Thor was the god of the peasants and the common people. He was represented as an elderly may, jovial and friendly, of heavy build, with a long white beard. His element was the fire, his color red. The rumble and roar of thunder were said to be caused by the rolling of his chariot, for he alone among the gods never rode on horseback but drove in a chariot drawn by two white goats (called Cracker and Gnasher). He was fighting the giants of ice and snow, and thus became the Yule-god. He was said to live in the "Northland" where he had his palace among icebergs. By our pagan forefathers he was considered as the cheerful and friendly god, never harming the humans but rather helping and protecting them. The fireplace in every home was especially sacred to him, and he was said to come down through the chimney into his element, the fire. Every Yule, the good god Thor would visit every home with an altar to him (i.e., every home with a fireplace!) and bring gifts to children, who would put out their sabots (wooden shoes) the night before. Good children would receive gifts of fruit, candy and pieces of coal to burn in the fireplace. “

He had another name to the ancients, Kris Kringle, Christ of the Wheel. This was his name as solar deity, reborn at the winter solstice, as the wheel (yule) of the sun turned slowly around. Again, the church pretends that Kris Kringle is the germanic expression, Kristkind (Christ-child). But if that is true, why has it always applied to Santa Claus, and not to the baby?

Yule was a time of feasting and celebrating the eventual end of the winter. The word Yul meant wheel and the day of Yul was the first day the sun visibly turned in its long drop toward the horizon, the day the sun-wheel turned. The month of December was also called Yule, but it was a different word, the word Geol or feast. December was a month of feasting to our ancestors. The aspects of Yule or Christmas are all of pagan origin. The mistletoe (banned by the early church, by the way) was an ancient symbol of rebirth, being associated with the menstrual blood of the mother. Traditionally, couples "kissing" or making love under the mistletoe would have a child of their own in the coming year. Later, the mistletoe was symbolic of engagement.

The holly was also sacred, maintaining its greenness on the sacred oak. It symbolized eternal life. The fir tree was the ancient grove of the Goddess brought into the house. We call it a Christmas tree, but the Germans use the old word, tannenbaum, literally "fir tree." Gift-giving, feasting, burning the yule-log, displaying circular wreaths (symbol of the sun's wheel), and singing carols (literally, "dances"!) are all of pagan origin. Even the creche, the manger scene, is of traditional origin, for this was always the season for the birth of the child- god. The infant surrounded by adoring gods (wearing the halo or sun-symbol on their heads) predated Christianity by many thousands of years as well. Baal was honored by similar scenes in ancient Palestine. Osiris in Egypt. Even the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus was borrowed unashamedly from ancient tales. Clouds of singing angels, the virgin birth, even the obligatory flight of the small child and the death of other infants - all occurred in similar tales long before.

There is really very little in Christmas that would not have felt completely comfortable to our pagan ancestors. Just remember when you sing the carols that the "virgin mother" is nothing less than the primal queen of heaven: Mariamne, mother of god; Aphrodite-Mari, mother of the ocean foam; Stella Maris, Isis' name as Star of the Sea; Maya, the oriental mother of the savior, and all the other forms of the ancient goddess.

Worried about the name of the holiday, Christmas? The Mass of Christ. That's an ancient term as well. Christ merely meant "the anointed one" and originally referred to the oiling of the god's phallus before intercourse. "Thou anointest my head with oil" had an altogether different meaning than today's theologians like to admit! A Christ was anyone who had been treated with oil -- usually a god. And the word "mass" is also pagan in origin. The Latin word is missa and was derived from the Persian word mizd, which was the communion cake used in Mithraic ritual. The mizd cake was said to contain the divine flesh and blood of the sacred bull-god sacrificed by Mithra. (Mithra, by the way, was born on December 25, of a virgin. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and magicians [magi]. Mithra raised the dead and healed the sick and cast out demons. He returned to heaven at the spring equinox and before doing so had a last supper with his 12 disciples [the 12 signs of the zodiac], eating mizd, a piece of bread marked with a cross [the symbol of the sun]. Any of that sound familiar?)

So Christmas is simply the "bread feast of the anointed god's phallus." Pretty darned pagan, wouldn't you say? The yuletide is a time of peace. Of joy. Of giving to others. It's a beautiful old holiday that Christianity has never quite been able to stamp out.

* The Yule tree (lore, correspondences, decorating, and consecrating) *
From the Earth Witchery Website; Source no longer Available : (


The Celtic Druids venerated evergreen trees as manifestations of deity and as symbols of the universe. To the Celts, these trees were sacred because they did not die from year to year like deciduous trees. Therefore they represented the eternal aspect of the Goddess who also never dies. Their greenery was symbolic of the hope for the sun's return. The Druids decorated the evergreen trees at Yule with all the images of the things they wished the waxing year to bring. Fruits for a successful harvest, love charms for happiness, nuts for fertility, and coins for wealth adorned the trees. These were forerunners to many of the images on today's Christmas trees. Candles were the forerunners of today's electric tree lights. In Scandinavia, Yule trees were brought inside to provide a warm and festive place for tree elementals who inhabited the woodland. This was also a good way to coax the native faery folk to participate in Solstice rituals. Some believed the Saxons were the first to place candles in the tree. Gradually sacred tree imagery was absorbed and minimalized by the Christian church--but it was never able to destroy trees' resonance within our collective unconscious completely. We realize when we plant a tree we are encouraging the Earth to breathe. And when we decorate our evergreen trees at Yule, we are making a symbol of our dream world with the objects we hang upon it. Perhaps a chain or garland, reflecting the linking of all together on Earth. Lights--for the light of human consciousness, animal figures who serve as our totems, fruits and colors that nourish and give beauty to our world, gold and silver for prosperity, treats and nuts that blend sweet and bitter--just as in real life. The trees we decorate now with symbols of our perfect worlds actually animate what we esteem and what we hope for in the coming year; as from this night, the light returns, reborn.

 Decorating the Tree

It's best to use a live tree, but if you can't, you can perform an outdoor ritual thanking a tree, making sure to leave it a gift when you're finished (either some herbs or food for the animals and birds). Start a seedling for a new tree to be planted at Beltane. If apartment rules or other conditions prevent you from using a live tree indoors, be sure to bring live evergreen garlands or wreaths into the house as decorations.

  • String popcorn and cranberries and hang them on the Yule tree or an outdoor tree for birds.
  • Decorate pine cones with glue and glitter as symbols of the faeries and place them in the Yule tree.
  • Glue the caps onto acorns and attach with a red string to hang on the Yule tree
  • Hang little bells on the Yule tree to call the spirits and faeries.
  • Hang robin and wren ornaments on the tree. The robin is the animal equivalent of the Oak King, the wren of the Holly King. Each Yule and Midsummer they play out the same battle as the two kings.
  • Hang 6-spoked snowflakes on the branches of the tree. The Witches Rune, or Hagalaz, has 6 spokes.
  • Hang sun, moon, star, Holly King, faery, or fruit decorations.
  • String electric lights on your tree to encourage the return of the Sun.

Consecrating the Tree

Consecrate the Yule tree by sprinkling it with salted water, passing the smoke of incense (bayberry, pine, spruce, pine, spice, cedar, or cinnamon) through the branches, and walking around the tree with a lighted candle saying:

"By fire and water, air and earth, I consecrate this tree of rebirth."

Christmas Tree Legends
(unknown source)


Many legends exist about the origin of the Christmas tree. One is the story of Saint Boniface, an English monk who organized the Christian Church in France and Germany. One day, as he traveled about, he came upon a group of pagans gathered around a great oak tree about to sacrifice a child to the god Thor. To stop the sacrifice and save the child's life. Boniface felled the tree with one mighty blow of his fist. In its place grew a small fir tree. The saint told the pagan worshipers that the tiny fir was the Tree of Life and stood the eternal life of Christ. Another legend holds that Martin Luther, a founder of the Protestant faith, was walking through the forest one Christmas Eve. As he walked he was awed by the beauty of millions of stars glimmering through the branches of the evergreen trees. So taken was he by this beautiful sight that he cut a small tree and took it home to his family. To recreate that same starlight beauty he saw in the wood, he placed candles on all its branches. Yet another legend tells of a poor woodsman who long ago met a lost and hungry child on Christmas Eve. Though very poor himself, the woodsman gave the child food and shelter for the night. The woodsman woke the next morning to find a beautiful glittering tree outside his door. The hungry child was really the Christ Child in disguise. He created the tree to reward the good man for his charity. Others feel the origin of the Christmas tree may be the "Paradise Play." In medieval times most people would not read and plays were used to teach the lessons of the bible all over Europe. The Paradise Play, which showed the creation of man and the fall of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden was performed every year on December 24th. The play was performed in winter creating a slight problem. An apple tree was needed but apple trees do not bare fruit in winter so a substitution was made. Evergreens were hung with apples and used instead.


Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.