Yule Newsletter 21 December 2020
Welcome to winter and to the shortest day in this unusual year of years…and for me, even more strange, as I’m not running around like a warrior witch for the first festive season in 25 years!! As I sit here writing this newsletter, we have had a stormy night known as thundersnow, which I have never known before - which took me straight back to that tropical thunderstorm back in August, the likes we had not seen and which is the reason I am not running around like an idiot this festive time!! It was also 10 years ago that we were cut off for snow…I know we had a hot summer and am expecting a cold winter up here in Scotland, but let’s not end 2020 on a ‘Beast from the East’!!
The good thing about the shortest day is it’s all new and full of hope from here, and after the year we’ve had, that’s exactly what we need. The Earth, along with my poor shop, is at complete rest, and this is a time to batten down the hatches as they say and enjoy and appreciate family and friends. Then, as we move away from the longest night and shortest day, the Earth will slowly but surely, under the frozen ground, begin to wake, and life, slowly but surely, will begin appearing once again as the Sun begins to grow in strength once more.
In the meantime, the festive time is a time of celebration with those you love to welcome the return of the Sun. That is why we light up the home with fairy lights and candles, and bring in greenery, of Holly, Ivy and a pine tree to aid our celebrations. To celebrate new beginnings, we indulge in the best of food and wine with those we are closest to, and take a rest until after the New Year when work begins again.
Hope in a tree…
Decorations and bringing in the greenery are all part of the festive fun but did you know that the humble Pine tree is a symbol of abundance, hope and new beginnings? By bringing a fresh pine tree into the house before Yule, you are bringing hope and abundance into your home just in that one action. Completing that are lights for warmth and comfort and to encourage the Sun’s return, and why not get the kids to make popcorn and string them together with cranberries for symbols of holly and mistletoe to attract fairies and feed the elementals in your greenery, and Juniper berries for a home of love. Tie together cinnamon sticks and hang for abundance and healing, chocolate money for wealth, golden spheres for the sun and for happiness, pine cones, again for abundance, hearts for love, acorns for new beginnings – let your imagination run and place symbols of your hopes and dreams to adorn your humble Scottish pine tree, top it with a fairy, Goddess or Star and let your tree work for you to attract what you need for 2021 as well as looking fab…it just takes a little thought!
Let there be Mistletoe
Mistletoe is and always has been the symbol of peace, prosperity and fertility. On 21th December, the night of the equinox (the longest night that is followed by the shortest day), it’s time to hang the mistletoe if you wish to ensure a year of joy and happiness, and most of us will definitely want that after this year!! Cut a piece of mistletoe and bind with red ribbon or cotton, and, without letting it touch the floor, hang inside over the front door and leave in place for the year (alongside the St John’s wort, which is hung at Midsummer – longest day /shortest night) and you will have done your best to ensure a lucky year for you and all who enter. Finally, take the old mistletoe outside and ceremoniously burn it, whether in a cast iron pot, incinerator, firepit, chimera or just a hole in the ground surrounded by a few stones, stating “Burn, burn, mistletoe burn, last years worries never to return” and let the energy of 2020 turn to dust, so we can begin afresh with the Sun…
On Hogmanay, we are going to do it all again, only this time with the calendar. Take down your 2020 calendar, wrap with wool and, like the mistletoe, burn outdoors but state “Burn, burn, calendar burn, last year’s worries, never return” then back indoors to celebrate the New Year at Midnight. Only then can you hang your new calendar up to begin 2021 anew (more Hogmanay traditions later, as we need to bring as much luck in for 2021 as we can!)
Fresh Mistletoe for 2021
I may not have a shop but I will definitely have Mistletoe for sale, whether in an empty part of my premises or indeed, the doorway of my closed shop if all else fails, but mistletoe is quite rare this year as the markets cannot happen due to Covid. My normal supplier has also been hit but, as our need is magickal and not just for fun, gave me the name of a sympathetic apple farmer who is allowing me to have some of his harvest. I have no idea how much we will have and no, I cannot save you any, as had far too many requests and everyone wants 3x as much this year, so it is being picked after the New Moon on 14th, despatched immediately, arriving with me on 15th and on sale on 16th. I’ll be selling it 11-4ish daily until it’s gone! Updates on FB but 1st come, 1st served and when it’s gone, it’s gone…no chance of any more (I’ve sent a request to double my order but no response, so let’s not push my luck!)
More on Hogmanay…
I celebrate both the Celtic New Year and Hogmanay, and this year, leaving 2020 behind means you made it through and can welcome 2021 with even more vigour than usual. Celebrate this fresh start and let’s see the back of 2020, going in with the prospect of better to come (ignore falling off the Brexit cliff) and now a vaccine to fight the deadly enemy giving hope of life returning to the most vulnerable (astrologically more on this later!)
It’s very traditional in Scotland, as in days gone by, to go into the New Year completely clean. I’ve personally always cleaned my home for New Year, even taking down the decorations on 31st Dec. The body should be bathed and new clothes put on after the home has been thoroughly scrubbed, locks opened (open house) and a new clean knife (blunt) left at the door for protection for the next year. One thing passed down from mum and nan is to always pay the bills (even if it is the minimum payment on the visa and you are paying it with your overdraft), but never enter the New Year with unpaid bills. Once all jobs are to done, the New Year celebrations can begin and the New Year can enter your home. A fire in the hearth would have burned all night to complete the New Year ritual, but these days, candles in a covered holder or even fairy lights will suffice. The New Year tradition of bringing in coal, bread and whisky (fuel, food and drink) still goes on as does that of the dark male, which was apparently from the Celts being dark haired but the Norse and Vikings not so dark hair means friend not foe! It is also important that the bringer of the New Year isn’t wearing all black or isn’t carrying a knife, though a Skein Dubh is part of the kilt so isn’t counted!! If someone enters by mistake before the bringer of the New Year, counteract it by throwing salt into a fire so don’t panic (unless you don’t have a fire then use a flame!!) Other New Year traditions are to ensure your cupboards are full of fresh food to go into New Year’s Day and your pockets and wallet or purse full of cash for a year of plenty. Sharing your food and wine with those around you ensures abundance is yours.
Make some Luck for 2021…
On every beach, especially during the rough seas of winter, there’s always washed up seaweed. Traditionally in Scotland, seaweed was used as food, medicine, fertiliser and fodder and was part of coastal tradition, and Whisky is said to be the ‘Fountain of Youth’, made with pure Scottish water and barley, a shot of whisky a day is the key to living a long and healthy life (or so my nan and grandad said as they partook of their daily tipple at 3pm every day out of china teacups – grandad lived well into his 80’s and nan was 94!)
Before Yule, collect a little seaweed and a tiny quartz or flint from your nearest beach, rinse and put aside in a nice little jar or bottle and on the night of Yule, top up with whisky. Seal with a cork or screw-top and paint a pentagram on the glass. Hold in your hands, close your eyes and see everyone in the house happy and healthy and getting on with their full and abundant lives. If you have some, take a tiny sprig of mistletoe off your bunch and tie to the bottle with red ribbon, then stand it in the home on your kitchen windowsill, where these local ingredients will magickally blend to attract a long, healthy and abundant life to all who reside within.
It’s in the stars…
As if this year hasn’t given enough, Jupiter and Saturn are now lining up to play. From now until Yule, you can see the giant Jupiter getting closer to Saturn and its rings in the sky, plain as day! This is called a ‘great conjunction’ and occurs once-every-20-years, with this the closest they’ve been since 1623, just as Galileo had made his first telescope!! It will be 2080 before they will be this close again, so check out the western sky shortly after sunset to see them through December. Jupiter will be brighter than any star and Saturn is brightly golden in colour, just to the East of Jupiter, so go keep an eye on this great celestial omen in the clear winter sky.
I’m not an Astrologer but I’m excited by this Astro shift!! This amazing planetary affair moves into Aquarius on Yule, stepping away from the rules, authoritarianism and structure of Capricorn (Covid lockdown & tiers) to the openness and freedom of airy Aquarius (Covid vaccine and the ‘new normal’ way of living). This celestial spectacle symbolises new beginnings and great change for outdated political constraints (Brexit, Indyref2?) and also socially, (freedom to live life no matter who you are or what you believe?) Life will feel different after this conjunction, after the way our lives have changed due to the constraints of the pandemic, I hope the things that matter to us in 2021 is more about life and love and living free than things and stuff and who’s got what! Maybe this is the big change and we leave unwanted and outdated thoughts and material things behind and who we are & where and how we live will really matter. Time to care for our planet and each other, dream big, jump on this new revolution and get on with our new life… because change is coming: hang onto your hats ‘cos the optimism of 2021 is nearly here!
New Moon: Mon 14 Dec @ 16.17 hrs (solar eclipse) Full Moon: Wed 30 Dec @ 03.29 hrs
New Moon: Wed 13 Jan @ 05.01 hrs Full Moon: Thur 28 Jan @ 19.17 hrs
Mystique Moments moving with the new…
By the time we get to Yule, my shop should ‘ve completed its restoration and we begin the internal rebuild! Fingers crossed, I am hoping to be back fully in situ by Imbolc, but then I said I would be back in September and here we are in December! It will definitely be looking fab for my 25th anniversary in March!! In the meantime, keep an eye on our progress on FB and I’ll be back in 2021, rested, restored and raring to go forward with our new normal!
In the meantime, stay safe, stay well and with love and Yuletide blessings, will see you soon
Chris (alias the Green Witch)