The modern personification of the Christmas Spirit known as Santa Claus was at one time the pagan God of Yule. To the Scandinavians, Woden was once known as "Christ on the Wheel", an ancient Norse title for the Sun God who was reborn at the time of the Winter Solstice. St. Nicholas, in early folklore, rode not a reindeer, but a white horse through the sky.
The burning of the Yule Log stems from the old custom of the Yule Bonfire that was burned to give life and power to the Sun, which was thought to be reborn at the Winter Solstice. In later times, the outdoor bonfire custom was replaced by the indoor burning of log and red candles etched with carvings of solar designs and other magickal symbols.The Yule Log is traditionally Oak.
Mistletoe was considered very magickal by the Druids, who called it the "Golden Bough". They believed it possessed great healing powers and gave mortal men access to the underworld. The life-giving essence which mistletoe suggests provides a symbolic divine substance and a sense of immortality to those who hang it at Yuletide. In ancient times, ecstatic sexual orgies frequently accompanied the rites of the Oak King; in modern times, however, the custom of kissing under the mistletoe is all that remains.
The modern tradition of decorating the Christmas tree is a custom that evolved from the silver fir and pine groves associated with the Great Mother Goddess. The lights and ornaments hung on the tree as decoration are actually symbols of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. They also represent departed souls who are remembered at the end of the year.
FUN WITH THE KIDS - YULE ACTIVITIES
1 cup cinnamon
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup white school glue
Mix ingredients together, roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out with cookie cutters. Punch a hole in the top of each ornament with a drinking straw. Dry for at least 48 hours. Tie a string or a ribbon through the hole, and hang on the tree. Do not consume!
Home Made Snow Globes:
Empty clean baby food jars with lids
Plastic poinsettia, or other plastic flower
Silver or white glitter
Ribbon or Yarn
Simply place the flower into the jar, and add glitter and water. Seal the jar with the lid. Cover the lid with a piece of foil, then a piece of net, and tie in place around the neck of the jar with the ribbon or yarn. You could also seal the foil and net over the lid with a rubber band around the neck of the jar.
Reindeer Treats: Take 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal and sprinkle colored sugar and place in a baggie and shake. The littlest ones can scatter it on the lawn/snow for Rudolph and his friends! Don't forget to spread peanut butter topped with fresh fruit pieces on pine cones looped with ribbon to hang on trees for the birds.
Holiday Relaxation Spell
Take some time today to de-stress:
Fill a bowl with water and a floating candle. Light the candle and gaze into the flame. Gaze for awhile into the candle flame and let your mind go blank. Feel your stress pouring into the water and feel your body relax as the stress leaves it. Imagine the bowl is a deep well and is drinking in whatever it is in your life that is causing unease, discomfort or stress. Breathe deeply. Sprinkle dried basil over the water, and then chant softly before the candle flame:
I am calm.
I am at peace with my surroundings.
I am whole and well.
By the powers of earth, air, fire, and water, I am free.
Sit before the bowl for several more moments. Let the candle burn till it burns out. Pour the water onto the ground and feel your stress and anxiety going with it. Tell yourself that the earth has taken your stress away.
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