“Perhaps most of all, however, it is our expectations of ourselves that are the most difficult to deal with. There is much to be done and it all must fit into the time we have, regardless of the fact that life does not come to a halt at Christmas time. In addition to the holiday activities we still need to do the cooking, working, shopping and so on that we do anyway. It’s enough to take the fun out of the celebration. We often feel guilty if we can’t manage to do it all with grace and good humor.
“Yet we and others might better benefit if we take some time for ourselves. If we use a gift bag instead of wrapping paper, send a card instead of an actual gift or even offer to take friends out for a treat at a later date or offer to baby sit their children, we downsize the stress. Less stress means more holiday spirit, and diminished expectations mean less guilt. We need to remember that what we really celebrate now is the coming of a child of Light, or the Light itself, into a world that needs it. Expectations aside, we can remember the true meaning of this season is about the gift of joy to all of us, from all of us.” – Tasha Halpert, Words to the Wise: Sharing Life, Lessons, and Observations
“Someone suggested to the Bodleian Library on Twitter that they should post recordings of ambient library noises on their SoundCloud. I initially misread this as ambient literary noises, like the sound of the snow in Narnia melting… the slight tearing noise made by the Subtle Knife as it opens the way between universes… the ghosts of Christmas tenses manifesting to Scrooge…
That got me thinking about more ambient literary noises that I would like to hear.
Pan piping at the gates of dawn.
The wind in the Mallorn trees of Lothlorien.
The tower of owls in Gormenghast.
The sound of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster being mixed.
The waves breaking on a beach on Bethselamin.
Peter Pan tapping on the window.
The crackle of The Power being activated.
The strong steady wingbeats of a dragon of Pern.
The Hogfather making his rounds.
The robin singing in the Secret Garden.
Maurice and Alec Scudder sneaking off to the boathouse.
Cloudberry the gnome setting off to Spitsbergen with the wild geese.
The sound of the snow compacting under the weight of Iorek Byrnisson as he pads through the wilderness.
The wind whistling past Lee Scoresby’s balloon & flapping Hester’s ears.” – Dowsing for Divinity
“We went to Tenerife, a beautiful volcanic island in the Canaries, Spanish owned, and just off the coast of Africa. I’d been to three of the other Canary Islands before on family holidays but never to Tenerife. We got on the plane in sweatshirts and thick coats, and got off to bright sunshine and 25-28 degree heat.
We took a trip across the island to the 17 kilometre wide caldera, and walked through a landscape that felt more like Mars than the Earth. We toasted the sunset from above the clouds, near the peak of a volcano, then went stargazing in an area renowned for its utter lack of light pollution. In that space I saw Andromeda without a telescope. Another Galaxy spinning far outside that of our own. Looking up that night at the stars, really helped put things into perspective. Of how lucky I am to be living a life. Of the immeasurable odds that, of all of the life-forms upon the Earth this spirit could have been born into, it was a human body that found its home. Not just that but a human born into a loving family, who lived in the South East of Britain. Looking up at the stars and seeing Andromeda, and the bow of Orion so clearly, along with the countless stars that form our Milky Way, I felt so tiny and insignificant. Yet it also reminded me once more of the privilege I have, for this life, in such an amazing Universe.” – Damh the Bard, Nature Myth Magic and Music“I think what is required as we move into 2019 is to clear away the debris and be ready to break new ground. If we look at every year as part of a larger cycle, then we can find ourselves walking the path of the Tarot’s Major Arcana. Which can be as simple as drawing inspiration from the last two digits of the year.
“To prepare as we travel from the Moon to the Sun, we not only face what we have dredged up what we disapprove of in the larger macrocosm, but we’re also forced to look at what we dislike most about ourselves and our microcosm. That is some hard medicine to swallow, a cutting mirror that exposes deeply. Often that which we react against most strongly are the things that most closely resemble our own closely-guarded wounds. To heal, we must recognize the other found within, release the shackles of shame, and make peace with ourselves.
That means tending to our inner flames, to celebrate our beauty, power, and strength. We must take to care to make room so that we don’t burn us or others, and give ourselves breath to feed our souls. In order to help each other, we must take care of ourselves. Like a vessel of stained glass or cut crystal that becomes alive under the gaze of the Sun, we pull to ourselves protection, strength, and that which we aspire to. We can become like lanterns to inspire and illuminate the world – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally.” – Laura Tempest Zakroff, A Modern Traditional Witch
“Even though I’m BAH HUMBUG when it comes to the holidays, even I, Ms. Scrooge, can enjoy some seasonal magic. I like the stories of Saturnus (a god of the renewal and regeneration), Consus (protector of the grains), and Ops (a fertility goddess). I like when my hostesses run around their house, throwing open their cabinets in order to welcome bounty in their homes. We always laugh when we compare birthdays to see who is youngest, because the youngest in the household was given the task of unbinding Saturn so he could roam free, bestowing his gifts. I like when we engaged in a little ritual drama involving barley, pennies, and oranges. Each time I take a bite into that sweet-tart fruit, my senses awaken. My spirit lightens, if just a bit. When we pass the candles, one hand to another to another, I treasure the looks on our faces as we focus on the illumination and the reverence of the moment, each of us contributing to the task of bringing light and goodness not only to our own lives, but to the world. And when we sit around the dinner table enjoying soup and bread and cookies, I am thankful for the blessings of my fellowship of friends.
Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival celebrated right before the Winter Solstice. The poet Catullus called it “the best of days“, and what could be better than spending an evening with your closest friends, honoring our Gods and spirits, drinking cider, and indulging on cookies? I may be a Ms. Scrooge the rest of the season, but even I can get down with some merrymaking during this time of darkness.” – Trivia at the Crossroads, At the Crossroads
“Perhaps one of the things I love most about the Yule-season is that it teaches people to believe in magick. That starts of course when we are young with the annual gift-giver, but it doesn’t stop there. Magick is expressed in movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. The most modern expression of that magick are all of those Hallmark Channel movies that find people overcoming every and all obstacles to find love by Christmas. (Right now, someone you are related to is probably watching one of those movies.) “It’s a Christmas miracle!” is a phrase I hear with a lot of frequency this time of year, and very rarely does it ever involve Jesus.
“It has become more and more fashionable, especially amongst many Witches, to focus on our differences instead of what we hold in common. I’ve never felt this way. Finding common ground is how we make things better. Decorating a tree or hanging up a wreath with one of my aunts is not quite the same as standing in a magickal circle, but it is a magickal act, and a part of how I celebrate Yule. The Winter Solstice is a holiday I share with those outside of my coven and the Pagan Community, which makes me cherish it all the more.” – Jason Mankey, Raise the Horns