Wiccans Take Back Yule

 “How do you feel about how the Western world has taken over Yule?” my friend, Susan, asked.

Sometimes, it does bother me to see that other people have taken over the Pagan traditions of the Yule Tree, Yule Log and more.

Then, I think about how we, Wiccans, can claim the Yule Season for our own hearts.

  • What Wiccans Emphasize About Yule

Let’s look at the Yule Tree. Evergreens were seen as proof of everlasting life. Our ancestors saw that evergreen trees were the one source of life that continued to live and stay green throughout the year. Even in the deepest winter. They didn’t die with the rest of the plants during the cold months. They were special.

Our ancestors celebrated this. They and we, modern Pagans, consider the Yule Tree as sacred.

This is why our ancestors brought evergreens into their homes and decorated them with small gifts to the God and Goddess. Candles were placed on the bows of the trees (I do not recommend this due to the fire hazard). This is where Yule trees come from, and yes – Christians have adopted the Yule Tree as their “Christmas tree.”

Still, we, Wiccans, can say to ourselves “Our Yule Tree!”

  • Wiccans Can Support Their Own Spirits Amid the Gift-giving Rush

Have you ever found yourself fretting about getting the “right” gifts for a bunch of people at this time of year? Many Wiccans feel the crush of not having the funds for much gift-giving.

For Pagans, exchanging gifts, at this time, is really about celebration. How?

Think about it. Why do you give gifts in the first place?

The first gifts were exchanged by our ancestors as a means of expressing joy for the Sun God’s return.

Small gifts were hung on the branches of the Yule tree for the God and Goddess. Now, we give gifts between ourselves, too.

You can think “small and meaningful.” Even giving a printed out photo, placed in a frame (from a “dollar store”) can be a good gift.

  • Wiccans Meet with Family and Focus on One’s Chosen Family

An old comment is: “If you think you’re enlightened, just attend a family reunion!”

Do you ever dread going to family reunions?

For Pagans, family reunions can be an extra burden. Many of us, for good reasons, must keep our Pagan path as our own secret.

Many of us fear being outed as a witch/Pagan. We hide our pentacle necklaces and other jewelry to conceal our true selves.

So, what is the solution?

Devote Time with Your Chosen Family

In a few days, I’ll be attending a Yule party with my coven. What a relief! Being with likeminded people can really help with the loneliness/alienation/fear that comes with being around non-pagans. Especially this time of year!

Finding a place where you can share common ground with support can be a life saver. Really!

A significant number of people commit suicide at this time of year.

Instead, having a safe and loving place to share with others of like-mind can stop the loneliness/alienation/fear for a Pagan at this time.

In summary, Yule has always been our time. Smile to yourself and own it.

Blessed Be,
Moonwater


 

Looking for gifts?

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See my designs at Redbubble. For more of Moonwater SilverClaw, consider some of her books:

 

Goddess Style Weight Loss: Wiccans — Happy, Healthy and Confident

“Moonwater was telling me about her weight loss program, and it sounded like something I could do that didn’t cost me more than the normal groceries I buy, anyway. I started with an egg omelet in the morning with mushrooms and spinach. … In two weeks, I lost 7 lbs. I had a couple of days of eating what I wanted but not overeating. Then right back to Goddess Style. I feel great and eat what the Goddess gives us.” – Denise Kopplinger

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Be a Wiccan Badass: Become More Confident and Unleash Your Inner Power

As a Wiccan I found this an inspiring read. Written in a way that makes it accessible to everyone irrespective of their current knowledge. – Shona Cathro

 

 

Goddess Reveals Your Enchanted Light: Peace, Prosperity, Possibility Along Your Wiccan Path

I don’t generally write reviews on books I’ve read…but this time i feel lead to. This book spoke volumes to me, as if the author knew exactly where I’m coming from and what I’m struggling with. It’s not often a book can make me cry, but this one did by making me see the many blocks I’ve put up in my life. I knew they were there, but I’ve gotten skilled at pretending they’re not. Thank you for helping me see I’m not some freak because of circumstances throughout my life that have caused the blocks, and that i need to stop hiding from or burying them and face them one step at a time. – Crystal Sparks

 

Real Magick

Beyond the Law of Attraction to Real Magic: How You Can Remove Blocks to Prosperity, Happiness and Inner Peace

This book is a must have for all of those starting out on the spiritual path of Wicca and for all of those who are just looking for some light and love in their life. MoonWater SilverClaw uses her knowledge of Wicca and her personal experiences to not only teach the Law of Attraction in a clear manner but to help you use the Law of Attraction to better your life.

Through simple guided meditations and tips on living a happy healthy life this book takes you on a journey that will teach you how to love yourself, better your self image, and rid yourself of the negative energies that prevent you from reaching your goals.

This book covers many wonderful topics that will teach you basic magical practices as well as the theory and idea of “like attracts like” From setting up an alter to casting a circle and how to perform and find the magick that you are seeing in your life this book has so much to offer.

MoonWater SilverClaw is truly an inspirational writer for a newer generation of Wiccans and those seeking to use the natural energies of the earth to make changes in their life. Her writing style speaks from the heart because she has been where the reader is, she has used these techniques and steps to better her own life and now she is helping the reader use the Law of Attraction to better theirs – Amazon Customer

 

Goddess Has Your Back

Goddess Has Your Back: How Wicca Can Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem and Make Your Life Magickal

This is an absolute gem for the witch with issues. Rituals for things like self-esteem are something i have never seen before. Moonwater’s writing is engrossing and draws the reader in. I am a witch with PTSD M.S. and other issues and this book made me feel hopeful and capable. – t’air

 

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Book

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Embrace Wicca, Become Strong, Be at Peace with Yourself and the World Around You

Ms. SilverClaw has written a book that is really great for the beginner wanting to learn about Wiccan or wants to start practicing the art of Wicca. I found this book wonderful, easy to read, and extremely helpful and informative. It covers everything from what Wicca is, the history of Wicca and how Wicca became misassociated with evil, along with how Wicca can help/save people’s lives. Ms. SilverClaw also discusses practicing Wicca either in a Coven or Solo, and all the things you need in order to have in order to perform your ceremony, and she explains what each item means. She explains how to create spells and gives examples to use, and explains the pitfalls of creating certain types of spells. Ms. SilverClaw has truly created a book that is a cast all net the seems to cover everything that I needed to know to begin practicing Wicca. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is searching for their first book on the topic and wants to start practicing the art of Wicca or is just curious about the topic. This is truly a Must Have book. – Tamra L. Shipman

 

Goddess Walks Beside You: How You Can Listen, Learn and Enjoy the Wiccan Path

This is a terrific book! It is like talking to the author over a cup of tea like one of the bloggers says. –  Kitri

 

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Why Do We Have Yule Trees and Wreaths?

evergreen

“You call them Yule trees. I grew up hearing them called Christmas trees,” my friend Kevin said.

“That may be so. Still, Yule is the Winter Solstice. Yule has been celebrated for thousands of years,” I replied.

Yule trees signify everlasting life. Our ancestors believed that evergreen trees were special. Why?

In the winter time, all the vegetation of the land died, except for evergreen trees. These trees defied death. These trees held some special power against Winter.

Realize that Winter was a scary and tough time for our ancestors. Vegetation perished and people died due to cold, illness and lack of food.

Our ancestors held the evergreen tree—the Yule Tree—as a sign of life in the middle of Winter … and as a symbol of eternal life.

Our ancestors brought evergreen trees into the home to bring this energy to the people who dwelled there.

When made into wreaths. the combination of the circle (the circle of life) and the evergreens made the symbol of everlasting life all that more potent.

I invite my fellow Pagans to smile when they see Yule Trees.

We know the special meaning and we can celebrate that!

Blessings,

Moonwater SilverClaw

P.S. To sign up for our E-Newsletter click here.


Looking for gifts this Yule season?

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See my designs at Redbubble. 

For more of Moonwater SilverClaw, consider some of her books:

Goddess Has Your Back

Goddess Has Your Back: How Wicca Can Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem and Make Your Life Magickal

 

 

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Book

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Embrace Wicca, Become Strong, Be at Peace with Yourself and the World Around You

 

 

Real Magick

Beyond the Law of Attraction to Real Magic: How You Can Remove Blocks to Prosperity, Happiness and Inner Peace

 

 

Goddess Walks Beside You: How You Can Listen, Learn and Enjoy the Wiccan Path

 

How Pagans Can Move Beyond Depression and Anxiety during the Holiday Season

Lights

“I’m feeling low,” Matilda said.

“I hear you,” I replied. “Something in particular?”

“We’re squeezed from all sides. All the Christmas music, the shopping, the happy couples, the family time. Hey, it was Yule!—before the Christians hijacked our season,” Matilda continued.

Ever feel, as a pagan, that you’re on a small island in the middle of “Christmas-focused people”?

The holidays often create depression and anxiety in Pagans. Seeing all the decorations and good cheer may be nice. Still, we Pagans know that one of our sacred Sabbats was perverted into a consumer holiday.

One holiday season, I was sitting in a knitting group at a yarn shop, when an older woman exclaimed, “What’s all this ‘happy holidays’ crap? It’s Christmas, damn it! It’s always going to be Christmas.”

I felt my hackles rise because I knew full well that in the group were a Jew, me and an Asian with parents from China. Through our diversity, we were already demonstrating that “happy holidays” was a respectful greeting at this time of year.
Why? Because in the USA, we have people of various cultures and traditions.

Long time readers of this blog know that I deal with depression symptoms. It’s true that outside things like all of this tinsel and tyranny of some people pushing their religion on others can exacerbate my depression symptoms.

Getting Past Feeling Depressed

I have learned to focus on the beauty around me and what it means to me. By this I mean, I focus on this present moment. If I see a Yule tree and I enjoy its beauty, then my depression symptoms “quiet down.” Who cares what others call the tree.

Pagans Feeling Anxiety during the Holidays

I have a number of Pagan friends who have to hide their faith from their Christian family and friends. Talk about anxiety! What if the pagan lets something slip like: “Oh, yeah. I had so much fun a Pantheacon”?

Here are some of things I do to lower my anxiety levels.

I have a particular family member who works with some people who are not open to hearing about the pagan path. So I make sure to guard my own energy before an event with that particular group. I prepare to listen and talk about things that this group is comfortable talking about.

Most importantly, I make sure to devote time with like-minded pagans so I feel safe and nurtured—and renewed in energy.

About dealing with the consumerism of the season:

I didn’t participate in Black Friday. I did not run around and attempt to get big bargains. That activity has nothing to do with the true meaning of the holiday Yule, which is about honoring the birth of the God, and the return of the sun.

Pagans and Wiccans know what Yule really means.

I practice being gentle with myself about gift-giving. Sure, you can give close ones gifts. Just go easy about it.

The way to deal with depression and anxiety is to nurture yourself.

Focus on being in the present moment. Find the beauty you cherish and create your own meaning.

Blessings,

Moonwater SilverClaw

P.S. To sign up for our E-Newsletter click here.


Looking for gifts this Yule season?

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See my designs at Redbubble. 

For more of Moonwater SilverClaw, consider some of her books:

Goddess Has Your Back

Goddess Has Your Back: How Wicca Can Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem and Make Your Life Magickal

 

 

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Book

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Embrace Wicca, Become Strong, Be at Peace with Yourself and the World Around You

 

 

Real Magick

Beyond the Law of Attraction to Real Magic: How You Can Remove Blocks to Prosperity, Happiness and Inner Peace

 

 

Goddess Walks Beside You: How You Can Listen, Learn and Enjoy the Wiccan Path

 

What’s Really Going On with Pagans and the “War on Christmas”?

 

Starbucks

 Has Starbucks started a War on Christianity? Really?! They did it with a simple design of a cup—a red and green cup? By the way, weren’t red and green considered The Christmas Colors?

Wiccans wonder about this. I mean isn’t all of the Christmas decorations, nativity scenes and Christian songs during November and December enough?

And what is the big deal about saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”?

I’m not a Christian, but I’ve heard that Jesus, the Christ, was into love, sharing and tolerance.

I was talking with a friend about the loud bellyaching that seems to be an annual stance of some, a certain few, Christians. Some Christians are touting that Starbucks having plain cups of red and green is “against Christmas.” How is not having snowmen and snowflakes against Christianity?

I realize that Christianity, like many religions, began with others persecuting some members.

We Pagans know about that—we remember the horror of The Burning Times! Persecution continues. I have friends who hide their Pagan beliefs because they know that their families (yes, some Christians) would disown them. My Pagan friends also know that in some parts of the USA, they would lose their jobs if their Paganism was “found out.”

Again, I emphasize just certain Christians are making a big deal out of Starbucks’ plain cups.

It’s reported that Jesus talked about love and sharing. Giving to the poor. In fact in The Bible (Matthew 5:44), Jesus says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Wait a minute! Failing to place Merry Christmas on a cup is NOT persecution. Come on, people!

So why are certain Christians shouting “war on Christmas”?

I cannot be certain. I had a conversation with some learned people. These ideas are what arose: “A number of people feel fear. Such fear may lead to greed. And such fear may lead to the need for an opponent.”

We Pagans are not an opponent.

It is not persecution when people say “Happy Holidays” to honor that there are people in the USA who are NOT Christian: Jews, Buddhists, Pagans, Taoists, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Baha’is, atheists, certain scientists, philosophers, and more.

Again, Jesus the Christ, I am told, loved people, even tax collectors and prostitutes.

In the meantime, we Pagans, can lead by example.

We’ll have warm hearts acknowledging that there are many spiritual paths.

We Pagans do not need to shout about people following their own journeys.

I remember this quote:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I have Christian friends. They don’t shout about Starbucks cups.

I guess that’s part of why they’re my friends.

Blessings,

Moonwater SilverClaw

P.S. To sign up for our E-Newsletter click here.


Looking for gifts this Yule season?

PentagramWheel2

See my designs at Redbubble. 

For more of Moonwater SilverClaw, consider some of her books:

Goddess Has Your Back

Goddess Has Your Back: How Wicca Can Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem and Make Your Life Magickal

 

 

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Book

The Hidden Children of the Goddess Embrace Wicca, Become Strong, Be at Peace with Yourself and the World Around You

 

 

Real Magick

Beyond the Law of Attraction to Real Magic: How You Can Remove Blocks to Prosperity, Happiness and Inner Peace

 

 

 

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Overcoming Yuletide Blues

Candle
Candle

Overcoming Yuletide Blues

 

Are you less than jolly this time of year? Tired of hearing how happy you’re supposed to be during the holidays? Do you just want more peace during this stressful time?

Some of us find it a hardship to see relatives who don’t share our spiritual beliefs.

Many Wiccans and Pagans stay in the broom closet (in hiding) from family and friends. Why? Rejection. Some families even banish pagan relatives. This banishment would result if they discovered our hearts and minds are with the Gods. It’s just too much of a risk of loss for many to bear. In some communities, one may even fear retaliation by one’s own family.

I know some pagans who don’t face such consequences and who practice freely. These fortunate pagans told me that the others are “cowards” for hiding. It bothers me to witness such lack of compassion for others’ pain and problems.

How do we cope with such adversity?

Being in the broom closet is not a bad thing. For some, it is a necessity for keeping their job and family.

So how do we keep the peace in our own hearts this holiday season while in the closet? How do we still honor the Gods during the holidays with family? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Wear a pagan pendent under your shirt. (Just make sure that it can’t fall out and be seen by unfriendly eyes.)
  • Light a candle (while saying a silent prayer) and place it on the mantel or other place of prominence in your own home.
  • Take a ritual bath before a gathering and honor the Gods. You’ll feel better.
  • Bring a bottle of your favorite drink (mead is mine) to a gathering.
  • Anoint yourself with sacred oil and keep your intentions of love and peace for the Yule holiday close to you.

These actions can be done in the broom closet and need not require permission from any unsympathetic family members.

And for that extra touch of magick here is a simple blessing you can say for yourself for holiday gatherings.

By the Gods and the four quarters might,

May this blessing be just right.

May the Gods love be in my heart,

May my heart be the center for my kindness,

May my kindness be a guide for my compassion,

May my compassion be an action of love in this world,

And may my action of love in this world bring peace to all at this time.

So mote it be.

How do you plan to celebrate this Yule Sabbat? Are there any ideas you would like to share? Let me know by using the comments box.

Blessings,

Moonwater

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I wanted to take a moment and pass this vital message on to you from one of my mentors, Patrick McCollum. What the Patrick McCollum Foundation does is truly important to our community and around the world. If you think you can help, please contact Nell Rose.
Patrick leads march for preserving the Ganges and  the Planet.  5000 children participated
Patrick leads march for preserving the Ganges and the Planet. 5000 children participated
“Patrick is quickly becoming one of the foremost voices in our world on the topics of creating world peace and sustaining all people. His message inspires audiences to recognize our inherent interconnection through a common narrative, which gives us greater access to envisioning and creating a common goal: a world that works for everyone. Patrick talked about some of the incredible things that have happened to him over the last 3 and a half years and I wanted to take a moment to review these once again:
  • Buddhist spiritual leaders in Thailand have named Patrick the “World Inner Peace Ambassador”.
  • He was an honored guest speaker at the World Culture Forum in Kazakhstan 2010 where he spoke on the importance of our harmonious connection with Nature and with each other.
  • He has been initiated as a Saint in India and given the name ‘Babaji’, meaning ‘Revered Father’
  • He has also been honored as the ‘King of Peace’ by renowned Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoche’s in our world, among receiving other titles of similar caliber.
  • In 2011 he was honored with receiving the Mahatma Gandhi Award for Religious Pluralism.
  • Last January, Patrick was invited to lead the opening prayer at the Maha Kumba Mela in India, a spiritual gathering that attracted over 100 million people.
  • In February, Patrick will be giving a blessing and be a part of the Maha Yaga in India.
  • In March he will be doing a workshop in Maui with Ram Dass.
Patrick’s teachings have helped many seekers make sense of the world and deepen their connection to Mother Earth and the Universe with an open heart in the wholeness of Love and Reality.
We are currently in an active fund raising program to help further Patrick’s work. We are attempting to raise $100,000.00 to create a digital media library to preserve the teachings of Patrick, and other like-minded spiritual teachers, update our web site, and help cover the cost of travel to the many events Patrick will attending and spreading his massage in creating peace bridges between countries and people, to help him to continue inspiring youth, to support women’s rights, religious equality and to continue to archive his spiritual practices and teachings, and for general overhead to help support and build a stronger Foundation.
  • We are also currently running an indiegogo campaign for Patrick for his upcoming Maha Yaga trip. If you could please send this to any list or social networking sites that you may be a part of to get the message out.
If you can contribute financially in some way that would be wonderful. Please contact me so I might provide further details on our Fundraising Goals and how you can help.”
Blessings, Light, Love, Peace,
NellRoseSigPic

Yule and Blessing Baskets

Yule Tree
Yule Tree

Yule

Yule is when the god is reborn from the virgin goddess. The goddess turns once more into her youthful form, as the young virgin mother. At Yule the goddess is the new mother and the god is her child.

Yule is also the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. In early human history, people feared that the sun would not reappear without help. With this belief began the custom of lighting candles and fires to lure back the sun. It was believed that this ritual would help the god to be reborn from the goddess, by helping the goddess to have an easy delivery.

Evergreen trees are associated with the Yule season. Our ancestors revered evergreens. Why? Evergreens were seen as proof of everlasting life. They saw that evergreen trees were the one source of life that continued to live and stay green throughout the year. Even in the deepest winter. They didn’t die with the rest of the plants during the cold months. They were special. Beginning with the Celtic Druids of central Europe during the Late Bronze Age, evergreens became sacred due to their representation of everlasting life.

The people of the day brought evergreens into their homes and decorated them with small gifts to the god and goddess. Candles were placed on the bows of the trees (I do not recommend this due to fire hazard). This is where Yule trees come from, and, incidentally, where the Christian’s get their Christmas tree. The Yule tree was so popular that the Church couldn’t stamp out the practice. The rest is history.

For Wiccans, Yule logs are another nice custom of at Yule. The pagans of northern Europe began the custom of cutting off a piece of a Yule tree (usually an oak tree) to save for a ritual the following year. For the ritual, people would gather on a hillside for a sacred bonfire and celebration. Afterward, they brought home a lit branch from the bonfire to light their fires at home, which had all been extinguished prior to the sacred gathering. They would then light their last years Yule log in their fireplace to bless their home. This tradition continues today.

At Yule celebrations, we gather with our loved ones to enjoy the merriment of the Sabbat with food and drink. We open gifts and sing songs about the god’s return.

(Note that those without fireplaces can drill holes into the top of a Yule log and burn candles. Commercially made Yule logs with candleholders are also available.)


What You Will Need
What You Will Need

Blessing Baskets

Blessing Baskets are a great tradition I’m starting up for this Yule. A Blessing Basket consists of a small basket that you hang on the Yule tree. Place the Blessing Basket somewhere special and prominent on the tree. What do you put inside the Blessings Basket? Small treats like candies and such, plus a small gift. Most important, include a piece of paper inscribed with a blessing of good fortune.

How to make a Blessing Basket

What you will need:

Basket
One small basket
Tissue Paper
Tissue paper preferably in red and or green.
Red ribbon
Red ribbon
Candy and small gift.
Candy and small gift.
Slip of Paper
Slip of paper inscribed with a blessing of good fortune.

Putting it together:

1)      Take the basket and decorate it in whichever fashion you like, keeping the inside empty, here mine is already decorated.

Basket
One small basket

2)      Take the tissue paper and lay it flat on the table.

Tissue Paper Open On Table.
Tissue Paper Open On Table.

3)     Place candy and goodies on the tissue paper.

Scoop Candy
Scoop Candy
Place Candy on tissue.
Place Candy on tissue.
Place Candy on tissue.
Place Candy on tissue.

4)       Place the slip of paper inscribed with the fortune and a small gift in the middle of the tissue paper.

Place gift and paper now ready To wrap.
Place gift and paper now ready To wrap.

5)      Gather corners of the tissue paper and bunch the corners together.

Gather the edges.
Gather the edges.

6)      Use ribbon to tie up the bundle.

Tie Ribbon
Tie Ribbon

7)      Place inside the basket.

Place In Basket
Place In Basket

8)      Make a loop to hang your Blessing Basket on your Yule tree.

Finished Blessing Basket
Finished Blessing Basket

On Yule each person picks a basket that they did not assemble. The person reads their blessing of good fortune which brightens their Yule season.

Blessed Be,

Moonwater SilverClaw