Yule Newsletter 22 December 2019
Welcome to Yule, the shortest day and longest night of the year, and the end of a decade. As we enter this new decade, there are lots of changes about. Everyone is undergoing some sort of change, whether by choice like moving house or job, or imposed upon them by others choices, so be prepared for the unexpected.
2019 has come and gone and we are here at the shortest day again!! The Moon is at her strongest at this time whilst the Sun at its weakest…but not for long! After this, the worst of the winter may still be to come but the Sun will slowly begin to gain strength once more and the darkness start to lose its grip on our land. At Yule, we welcome the return of the Sun as we begin another Solar year. I really enjoy hibernating in front of my real fire on cold nights, spending time with my husband as cosy up with the mutt. This is the time to share the best of food and wine you can afford), and enjoy them with those you love. My family always call by but now my boys both have their own homes and families, they have their own fire to cosy up in front of…but I am sure they will pop by!
To represent welcoming the return of the Sun, we light the home with fairy lights and candles in rooms where this is not the usual – up the stairs, in the hall etc and we hang greenery all over the home to show that the Earth will soon be springing back to life! The mistletoe gets hung over the inside of the main door at Yule, and the holly wreath hung on the outside. Then comes the pine tree in pride of place, glittering with lights, baubles and symbols of luck and prosperity, and a goddess, star or fairy on the top of the tree overlooking proceedings! To celebrate the Sun’s return, we exchange token gifts, meaning an affordable or hand-made gift, not spending money you haven’t got getting yourself into debt on credit cards: a morning of joy that can cause financial misery for months once those statements start to arrive!!
Yule is always full of hope. The dark is at its darkest and the light returns after this night. This is when you make plans for the next year. Most people are undergoing change as we near the end of this decade. Things are on the move & changes are abound, whether by choice or not. Time to work out what to do next year as we enter 2020. This is for the country as well as each household! Will we be Brexiting or will we not? Will we have our Indyref2 or will we not? Will it be one party in Westminster or a hung parliament? Will the UK remain as one or will there be huge division and split? Who knows what uncertainties will be abound as we enter the 20s, but we can try and be in charge of our own home & work lives. I know I too have decisions to make, so time to write a new wish box list for the new decade. If you don’t have one, check out the instructions on how to make one on my website and make one for Yule or New Year, and make those changes happen! Live the life you want, not make do with what you’ve got!
A Yule spell for new beginnings…using onions and twigs
I wrote about this spell as we went into 2012 at the end of the Mayan calendar when changes were afoot, so thought it would be useful again. It’s an old Russian spell, which will help ease us into the new decade and move forward, and can be done with the use of 2 small onions, 3 white or beeswax yellow candles, a little salt, 2 pieces red ribbon or cord and 2 birch twigs. Salt is a purifier, as are the onions, and birch symbolising new beginnings.
On the eve of the winter solstice (this year, the 21st), light the candles. In their light, peel the onions and thread with the red ribbon/cord saying:
Spirits of past and present, keep evil sorts at bay;
Let harmony and joy prevail at the turning of the day.
Hang the onions at the front and back door (if no back door, use a back window instead). Hang the onions until 24th, take them down and sprinkle them with the salt. Remove the cord and bury the onions in the garden or wasteland.
Hold the birch twigs to your 3rd eye for a moment, then tie with the red cord and replace above the doors.
The birch will help you begin your new cycle, and let your festive family fun be the mark of this new beginning!
Further to my inclusion of Jet on the Samhain newsletter, I promised to write about Amber on this one. We sell lots Baltic Amber, but my visit to Krakow really opened my eyes to the stunning amber available!
Amber is a fossilized resin resulting from the rapid burial of trees somewhere between 2-65 million years ago and the best amber is found near the Baltic Sea. It varies in colour from whitish(creamed) to yellow (honey), dark brown (Brandy) to olive green (with moss/lichen inclusions) and a reddish brown (cherry), and can have inclusions that got caught up in the fresh resin millions of years ago (insects, leaves etc). It is a mysterious object and one which I love!! It is warm to the touch and hardly noticeable when you wear it. Be careful though, there is a lot of fake amber out there…you can test it by rubbing it on your clothes and applying it to a tiny piece tissue or paper… amber, like jet, will build up static electricity and lift the small piece of paper!!
It has been worn since ancient times around the neck for use against throat infections and they would add a little ground amber to wine or honey for everything from distraction to childbirth, and from vertigo to the Plague. Over in Scandinavia, it was believed to be the tears of Viking Goddess Freya and worn for love and healing, whilst in the Far East, it was the souls of tigers and wearing it would bring courage. Even in Scotland, they used ‘Lammer beads’, always made of amber, to keep away evil and cure diseases of every kind. Magickally, Amber is used to protect men in transit so we’ve sewn this into coat hems for guys going off in the forces or on long journeys. I keep amber with moonstone and quartz in my cars, luggage etc for safe travel. It protects against negative energy when worn, whilst bringing a feeling of calm, healing and peace at the same time. If you just want to feel better, simply wear amber and it feels like the sun on your skin, transforming stagnant energy into positive and dissolving any helpless feelings of turmoil and chaos… now isn’t that much better and I think I’ll be looking out mine for 2020!
Mistletoe, aromas, candles and wine
Already I have been inundated with queries as to when the mistletoe will arrive. This has been a bad year so is less available this year and the price has gone up, but my usual supplier will get me my supply as usual. My 1st box will arrive, be bunched and go on sale on 12th Dec, and a 2nd box is arriving on 18th which should see everyone through. Last year we sold 25kg and still ran out, so hopefully 30kg will appear over the 2 deliveries (I have split the order for ease) and will hopefully be enough.
Once collected, hang your mistletoe somewhere cool until Yule, and, as it grows without roots on trees, don’t let it touch the floor if possible. Yule falls on 22nd this year, so pass it first over your Yule candleflame, then hang over the door on the evening of 22nd after sunset, or in daylight on 23rd if it is more convenient, to ensure a year of luck & protection of every kind and, for fertility, hang an extra bunch over the bed too!! Take the old stuff down after hanging the new and recycle it in your green waste. If you have had a bad year, you can burn it outside on a bonfire or in a cauldron or chemise (but never burn your xmas holly) and be aware that the fresh berries are poisonous so keep away from children and pets until hung in place where it will dry safely.
The festive blends are already instore. Each year, there is a different favourite and they always smell different as harvests change annually but there is always a choice of Childhood memories & Winter Wonderland, 5ml £3.50, 10ml £6.50 or Yuletide Celebrations & Christmas Welcome 5ml £4.50, 10ml £8.50. I have also managed to get a few beeswax festive candles made, on a 1st come, 1st served basis, so pot luck I’m afraid as time is limited!
For shoppers too, the Witch’s brew (mulled wine) will be served every afternoon at about 2.30 pm (got to heat up), from 14th- 24th Dec, to wish health and wellbeing for 2020 to my dear customers, if we aren’t too busy to serve it!
Changes are afoot…
The Universe is kicking and going into 2020 feels just like 2000. The shop has been really busy, I mean mega-busy and is, as always, my priority dealing with suppliers, customers and stock. I have had no time to do anything with the shopping part of my website (I know, what’s new I hear you shout!). To help me keep up with the store, I made the decision to shut down the shop part of my site and have ordered the building of a new, simpler updated one. That way, I can begin again, & use Wednesdays on Paw Patrol to incorporate work on the new site once it is built. The Book of Shadows will remain in place for access to all the information, newsletters etc as will our FB page.
Christmas closure and shop future…
Last Yule, with my ‘dream team’, we danced the night away looking forward to the year ahead. In March, my step daughter Amy decided to begin a new life in Australia, followed shortly by Emma, who qualified and began a new job in her legal career and now, on 21st Dec, my trusty sidekick Helen is also leaving to start a new adventure as an office manager! Her leaving means she won’t be taking over from me once I reach my shop 25 years (21/03/21). Fate had a fork in the road for Helen, her choice has been made and I head into 2020 alone once more.
Unsure of how I will cope next year and what my next step will be, I will open normal hours until 21/12, close 22nd, open Mon 23rd 10.30 till 5 and Tue 24th 10 till 4pm. At 4pm, I will close up, shut down and take time out to make decisions on my future course away from the village. Like my enforced closure in 2014, I will leave the bubble of Aberdour so I can think straight, put my trust in the Universe, and see what guidance Maggie has for me. There is no immediate issue in the short term, as winter into spring is easy and I will carry on as I can (maybe close an extra day), but fate and customers have always saved the day before, so will wait and see what turns up once more and let you know where we go from here. I will hopefully re-open on Thur 16/1/20, but keep an eye my website and fb page as it may change, and I will update you all with my plans on the next newsletter…so get saving folks if any of you fancy buying or taking over an interesting business in 2121…!!
Full Moon: Thur 12 Dec @ 05.13 hrs New Moon: Thur 26 Dec @ 05.18 hrs
Full Moon: Thur Jan 10 @ 19.22 hrs New Moon: Thur 24 Jan @ 21.43 hrs
The 21st is our busiest day of the year, but after 4pm, we will have ‘happy hour’ to wish Helen well on her new path, so for customers who know her well, please pop in (I promise some fizz)!! If we don’t see you, good luck for the festive season and into 2020 & we will hopefully see you on the other side when it is safe to come out again!
Yuletide blessings from Chris (alias the Green Witch)