Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy 2012

So it's New Years Eve and I thought that I would talk about New Years and the whole 2012 thing.

First of all, I know that the secular New Years isn't a "pagan holiday" but I still think it's important to recognize it. It's a perfect opportunity to reflect on the lessons and blessings of the previous year and explore new beginnings. This is what I am doing:

Today think about resolutions. What would you like to accomplish in the coming year? What  would you like to learn or change about yourself?
Dont just write your resolutions, have a game plan on how you are going to accomplish it. I say pick three of the most important goals to you and really flesh out your game plan for them. If loosing weight (a popular resolution) is one of your goals, figure out how you are going to accomplish that. You could see your doctor to get a check up and discuss safe, healthy ways of loosing weight, change your diet, include an exercise routine that you can stick to. If your goal is to pay off debts pick one debt and figure out how much money a month you would have to pay to have it paid off by the end of the year. How are you going to come up with that amount every month? Do you need to make a little extra money? Do you need to sacrifice an unnecessary expense to reach your goal?
New Years is a great time to organize your finances and start budgeting.

When you have your resolutions/goals and you have your game plans, here is a ritual I wrote:

You will need:
- Sage or another cleansing incense
- 3 candles either white, or each candle can be a colour representing your goal)
- A sharp tool to inscribe your candles
- Anointing oil/Purified salt water

Cast your circle in your regular way.
Sit in a comfortable positing and think about the past year. What did you accomplish? What did you not accomplish that you hoped to? What were the blessings in your life? What were the challenges in your life? What did you learn?
Thank the Goddess, God, Spirit, universe (whatever you subscribe to) for another year of life. For all the blessings AND challenges because each challenge was a learning opportunity.
Feel proud of yourself for getting through another year, for everything you accomplished. Be gentle with yourself for the things you did not accomplish or for mistakes you may  have made. Remember that whatever we do, it was the best we could do at that time.
When you are ready, take your incense and Smudge yourself. Take a feather or your hand and waft the smoke over your head and down your body, visualizing the smoke cleansing away impurities, stress and baggage  from the last year leaving you feeling refreshed, energized and centred.

Then take your candles and dress them by carving symbols into each representing your goals and anointing them with anointing oil or consecrated water (this can be done before the ritual). As  you dress each candle visualize the goal and yourself achieving it.
then Light the first candle saying  "In the year 2012 I will achieve/ draw to myself.......(insert goal/resolution here)". Take a minute to visualize the goal again. Then light the next one and so on.
When you are done say "The spirit of these flames shall burn until my will be done." Then leave them on your altar to burn out (if it is safe to do so).

Close down your circle in your way.

Now I know there is a lot of theories and  fear surrounding 2012. But I refuse to let fear of the unknown take hold inside me. Whether you believe the world will end this year or that there will be a major paradigm shift or that nothing will happen, the important thing to remember is  that you need  to live in the now. I feel that the way to deal with any fears about the world ending or majorly changing is to treasure what you have and live each day to the fullest. Spend quality time with your loved ones, do the things you've always wanted to do, clear up any arguments, misunderstandings or negative feelings you may have with people.
And also let this be a wake up call. It always  amazes me  that every time there is widespread fear of the world ending, everyone panics but when the crisis passes people just go back to old habits. Really think about the fact that without the earth we are very screwed. We cannot survive. So take  care of her. I strongly suggest that one  of your resolutions is to be more earth friendly or 'green'. If we all change our own bad habits, that  is  the change that is needed. As Rumi said: "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." But I digress and will now get off my soapbox lol.

For those interested in Chinese horoscopes 2012 is the year of the Dragon! So check out what the year of the dragon may have in store for you. As a Fire Tiger, things are looking pretty good for me but its cautioned for tigers not to be too stubborn this year and learn go with the flow and not to let your emotions rule you. Good advice at anytime I think.

So everyone enjoy your New Years celebrations and many blessings in the new year!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Merry Belated Yule and a Happy New Year

Merry Meet All!

I hope you all had a wonderful Yule filled with love and joy and are looking forward to the new year with hope and inspiration!

I am going to start blogging the Wheel of the Year with Yule!

Yule is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. It is the Holly King's last night of power before he is defeated by the Oak King. It is the rebirth of the Sun God, now the days will get longer as the sun waxes until Litha/Midsummer.

We prepared for yule by cleaning the house thoroughly and of course decorating! We got a beautiful yule tree, decked it out in red, green and gold and hid offerings deep in the branches for any nature spirits residing in the tree.
Some great ideas for offerings are sweets (which are in abundance this time of year), seeds, grain, and sweet herbs. Do take care when putting offerings in your yule tree not to attract bugs! You can put your offerings in little loose pouches like, I did or a small bird feeder to avoid attracting pests.

We also decorated our shrine to our household goddess Bast. We lit up the shrine with candles on yule and on December 25th as its a sacred day of Bast's.

Next, I made mojo bags for protection and prosperity to ward my home as well as to give as gifts to my coven members. These bags are put in your home, usually by a doorway or window to protect and to draw prosperity. They should be changed every yule.

Yule Mojo Bags 

You will need:
-1 gold pouch (or cloth you can sew into a pouch)
-1 Embroidery Needle
-Embroidery Thread (any colour that appeals to you, I prefer green/brown)
-Herbs for protection, peace and prosperity. eg Sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary, chamomile, black-pepper, bay leaf
-Optional: Stones for protection, peace and  prosperity. eg. Jade, agate, black tourmaline, malachite, jet, chrysocolla, citrine.

Take your thread and embroider runes and/or symbols that represent protection, prosperity and peace. As you sew, keep your mind focused  on what you want the mojo bag to do. You can simply chant "Protection, Peace, Prosperity!" over and over as you work.
Then, fill the bag with the herbs and stones you decided to use. Seal the bag, purify it with consecrated salt water and incense, charge it with your intention and leave it on your altar for three days.
Put it up out of sight near a doorway or window.
Change every Yule.

I did this instead of the traditional hanging of mistletoe in your house every yule. Turns out fresh Mistletoe is actually illegal in Canada because of its aggressively invasive nature. If Mistletoe is legal where you live. You would charge it to protect your house and attract good fortune and hang it in your house for the year as a  charm. You can use fake mistletoe but I decided to go this route.

We also had a yule log. Now your yule log is traditionally supposed to be oak but oak logs are not always easy to find and can be pricey, so use whatever log you can find.
The first thing you should do it clean out your fireplace. Then, dress your yule log with evergreen needles, herbs, flowers etc and consecrate it with sea salt and/or blessed liquor (the liquor also helps the log burn!).
We wrote our wishes for the new year on pieces of paper and put it on and around the log. We then merrily toasted the Holly King and the Oak King,the waxing sun and a host of other things before setting the log ablaze! Keep the log burning for as long as possible. When it finally dies, collect the ashes and keep them for use during the year. Since my coven and family all participated I collected the ashes for everyone to use.

If you aren't lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace you can take a log, drill holes down its length and place white, red or gold candles in the holes and light the candles.

You are also supposed to keep the remainder of the log to start next years yule fires.

This time of year is  also a great time to do spells and rituals for new beginnings, new projects and dedications.

Since Yule has already passed, I wont bother with Yule recipes but I will definitely post recipes for the next full moon which is on January 9th, 2012 .

So again Happy New Year! I wish you all great joy in 2012!